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HELP!!! Going on first cruise 12/20/09. Ruby Princess! HELP HELP HELP!

HELP!!! Going on first cruise 12/20/09. Ruby Princess! HELP HELP HELP!

Old Jul 16th, 2009, 09:46 PM
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HELP!!! Going on first cruise 12/20/09. Ruby Princess! HELP HELP HELP!

So I'm going on a cruise on the Ruby Princess on Dec. 20th. I've never seen the ocean, so this is a big deal. I've only flown in an airplane once, when I was 2, and I don't remember it. I'm so lost. I have no idea what to do on the ship as to protocol and all that jazz. I'm saving up as much money as possible, because this is pretty much also my honeymoon, for the time being. My husband and I are a young couple, and we love to go a little crazy, but we still want some relaxation time without worrying about the younger kids on the ship. I know I want to eat dinner at both Sabatini's and The Crown Grill, so those aren't a big deal, but I was looking at the regular sample menu and it gives you a bunch of different types of dinners with different entree's under each, how does that work? Also, I'm pretty sure convertible twins means it can become a queen? lol. I know nothing about anything when it comes to things like this. I mean the nicest hotel I've been in for more than one day was definately not the Plaza. lol. So, as you can see, I really could use your help. Any and all advice would be much appreciated. Thanks.

Megan
The Unknowing Cruiser
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Old Jul 16th, 2009, 09:51 PM
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Forgot to add! It's an Eastern Caribbean cruise.
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Old Jul 17th, 2009, 01:55 AM
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You will enjoy it. Here is my concise Cruise 101 lecture.

Forget all those old movies with cruise passengers wearing long gowns and dripping jewels. Think of the ship as a big nice hotel that floats.

First, money. All food at the regular restaurants is included in the cost of the cruise. Anything you drink - except tap water, coffee/tea at meals and usually some punch or iced tea at buffets - is not. That means you pay extra for soda, alcohol, specialty coffee, drinks with little umbrellas, etc. However, except for tips, which they automatically add to your bill at a set rate, there is nothing else you have to pay for on board. All entertainment is included. Gambling, including bingo, obviously, is extra as well. They spend a fair amount of time trying to sell you other stuff - photos, drinks, etc - but you do not have to buy and they are not really pushy.

When you get on the ship at first - you leave your bags with a longshoreman at the dock (tip him a few dollars), go to check in window where they want to see PASSPORT (don't forget - you need a passport), credit card (for any charges you make on board). You get a plastic key card which serves as room key and charge card for the ship. You get on and depending on the time may be able to get into your cabin right away. There will be a buffet. Your luggage will show up around sailing time - don't get worried if it shows up after the ship is sailing.

While at sea - there are buffets and restaurants open almost around the clock. You can eat 3 breakfasts, 2 snacks, 4 dinners - no one cares. You can have a drink at 10 AM - no one cares. Each night they leave in your cabin a list of activities for the next day. Try some out, even if you would never go to them at home. Or sit on a deck. Pool decks are usually crowded but every ship has a lot of areas that are quiet if you need to get away from everyone.

In port - depending on where you are going, you can either wander around or pay someone to take you somplace. That last option is either by cruiseline "excursion", private excursion, or just doing some research and taking a cab. If you just want to go to a beach there are usually shuttles/vans of some sort that will do that for cheap.

Your cabin is like a small hotel room. Cruiseline will ask how you want the beds arranged - together into a queen bed is usual arrangement. Cabin steward comes in twice a day to clean/tidy up/leave towels. Find out who yours is and ask for anything you need. We like to leave the cabin steward about $10 on first AM with a short note thanking him/her for his service - that small amount of money gets us superb cabin service after that.

Clothing. During the day shorts, sundress, etc. Probably not your rattiest t-shirt, but people do. In regular dinner restaurants, long pants (usually not jeans), skirt, blouse. For men, shirt with collar. "Formal" nights means shirt, tie, jacket for men, nice dress for women. Cruiseline gives you guidelines - but above is what most passengers will wear. In buffets, you can take it down a notch.

That is the very basics. Go to cruisecritic.com website. All the info can be a little overwhelming at first, but you have 6 months to hunt around - you will get all your questions answered there.
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Old Jul 17th, 2009, 10:18 AM
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What about flight and pre-cruise hotel? Is this arranged?

Also, do you know about TSA requirements of no liquid through security?
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Old Jul 17th, 2009, 12:34 PM
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Dayenu brings up good point - it is much safer to fly in the day before the cruise - especially in winter when flight delays are common - even if weather is not bad in your actual city. If you book air thru the cruiseline there is usually some recourse, but it is usually less expensive and you have more control over flights if you book it yourself. You would then be flying the Sat before Christmas - which will be a high volume travel day, so book early. Also, prices will be higher than usual.
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Old Jul 18th, 2009, 07:18 AM
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We're actually going to be flying in a couple days early, because of the possible weather problems, and I want to look around florida a little bit. Everything is already taken care of in that area. It's really just figuring out how this cruising thing works. lol. I'm just so frazzeled, and excited, plus I've done tons of research, I just want to be super ready. Thanks for all of the advice, and keep it coming.
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Old Jul 18th, 2009, 08:27 AM
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Meghan, As suggested, go to cruisecritic and look through the forums for lots of information. Here's a link to the Princess section of it: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/forumdisplay.php?f=197
You can sign up to ask particular questions, but you can also find out who else is going to sail on the ship with you by signing up for a "Roll Call" for your ship and date.
You should have an enjoyable cruise, but be aware of the cashless policy on most cruise lines where you just swipe your cruise card for payments. I've heard stories of $1,000 bar bills because of this. You can always check your account at the Bursars office.
Gail mentioned leaving your luggage with the longshoreman at the dock. A suggestion we took was to pack a bag with a bathing suit and change of clothes to carry onboard the ship so that you can change for the pool at the gym before your room is ready. Although you will have to go through the muster drill as soon as the ship embarks so you may not want to be wet for this.
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Old Jul 18th, 2009, 11:34 AM
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Do not be frazzled - that is the antithesis of a cruise. Save your frazzle for when you visit a foreign country and must do all sorts of research.

Carry-on is a great idea. And this is the time when you do not even have to stress yourself about packing light - pack all those maybe shoes and accessories - since you have to haul luggage only a minimal amount. Suitcase is stored under the bed, and there is a small closet, a few drawers, and some shelves. If your traveling companion is male, all the better - hog all the space and give him a corner for his stuff.

They will take your photo when you board, when you leave the ship in port, at formal dinner, and anytime they think they can get away with it. Let them - you are under no obligation to buy. Photos will be displayed in photo purchase area, and you can check them out and buy or not. We surprised ourselves in buying one or 2 on each cruise since it is just about the only time we get a family photo - unless you could holiday book-outs where my motehr chops the heads off everyone in the photo.
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Old Jul 18th, 2009, 03:07 PM
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I just saw this on cruise critic and thought I'd share with the first time cruiser -- Here's How a $350 Cruise Turns Into $1,100!
http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=921766

Also "cruise secrets" - some of which I didn't know anything about! http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=993832

and first time cruisers - http://boards.cruisecritic.com/forumdisplay.php?f=97
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Old Jul 19th, 2009, 05:40 AM
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Looks like a Christmas cruise. Be aware it will be full of families, children. The preeceeding 2 weeks prior are some of quietist and CHEAPEST weeks to cruise. Weather great, no crowds in Carib.You might think about it if you dont like children. We did back to back Holiday cruises many yrs. ago. I still remember the noise and kids all over.
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Old Jul 23rd, 2009, 03:02 PM
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Ditto to what Gail said!
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Old Jul 24th, 2009, 11:30 AM
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<but I was looking at the regular sample menu and it gives you a bunch of different types of dinners with different entree's under each, how does that work?>

See a couple things you like? Don't worry, order them all! (Seriously, it is okay to order more than one entree).
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Old Dec 25th, 2009, 12:18 PM
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Megan,
I'd love to hear about your impressions of the Ruby Princess after you return. We are planning a cruise on the same ship in November of 2010 and would appreciate your thoughts and advice.
-Vic
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