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UPDATE: Going On A Caribbean Cruise. Any Helpful Suggestions?

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by P. Aaron, Feb 19, 2016.

  1. P. Aaron

    P. Aaron Supporting Member

    Yeah. One of those massive biological experiments with sun, booze & food. Hoping for good weather, calm seas, the usual stuff.

    Any experienced cruiser's out there have suggestions for this rookie?
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2016
  2. Be careful of who is drinking on your tab. I couldn't believe my bar bill at the end.
    PortlandBass77 likes this.
  3. Selta


    Feb 6, 2002
    Pacific Northwet
    Total fanboi of: Fractal Audio, AudiKinesis Cabs, Dingwall basses
    Which cruise line is it on? (Disclosure, I worked for a family of cruise lines in the past)

    If you're a drinker, get the bar package. Almost all cruises have them, and you'll come out ahead. If you're not much of a drinker, pass on it. If you get it, try the different bars - usually there's some cool themed ones. If you drink wine, almost always buy a bottle. If you don't finish it, have your wait staff mark it with your room number, and finish it at a later time.

    There will be a big welcoming ceremony. This is generally a waste of time. Also, on opening day, it's a mob, especially in the buffet. Take this time to explore and find other things - usually other restaurants and bars are staffed. Ask a crew member.

    Plan, plan, plan. Know the ports and the arrival/departure times. 8 hours in port might seem like a long time, but it'll fly by once there, especially if you do any excursions.
    Don't let the plan get in the way of fun and relaxation though. Otherwise, it's not much of a vacation ;). It's easy to busy yourself down to the minute each and every day if you want. I suggest not doing that, and leaving plenty of time just laying on the pool deck.

    Avoid the on-board casino, unless you really have to play. If you do, stick to card games.

    Eat on the ship, until the food starts sucking. Generally, the first 2 to 3 days are the best for the on-board food. After that, while edible, it's certainly not the greatest of experience. You're also not limited to one entree, so if you're wanting to really fat, get a second.

    Eat in the "fancy" dining. This should be included in your cruise package, usually requires at least slacks and a button up and probably reservations. But it is well worth it. I usually eat there nightly after the 3rd day.

    Get room service for breakfast at least once. It's a nice, quiet breakfast you can enjoy. Especially if you have a balcony that you can eat on.

    Enjoy the free ice cream, usually on Lido or similar decks. Should be several soft serve machines hanging around.

    Don't always stick to the buffet, especially for breakfast. While quick and easy, there's usually more tasty options available (though not widely advertised).

    If you have lots of gadgets with you, take a power strip. Also, take magnets to hang stuff up on the walls - most of the walls are steel.

    Skip the internet packages unless you really have to have it. Slow and spendy.

    If you have some ports where there aren't interesting excursions, find a local person to give you ideas. There's always cool and fun things to do that aren't on the official tourist list. In fact, a lot of times, these can be some of the best (and cheapest) options. There will inevitably be shopping right in the port too... don't waste your time.
  4. MrLenny1


    Jan 17, 2009
    As far as calm seas goes, Western Carribean, Gulf of Mexico.
    Then enjoy.
  5. This was my main complaint about the cruise I endured.
    The price of booze is stupid & you cannot bring your own.

    Even if you buy a bottle of booze while you're off the ship in port, they will confiscate it when you get back.
    They will eventually give it back to you, but only once you've returned to home port.

    No matter if you're going as a couple or going alone, go to all the events you can, and keep track of what's being served where (food).
    I missed some Caribbean food a couple of times.

    I didn't even bother getting dressed for the pleasure of the dining room (more than once) & just ate one-offs from the various places to eat all over the ship.

    If you're prone to seasickness, take some Dramamine.

    Just my advice, but don't buy stuff just because the guys on the ship tell you to.
    They had whole seminars about how to buy diamonds, and then give you their business card, saying you'll get a discount.
    All the business card does is make sure the commission on the sale gets back to the right members of the crew.

    I'll never go on a cruise again!
    pacojas likes this.
  6. Unless you're going to drink yourself into a stupor everyday the bar package isn't worth it. However, on our cruise last summer Norwegian threw in the drink package for free! That was awesome, got to sample some interesting concoctions and if we didn't like it we'd get something else.
  7. Sorry to hear that. I really enjoy cruising and the staff are great.

    On one cruise we met a couple who smuggled booze on board by putting it in mouthwash bottles and adding food colouring.
    Killed_by_Death likes this.
  8. I had a nice break on my cruise, but I had more fun in the city of N'Orleans, where the ship departed/arrived.
    pacojas likes this.
  9. New Orleans is definitely on my bucket list. The food looks incredible!
    pacojas likes this.
  10. petrus61

    petrus61 Supporting Member

    Try not to fall overboard or get norovirus.
  11. rufus.K


    Oct 18, 2015
    Smuggle small pre rolled joints in your luggage.
    Get a balcony room.
    Wash your hand ALOT.
    Wash them often.
    Drinks are expensive.
    pacojas likes this.
  12. scrubjay


    Mar 30, 2015
    New Jersey
    There should be a TalkBass cruise.
    Clarence Walker and P. Aaron like this.
  13. pcake

    pcake Supporting Member

    Sep 20, 2011
    Los Angeleez
    some cruises don't include the fancy restaurants in the package. be sure you're aware of which restaurants are included.
    DwaynieAD likes this.
  14. scrubjay


    Mar 30, 2015
    New Jersey
    Workshops (Alain Caron, Steve Bailey, Flea, etc.)
    Live Performances (Squarepusher, etc.)
  15. Stinsok

    Stinsok Supporting Member

    Dec 16, 2002
    Central Alabama
    Skip the open buffet and enjoy the finer dining as much as it's available. At the buffet, you're in line with pesky kids and the obligatory 500 lb. shirtless guy still wet from the pool.

    A friend told me he used contact lens solution bottles to sneak Vodka aboard.
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2016
  16. The one I was on, you had to kind of dress up for dinner, which is the main reason I only went to the big dining room once.

    Another piece of advice is to actually read the terms & conditions, because there is probably stuff hidden in there.

    Anyway, I show up to the dining room the first night in shorts & a t-shirt. I was told that I would need to change clothes if I wanted to eat in the dining room. I did & the meal wasn't something worth getting dressed up for IMHO, so I stuck to the smaller eateries for the rest of the cruise. I also didn't really like having to share a table with other people at the the dining room. Yeah, a lot of the cruise is about socializing, but I like to choose the folks I'm going to socialize with, instead of just being thrown into the mix with some random group of folks

    Another surprise, that was in the terms & conditions, was an additional $50 service charge you had to pay before they would allow you off the ship, back in homeport. I was a little perturbed already that it seemed like so many aspects of the cruise were to get more and more money out of you. So being held hostage until I paid was the last straw. I was informed that it was indeed mentioned in the terms & conditions, which I should have read.
    pcake likes this.
  17. Pay attention to muster, the ship will be your home for _ days, gotta know where your life saving equipment is. I too have heard of people getting alcohol on board through listerine or soda bottles. YouTube if interested. In port, just like any other city, someone is looking to scam cruisers. For me it was someone wanting to get paid after taking our picture without me asking them to. Also taxi drivers trying to drive you around the island instead of straight to your destination. I'm sure there's more, just a head's up.
  18. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    I LOVE cruises. Being a non drinker and a non gambler it's a win situation all the way for me. For about $100 a day I get great food 24 hrs. a day, plus tons of entertainment at no extra charge. @Selta offered some great tips, but there's a few I disagree with. The opening ceremony - not sure if this is the same as the opening tour, but when a boat is new to me, I do it. It's a good quick way to learn what's available on the cruise, and it almost always includes specials and discounts on things. They have givaways, too. I once won a $250 spa treatment that was awesome. And since there aren't a whole lot of people doing those tours, the chances of winning things like that are pretty good. There were only about 30 people in that raffle that I won. The other thing was the room service... there is usually an extra charge for that, and I never saw any point in doing it. The menu was always limited, and I liked getting up and out of the cabin. I'd only do room service if I had to for some reason.

    Not expecting anyone else to actually do this :), but one of the things my wife and I do when we know we're going on a cruise is train for it :). We kill it at the gym for the entire month before we go, and eat as healthfully as we possibly can, as though we're going into some sort of competition. Then when we board to boat, we go nuts. Pizza, double desserts, the ice cream machine every night... cake, crap, whatever they got to offer! With no guilt, no sorrow, no anything other than food hangovers which can actually suck a bit for people who aren't used to eating like that. We also like to hit the onboard gym once or twice, just to keep the blood flowing.

    Oh yeah... it took me a couple of days my first cruise to realize you can order whatever you want in the restaurants. Meaning if you can't decide between 2 main dishes, order them both. Everyone does it. Same with desserts.

    There were more things I was gonna say, but I forgot. If I remember I'll add them later. Have fun!
    P. Aaron likes this.
  19. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2001
    Olympia, WA
    Free food does weird things to people.

    I have zero interest in going on a cruise, thankfully so does my wife.

    petrus61, Killed_by_Death and pacojas like this.
  20. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    Oh yeah... excursions. People have mixed feelings about those things, and I think a lot has to do with how much you want to spend. If you're adventurous, you can absolutely save money and probably have more fun doing things on your own, but IMO that takes skills. Planning skills, or networking skills to find out what to do and how to best go about doing it. That includes figuring out transportation, times, taking weather into consideration and all that.

    And while the excursions are expensive (over priced), for me I feel they're often worth it. They make it real easy to just follow the herd, meet in front of the ship, and yeah... like that. It's good to ask lots of questions too. They're usually pretty helpful and honest about what to expect. There are often lots of people on board who are repeat travelers and can tell you a bit, too. And if you wait to book your excursions, you can hear people's reviews from the day before - but like that you run the very real risk of them being all booked up. There are a limited amount of spots available for most of those activities.

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