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 First Time Cruiser

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ths2009



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PostSubject: First Time Cruiser   Mon Aug 13, 2007 5:51 pm

Hey! Im Colleen and am taking my first cruise on the Mariner of the seas in february (eastern caribbean)!

Has anybody been on that ship?
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PostSubject: Re: First Time Cruiser   Mon Aug 13, 2007 5:55 pm

Hi Colleen!

Yes, I have Very Happy Mariner is a wonderful, wonderful ship and you are going to love it. It's part of the Voyager class ships and it has the signature rock climbing wall, ice skating, roller blading, parades, a great casino and so much more.

What specific quesitons do you have? I'll try to answer them!

Joan
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PostSubject: Re: First Time Cruiser   Mon Aug 13, 2007 5:58 pm

mainly like how much money to bring along, things to not miss, things to make sure you bring
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PostSubject: Re: First Time Cruiser   Mon Aug 13, 2007 7:10 pm

Welcome to boards Colleen, we're happy you've joined our growing family!

You've asked some excellent questions and, I'll answer to the best of my ability Very Happy

1) As far as money, it's going to depend on several factors:

If you and your family like drinks such as soda or alcoholic drinks, you'll have to budget for that expense as it is one of the few things not included in your cruise fare. Hint - if you're big soda drinkers, you might want to consider purchasing a soda card. (It's not really a card, it's a sticker that is placed on your SeaPass card). I believe current rates are $6.00 per adult per day and $4.00 per child per day.

Shore Tours are going to be you main "big" expense. If you know what you'd like to do, I'd recommend booking them before you leave. I have two reasons for this: first, it will give you insurance that you'll get the excursions you want and second, you can eliminate that as an onboard expense since they need to be paid in advance (but only if you book them in advance, otherwise, they'll be billed to your onboard account).

The other money matters are things you buy onboard - specialty coffees (not to worry regular coffee is free in the buffet and dining room), the casino and bingo all depends on how much you enjoy gambling (I allow myself $50 per day and chalk it up as an "entertainment" expense but that's me...I'm a casino junkie). Additional hidden expenses can be soveigners (both on the ship and in ports) and the game room if there are any children sailing with you.

For us, I allow $50 per day per person for days in port and $75 per day per person for sea days. BUT, that's only because I take advantage of prepaid tips and book my shore tours before stepping foot onboard the ship.

I believe current tipping rates are as follows:

Suite Attendant: $5.75 per person, per day (applies to those in suites only)
Cabin Attendant: $3.50 per person, per day
Dining Room Waiter: $3.50 per person, per day
Assistant Waiter: $2.00 per person, per day
Headwaiter: $.75 per person, per day

2) There are some GREAT packing lists out there, we're just getting organized here but, I started a thread to develop our own ULITMATE PACKING LIST. I've found this page to be rather helpful in the past:
http://www.cruisereviews.com/PackingList.htm

3) As far as what not to miss - my best advice is try not to do everything! Some of more fun onboard activities are Quest (a fun, adults only game show but not to worry it never gets really out of hand), one of my personal favorites is the Belly Flop contest, there will be production shows, and various things to do throughout your cruise. Two must not misses are the port talks given by your cruise director. Even if you're going off on your own, they often give you tips about where to shop or how to get a taxi. The other important program to attend is the disembarking program, this will tell you how everyone will be exiting the ship on your return back from your cruise and, they'll explain what to do with your luggage, how to fill out your customs forms. It's all pretty simple.

Hopefully, this helps get the ball rolling and other board members will add things I've forgotten!
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PostSubject: Re: First Time Cruiser   Mon Aug 13, 2007 10:07 pm

ths2009 wrote:
...things to not miss, things to make sure you bring

1/2 the clothes you think you need, and twice the film (or digital memory cards). Wink
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PostSubject: Re: First Time Cruiser   Mon Aug 13, 2007 10:48 pm

Don't forget the little things.

Buy water camera's as they go on sale. They are normally good for about 2 years so you can buy them on sale and save them.

Sun tan lotion at home is high in price on the ship its $3 or more more.

Take a little medical kit with you.

Aspirin, Immodium, Gavescon,

Immodium is not for sale on the ship. And when I bought it in Grand Cayman it was $10 for 6 tablets.
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PostSubject: Re: First Time Cruiser   Tue Aug 14, 2007 11:25 am

Collen,

My first cruise was on Mariner and I was hooked on day one! I don't think I can really add anything to the things above but, it's just one of the most freeing and relaxing vacations I've ever taken. No need to worry about if hotel reservations are really there, no worries about who's driving or where to go for dinner.

You're going to love cruising!
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PostSubject: Re: First Time Cruiser   Tue Aug 14, 2007 7:39 pm

This is the advice that my mom gave me before our first cruise (she & my dad have 14 cruises & my hubby & me are going on 6 in Oct): Enjoy dinner (and most meals if you have the time) in the main dining room. You can eat cafeteria style at home (her words). And get off the ship in every port.

Added expense that gets me every time....photos taken by ship photographers! I scrapbook as an obsession...I mean, hobby LOL!, so buying the portraits does me in. Can never have too many photos!

Enjoy your trip!

Towanda
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PostSubject: Re: First Time Cruiser   Tue Aug 14, 2007 9:17 pm

Hi Colleen,

Welcome to the boards! I have over 100 pictures I took while on the Mariner pre-inaugural in 2003. All of the public rooms and each cabin category are also included. I've sailed this ship 4 times and she's great!

Click on the link in my signature line for the photos. Please note that these pics have the "old" bedding-- RCI has replaced the bedding fleet wide and they're much better.
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PostSubject: Re: First Time Cruiser   Wed Aug 15, 2007 8:31 am

mytee4ever wrote:
This is the advice that my mom gave me before our first cruise (she & my dad have 14 cruises & my hubby & me are going on 6 in Oct): Enjoy dinner (and most meals if you have the time) in the main dining room. You can eat cafeteria style at home (her words). And get off the ship in every port.

Added expense that gets me every time....photos taken by ship photographers! I scrapbook as an obsession...I mean, hobby LOL!, so buying the portraits does me in. Can never have too many photos!

Enjoy your trip!

Towanda

Towanda,

Did you know we have a Scrapbooking section here on Cruise Freek Forums? Here's the link: http://cruisefreekforums.forumfreek.com/Scrapbooking-f42.htm

You can meet other scapbookers and share your passion Smile

John
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PostSubject: Re: First Time Cruiser   Wed Aug 15, 2007 8:37 am

ths2009 wrote:
mainly like how much money to bring along, things to not miss, things to make sure you bring

Hi Colleen,

Welcome to the board - one thing I did before my first cruise was I got a bit obsessive about over preparing (this was long before the days of true internet access). The best advice I can give you is don't worry about every little detail. If you forget something - you can buy it on the ship or in port. If you didn't like something, then you can try something else the next time. The only thing else I can to the advice above - don't forget to have fun!

John
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PostSubject: Re: First Time Cruiser   Thu Feb 05, 2009 4:13 pm

Mariner is a great ship! If your cruise is leaving from Ft. Lauderdale and you will have time in port before/after your cruise, be sure to visit Everglades National Park. It's a great way to see natural Florida, a unique experience, and safely get up close to our alligators on the Park Ranger tour. I hear there's a shortage of gators in Ireland. If you have more time and are feeling adventurous, the Billie Swamp Safari tour is a winner--an airboat ride through the Glades. Just ask at your hotel how to get to either one.
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PostSubject: Don't try to do too much!   Thu Feb 05, 2009 4:34 pm

Hi,

I see that this person's cruise was a year ago, but I will still give my little tip for those who are first timers now.

Do, at most, two shore excursions. Most first time cruisers (yes, my wife and me also) affraid try to cram too much into the first cruise and end up exhausted and not really enjoying things. Relax. Enjoy the ship. Enjoy the empty ship and the lower spa prices on port days. Did I say relax? Don't try to cram too much in and you will find this to be your most wonderful vacation ever.

Dan
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PostSubject: Re: First Time Cruiser   Fri Feb 06, 2009 7:37 pm

Now see Dan... I do like to get off on the islands... when I am with my family, and hit the beach or shopping or both!

Now last October I cruise without my family and enjoyed the quiet pool and bar nearly to myself while we were docked in Grand Cayman, lol... it was heavenly!

Dolores
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PostSubject: First timers   Sat Feb 07, 2009 7:30 pm

MerryMeetingTravel wrote:
Now see Dan... I do like to get off on the islands... when I am with my family, and hit the beach or shopping or both!

Now last October I cruise without my family and enjoyed the quiet pool and bar nearly to myself while we were docked in Grand Cayman, lol... it was heavenly!

Dolores

...but Dolores, you are an experienced cruiser. I just know our experience, and what I have heard from many others. First timers tend try to cram too much in and find themselves exhausted. Yes, there are great things to see on shore, but getting your 'sea legs' on a first cruise can really tap you out if you try to do too much. That's all I'm saying.

Dan
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PostSubject: Re: First Time Cruiser   Tue Feb 10, 2009 5:00 pm

Bring half the clothes, twice the money, and a good attitude. All of those things will get you far.

Do your research beforehand about the ship online. You'll find lots of helpful hints and tips about Mariner and Royal Caribbean in general. Also research the ports, you can find a lot of folks recommending tours that are better (and cheaper!) than what the ship may offer.

Good luck and enjoy your first cruise!
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PostSubject: Re: First Time Cruiser   Wed Feb 11, 2009 3:04 pm

I have two pearls of wisdom

Firstly, save your cruise card they make nice souv. We have all ours
minus the first QE2 which made us hand them back in. We sailed on
her again and convienently lost both cards during the crossing and
later found them in our suitcase.

Secondly, we bought a plastic shoe holder the kind with the pockets
which hangs over the door. We fill it full of everything imaginable IE sun
tan lotion, aspirin, etc. Then we roll it up pack it in our garment bag.
First thing on board we unroll it and hang it over the bathroom door.

Have Fun!!
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PostSubject: Re: First Time Cruiser   Thu Feb 12, 2009 3:04 pm

Hey Colleen, never been on that ship, but welcome to the forums.
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PostSubject: Re: First Time Cruiser   Thu Feb 12, 2009 4:23 pm

Princess takes back the key cards too Sad

I also use an over-the-door shoe holder for bathroom toiletries - saves a LOT of room in the bathroom that way. Wink
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PostSubject: Re: First Time Cruiser   Thu Feb 12, 2009 4:50 pm

I agree with everyone on those over the door shoe organizers....it helps keep things tidy in the room. We were just on Princess and we got to keep our room keys. Unfortunately I must have used mine more than my husband's since the writing was wearing off mine but not his. Enjoy your cruise!
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PostSubject: Re: First Time Cruiser   Thu Feb 12, 2009 5:08 pm

Oh good! It was disappointing when I took my mom on her one and only cruise (on Princess) and they took our key cards as we disemarked. I'm glad they've changed their policy.
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PostSubject: Re: First Time Cruiser   Thu Feb 12, 2009 5:19 pm

Ivanova wrote:
Oh good! It was disappointing when I took my mom on her one and only cruise (on Princess) and they took our key cards as we disemarked. I'm glad they've changed their policy.

I just wished they would change their beds!!! Way too hard for me..even with 2 egg crates.
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PostSubject: Re: First Time Cruiser   Thu Feb 12, 2009 6:10 pm

My new policy shall now be to convienently "lose" all
furure room cards. Laughing
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PostSubject: Re: First Time Cruiser   Sun Feb 15, 2009 12:01 am

pete - after your post the other day i went down and conveniently lost my card. but they didn't confiscate them.
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