Now this is more critical for those of you cruising in the Caribbean and around the Equator. You are much closer to the sun than at home in the states. I don't care how much you don't think you burn. You will and you will be miserable. I had on SPF 30-50 every day and still burned a little. But I came home with an awesome tan and a lot less peeling. Reapply often, especially if you are in the water. SPF 50 will not keep you from getting a great tan, I promise!
Yes, even if you are cruising in the Caribbean it can get cool at night and there are so many activities past dark that you will want to check out. Many nights we would get cleaned up, put on some warmer clothes and catch a "Dive In" movie. Carnival Glory had 1 or 2 movies playing every night on a big screen over the pool and served free popcorn!
Even if money isn't an issue for you and you think you'll just spend the $25 per day to connect one device to the wireless network, don't count on it being reliable. We had to buy into it one day to check on our business email but it was extremely slow and very frustrating. There was a smaller option of $5 per day to just connect to social apps but it's also very slow and just not worth it. You'll spend too much time waiting for uploads and downloads instead of enjoying yourself. Remember folks....I can't stress this enough...you are on a cruise and there is way to much to do and look at and enjoy to sit around like a lump staring at your phone screen. Check your vanity at the port! You can post your selfies once you get home and I promise the world will not stop spinning.
Your sail and sign card is your everything. But watch your spending!
When you get on board, you will each be given a "sail and sign" card that is not only your id on the cruise but it is also your spending card. This is attached to your credit card that will be charged at the end of the cruise for all your expenses and it's super easy to rack up a huge bill on drinks, bingo cards, spa services so just be mindful of your budget when you get on board. Carnivals HUB app was great since it kept a running total of all your spending for you and made it very easy to stay on budget each day.
Check out the on-board entertainment. Even the ones that sound corny. They are fun and free!
We had so much to do on board the ship that it really was hard to be bored. Some of our favorites were the "Dive in" movies, mini golf, the Hasbro Game Show where Mark won a free travel game, the ice carving demonstration, the 80's music trivia night (which was basically a big dance party), the rock 'n' roll musical and learning how to make your own towel animals
There is a ridiculous amount of free food on these ships. We did have a couple fancy restaurants that we could pay to eat at but we didn't feel like we missed out at all by sticking to the included options. Each ship will have huge buffets for breakfast, lunch and dinner along with other cafes that you can choose to eat from. We had a Guy Fieri burger bar that was open for lunch and dinner every day, a place to amazing burritos for breakfast and lunch, and a 24 hour pizza place. Oh and lets not forget the soft-serve ice cream machine that was also available 24 hours a day. Free coffee, juices and water. They have small plastic cups you can fill and take anywhere on the ships but we saw a number of experienced cruisers that had their own water bottles to fill up. Smart!
When you book your cruise, you'll be asked about your dinner plans. Now the seated dinners are included but you'll need to dress up. This is not swimsuits and flip flops. We never went to the main dining room. Mostly because there are too many other "flip flip casual" places to eat and we didn't want to pack all the extra clothes to meet the dress codes. For example, below is the text right from Carnival Cruises:
Following is the dress code in the Main Dining Room(s) for both men and women and pertains to children as well:
Cruise Casual Dress Code
Men: sport slacks, khakis, Jeans (no cut-offs), dress shorts (long) and collared polo shirts
Women: summer dresses, casual skirts, pants, capris, dress shorts, Jeans (no cut-offs) blouses and tops
Not permitted: Cut-off Jeans, men’s sleeveless shirts, tee-shirts, gym or basketball shorts, baseball hats, flip-flops and bathing suit attire
Cruise Elegant Dress Code
Men: dress slacks, dress shirts, and we also suggest a sport coat; men may also wish to wear a suit and tie or tuxedo
Women: Cocktail dresses, pantsuits, elegant skirts and blouses; ladies may also wish to wear an evening gown
Not permitted: Jeans, men’s sleeveless shirts, shorts, tee-shirts, sportswear, gym or basketball shorts, baseball hats, flip-flops and bathing suit attire
Be ready for the gratuity to be automatically added on the last day
You will receive a thank you letter along with your total gratuity that will be charged to your credit card on the last day of your cruise. The gratuity is shared by the cruise staff, housekeeping, entertainment crew, etc. For our 7 day cruise, it was approximately $12 per day per person.
Going on a cruise is an amazing experience and there is more to do than you can imagine. We hope these little insights and secrets are helpful to new and maybe even experienced cruisers.
Have you been on a cruise before or are a frequent cruiser? Please share any other tips and tricks with us in the comment section below