Thursday, October 21, 2010

What to do First on the Ship

It can be quite overwhelming to step onto a cruise ship, particularly if it’s your first time. Meanwhile, you won’t be able to go to your cabin right away. The cabin stewards are still getting your room turned over from the prior cruise that just left a few hours before. Definitely keep this in mind when deciding whether or not you want to check your luggage or carry it on with you. So you can either lug your bags around for a few hours, or risk not getting them until several hours later. But seeing as you can’t go to your room, here are a few things that I like to do when I first get on board until they let us to the cabins:

  1. Breathe a sigh of relief. All of the planning and traveling is done so start the festivities by grabbing a pretty drink with an umbrella and let the vacation begin!

  2. If you’re anything like me, you’ll probably be hungry if you’ve been waiting in the terminal for a while. Why not grab either a quick bite to eat at the buffet or make your way to the main dining room and enjoy your first meal. Just remember that you will not be the only one with this mindset, thus I can guarantee the buffet will be crowded. Make sure you scope out a table with your friends BEFORE you go get your food. Otherwise it can get quite chaotic. This first meal will be the most crowded, but it should only get better after that.

  3. Make your way to the concierge desk in the main lobby or a lounge and grab your copy of the Fun Times, Carnival’s itinerary of activities for the day. You can figure out what you want to do for the rest of the day and ensure you don’t miss out on any fun activities!

  4. While you’re still in the main lobby, you may want to check out the excursion desk and book any excursions if you haven’t already done so. Depending on what you had in mind, your chosen excursion may fill up quickly, so it’s best to book early. However if you still haven’t decided, you may want to hold off as they will likely have an excursion talk which you can attend and ask questions.

  5. Ok, so you had lunch and figured out what you want to do for the rest of the day, but since you still can’t get to your cabin- why not take a tour of the ship? You can either go exploring on your own, or participate in an organized tour. Carnival will typically offer tours of the ship, which is a good opportunity to see all of the ships highlights.

  6. While you’re making your way around the ship, be sure to check out the spa/gym and see if there are any treatments/classes you may be interested in. The popular time spots (ie before dinner on formal night) and popular classes will fill up. So if you wanted to get your hair done for masquerade night, I’d recommend you book early.

  7. When you hit the main dining room, check out that night’s dinner menu. Maybe it’s because all I can think of is food…but I actually like to do this every day. Knowing that I’m having prime rib for dinner will keep me in check the rest of the day. Now I’m not sure if we will have assigned seats for the BSB cruise or if its open seating. From what I understand, I just know we all have late seating. If we do have assigned seats, you may want to scope out your table so you know where to go later that evening. Otherwise it can be chaotic having 1,200 people not knowing where they’re going. I also like to check out my table in the rare event that the location or table size isn’t what I wanted. You can always speak to the maitre’ d and put in a request for a seat change. This is also a good opportunity to speak to the maitre’ d if you have any dietary restrictions.

  8. While the shops and casinos are typically closed until later that evening, you may want to take advantage of the fact that all of the children’s areas are open to adults those first few hours. If you are bringing children or are considering taking them on a future cruise- swing by Circle "C", Club02, or Camp Carnival depending on your child’s age. You can get a sense of all the activities that are available and more specifics on the programs. Or you could not have kids, like myself, and just like exploring. Word of caution- luckily the ships designers are aware that not everyone wants to be around children on the cruise so these areas are typically tucked away in more remote parts of the ship and can be tricky to get to.

  9. Get in those last few phone calls before we set sail. Your phone should still be fine when we’re at port, though don’t quote me on this. I just know my brother will always call me from Miami on the ship. And since I get those phone bills, I can be pretty sure there are no roaming fees, just bad reception when he is on the lower decks.

Hopefully by you the time you get through all of this, the cabins will be open. If not…you can always try sneaking in ;)

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