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TJ!

19 days before my first cruise & flight ever!!!

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Hello Everyone,

I've been on this blog for several months now so i'm still considered fairly new to this community.

This has been an absolutely blessing with all the helpful & kind members to the plethora of information!

My cruise has finally come to fruition after a decade of day dreaming! I am 19 days away!

I will be sailing on Symphony of the Seas with Ocean View Balcony 7 days. (I have never left California, flown an airline, or cruised before)

I've bought my S/O a osmo pocket because she was inspired to be a travel vlogger after being inspired by all the youtube videos. (smh)

We have a connecting flight from CA -> TX -> FL the night before the cruise and have a hotel booked for the night.

Return flight is also connecting from FL -> AZ - > FL

Sailing on the 4th.

My Question:

Is there any tips/advice/suggestions/warnings for my journey from land to sea? 

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Congratulations, JT!  You are on a wonderful adventure.  The most important thing to remind you about is that you must have the proper documents to fly and cruise.  These are really the only things that will keep you off the ship.  Everything else can be improvised, if needed, but if you do not have the proper documents at the port, they will turn you away.

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5 minutes ago, TJ! said:

 

My Question:

Is there any tips/advice/suggestions/warnings for my journey from land to sea? 

The one piece of advice from our first cruise is try not to do everything. It's all overwhelming but try and take time to relax. Remember, it is vacation.

Happy Cruising!

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In the same pice of advice as not trying to do everything, don't stop a fun time just because some silly trivia or karaoke is going on that seems great on the cruise planner. This isn't work where you need to abruptly stop what you're doing and run off to a meeting. If you miss Seinfeld trivia, you'll be okay :). 

Example from my last cruise: I noticed Jeff Trachta was a headline act in the cruise planner and was super excited as I loved his American's Got Talent skits. Even though our friends were running off to karaoke in the music hall, I asked my wife if she'd join me. I said something like "we will just stick our heads in for a minute." We ended up staying the entire show and loved every second of it.

Know what. Our friends were still in the Music Hall and we caught the last person doing karaoke. Win-win.  

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Journey from land to sea...Uber/Lyft is the best way to get to the terminal at Port Miami. Even if you are staying in downtown Miami, it is way too far and virtually impossible to walk. Port Miami is HUGE, and the ships will be lined up from one end to the other. Use a porter to check in your luggage and tip a couple bucks a bag. Make sure your luggage tags are visible. You can print them when you are checked in. If you don't have them, no biggie, it doesn't take long for the porter to get some printed for you.

Go to the terminal fairly early so that you can get on board, have lunch and explore before your cabin is available around 1:00 pm.

The Norwegian terminal next door is under construction. This will delay getting to the RC terminal a little, but it moves fairly swiftly. The hard part is sitting in stopped traffic and Symphony is right next to you!

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YAY!! Congratulations and have so much fun! Do you know if you get motion sickness? I suggest getting a few tiny vials of "Motion Eaze" before your trip. Available only at Walmart, Publix, West Marine, and I believe a couple other retailers. It is an oil you put behind your ears that helps with any motion sickness and (*hot tip) HANGOVERS! lol 

I have fairly extreme motion sickness where even car rides make me sick but this is the only thing that has EVER helped! I tried the bands and dramamine but I swear by Motion Eaze.

Have a blast! Looking forward to reading about your trip.

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1 hour ago, WAAAYTOOO said:

Congratulations, JT!  You are on a wonderful adventure.  The most important thing to remind you about is that you must have the proper documents to fly and cruise.  These are really the only things that will keep you off the ship.  Everything else can be improvised, if needed, but if you do not have the proper documents at the port, they will turn you away.

We both plan on bringing our passport book and printing out 2 sets of hard copies of all reservations and booking. We've also taken pictures of all pertinent information and booking on both our phones.

Are we good on documentations and back ups or is there something else I've missed?

 

Thank you!

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27 minutes ago, DunkelBierJay said:

Journey from land to sea...Uber/Lyft is the best way to get to the terminal at Port Miami. Even if you are staying in downtown Miami, it is way too far and virtually impossible to walk. Port Miami is HUGE, and the ships will be lined up from one end to the other. Use a porter to check in your luggage and tip a couple bucks a bag. Make sure your luggage tags are visible. You can print them when you are checked in. If you don't have them, no biggie, it doesn't take long for the porter to get some printed for you.

Go to the terminal fairly early so that you can get on board, have lunch and explore before your cabin is available around 1:00 pm.

The Norwegian terminal next door is under construction. This will delay getting to the RC terminal a little, but it moves fairly swiftly. The hard part is sitting in stopped traffic and Symphony is right next to you!

For tipping the ports do I tip right there and then as they take our bags or after the service is complete?

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Will do, it seems like a fairly stupid question for most haha.

I've just never had any experience with this stuff.

The airport will be an adventure for me guaranteed. Planning on giving myself a lot more time before flight to get my directions.

Thank you!

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Since this is your first time flying, I will just reiterate (probably totally unnecessary) that you must be at your gate and ready to board your plane at least 30 minutes prior to the scheduled departure time.  My daughter, as worldly as I thought she was, totally missed a flight not long ago b/c she fiddled around and was late to the gate for boarding.  They will close the airplane door around 10 minutes before departure and they will NOT reopen the door, even if you are standing on the other side ready to board.

Have a GREAT TIME !

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2 hours ago, TJ! said:

For tipping the ports do I tip right there and then as they take our bags or after the service is complete?

Getting there and Tipping

Yes, every time I have sailed regardless of the port, a porter has been at the car by the trunk and takes care of everything -- they are easily identifiable and very friendly in my experience. I will tip about $10 as they get my bags on their cart...worth every penny as it frees you up to find the entrance door and finalize your ride share or taxi. It will probably seem very chaotic the first time, but it is actually very orderly. Every time, I am shocked at how fast it happens. I always arrive between 10 am and 10:30 am regardless of the time the email Royal sends me says. I am usually on board no later than 11. The terminal that Symphony sails from at Miami is extremely efficient. First timers may have to wait a little, but it won't be long at all.

Other Fun Stuff

One thing to do is have your passport and set sail pass (paper or app) cued up and ready to go in one hand and the tip in the other as you get out of the ride share or taxi. It can feel a little like jumping into a fast running river. Before you know it, you are walking onto the Royal Promenade with your jaw dropping at how awe inspiring that ship is. Head to Central Park for lunch at Park Cafe, deck 15 starboard mid-ship for El Loco Fresh for Mexican, The Windjammer for the buffet (probably will be the most crowded unless you are among the first on board) or Cafe Promenade for sandwiches if you are already hungry. Oh yeah, Playmakers on the Boardwalk will be open too...it's an extra charge. Jaimies or Chops in Central Park will be open as well.

Relax and breathe at lunch...YOU'RE ON BOARD -- after all that travel, you are on vacation! I get excited reliving it as I write this! Before you know it, it will be 1:00 pm, and you can get to your stateroom to unpack, unwind and get your bearings. I like a nap because I never sleep the night before. Learn which direction is forward, aft, port (left side) and starboard (right side), find out where your muster station is...you may meet your stateroom attendant later in the afternoon. If you have traditional dining, you can go see where your table is in the dining room. If you are My Time, it doesn't matter. You can make reservations or not for My Time, that doesn't really matter either. One thing I like when I do with My Time is set a reservation time each night and ask to be seated at the same table. You get to know the waitstaff as well as other passengers who sit nearby every night...one of my favorite parts of cruising! Symphony is MONSTROUS, but it is easy to learn your way around if you know forward and aft.

If you want a WOW band (highly recommended), go to Boleros on the Royal Promenade right as you board. There is a short line, and they are $5 each. You won't have to carry your Seapass card everywhere on board if you have one (btw, your SeaPass will be on a slot at the door number to your room -- take it ashore each time). It's a great souvenir, and you can use it on other ships that have them. Right after that, if you pre-purchased specialty dining, get your reservation times in by going to one of the specialty restaurants. If you like hibachi, and haven't done so already, see if there are any times available in the cruise planner (it sells out fast). The experience is a step up from any shoreside hibachi I have done.

That's more than you asked for...sorry if I got carried away.

PS...there is a secret platform on Deck 7 port side accessible from the stateroom corridor or steps stage left on deck 6 and is a fun place to watch a show in the Aqua Theater.

PPS...my favorite place for breakfast is the Solarium Cafe...it takes a couple days for people to discover it, but it is like a small Windjammer, and the setting is fantastic.

 

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2 hours ago, BunnyHutt said:

have to get screened by TSA

could you elaborate on this @BunnyHutt.

Do i have to get all my carry-ons screened by TSA or do you mean if I don't follow liquid rules I will be screened?

I figured I'll bring tiny sample bottles of liquid and leave the large bottles of liquids in my checked luggage.

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 You will have a great time.   Attitude is everything.  My first flight was from NC to London when I was 21.   I boarded the plane and realized that I would be on it for the next several hours, whether I loved it or hated it.   I decided it would be better to love it and years later I continue to love to fly because the possible destinations are endless.  I also enjoy cruises because it is the ultimate relaxing way to travel.   I know you will have a fabulous trip.   

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7 minutes ago, TJ! said:

 

could you elaborate on this @BunnyHutt.

Do i have to get all my carry-ons screened by TSA or do you mean if I don't follow liquid rules I will be screened?

I figured I'll bring tiny sample bottles of liquid and leave the large bottles of liquids in my checked luggage.

Everything will get screened by TSA, but if you don't follow the liquids rule, you'll be taken aside for additional screening.

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2 hours ago, DunkelBierJay said:

Playmakers on the Boardwalk will be open too...it's an extra charge

So this is not inclusive with the cruise fare but an extra charge? I was hoping playmaker was inclusive like windjammer. (no worries though)

 

2 hours ago, DunkelBierJay said:

(btw, your SeaPass will be on a slot at the door number to your room -- take it ashore each time).

If it's on the front door can't anyone access your room or steal it? Since the seapass card will be linked with my credit card is this something to be concerned if someone go their hands on them?

 

No need to apologize this was information I definitely needed. I'm on this forum because of the plethora of information. I really appreciated you going through the time to write this out for me!!!

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1 minute ago, TJ! said:

If it's on the front door can't anyone access your room or steal it? Since the seapass card will be linked with my credit card is this something to be concerned if someone go their hands on them?

It will only be there at the very beginning, when you first get access to your cabin. At that point, put it in your pocket and treat it like a key card. You can use it to make onboard purchases (just like/instead of a Wow band) and open your cabin door (just like/instead of using the app on your phone).

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1 minute ago, KristiZ said:

It will only be there at the very beginning, when you first get access to your cabin. At that point, put it in your pocket and treat it like a key card. You can use it to make onboard purchases (just like/instead of a Wow band) and open your cabin door (just like/instead of using the app on your phone).

thanks Kristiz, I got a bit worried if someone got there before me to grab the seapass cards.

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1 minute ago, TJ! said:

thanks Kristiz, I got a bit worried if someone got there before me to grab the seapass cards.

not to worry -- if it happens to not be on your door, you go to Guest Services and get a new one, which deactivates the first one 🙂 

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29 minutes ago, TJ! said:

 

could you elaborate on this @BunnyHutt.

Do i have to get all my carry-ons screened by TSA or do you mean if I don't follow liquid rules I will be screened?

I figured I'll bring tiny sample bottles of liquid and leave the large bottles of liquids in my checked luggage.

Every bag/person gets screened. Not complying will get you the fun experience of additional screening. 😉

 

If you haven’t already, be sure to read up this site...

https://www.dhs.gov/how-do-i/learn-what-i-can-bring-plane

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3 hours ago, KJones said:

Everything will get screened by TSA, but if you don't follow the liquids rule, you'll be taken aside for additional screening.

This got me my first flight. I assumed liquids were just soap, shampoo, perfume, etc.....ending up dumping half my purse out cause TSA in ATL also meant lip gloss, blistex, foundation, liquid lip stain, etc (the staples of everyday) ..... hard life lesson lol, make up now goes in checked bag

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