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The Drama

Discussion in 'Royal Caribbean International' started by honeybound, Jun 26, 2005.

  1. honeybound

    honeybound Guest

    I am going leaving on my first cruise 11/06/05 on the Explorer! Its my honeymoon! We have never been on a cruise and I no no-one who has traveled on a RC ship. Are there honeymoon xttra's. What the heck do you pack. I'm 30yrs and a woman so I'm having alot of trouble with this. I have 2 formal dresses to bring but what else do you wear. What do you wear to the night life on the cruise, to unformal dinners, do you wear jeans to ic-skate. Is it cold at night. I want to know everything! Can I bring my own bottle of champange on the ship? What about beach towels. Please help!!! I've already started to pack because Im so excited...but you can only pack and repack your toilettries so many times. I need to move on to more important things :)
     
  2. Ted_D

    Ted_D Guest

    Honeybound,

    Congrats on your upcoming marriage. I can't imagine a better honeymoon than a cruise. You obviously
    have lots of questions, and I may be able to help you with some of them. But, my best advice to you is to read everything your can get your hands on about your cruise. Read the brochure from RCI, including all the small print in the back. Go to the RCI website and read all of the FAQ's. Perhaps the single most important thing to read is the boarding identification requirements. You cannot just walk onto a cruise ship. You must have proper ID that they accept, and they make zero exceptions. So make very, very sure you understand their requirements and fulfill them fully.

    Then, go get a good book on Caribbean cruising. There are lots of good ones, but Cruising for Dummies is a favorite of mine. It will give you lots of information on everything from packing, to tipping, to nightlife on your ship, to what you should think about doing in each port. I think this is a must for first timers.

    Now, concerning your specific questions:

    1. Your travel agent should already know that this is a honeymoon cruise, and will have advised the
    cruiseline. If you two didn't tell the TA, do it now so they can let the line know. You'll be invited to a
    special honeymooners' reception, one night at dinner they will embarrass you with a cake and
    waiters singing, etc. These kinds of things are free. The also offer, for a fee, honeymoon "packages"
    with roses, champagne, etc.

    2. You should pack three kinds of clothes --

    (a) Shorts, tops, swimsuits, etc for day wear in port and on the ship. Anything goes. Casual and
    comfortable are the key. Sandals, tennis shoes, laofers, or any other casual shoes will do.
    Dresses and stockings are thrown overboard! just kidding, but seriously, you won't need them
    during the day.

    (b) For most evenings (other than the two formal nights) ladies were a skirt and blouse, or slacks
    and a top, sun dresses, or just about anything else that is on the dressy side of casual. Jeans
    are strongly frowned on and shorts are not allowed in the main dining room in the evening.

    Men wear either a coat and tie or a colloared sport shirt and sport coat. Some will have no coat
    at all, but they are a minority.

    (c) For the two formal nights, men wear either a suit or a tuxedo (one can be rented from the line).
    A very few will wear less.

    For ladies, formal night runs the gamut. You will see long gowns, fancy pants suits, simple
    black dresses, and short cocktail dresses. Almost anything goes, but the majority of ladies
    do dress up.

    For some who prefer to avoid the formal night rigamerole, the ship will have a casual buffet
    available. And, of course, room service meals are always available. I'd say about 10% of folks
    will forego formal evcenings for a more casual venue.

    3. Is it cold at night? I'd pack a sweater. Cruise ship restaurants are invariably cool, and when the
    ship is moving, the wind can be a little chilly if you're outside on deck. But, in the Caribbean in
    November, the day time temperature will be in the low to mid-80's with nights being in the low 70's.

    4. You can carefully (safeguard against breakage with baggies) pack a bottle of champagne, and even
    though it's technically against the rules, the cruise line folks will politely look the other way.

    5. There is no need to bring beach towells from home. They will be provided. Just don't lose them or
    take one as a souvenier, because they will bill you.

    Almost everyone takes too many clothes on a cruise. When you have your list narrowed down to what
    you think you will take, reduce it by a third and you'll actually end up being closer to the right amount.
    Remember, they have a laundry, dry cleaners, etc so if you need something done while you're on the
    ship, there is no problem.

    One final packing item. When you arrive dockside on the first day, your luggage will be given to the
    stevadores that are loading the ship. It will be delivered to your state room a couple of hours later. Most
    people, therefore, take a small carry-on with them so they will have a bathing suit, shorts, sunblock, etc
    when they first board the ship, rather than walking aorund in a tropical climate in your winter clothes for
    hours. And, on the last night of your cruise you will be required to place your packed luggage outside your cabin when you go to bed, so that they can ready the thousands of suitcases for disembarcation the next morning. Since you will have a carry-on with you, you'll have something to put your toiletries, PJ's, etc in rather than walking off the ship with them proudly displayed in your hands!

    You'll have a fabulous cruise. I promise.

    Ted
     
  3. Ted_D

    Ted_D Guest

    Honeybound,

    I forgot one very important pice of advice. I don't know what your travel plans are to get to Miami to board the ship. If it is possible, fly in the day before your cruise. If that doesn't work for you, make very sure that you do not take the last airplane from your home city to Miami in time for the ship. One early winter storm, one breakdown, one airport security breach, etc, etc, etc and you risk msiing your ship. One of the more important items in cruising is to give yourself and the airlines plenty of leaway to insure you get there on time.

    And, despite what the brochures say, you will be able to board your ship around noon. They will have a buffet lunch open for a couple of hours for arriving passengers. And, some of the bars, pool, gym, and spa will all be open. So, you can have a pretty full day right in the port of Miami if you arrive early.

    Again, congrats.

    Ted
     
  4. honeybound

    honeybound Guest

    Oh my gosh Ted that was so helpful! And I am soooo very excited. I'm a city girl from Boston MA and he's very much the country boy from middle KY so we have different ideas on FUN. I will have a blast but he would rather be at a NASCAR race or fishing on some remote lake. Guess who won :). Regarding jeans...Most of the time when we go out the style is nice jeans with fancy tops. Beaded or sequence! You said they frown on jeans...what about at the night clubs or bards. I also read you need to wear pants to ice-skate are jeans okay for that? The weather sounds perfect in Nov. What happens when it rains? Can you just get of the boat at a port and be on the beach. With a large wedding our funds will be limited as I'm sure you understand. We have asked for excursions for gifts and I would like to get spa treatments as well how much are these and can they be ordered before hand. Is there anything to do other then excursions when you leave the boat? We have a Jr sweet are they nice? How big is the balcony? Again thanks for your information you have been more then helpful, now if you could make November come a little sooner....
     
  5. Ted_D

    Ted_D Guest

    Honeybound,

    It's amazing that you're from Boston. I am in Franklin, MA -- about 35 miles SW of the city!

    You will see some jeans on your cruise, but they will be in the minority. For one thing, the Caribbean is too hot for them. Again, during the day, anything goes. Most poeple will be in shorts. In the clubs, discos, and bars in the evening -- as well as the theater and show auditorium -- something a tad dressier than jeans will predominate. Capris on ladies will be common and dockers on duys will also be common.

    I can't tell you about skating -- I'm a little past all of that!

    You asked about rain. It isn't uncommon in the Caribbean to have brief showers. More often than not,
    they pass rapidly and things go back to normal. I promise you that if you are in a port and it rains, there will be 100 little fellows running around selling cheap collapsible umbrellas. (The last one we bought was in St Maarten for $5.)

    In most of the ports, you either dock right downtown, or you anchor off-shore and the ship takes you ashore (called "tendering") in small boats. Usually, there are nearby beaches. In every port, there will be numerous taxis avaiable that can take you to a decent beach that isn't far away -- to limit the fare. And, there will be a amazing amount of shopping available to you. Some of it will be cheap souvenier stuff, but there will also be first-rate jewelry, electronics, liquor, etc available. And, some of the ports are charming little towns with lots of interesting architecture, neat markets, and historic sites. So there is a lot to do in port. It is equally true that many people find that the ship itself is a great place to be while most others are on shore. Pool chairs will be easier to come by, appointments in the beauty shop or spa are more available, and nothing on the ship is as noisey or crowded.

    If you go to http://www.cruiseclues.com, you will be able to see menus from your ship, or other RCI ships. And, they will have extensive photo galleries made by previous cruisers, the ship's bar prices,
    daily activity sheets, and just about anything else that might interest you. There is a trick about the menus and activity sheets, though. The one you see might be from 3 years ago, and things do change. Or, it might be from your ship in July in Alaska. Obviously, sight seeing and excurisons in Alaska are quite a bit different from the Caribbean. So, look at lots of the RCI ones, and kind of "average" them all together in your head. You'll end up with a really good idea of what's what.

    You can go to the Royal Caribbean website and get a floorplan and pictures of your Jr. Suite. The exact dimensions are there as well.

    Ted
     
  6. honeybound

    honeybound Guest

    Franklin...I am from Northbridge! Usually I say Boston and people have more of an idea of were I'm from! I'm going to try cruiseclue now thanks again for your help. Hannah
     
  7. Robkabob

    Robkabob Guest

    Hi Honeybound,

    Another thing you might consider is booking your excursions in advance on the RCL website. It is convenient and will save you time while on your cruise. You also won't have to worry about getting shut out for some of the more popular excursions.

    Another little handy thing I found was the Cruise Tip Calculator. This will help you calculate your tips and if you plan to bring cash, how much to bring and in what denominations.
    http://members.aol.com/CruiseTip/

    Congrats and best wishes!
     
  8. honeybound

    honeybound Guest

    Thanks I used the calculator it was helpful. When are you expected to tip? Is it at the end of your cruise when you pay for everything else, or is it on a meal to meal or day to day basis? I sort of wish they would just include the tips in your package. Thanks
     
  9. Ted_D

    Ted_D Guest

    Hannah,

    Tipping is done two three different ways on the ship:

    1. When you order wine or drinks either in one of the restaurants or at any of the bars, they add
    a standard gratuity to the tab. so, there is no need to tip your bartender or waiter unless you
    think the service was really extraordinary.

    2. When you order room service, it is customary to tip the person who brings your order to you,
    unless it happens to be your regular room steward. Normally, a tip of $1 or $2 is sufficient.

    3. On the last night of the cruise, you tip your room steward, your waiter, and the assistant waiter.
    This can either be in cash (they'll put little envelopes in your room sometime that day), or you
    can have the tips added to your stateroom account and charge them to your credit card. In
    that case, you will have little "chits" to include in the envelopes so that those you have tipped know
    that they will get their $$$ from the cruiseline.

    Toward the end of your cruise, you'll get lots of information from the cruiseline about tipping. The
    important thing to know is that the employees you encounter (other than the ship's officers and
    professionals in the kitchen) are paid a rediculously low wage -- like $30 A MONTH. They depend
    almost exclusively on tips for their livlihoods. That doesn't mean you should tip if they give you
    poor service, but you will probably be treated incredibly well by very underpaid poeple from poor
    countries who work 12-14 hours, 7 days a week.

    Ted
     
  10. Robkabob

    Robkabob Guest

    Oh sorry Honeybound, I should have been more thorough. Thanks for picking up the slack Ted. :)
     
  11. honeybound

    honeybound Guest

    Thats all great to know. I write down everything I'm told from the people on this web-site it has been most helpful. I saw on one of the sites you recommended that everyone had life jackets on....do you have to wear them in a specific area? And how is the privacy on the balconies. I saw in one picture people were looking around the wall having their picture taken by the neighbors, can that reaky happen. I was lead to believe that you had total privacy on your balcony! Thanks, H
     
  12. Ted_D

    Ted_D Guest

    Shortly after boarding, usually about 30 minutes before the ship actually departs, everyone is required to participate in the "muster drill". You will all put on your life jackets and go to the place designated for people to assemble in case of an emergency. Then, they lead you out to the life boats, as would occur if the ship was being abandoned. It is all over fairly quickly, and simply done to familiarize you with the life jackets, assembly points, and the general emergency procedures. After that you'll never see or wear the
    life jackets again.

    You have me laughing about the balcony question, given it will be your honeymoon! The balconies are
    fairly private, given that there is a partition between yours and your neighbors. But, if you lean out over the railing, you can see around the partition. And, if your neighbors are on their balcony they can easily overhear any conversation you're having on yours. So, I don't know whether that qualifies as "total privacy" or not.

    Ted
     
  13. Robkabob

    Robkabob Guest

    Hi

    The life jackets are part of the muster drill (life boat drill). You get that out of the way pretty much after you depart. You generally report to a designated area of the ship. They will tell you were to go. It depends on your cabin location and which type of ship you are on (Voyager, Vision, Sovereign, etc)

    The balconies have dividers but you can hear people talking and yes on some ships the design allows for folks to peek around. I would classify them as "semi-private". LOL. It is a more cost effective way during ship construction. They also weigh less than using steel partitions.

    On some ships you can hear people through the walls when you are in your cabin. I remember being on an NCL ship once and bickering with my travel companion about using too many towels. The steward heard us through the wall and arrived within minutes with new towels. LOL.

    You will find many helpful folks on this board. Many were very helpful when I was planning a cruise for my sister and brother in law for their 25th anniversary. :)

    Good luck and have fun planning your trip!
     
  14. Robkabob

    Robkabob Guest

    That Ted is a fast typer! LOL. Thanks Ted! :)
     
  15. honeybound

    honeybound Guest

    The balcony thing...:) It is my honeymoon but I was just wanting to make sure I didn't offend anyone lol kidding! But its nice to know that even though it looks like you and the ocean are the only two things in the world while you sit on your balcony that someone close by is feeling the same way. So I take it there isn't much privacy if you can hear your neighbors conversation? I have a 9year old daughter and an 8 month old son...I guess I can work around that!
     
  16. randy

    randy Guest

    An amusing balcony story: In the middle of the pacific ocean, while going thru numerous time changes, I found myself wide awake at 3:30 AM (ship's time, nearer to (9:30 my time). So, I go out on the balcony to admire the moon and stars reflected in the ocean. I was wearing what I'd gone to sleep in (nothing), and just letting my mind wander as I leaned out over the railing to take in the peaceful beauty. After a bit, I turned to go in, and faced a very startled older woman leaning over the rail on the balcony next door, who had soundlessly intruded on my "solitude," while taking in "my" view! She would self-consicously look away whenever I passed her in the halls after that! Needless to say, after that incident, we'd make sure we had the balcony "to ourselves" before we got frisky!
     
  17. honeybound

    honeybound Guest

    To funny. That older woman must have been mortified! It must have been weird for you too! I'll remember to throw something on if I cant sleep and go out on the balcony...but I won't share this story with my fiance...I would love to see him put in a situation like that it would be perfect :) .
     
  18. Robkabob

    Robkabob Guest

    Nosy old bat. She got what she deserved. LOL. -
     
  19. honeybound

    honeybound Guest

    LOL. I think once I get there and see how far uo I am I won't want to hang over the balcony anyways. Gee I sure hope our neighbors aren't newlyweds! Just realized something when it says "bartender" and "asst. purser" does that mean you work on the ship...or thats something else? If so which ships?
     
  20. Ted_D

    Ted_D Guest

    Hannah,

    Don't get fooled by the Asst Purser and Bartender tags. It's humor from the Cruise Addicts programmers. Pretty soon, you will get one as well.

    Quit trying to fib yuour way out of this balcony dilemma. Randy, Rob, and I all know exactly waht you have planned. . . . It isn't good to base a new marriage on a lie. LOL

    Have you gotten your Caribbean cruising book yet? You really need to get one. If you go to a good book
    store near you they will have many. Get one that covers the ship and cruising, as well as the islands you're visiting. It will help you a lot.

    Ted
     

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