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a little worried about getting wet feet...1st ever cruise pending

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Friends have ventured on these mammoth ocean liners and relatives have slipped onto the river boat cruises and all have survived...

We are a family that like the idea of independant travel and always 'shiyed' away from the cruise 'all in one' approach.

Yet with a (longingly saved for, eagerly awaited) Egypt/Europe holiday approaching soon (ok well over 12months away - so no bookings yet - so recommendations welcome!)

we are eager to hear comments from travellers who have taken a Nile cruise, Lake Nasser Cruise (or both), who have ventured through Italy or Turkey on boat and anywhere in between.

To give us some tips/hints on first time boardings.

Ie: is there such things 'sealegs' and how long does it take to get them, do you get them even on a river?

is a balcony room worth it?

best to not eat from the 'smorgasboard' to keep in better tummyhealth?

as you can see we have heard some 'interesting' stories from cruises.

feel free to enlighten us!!!

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    First off, a cruise ship is really just a floating hotel. You have your room plus, depending on the size of ship, a variety of different "common areas" like lounges, libraries, restaurants, coffee shops, casinos, night clubs, theaters, sundry shops, etc. Like hotels/resorts the ships come in all different sizes - anywhere from around 100 passengers to upwards of 5,000 passengers. Riverboats, by necessity will be smaller in size and with not all the amenities of the larger ships. Regardless of the ship's size they have full staffs to make your stay on board as comfortable and enjoyable as possible.

    Now to answer your specific questions:

    1) The larger the ship the less ship movement you'll feel. Most people are hardly aware the ship is moving but on rare occasion you could feel some slight rocking if there happens to be "heavy seas". Getting your "sea legs" is not really an issue that you hold be concerned about.

    2) Only you know what YOUR budget restrictions are so asking if a balcony room "worth it" is something YOU HAVE TO ANSWER FOR YOURSELF. Every stateroom on the ship goes to the same ports and arrives/departs at the same time and you'll have access to the same on-board activities, restaurants and amenities regardless of which type of room you get. It is no different from staying in a hotel - is having a room with a balcony overlooking the ocean worth it when compared to a room overlooking the building across the street???

    3) Not sure what you mean by "tummy health". Are you concerned about overeating and gaining weight or getting some type of food poisoning? Sanitary food preparation on board the ship is a major priority and no effort s spared to ensure high quality pod. Passengers are encouraged to wash their hands frequently and there are hand sanitizers conveniently located throughout the ship, including at the entrances to every restaurant, lounge and common area. If you are worried about overeating, well, that's where you will have to exercise YOUR will power. Regardless of your concern, use the same precautions you do when traveling on land and eating on land based restaurants and you should be just fine. Remember too, most ships have multiple dining options so choose the one(s) that you are most comfortable with.

    Try not to let being "first time" cruisers intimidate or worry you - everyone on board had a "first time". After one or two days on board you'll be a veteran cruiser.

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    We had never cruised before as all our vacations were land based. Our first cruise was the western Med in 2002 and since then we have taken 2 land vacations, one of which was an obligatory wedding, and 9 total cruises with a tenth due in the fall.

    Sea legs? No worries. Generally speaking Low and amidships is best to minimize feeling motion. Balcony cabins can be had amidships but usually are higher up. In any case if the seas are calm you will hardly notice anything.

    We always get a balcony. For us it's worth it.

    It is easy to overeat so yes. Self control is needed. There is something about free bacon that makes some go nuts! I see some with stacks of it so yes take it easy. However cruise ships have gyms,you can walk the track outside or perhaps be busy in port so it can be good, you just have to plan a bit and watch what you eat.

    Sorry, never done a river cruise but hey it's a river so I would think the waters should be fine.

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    We just completed a cruise on the Danube River. We never felt the ship move. It is rare to feel much movement on a large ocean cruise ship also. I really wouldn't worry about mal de mare.
    Balconies are great. Our last few cruises have had balconies and I think that they are worth it. Many newer ships make it difficult to geta room without a balcony.
    Food is always a problem. When I go to a buffet, I feel morally bound to get my money's worth. Even if the food isn't to great. Most cruise food is a 6 or 7 out of 10. Our last cruise on Viking it was better, an 8or9. Self control i9s the answer. If you do a lot of off ship excursions you may burn up a lot.

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    Have done cruises with 60 people and larger cruises with over 1500, smaller cruises with 400-500 people and river cruises. We prefer the 400-500 range and even though the ships are smaller, I have never felt sea sick. If you are worried about it, take along some "wrist bands" that are for sea sickness. You can purchase then at drug stores. Cruising on a river is smooth and you feel nothing. We very much enjoyed ours in China on Viking and will take another one in Europe in a few years. Balcony is a must for me - extends the living area (stateroom are not that large) and we enjoy having coffee in morning and cocktails at night. You need to EVALUATE YOURSELF as to how many people you like to be around when you are vacationing - do you like set times for dinner or are you free lancers. Larger ships are less expensive the smaller ships like Regent and Oceania seem to work better for our personality types. We too are NOT "tour" type people but have enjoyed the cruises we have taken. EATING - pace your self and depending on where we are cruising, I may or may not eat things that are uncooked like salads. If the cruise line takes on their vegetables in the country they are in, you might evaluate how safe you think they are. I always peel my fruit for that very reason. I DO NOT want to be sick while traveling and have not yet been sick except for a small tummy issue in Mexico (land portion) and I pinpointed that to the vat of eggs that they used for omelets. Stopped that and went to hard cooked eggs and oatmeal for breakfast! Same with water - I drink bottled water or sparkling water just to be safe.

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    Love ROAMSAROUNDS answer..."After one or two days on board you'll be a veteran cruiser" because that is so true.

    We've been on 15 cruises, one of which was a balcony.

    I am allergic to cigarette smoke, and try to avoid it.
    While outside on the balcony, smokers on other balconies (above, below, or side) could be smoking, and I would often get big "whiff's" of it. I would have to go inside. But, that is just me--no more balcony's due to health issues.

    And, again pace yourself on the food. Me and hubby have been known to gain a pound a day while on a cruise! Arg--need 2 sizes of clothes!

    Cruises can be delightful, and we have often traveled on our own around countries.

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    In Sept 2010 I did a Nile Cruise. The trip was so smooth and you hardly realised that you were moving. The food was great but was a smorgasboard. Not sure if there is anything else you can get on a Nile Cruise. We also took a tour that showed us around the ship and they showed us the galley. It was immaculate. There were also bottled water everywhere. They said they only used bottled water when preparing dinner, e.g. washing salads. I have a really sensative stomach and never got sick.

    Unlike other cruises I did not get sea legs. When I stepped off and landed on Egyptian soil I did not have any wobblyness at all. It was like I was not even on a cruise boat.

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    Thank you for the replies (please keep them coming!)

    so, food food food.... and entertainment is what the sea cruises offer.

    great tips for rooms/balconies etc

    the tummy health tips are fabulous.

    thank you to the more 'independant' traveller who have replied, as this gives us a better overall idea.

    so, this what i have learn't so far:

    room size/type is a personal choice (no benefit of view/inclusions/add-ons etc)

    food is well prepared and often is a smorgasboard (just the usual cautions whilst travelling)

    exercise or not exercise (its a personal choice)

    river cruising = no 'sea legs'

    after a day or two we'll feel like we did this forever (!?!!)

    Please keep educational comments coming (and that link is very useful! - thank you)

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    I loved our first cruise which was really a transatlantic crossing (no ports of call) this March.

    I would feel claustrophobic without at least a large window which could be opened. We had a balcony which we used some, it was wonderful to sail out of Manhatten past the skyline. In warmer weather I think we would have been out there much more. The weather was great but for most of the sail our balcony was in the shade.

    Hand sanitizers were every where and we used them.

    We were very impressed by the organization which made us first-timers more comfortable--embarking and debarking almost 1,000 people seemed like 100. BTW, in terms of size of ship, 1,000 passengers would be max for me.

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    Many great comments so far but I would like to add my 2 cents worth ...

    1) Balconies: Depending on your destination, a balcony could be a "must" versus "nice to have". As an example: Alaskan Cruise, Panama Canal. I would say Balconies is a must as you get a lot of us out of it. Trans-Atalntic, some Carribeban cruise where all is see is ocean, it would be a nice to have but not necessary. As to the smoke from the next balcony, the smoking policy on some cruise line has changed over the past few years and it is getting even more straight. Princess Cruise, as an example, has a new no smoking on the balcony policy. Now, I wouldn't worry about second hand smoke from above, below or downwind on my balcony any more. I hope other cruise lines will do the same. For the smokers, Princess offers a cigar room (Churchill's) and the back of the boat on one of the upper open deck, and limietd to one side only and it could be easily avoided if you are an non smoker.

    2) We have found ginger works the best. It is an all natural ingredient and the asians had used it for thousands of years for sea sickness.

    3) Food. No, it is not all buffet. We avoid the buffets. We have breakfast in the dining room where portions are smaller, fresher, and make to order, less crowded, usually better service. We take lunch everywhere over teh ship, depending what is being offer on "special". They have themed lunched from time to time such as Sushi, Mexican, BBQ etc. You have chocies of pizza, burgers, buffet,a nd of course, the dining room, or "pub" lunch such as steak and kidney pie, fish & chips etc. Each cruise line has tehir own "specials".

    If you worry about food taht will make you sick, don't worry. The food and water is very safe on the ship, even non bottled water. The food on board is nothing like the all inclusive in a MExican resort. Best comparison would be a hotel banquet food.

    As to gaining weight, we have been doing very good since we took the advise of a wise cruiser who shared their wisdom with us a few years back. It was just one simple rule: Never take the elevators. Do you really want to go to the gym while you are on vacation? Not really. The solution is to walk everywhere and stop taking the evevator. Actually, we have lost weight while crusing. Unfortunately, we do cheat and atke the elevator every once in a while.

    4) ship size is personal taste and budget. Samaller ship generally is more expensive, even for cruise line that has both larger and smaller ships. It's just sinmple economic. But then, you typically get more personal and better service on the smaller ships.

    Last, but not least, if this is going to be your first cruise, make sure you book through a reputable, experienced travel agent in your local community. Support your local business is important, their experience can walk you through the process.

    We try to make 2 trips a year and it used to be all alnd based. Ever since DW was hooked on this cruise thing back in 2001, cruise out numbered land vacation at least 3 to 1.

    Our last vacation was suppose to be land only vacation (Peru) but we "added" a Galapagos crusie to "top" it off. It's been probably at least 4 years since we have taken a land only vacation. We would typically add a few days on land pre-cruise or a few days post-cruise. Adding a cruise to a land avcation was actaully a first for us.

    Larry: Where is your stop this fall?

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    I am not a gym-goer. My motto before going on the ship was walk everywhere and not take the elevator. Obviously worked as I ate heaps and did not gain a pound. Hubby was the same and he ate tons AND drank!

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