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First Timers Cruising For Dummies Guide..FOTS 25/11/2018


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First pic of my home for the next week, i was sitting in the back of uber amazed at the sight before me.

Even my wife was amazed, in fact her exact words were  " ive never seen anything so big" 

Thanks dear!! Even the uber driver is sniggering while looking in her mirror 

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Firstly let me thank all on this site for the knowledge they have shared, being a new cruiser i didnt know what to expect but the information and friendliness shared on this site has made me less worr

Today is our first and only sea day and to be honest the rest is needed, now understand why so many of you prefer the sea days.  Almost 8am and sitting in smoking area near pool, a rough guess ov

First pic of my home for the next week, i was sitting in the back of uber amazed at the sight before me. Even my wife was amazed, in fact her exact words were  " ive never seen anything so big" 

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So its just after 7 am somewhere in the caribbean, first night done, wife found not only her sea legs but also her sea voice sitting in schooner bar signing along to the piano player.

Theres no real words to explain how yesterday went,  most of you will know what mean when i say every step you take you encounter or learn something new.

Wasnt keen on windjammer but thats more down to the fact im not keen on buffet style meals, ok for breakfast but not actual evening meal. 

Room is an oceanview stateroom on 9th deck, cant complain, spacious and clean

Today is St Kitts nothing planned will just see where our feet takes us 

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On 11/26/2018 at 6:25 AM, Ray said:

First pic of my home for the next week, i was sitting in the back of uber amazed at the sight before me.

Even my wife was amazed, in fact her exact words were  " ive never seen anything so big" 

Thanks dear!! Even the uber driver is sniggering while looking in her mirror 

 

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After the previous nights fun we docked in St Kitts, for some strange reason my wife decided against having breakfast, she believes it must have been the pizza at 1am that made her unwell, nothing to do with the 7 or 8 alcoholic drinks she consumed.

St Kitts

Nothing planned so we just walked about the port and enjoyed the sight of a Puerto Rican invasion of st kitts. Ive read elsewhere on other forums how some people will no longer sail out of san juan due to the fact the ship is full of Latinos whos only objective is to have fun. What an entrance they made to this beautiful island, lead by a small band the marched off the ship singing songs and carrying their national flag. 

Found out the best cure for a hangover is retail therapy, its amazing how quickly my wife recovered will looking at perfumes and jewellery. 

Back on ship had a walk about to parts we hadnt been to yet, a game of golf which my wife won ( she cheated but i let her off) was followed by a trip to johnny Rockets. After all the talk about Johnny Rockets milkshakesi had to try them out. Ok i now understsnd why everyone raves about them.

Another late night in various bars but pleased to say my wife decided to leave her singing voice in stateroom.

Antigua

Up early, breakfast and off ship

Decided to have a beach day, taxi to valley church beach $8 pp each way if sharing. $5 per chair $10 for an umbrella, $4 or $5 a beer, free wifi 

Great beach to just relax only downside was that beach is made of shell not sand which can be sore on feet. Water itself drops very steeply its either up to your knees or over your head, no inbetween so care is needed.

Had read about Pams massage on beach so went to beach hut and booked half hour session, $55 per couple and worth every penny. 

Taxi came back after our 4hrs as agreed and we headed back to port for more shopping.

Dinner was MDR for 1st time cant fault the food or service.

Evening was spent at ice show, few bars and karaoke just taking in all the different sights and experiences. 

As we walked along the promade heading back to room my wife stopped outside one of the outlets and completely shocked me! The sign above the entrance said " Next Cruise" and my wifes only words were " should be book our next cruise now?" 

Told her we would wait and plan! Im not in the YOLO group yet lol

St Lucia next nothing planned 

 

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1 hour ago, Ray said:

Found out the best cure for a hangover is retail therapy, its amazing how quickly my wife recovered will looking at perfumes and jewellery. 

I should not laugh because it is the worst to be not well while on vacation, however, I love the sarcasm here. 😆

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34 minutes ago, Lovetocruise2002 said:

I should not laugh because it is the worst to be not well while on vacation, however, I love the sarcasm here. 😆

You should laugh, life is far to short to worry about things. 

What may appear as sarcasm is in fact just a weird sense of humour, nothing i say here i wouldnt say to my wifes face but she gives as good as she gets which is why we have been together 23 wonderful years. 

Admittedly the best times have been when shes sleeping that way shes not nipping my ear lol 

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Another day in a new country, today it was St Lucia and as we had nothing planned we decided just to stay at port and explore ship more.

Every port of call has the same shop outlets as the previous so it amazes me that my wife always finds something to buy. 

Took in the Marquee show which was decent enough, then it happened..... the clock hit midnight and my age no longer had a 4 at the start of it 😞

How do you celebrate your 50th birthday on a cruiseship? For me it was to hit Olive & Twist nightclub and party the night away. Walking ( ok staggering ) through the promande at 4am the ship seemed to be rocking more than usual. 

4hrs sleep and it was up for a day in Barbados. Slow walk round dockside before heading to our booked excursion the Atlantis Submarine Experience. 

50 minutes under water diving to a depth of 144ft, cant remember what i paid but it was worth every penny.

Back at dockside my wife decided a new ring was needed!! Not sure why as she has more rings than fingers as it is. However for an easy life and lighter bank balance i relented.

Dinner in MDR was good as it has been each night, waiting staff decided tonight was the night to mention their review and to give them good marks. I askws them to bring me another steak and i would consider it! 2nd steak wasnt as nice as the first. 

 

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Not a big gambler in any way,  $3 stake on slots resulted in $27 profit, following evening took $10 of the $27 from previous night and didnt do to bad 

 

Gave my wife half of winnings to treat herself in onboard spa, she wasnt impressed with the service. She got some sort of manicure and in her own words had to do most of it herself.

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Today is our first and only sea day and to be honest the rest is needed, now understand why so many of you prefer the sea days. 

Almost 8am and sitting in smoking area near pool, a rough guess over 50% of the chairs have already been claimed, towels and other items just left on them with very few people actually here.

This one was here at 6am and has not returned, it did cross my mind how funny it would be if the last page vanished 😉

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Our Sea day was spent relaxing by the pool, enjoying the nice weather and taking in the poolside activities while sipping some cocktails.

Unfortunately for me due to the rays from the sun and the lack of sun cream i now look like the Lava Flow cocktail i had been consuming at the time.

Having never cruised before i cant comment on or compare atmospheres between cruises out of different ports, but there is no doubt peurto ricans know how to have fun and enjoy themselves. The poolside was turned into one big party atmosphere with their own band playing while sitting in hottub. 

Formal night corresponded with St Andrews day so the kilt was worn, must admit most made the effort, however one woman turned up in the sportswear she had worn 7hrs earlier while doing poolside zumba in 28c sunshine. Noticed her again next day still wearing same outfit, must be the only woman who packs only a toiletry bag for a vacation. 

Next stop  St Maartan by far the best island on this cruise, we booked bernards tours after reading reports about them on here, and they Didnt dissapoint!

Our driver The Mailman delivered a great tour full on facts regarding the places we visited and also kept us laughing with his stories. 

Forget about the damaged buildings, this island is rebuilding and deserves eveyones support

For those that know the docks at st maartan the mailman made An interesting point, that being that RC are building a new pier on the land where bernards tours currently occupy for a ship to be homed there. 

back to San Juan and we disembark this wonderful ship very soon, Without doubt this is the first of many cruises 

Next stop new york 

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Well made it home from the Big Apple with my Bank Account still having some money in it  😀

As a first time cruiser reading these threads or listening to Matts podcasts helps but in no way can it prepare you fully for your maiden voyage. 

So here's my own conclusions on everything from start to finish in order of my experience

(1) Sleeping In JFK Airport - NEVER AGAIN!! Now offically No1 in worst Airports i have visited, only one dunkin Donut stall to cater for 6 terminals during the night. Lesson Learned Next time i will ensure flight times are better and book a hotel

(2) Peurto Rico - Fantastic Island, Having stayed at The Courtyard by marriott beach resort in Isla Verde this time, if i was to cruise from San Juan again next time i would look at Old San Juan. Reason for this is simple, the beach is good, relaxing and peacfull but you are only there for a day or two and there is so much to see and do in old San Juan. 

Uber is a great cheap way to get about

(3) Freedom Of The Seas - For a first time cruiser i believe i made the correct choice, not to big not to small. Sure it doesnt have waterslides or Broadway shows but for a first cruise when you are still finding your bearings and sealegs its great. There's not a second you will be bored or tryng to find something to do. 

Room - Outside Oceanview was spacious and in good condition

Staff - cant fault any of them

Entertainment - Overall good, a few minor issue's with regards Entertainment staff. CD ( Drew ) and AM ( dont know hisname) only really saw them on the TV, and when they did appear it wasnt for long. The real stars of the Entertainment crew were Rhaiann and some mexican guy who was just naturally funny, anyone can be funny by telling a joke but this guys quick one liners without thinking were hilarious. At the finish the lyric quiz, a contestant looked at card  to see answer, after a retake the next contestant came up and was quickly informed NOT to peep at card by mexican guy who knew exactly what he was saying!  after everyone had stopped laughing the contestant who had white stick in hand and needed a guide onto stage was allowed to continue. 

Food - My expanded wasteline says it was good 😂 ( even the Pizza ) We ordered room service breakfast at no additional cost each day to save time

Ports of Call - Here's where i let myself down! In Hindsight i should have booked more excursions even if only to a beach for 4hrs. The area's around every port are built the same, same shops, bars etc. Yeah it's good to hang out and do nothing but next time i will book excursion for mornings then walk around cruiseship port before rebaording ship. Noticed that Duty free was cheaper in St Kitts, Antiigua and St Lucia  than Peurta Rico, Barbados and St Maarten. eg: Carton of Malbora $20 - $24 in first 3 ports $34 in others and $45+ in Peurta Rico ( JFK $49) 

AWARD FOR FUNNIEST MOMENT ONBOARD

Each Night after our evening meal my wife and myself would go to the Schooner Bar for an hour or so ( sitting at bar not on sofa's) to have a drink and watch the guy play the piano singing songs by Elton John, Billy Joel etc, every night there was an American couple sitting on sofas ( the woman was from Philly) this couple were obviously seasoned cruisers and were enjoying themselves as much as anyone else. On the first night every song played was met with shreiks of delight by the slightly intoxicated female, the second night was the same as the first, HOWEVER on the third night while signing along to Lionel Ritchie the intoxicated woman who was unaware that we were sitting behind them leant forward lifted herself up, removed her underwear and tucked them into her husbands breast pocket of jacket. If said person is reading this you were seen and thank you making my night, havent laughed so much in ages 🙂

Embarking - Easy 

Note for anyone Embarking from San Juan, we left hotel for port which is a10 min drive away at 10:20 am and took over an hour due to there being two ships leaving that day so traffic in and out was busy. 

Disembarking -  Recieved a time to disembark of 10:30am went off at 9am, luggage was waiting, had arranged RC transfer to airport, was concerned about luggage as you dont take it with you, you go on bus luggage is in a truck. Luggage arrived at airport about 20 mins after we did. 

Delta Airlines - Upgraded from Comfort to Comfort+ for flight down to SJU, never again. COMPLETE WASTE OF MONEY. legroom is ample in comfort, priority boarding want an issue as your only one group in front of everyone else and the added free alcohol is 1 drink during flight due to cabin crew vanashing for basically whole flight. Snacks i received more on the lesser grade flight than than the upgraded one. 

New York was good, shopping during the sales is always an advatage, my wife ticked off ice skating in new york from her bucket list and the John Legend Concert was great, all i can say is if you ever get the chance to see him do so, his concerts are not just him sitting at a piano and should come with an 18 rating 😉

i left Aberdeen on the 22nd of Nov believing this would be my one and only cruise due to my wife's dislike of water, at JFK while waiting on our flight home, my wife used the free internet to catch up with facebook while i on the instruction of my wife searched the RC website to look for our NEXT cruise. 

Hopefully any new cruisers will find this helpfull 

 

Ray 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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