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Cruise Mistakes


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30 minutes ago, JNS123 said:

Hey yall, so I am going on first RCCL cruise this November and was curious to see what are all of your first cruise mistakes. Thanks

Biggest mistake would be not asking experts on here so top marks for you! 

Research research research, plan plan plan, so you can enjoy enjoy enjoy!!

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As long as you're physically able, one of the biggest mistakes in my book is taking elevators. Not only are they busy a lot of the time and may require a wait, but the walking and stair climbing is good for combatting the food and drink! Heck, we purposely choose a room as far from the elevators as possible. 

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seconding the 'don't fly in on the same day you set sail' -- we have done this and i literally HATE it, haha 😅 the easiest way to get my stress from 0-200 and makes me one cranky traveler later in the day.

i am sure most of this (if not all) is covered in matt's comprehensive video above (i love the visual!) but just off the top of my head...

other things to note:

  • keep in mind the size of your party/how much sleeping room you will need. you don't typically spend a lot of room in your cabin, so it may not be a bad idea to choose an inside or oceanview for your first time and then splurge on drinks or a nice specialty dinner if you can 😊
  • work with a travel agent or you can ask for quotes on cruisecompete.com (we always do this once we have matched priced it out on the RCCL website to get a gauge on pricing) and have discovered some really great deals and agents this way!
  • try to leave yourself some down time each day! there is usually  a lot to be done on a cruise and you should have fun doing it!! but you may need to put yourself in a time out if you're getting stressed from going to activity to activity. pace yourself 💚
  • schedule your boarding time as early as you can to avoid delays and stick to your assigned time. the sooner you arrive, the sooner you can get on the ship and start exploring!
  • bring a change of clothes, maybe even a swimsuit in your carryon in case there are delays getting your luggage delivered
  • HAVE FUN!!!!!
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32 minutes ago, wordell1 said:

Don't overschedule.  There is so much to do that you can drive yourself crazy trying to do it all.  

I concur with this one wholeheartedly.  Most newbies try and do too much and maintain a horrific schedule.  You're on VACATION.  Enjoy doing nothing at least some of the time.

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  • Definitely, 100% DO NOT fly in the same day.
  • Pick a hotel within good walking distance from grocery/drugstores and at least 2 food options.
  • Do not fly OUT on debarkation day before noon.
  • Do eMuster within your first hour on board. You don't want to have a safety officer chasing you down
  • Don't worry too much if you don't make the MDR for dinner first night.
  • explore the ship any day but day 1. Everyone is lost and looking around, it's much calmer to do on the first sea day than boarding day.
  • Take photos or notes of the staff that you want to acknowledge at the end of the cruise survey. Having their names mentioned helps them get boosts and potential raises or promotions.
  • Be aware of the possibility to tip extra on top of pre-paid gratuities. It's not FORCED but you will be offered this on the last day. If you think you might want to recognize someone going above and beyond, have some extra cash set aside.
  • Check your account frequently and don't save issues until the last day.

 

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Not speaking up if there's something you don't like.

 In my case it was on Harmony of the Seas last November, we had a Central Park Balcony booked. Royal changed it at the last second right before we checked in at the port due to what they called a maintenance issue. To make a long story short, we got upgraded from a Central Park balcony about mid-ship to an ocean view balcony in the front of the ship, and we were not happy with it. This may sound crazy to most readers here, but we were looking forward to the Central Park view, not an ocean view. With the benefit of hindsight, I should have gone to guest services and inquired about getting another Central Park balcony.

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Flying out the same day after disembarking.  We learned a long time ago to take an extra day in a hotel after our cruise to unwind and give us time to fly back home. I know it is not possible for everyone to do this task, but it has been a stress reliever for us to not have to worry about missing a flight back home. Happy Cruising!!!!

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Much discussion here on the drink package, but seriously do the math on whether it makes sense for you. I got what I thought was a smoking deal on the package and still wound up having to drink like a fish to feel like I was getting my money's worth. Actually was more stressful that way. 

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I have more of a hack than a mistake. I love having my phone by me at night and with extremely limited power options, I was saddened there were no outlets next to me on my first cruise. I did bring along my 25,000 mAh battery pack and the drawer in the night stand had a little slit for a cord, so I would charge the battery pack in the day and then plug my phone into it every night without having to worry! That one lasted me two or three days if I forgot which was nice but it was only my phone. Highly recommend this option if you use your phone for an alarm or need it closer to you than across the room. Along with this, make sure to research approved power strips to multiply your outlet options. You never realize how many outlets you use until you only have one or two in weird spots!

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I've only been on one cruise, so my sample size is limited . . . 

1. I definitely overpacked. Probably I could have reduced the clothes by half. 
2. We didn't go to the MDR for breakfast or lunch at all -- just the Windjammer. Next cruise this will change!
3. I had the DBP, and I didn't order "top shelf" liquors with my mixed drinks. 
4. I should have done the climbing wall and the flowrider more . . . our ship was ~30% full and there were no lines at all. This won't be the case next time
5. I never ordered room service breakfast or coffee to have on my balcony. 
6. It took us until the last night to discover the Blue Moon bar. It turned out to be my favorite. (Adventure)

Other than those (and some of them aren't really "mistakes", per se), I wouldn't change a thing!

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5 hours ago, CrimsonCruiser said:
  • Definitely, 100% DO NOT fly in the same day.
  • Pick a hotel within good walking distance from grocery/drugstores and at least 2 food options.
  • Do not fly OUT on debarkation day before noon.
  • Do eMuster within your first hour on board. You don't want to have a safety officer chasing you down
  • Don't worry too much if you don't make the MDR for dinner first night.
  • explore the ship any day but day 1. Everyone is lost and looking around, it's much calmer to do on the first sea day than boarding day.
  • Take photos or notes of the staff that you want to acknowledge at the end of the cruise survey. Having their names mentioned helps them get boosts and potential raises or promotions.
  • Be aware of the possibility to tip extra on top of pre-paid gratuities. It's not FORCED but you will be offered this on the last day. If you think you might want to recognize someone going above and beyond, have some extra cash set aside.
  • Check your account frequently and don't save issues until the last day.

 

We did back to back cruises recently and I noticed the heightened adrenaline level of the new guests boarding for the our 2nd sailing.  It was much louder and chaotic as vacation excitement took over!  Just relax and take it all in stride.  Easier said than done I know.   

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3 hours ago, b_resh_uh said:

Much discussion here on the drink package, but seriously do the math on whether it makes sense for you. I got what I thought was a smoking deal on the package and still wound up having to drink like a fish to feel like I was getting my money's worth. Actually was more stressful that way. 

I can see how it could feel stressful, but here's how I look at the drink package (and why I always get it) - (a) it's more than just alcohol, as it's a good way to get coffees, bottled waters (which are handy for excursions too), and sodas, and (b) it's a good way to try new drinks...if you don't like what you got, cast it aside and get another. It's a low-risk way to expand your cocktail horizons. While I usually have no problem breaking even when I factor everything (beyond just alcohol) in to it, I end up not being too concerned because it is a good way to try new stuff. 

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Over packing is def a big mistake as everyone mentioned, but I recommend packing more than one swimwear!  It's always funny to see everyone packing tons of different outfits and only 1 swim trunk or swimsuit.  Especially since you will be more than likely be in it for a good portion of the cruise if you enjoy pools and hottubs.

If you're packing more than one roller bag and a backpack for a 7 night... You're prob over packing and annoying yourself having to deal with that much stuff.

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Research the ports of call for your cruise and the excursions being offered.  If there are any excursions which are really important to you book them using the app before embarkation to avoid disappointment of having an excursion sold out.

Have your documents printed out and sorted by person before you go for boarding check in.  I've noticed those who are prepared have a much easier time with boarding.  

Pack your swim suit on your carry on so when you board you can take advantage of empty pools and pool decks areas.

Bill

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1 hour ago, Zacharius said:

(b) it's a good way to try new drinks...if you don't like what you got, cast it aside and get another. It's a low-risk way to expand your cocktail horizons.

This is exactly my viewpoint. I've found more favorite drinks at all-inclusives and with the beverage package because of the no-risk proposition there. 

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23 hours ago, Mike n Ky said:

Pretty much the biggest mistake most people make is over packing. We still bring more than we need but we don't have three large suitcases in our stateroom anymore. Getting tips is a great start to making fewer mistakes. Hope y'all have a great time!

100%

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Here's one:

Not getting to know the staff. 

First, these crew members serve thousands upon thousands of new faces every week, yet many of them get to know at least your name or some food/drink preferences.  Why not return the courtesy?

Second, crew members are away from home 6 to 9 months out of the year.  Many of them must be homesick.  I know they are there to serve you and you paid for it, but no reason not to be friendly and perhaps easing their homesickness?  

Third, you would be surprised at what kind of wonderful return on investment you may get from being kind and courteous.  I am not friendly in order to receive, but I can tell you that I have gotten much greater service for doing things like remembering a staff member's name and asking how their day is going.  For instance, I have gotten around the single drink rule and been offered doubles, my 9 year old asked our room attendant about his kids and gave him some candy..a few hours later, we had extra hot chocolate packets and a premium childs' face mask in our room, an events coordinator let us ride the Northstar twice for free (only free one time), I had a latte and americano waiting for me at 5am at the coffee place on debarkation day.

Fourth, where is the rule that says you can't be friends with the people who serve you?

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55 minutes ago, CruisingNewb said:

Here's one:

Not getting to know the staff. 

First, these crew members serve thousands upon thousands of new faces every week, yet many of them get to know at least your name or some food/drink preferences.  Why not return the courtesy?

Second, crew members are away from home 6 to 9 months out of the year.  Many of them must be homesick.  I know they are there to serve you and you paid for it, but no reason not to be friendly and perhaps easing their homesickness?  

Third, you would be surprised at what kind of wonderful return on investment you may get from being kind and courteous.  I am not friendly in order to receive, but I can tell you that I have gotten much greater service for doing things like remembering a staff member's name and asking how their day is going.  For instance, I have gotten around the single drink rule and been offered doubles, my 9 year old asked our room attendant about his kids and gave him some candy..a few hours later, we had extra hot chocolate packets and a premium childs' face mask in our room, an events coordinator let us ride the Northstar twice for free (only free one time), I had a latte and americano waiting for me at 5am at the coffee place on debarkation day.

Fourth, where is the rule that says you can't be friends with the people who serve you?

wow this is an exceptional reminder!!

there is definitely something to be said for taking the time to engage for a few extra moments and connecting with the staff you encounter. they work so unbelievably hard, i don't even understand how they remember all OUR names and preferences -- and if you've ever worked in food service/hospitality/customer service industry, i feel like you can have a greater appreciation and a fraction of understanding what they deal with on a daily basis. 💚

thank you for sharing!!

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23 hours ago, CrimsonCruiser said:
  • Definitely, 100% DO NOT fly in the same day.
  • Pick a hotel within good walking distance from grocery/drugstores and at least 2 food options.
  • Do not fly OUT on debarkation day before noon.
  • Do eMuster within your first hour on board. You don't want to have a safety officer chasing you down
  • Don't worry too much if you don't make the MDR for dinner first night.
  • explore the ship any day but day 1. Everyone is lost and looking around, it's much calmer to do on the first sea day than boarding day.
  • Take photos or notes of the staff that you want to acknowledge at the end of the cruise survey. Having their names mentioned helps them get boosts and potential raises or promotions.
  • Be aware of the possibility to tip extra on top of pre-paid gratuities. It's not FORCED but you will be offered this on the last day. If you think you might want to recognize someone going above and beyond, have some extra cash set aside.
  • Check your account frequently and don't save issues until the last day.

 

 

  • You're likely going to pack too much
  • Don't feel as if you need to get the beverage package or dining package.
  • Pack common OTC meds covering head to butt conditions. You never know what you'll need, and if you need it and don't have it, it may be tough to find. And these days you don't want to get ship medical involved unless absolutely necessary.
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On 9/7/2022 at 11:35 AM, WoodsTravels said:

Flying out the same day after disembarking.  We learned a long time ago to take an extra day in a hotel after our cruise to unwind and give us time to fly back home. I know it is not possible for everyone to do this task, but it has been a stress reliever for us to not have to worry about missing a flight back home. Happy Cruising!!!!

On the other hand, booking a flight late in the afternoon on disembarking day is excruciating. Better to get the earliest time you can get to the airport and get through security. 

Staying over another day? No thanks.   When I'm done cruising I just want to get home.

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1 hour ago, mac66 said:

On the other hand, booking a flight late in the afternoon on disembarking day is excruciating. Better to get the earliest time you can get to the airport and get through security. 

Staying over another day? No thanks.   When I'm done cruising I just want to get home.

I feel this way too! 

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5 hours ago, smokeybandit said:

 

 

  • You're likely going to pack too much
  • Don't feel as if you need to get the beverage package or dining package.
  • Pack common OTC meds covering head to butt conditions. You never know what you'll need, and if you need it and don't have it, it may be tough to find. And these days you don't want to get ship medical involved unless absolutely necessary.

omg YES. OTC meds are so vital!! you can get a lot of things in the 'commissary'/shops onboard the ship but the convenience markup may make your soul WEEP (as it does mine) and depending on your ports of call, you may or may not be able to source it ashore.

a great window to do a final check on this is if you fly in the day/night before and you make a quick run to the grocery store/local drug store to grab anything last minute. we typically grab our bottle of wine, any last minute OTC meds, specialty non-dairy milk, etc.

it's a lot more relaxed and your brain can actually catch up to what you might need last minute.

true story; someone in my party forgot headphones and we had to grab a new pair of bluetooth ear pods at the local TJ maxx. great bargain, and right next to the publix, so we were able to kill two birds with one stone. (this was in fort lauderdale, about 5-7 mins from the port)

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9 hours ago, asquared17 said:

omg YES. OTC meds are so vital!! you can get a lot of things in the 'commissary'/shops onboard the ship but the convenience markup may make your soul WEEP (as it does mine) and depending on your ports of call, you may or may not be able to source it ashore.

a great window to do a final check on this is if you fly in the day/night before and you make a quick run to the grocery store/local drug store to grab anything last minute. we typically grab our bottle of wine, any last minute OTC meds, specialty non-dairy milk, etc.

it's a lot more relaxed and your brain can actually catch up to what you might need last minute.

true story; someone in my party forgot headphones and we had to grab a new pair of bluetooth ear pods at the local TJ maxx. great bargain, and right next to the publix, so we were able to kill two birds with one stone. (this was in fort lauderdale, about 5-7 mins from the port)

Sorry to hijack but what hotel were you staying at in Ft Lauderdale that was that convenient?

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8 hours ago, Tmsmith said:

Sorry to hijack but what hotel were you staying at in Ft Lauderdale that was that convenient?

we like the holiday inn express on 17th just before the bridge (https://www.ihg.com/holidayinnexpress/hotels/us/en/fort-lauderdale/fllcc/hoteldetail)

but any of the hotels in this area are perfect; there's a hilton, marriott, some other major chain places too. the pricing is not as low as it is farther away from the port -- but from here you can see the ships at the bridge in the morning on a walk, which is so cool when there are multiple ships in port. there's also a starbucks and chipotle across the street (usually where we snag dinner the night before) and of course, the publix and homegoods maybe 5-10 mins away (you could uber if you had a lot to carry) too.

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