Tuesday, October 18, 2011

No Time to Waste: 15 Steps to Help You Make the Most of Your Cruise

While I wish we had 7 glorious days with our boys in the Caribbean, alas, we only have 3 days.  3 days is just not a lot of time! I thought 4 days was too short last year…and now we have to compress all that fun into just 72 hours. Here are 15 steps to help make sure you don’t waste a second and really make the best possible use of your time.

Step 1: Pack efficiently and plan out your outfits ahead of time. On any given normal day, I probably waste a good 5-10 minutes in the morning just figuring out what I’m going to wear, how I’m going to wear my hair, picking out my accessories, etc. Know ahead of time what you want to wear for each event and during the day so as to minimize the time spent your cabin.

Step 2: Don’t stress about meeting up with your friends on the ship. Let me explain. You won’t have cell phones out on the sea so it becomes rather difficult to meet up with people. In my cruising experiences, we’d always pick times and places to meet people. Say meet 3:00 in the casino so we can grab an afternoon ice cream together. The problem is that either you or one of your friends will be running late. Granted, its usually me who’s running behind… But I still didn’t like the feeling where if I was in the middle of something, to have to drop what I’m doing. I’d suggest telling your friends a general sense of where to find you throughout the day. And more often than not, you’ll end up running into each other anyway.

Step 3: Do as much of your door decoration as you can ahead of time. When you finally get on the ship, the last thing you want to be doing is whipping out the glue and scissors to complete your door. I had mine 99% assembled and it took me less than 5 minutes to get it up and head on my way. I’m so glad I did this because as soon as I stepped on the ship, I felt like a kid in a candy store. Just too much to do!

Step 4: Study the deck plans before you leave. No time to waste getting lost and hitting dead ends once you’re on board. For example if you try to go from one end of the ship to the other via Deck 8, you’ll soon realize you can’t make it because the galley is in the way. You have to either go a deck above or below to cross through.  Little things like that can mean all the difference in the world if you found out Howie is taking pictures for only a few minutes by the pool.

Step 5: If you don’t like standing in lines, I’d suggest eating during off hours as to avoid the chaos that is the lido buffet. If you try to go to the buffet for lunch at noon, you’re going to waste significantly more time in line waiting to get your egg rolls than if you do lunch around 1:30. Just keep an eye on their hours or you may miss some of the good food.

Step 6: Get to the terminal early on Friday! Carnival will let us board as soon as it is possible, which can be as early as 11am. If you are first in line at the terminal, you are first to board the ship, first to check in, and the first to start cruising with the Backstreet Boys!

Step 7: If you plan on getting off the boat in Nassau, there is usually a mad dash as soon as the ship is cleared where everyone wants to get off and explore. If you aren’t in a rush, I’d suggest you wait for the crowds to die down and then head off the ship. If you give it an hour or two, you’ll find there will be no lines and you can walk right off.

Step 8: Take advantage of the ship when we are docked and the majority of people aren’t on board. It is during this time that everything will be empty and will have no lines. So if you wanted to check out the gym and not have to wait for a treadmill to open up or go for a dip in the pool- then is the time to do so.

Step 9: Research what to do in Nassau ahead of time. There’s a ton of fun things to do in Nassau, so decide with your friends if you’d rather do a more relaxing day on Cable Beach or if you want to explore the Atlantis resort.  Don’t waste time once you’re there arguing on what to do.

Step 10: Take care of yourself! Pack any potential medicines, vitamins, first aid, sunscreen, etc that you might need. Also be wary of any foreign foods you are consuming. You obviously can’t enjoy your trip if you’re cooped up in your cabin all day being sick to your stomach or bright red from a severe sun burn. And I speak from experience on sunburns since I typically turn as red as a lobster. Damn me and my pale skin.

Step 11: Don’t sleep in. This is tricky because on the one hand you have AJ staying up until 6am….but meanwhile Howie is up at like 9am getting breakfast. Giving you a whopping 3 hours of safe sleep a night. So even if you are up all night partying with AJ, don’t be tempted to hit the snooze and sleep in until 1pm. You’ll miss too much fun. I even heard of girls sleeping through some of the events. Plus I love getting breakfast at sea with the warm ocean air and beautiful scenery to take in. So my advice is grab a red bull and sleep when you get home.

Step 12: Take advantage of the time when it is the alternate group’s event. You’ll be less stressed about running into a Backstreet Boy and everything theoretically should be 50% less crowded. So use this time to squeeze in a quick cat nap or do something that would otherwise generally be more crowded.

Step 13: Take the stairs when possible. I don’t know about anyone else, but I wasted a lot of time waiting for elevators on the last cruise. May as well get some exercise and save yourself some time by taking the stairs. Especially if I’m going down, I really don’t have any excuse.

Step 14: No need to get to the events early. You have assigned seats in the main lounge so you don’t have to stress about not having a spot. Plus you have our boys running on Backstreet time, so you’ll really just be sitting there for a while anyway. Now there is one slight caveat to this. If it’s an event with potential crowd participation, Rose Tour Staff would pick people from the crowd before the event started. So if you do want to get up on stage and participate, it may be a good idea to get there on the early side for those specific events. Otherwise, no need to get there early.

Step 15: Carry your own luggage unless you can’t do it yourself. You’ll waste time on both embarkation and debarkation waiting for your bags.


  1. Very good tips girl. I am definitely using the 5 hours energy shots that I will pack this year. I feel like i missed too much last year because I had to nap or I was cranky. I may still be cranky but at least I'll be with BSB!

  2. love these steps!!!

    i need to work on step 3...last year it took me 2 hours to put up my door dec...considering were gonna have more i font think we'll be too much faster...haha!!...oh well!