Jump to content
Breezyjr

1st time cruisers, general questions...

Recommended Posts

Hello all...  So, I've spent a good deal of time looking up everything I can regarding our first cruise.  We are leaving from Bayonne New Jersey on Adventure of the Sea, and going up the eastern coast into Canada.  I've got a few odds and ends questions...

1.  How formal is formal night?  Does it equally apply to kids? (ages, 12, 14, 16, 18)

2.  Is the check in process similar to airports, ie do we bring our luggage to a porter, or some other type of handler?  And, also, check out process...  My wife found an option to carry off our own bags, is this the easiest?  We are not in a port that offers luggage valet.

3.  We bought the drink package, I think they include tip, should we tip extra?  (I don't mind rewarding excellent service)

4.  Do we tip anyone?  Are they all built into the price we paid?  

5.  My wife hates being cooped up, and she's worried she'll go stir crazy.  I've tried to tell her there lots of stuff to do, but does anyone else have any words of wisdom I can pass along to her?

6.There is an island night, do we really need floral print shirts? 

7.  I've seen the pool is supposed to be 16+ but, if my youngest, age 12, isn't going to be screaming, is the age thing enforced?  I understand wanting the adult only pool being quiet and not filled with screaming kids, but it seems the only other option is the little kid water park area... 

8.  Are the hangers in the rooms?  Or, someplace to hang wet swimsuits?  I've seen someone who posted they bought some magnetic hooks, cause there wasn't enough room to hang wet suits...

I also tried to sign up for the Royal up, but said to make sure our cruise left within 30 days, we leave in 3.  So, I'm a little confused as to why I couldn't get past that screen.

It find it a bit strange that RCI doesn't make some of these questions more easily findable... If I hadn't bothered to look up anything, we wouldn't have know about the formal night, or the other themed night.  Also, if you feel like anything we should know as first timers, feel free to add them...

Sorry this is a bit long, but I couldn't find the answers to these questions, in all the videos and posts I've read... thanks in advance for helping out!

Joe

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1.  Regretfully formal nights are getting more and more informal.  It is supposed to be a night the whole family dresses up and a lot of families have formal pictures taken that evening.  There are has been some discussion that cruisers are seeing even shorts on formal night.

2.  You take your luggage to a porter before you enter the terminal.  It is really an easy process.  It is recommended that you keep a bag with your jewelry, meds and electronics and maybe your bathing suit and change of clothes to carry on to the ship.  Don't forget to NOT pack your passport/birth certificates on your luggage you leave with the porter.  It will be delivered to your stateroom.  Most evenings by 5pm.  We usually only carry off one bag and get the rest from the pick up point off the ship.  I just read a post that someone had their luggage stolen and was only paid $300 from Royal for their loss so it's up to you whether you carry it off.

3.  Tips are included in your beverage package but I know that some cruisers tip above that to those who really provide excellent service.

4.  They charge your account daily for the tips, if you didn't pre-pay them.  I like to pre-pay ours so our credit card bill isn't quite as high after the cruise has ended.  In fact, I try to pay as much as possible before we get on the ship.  All our shore excursions are paid for, drink packages, tips on the ship and I also pay for our parking before we even get there. We are scheduled for December and our parking has been paid for a couple of months.

5.  There is always something going on somewhere on the ship so she really doesn't have to spend anytime in the room except changing clothes and sleeping.  I love to play trivia and play a lot of it on the ship.  I love to read so I usually take a book and find a quiet place on the deck someplace and read for a while each day ( and usually fall asleep 😴)

6.  Dressing for specials nights is optional.  It does make it more fun for you but the decision is yours.

7.  There are multiple pools on most ships. The ones with the solarium have a pool and hot tubs for cruisers over 16.  There will be other pools, not kiddie pools, that your children can use.  

8.  There are hangers in your room and if you need more ask the steward for more.  There is a retractable clothesline for across the shower.  I usually pack a few clothes pins to hang our wet clothes.  The magnets come in handy to hand your lanyard with your card, your hat, your sweater, etc.  Also, a lot of people take post it notes to leave notes for the kids to let them know where you are or they can leave a note for you.

9.  I believe that 3 days is too close to sailing date to make any purchases thru the cruise planner.  You could try calling RCI and see if you can sign up for Royal Up on the phone.

 

Hope you find this helpful.  Enjoy your cruise.  You are there to have fun and relax.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks so much. 

Glad to know there are other teen friendly pools. I don’t recall seeing one in the many videos I’ve seen. But, A. Getting older and B. Too many videos watched = they all start to run together. Lol. 

We have no problem getting dressed up, I think it could be fun. 

I’m really getting excited for this cruise. Always wanted to take one. 

One last thing  I’ve seen someone mention tipping their maid (maid isn’t right but can’t think of the correct word) is this true?  Something to do daily or at the end?  How much?

 

Thanks again,

joe

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Breezyjr said:

One last thing  I’ve seen someone mention tipping their maid (maid isn’t right but can’t think of the correct word) is this true?  Something to do daily or at the end?  How much?

 

Your daily Gratuities  (or prepaid Gratuities), cover your stateroom attendant, wait staff etc.  When you purchase a drink or drink package you are charged a 18% service charge.  That goes to the servers and bartenders.  Feel free to tip anyone over and above for great service.  Remember that between daily Gratuities and service charges you have already tipped them the standard amount.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 hours ago, Breezyjr said:

 

One last thing  I’ve seen someone mention tipping their maid (maid isn’t right but can’t think of the correct word) is this true?  Something to do daily or at the end?  How much?

 

 

As previously stated, if you pay the standard gratuities, you are tipping roughly 18%.  We try to get to know our stateroom attendant and our dining room wait staff, and we generally feel that the level of service we receive is worth 20%.  So we tend to give a little extra at the end of the cruise in the provided envelopes.  But that is just us -- our 20% rule is based on our assessment of our economy, how little service workers are paid (in general), our good fortune, and the excellent service we receive.  We sometimes don't give anything extra at the end because we didn't really receive the full experience we were expecting.  The Guest Services staff should be able to give you a little business card that breaks out how your $14.50/day (or whatever it will be on your cruise) is broken out.  When you total the $$ for waiter and assistant waiter while factor in 18%, you get an idea of how much Royal Caribbean feels your meals are worth.  If you feel you eat more than that $$ amount (what we late night snacks, extra beverages, etc.) you can recompute what you would be tipping if you were buying everything on land.  That is another way to get at an appropriate level of tipping.   if you believe the standard rate should be a different amount, again, you can crunch the numbers and figure out what is right for you.  As other people have stated, Guest Services can change the default amount billed to your stateroom.  I haven't done that in over 10 years.

PS.  When the gratuity was $13.50 per day, the break out was $8.30 for Dining and Culinary Services and $5.20 for the stateroom attendant, per person.  So the food service assumed a value of $46 per day for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, and complimentary beverages per person.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On ‎6‎/‎19‎/‎2019 at 9:53 PM, Vlgg said:

1.  Regretfully formal nights are getting more and more informal.  It is supposed to be a night the whole family dresses up and a lot of families have formal pictures taken that evening.  There are has been some discussion that cruisers are seeing even shorts on formal night.

2.  You take your luggage to a porter before you enter the terminal.  It is really an easy process.  It is recommended that you keep a bag with your jewelry, meds and electronics and maybe your bathing suit and change of clothes to carry on to the ship.  Don't forget to NOT pack your passport/birth certificates on your luggage you leave with the porter.  It will be delivered to your stateroom.  Most evenings by 5pm.  We usually only carry off one bag and get the rest from the pick up point off the ship.  I just read a post that someone had their luggage stolen and was only paid $300 from Royal for their loss so it's up to you whether you carry it off.

3.  Tips are included in your beverage package but I know that some cruisers tip above that to those who really provide excellent service.

4.  They charge your account daily for the tips, if you didn't pre-pay them.  I like to pre-pay ours so our credit card bill isn't quite as high after the cruise has ended.  In fact, I try to pay as much as possible before we get on the ship.  All our shore excursions are paid for, drink packages, tips on the ship and I also pay for our parking before we even get there. We are scheduled for December and our parking has been paid for a couple of months.

5.  There is always something going on somewhere on the ship so she really doesn't have to spend anytime in the room except changing clothes and sleeping.  I love to play trivia and play a lot of it on the ship.  I love to read so I usually take a book and find a quiet place on the deck someplace and read for a while each day ( and usually fall asleep 😴)

6.  Dressing for specials nights is optional.  It does make it more fun for you but the decision is yours.

7.  There are multiple pools on most ships. The ones with the solarium have a pool and hot tubs for cruisers over 16.  There will be other pools, not kiddie pools, that your children can use.  

8.  There are hangers in your room and if you need more ask the steward for more.  There is a retractable clothesline for across the shower.  I usually pack a few clothes pins to hang our wet clothes.  The magnets come in handy to hand your lanyard with your card, your hat, your sweater, etc.  Also, a lot of people take post it notes to leave notes for the kids to let them know where you are or they can leave a note for you.

9.  I believe that 3 days is too close to sailing date to make any purchases thru the cruise planner.  You could try calling RCI and see if you can sign up for Royal Up on the phone.

 

Hope you find this helpful.  Enjoy your cruise.  You are there to have fun and relax.

Vlgg, how did you pre-pay for parking? We are going out of Ft Lauderdale in December and can't find much on parking? I assume there is a lot and how do you pay? Thks!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
22 minutes ago, Pro24 said:

Vlgg, how did you pre-pay for parking? We are going out of Ft Lauderdale in December and can't find much on parking? I assume there is a lot and how do you pay? Thks!

We've been out if Ft. Lauderdale a few times. Have always used Park N Go. Free shuttle to and from the pier. Never had a problem. Wife takes care of reservation but I think it's less than $10 a day. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Go on the website for Park N Go.  Use them, not another one. The last one we used, can't remember the name, we waited about an hour and a half to be picked up.  While we waited I watched shuttle after shuttle from Park N Go pick up people.  Park N Go Port Everglades only should get you there.  I paid with my AMEX and it is refundable up to a certain point.  Can't remember what point right now.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20 hours ago, RWDW1204 said:

We've been out if Ft. Lauderdale a few times. Have always used Park N Go. Free shuttle to and from the pier. Never had a problem. Wife takes care of reservation but I think it's less than $10 a day. 

If you book in advance you'll usually catch a $5.99/day special...otherwise it can be $13/day if you wait until you get there.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We always prepay gratuities, which it looks like you did too. Beyond that is at your discretion. The last couple cruises, we haven't had good MDR service (neither were RCI), but usually they get tipped extra. We get My Time Dining, so when we like wait staff we like, we stay with them. Also, we gravitate to the bars that have the bartenders we like the best and they get tipped extra toward the end of the cruise. Same with the cabin attendant. Seems everyone has a different opinion. What this will very possibly do, is get you addicted to cruising. The only known cure is to book another cruise. BTW, we are doing this cruise in reverse, in October, starting in Quebec City. Our first RCI cruise was on Adventure Of The Seas.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 Hello all, we just got back from our first cruise HOTS Western Carribean. Since it was our first, we wanted to share things we brought/ bought needed or did not need to help out others. 1- RC luggage tags are a completely a different size and type than flying oron other ships, you only find out 2 weeks before your cruise when your able to print your documents. Check out the picture below before buying the cutesy luggage tags! 2- some rooms Oasis class called “interior” / consider it streerage .. do NOT have doors, have  a type of sliding doors, so the door hanger cubby holes will not hang up in the rooms.  3-  this blog site is awesome, read read read, and on far right you can put hearts and smilely faces on blogs you like. 4-  the Cruise Compass is your friend! Take a picture of every page every day if you do not want to carry  it around. On HOTS, extras are under the stairs by the excursion desk.  Specifically need the times that restaurants are open & what deck they are on. 5- if your completely lost on the ship, the elevator area will give names of the locations & cooresponding decks.A wall ouside of each elevator deck is that deck’s floor plan a “ you are here spot” and where the bathroom is on that deck. 6-Almost all of the restaurants do NOT have bathrooms, go before you go in. 6- bring a disposable raincoat. For HOTS there were umbrella stands and RC umbrellas, but you want your own if your going to a nice diner since several Specialty Restaurants are in the Atrium/ open air area. 7- Bring one long sleeved sweater/ light jacket. Last week it rained most of our cruise, it was cold inside the dining areas & we were wet from running in heals to get to the location. 8- and bring capri or one long pant for mid June Caribbean cruise. 9- we did not need as much bug spray as we brought, look for the small half can of bug stuff..it’s all about small stuff to pack as light a weight as possible.  10- FYI the reef safe sunblock is almost like the consistancy of white paint looking, is confiscated at airport AND required in some countrys like Roatan . Do not buy it on the ship till your sure you port is not cancelled. We were about to pull into port, but Captain cancelled due to waves & high winds (yes 2nd largest ship The Harmony!), my friend had replaced her airport confiscated reef safe sunblock, but did not get to use it $40 bucks gone. 12- Hydrate..its free drink non  alcoholic drinks too . Or buy to try powdered electrolight called liquid IV, as supplements to stay hydrated. 13- If your traveling with different groups, discuss before hand with each other  that your on “couple time”, “only Family time”, “Friend time” , or “Me time” for each event/dinner or bar time. So your not torn trying to divide up your time and the pictures you want of couple or groups for that day. Or friends do not feel ditched for the day. 14- Expect VOOM not to work, tell important persons where you will be in 5 hours so they can plan if your out of communication ( our VOOM was down 2 out of 8 days & spotty the rest of the time RC actually gave us our$ back since it was so unreliable) . 15- Dry erase board for room, if 2 people and only one phone. Hubby slept in, so i went to breakfast ( he does not eat breakfast) and water aerobics  or towel animal making (yes its vacation do something different). Note  where you are going the place & deck and time & meeting pkace/time if you loose eachother.  So not wasting time looking for each other or upset. 16- There are phones around the ship, you can call back to rooms, if needed. 17- Bring dramamine,/ or wrist seaBands. HOTS slightly rocked with the swells the entire first four days ;day and night , sleeping, during dinner, top deck, bottom deck everywhere. I have Vertigo, so it have affected me more, but others were mentioning it too. Gosh this went longer than expected.Hope this helps! Happy cruising

B5AA828F-3D25-41C7-8A70-51D7B03D7389.jpeg

4DA99FB0-1AA0-4256-9F21-862E02F4C871.jpeg

Edited by RTripp
Added photo

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey Joe,

 

Quick answers from a guy that does everything the least expensive way.

1.  no need to tuxes or even suits...unless you wait nice formal picture (amazing photo opportunities everywhere...Christmas car time is coming)  khakis and polo or dress shirt is fine

2. Yes..similar at curbside check in at airport. pull up to where the drop off is, pop trunk, hail a porter (Typically have bright yellow or orange work vest or white shirt) he'll grab bags, tip his $5 and off you go. 

3.Drink pkg. includes tip. I rarely tip extra

4.I rarely tip extra.  but Room Stewart will get an extra five bucks a day with one standard cabin.

5. Let the Mrs. know she has the biggest living room anywhere.  she can go practically anywhere on board at anytime. if she wants to go for a walk at 2AM to the pool deck she's allowed. Adventure is a huge ship!!

6. No Floral shirt needed. You will no be ostracized or mocked for being normal

7. Solarium pool is 16 and older.  Your 12 yr old, and others will not be anywhere near you are once y'all see the kids events scheduled for them onboard. just tell them what time to meet to get ready for dinner and let em go.

8. You can be fine without the paying for magnets. the only ones I bring are the ones I won, yet rarely use them. Plus they are heavy, and you need every pound of space so not to go over 50lbs at the airport.  Some ships have that shower 'string' for swimsuits, and you lived this long without magnets is my opinion.

Royal up.  don't expect anything from that...the consensus on here is no one hears about upgrades anymore.

I find that a lot of companies are too busy tending to the forest to see that there are trees everywhere.  Basically they are to entrenched in the day to day to realize that new comers board there ships everyday and  newcomers have tons of questions.  After 25 cruises I have issues finding answers to certain things. @Matt's blog is the greatest resource form any cruiser.

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, MotleyCruiser said:

Hey Joe,

 

Quick answers from a guy that does everything the least expensive way.

1.  no need to tuxes or even suits...unless you wait nice formal picture (amazing photo opportunities everywhere...Christmas car time is coming)  khakis and polo or dress shirt is fine

2. Yes..similar at curbside check in at airport. pull up to where the drop off is, pop trunk, hail a porter (Typically have bright yellow or orange work vest or white shirt) he'll grab bags, tip his $5 and off you go. 

3.Drink pkg. includes tip. I rarely tip extra

4.I rarely tip extra.  but Room Stewart will get an extra five bucks a day with one standard cabin.

5. Let the Mrs. know she has the biggest living room anywhere.  she can go practically anywhere on board at anytime. if she wants to go for a walk at 2AM to the pool deck she's allowed. Adventure is a huge ship!!

6. No Floral shirt needed. You will no be ostracized or mocked for being normal

7. Solarium pool is 16 and older.  Your 12 yr old, and others will not be anywhere near you are once y'all see the kids events scheduled for them onboard. just tell them what time to meet to get ready for dinner and let em go.

8. You can be fine without the paying for magnets. the only ones I bring are the ones I won, yet rarely use them. Plus they are heavy, and you need every pound of space so not to go over 50lbs at the airport.  Some ships have that shower 'string' for swimsuits, and you lived this long without magnets is my opinion.

Royal up.  don't expect anything from that...the consensus on here is no one hears about upgrades anymore.

I find that a lot of companies are too busy tending to the forest to see that there are trees everywhere.  Basically they are to entrenched in the day to day to realize that new comers board there ships everyday and  newcomers have tons of questions.  After 25 cruises I have issues finding answers to certain things. @Matt's blog is the greatest resource form any cruiser.

 

 

 

I am not disagreeing with any of these...just agreeing with

"After 25 cruises I have issues finding answers to certain things. @Matt's blog is the greatest resource form any cruiser."

I will say about the Royal Up program.  I've read lots and even bid once...being this close to your cruise, you won't be able to do anything with it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 6/25/2019 at 3:42 PM, RTripp said:

 Hello all, we just got back from our first cruise HOTS Western Carribean. Since it was our first, we wanted to share things we brought/ bought needed or did not need to help out others. 1- RC luggage tags are a completely a different size and type than flying oron other ships, you only find out 2 weeks before your cruise when your able to print your documents. Check out the picture below before buying the cutesy luggage tags! 2- some rooms Oasis class called “interior” / consider it streerage .. do NOT have doors, have  a type of sliding doors, so the door hanger cubby holes will not hang up in the rooms.  3-  this blog site is awesome, read read read, and on far right you can put hearts and smilely faces on blogs you like. 4-  the Cruise Compass is your friend! Take a picture of every page every day if you do not want to carry  it around. On HOTS, extras are under the stairs by the excursion desk.  Specifically need the times that restaurants are open & what deck they are on. 5- if your completely lost on the ship, the elevator area will give names of the locations & cooresponding decks.A wall ouside of each elevator deck is that deck’s floor plan a “ you are here spot” and where the bathroom is on that deck. 6-Almost all of the restaurants do NOT have bathrooms, go before you go in. 6- bring a disposable raincoat. For HOTS there were umbrella stands and RC umbrellas, but you want your own if your going to a nice diner since several Specialty Restaurants are in the Atrium/ open air area. 7- Bring one long sleeved sweater/ light jacket. Last week it rained most of our cruise, it was cold inside the dining areas & we were wet from running in heals to get to the location. 8- and bring capri or one long pant for mid June Caribbean cruise. 9- we did not need as much bug spray as we brought, look for the small half can of bug stuff..it’s all about small stuff to pack as light a weight as possible.  10- FYI the reef safe sunblock is almost like the consistancy of white paint looking, is confiscated at airport AND required in some countrys like Roatan . Do not buy it on the ship till your sure you port is not cancelled. We were about to pull into port, but Captain cancelled due to waves & high winds (yes 2nd largest ship The Harmony!), my friend had replaced her airport confiscated reef safe sunblock, but did not get to use it $40 bucks gone. 12- Hydrate..its free drink non  alcoholic drinks too . Or buy to try powdered electrolight called liquid IV, as supplements to stay hydrated. 13- If your traveling with different groups, discuss before hand with each other  that your on “couple time”, “only Family time”, “Friend time” , or “Me time” for each event/dinner or bar time. So your not torn trying to divide up your time and the pictures you want of couple or groups for that day. Or friends do not feel ditched for the day. 14- Expect VOOM not to work, tell important persons where you will be in 5 hours so they can plan if your out of communication ( our VOOM was down 2 out of 8 days & spotty the rest of the time RC actually gave us our$ back since it was so unreliable) . 15- Dry erase board for room, if 2 people and only one phone. Hubby slept in, so i went to breakfast ( he does not eat breakfast) and water aerobics  or towel animal making (yes its vacation do something different). Note  where you are going the place & deck and time & meeting pkace/time if you loose eachother.  So not wasting time looking for each other or upset. 16- There are phones around the ship, you can call back to rooms, if needed. 17- Bring dramamine,/ or wrist seaBands. HOTS slightly rocked with the swells the entire first four days ;day and night , sleeping, during dinner, top deck, bottom deck everywhere. I have Vertigo, so it have affected me more, but others were mentioning it too. Gosh this went longer than expected.Hope this helps! Happy cruising

B5AA828F-3D25-41C7-8A70-51D7B03D7389.jpeg

4DA99FB0-1AA0-4256-9F21-862E02F4C871.jpeg

We were on that cruise, too. So disappointed that Roatan was cancelled. Another comment: Loved our WOW bands but needed to add an additional hair tie to make sure band stayed on. Mine kept slipping out of retaining band by buckle and coming undone. They are so lightweight that I did not feel it fall off at first, and it is tied to your onboard account like your seapass card. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

×
×
  • Create New...