In October 2013, my husband and I set sail for our first cruise out of New Orleans. It was a 5 day itinerary on the Carnival Elation making stop is Cozumel and Progreso in Mexico. After that first trip, I was in love and looking forward to many more cruises in the future. I’m currently preparing for my 4th cruise which will be in October on the Carnival Magic!!
With that being said, I’m feeling like a seasoned vet in this whole cruising game lol! Today, I just wanted to share a few tips for first time cruisers or anyone looking for some info to make their journey a little smoother.
1. Bringing wine onboard (most important things first, right?)
Many cruise lines will allow you to bring a certain amount of wine (not liquor) and non-alcoholic beverages (i.e. sparkling water, sodas, juice) onboard with you at embarkation. This is beneficial as you would pay quite a bit more purchasing on the ship than you would if you just grabbed some from a local Wal-Mart or grocery store to take with you. Carnival allows (1) 750 ML bottle of wine/champagne, as well as 12 sealed cans or cartons of non-alcoholic beverages (12 oz. or less) per person.
*Note: any wine that is taken to the dining room to drink will involve a $15 corkage fee (so pour your glass of wine in your cabin, and take it into the dining room with you)
2. Pack some meds to take with you
It’s a good idea to bring an emergency supply of meds with you. I like to have motion sickness pills/patches (just in case), painkillers for headaches (aka the inevitable hangover), cold meds in case I start to feel sick, and an antacid/anti-diarrhea medication (trust me, better safe than sorry). They typically sell these onboard in the gift shops but the price is super inflated, so why not just pack a few from home in a Ziploc baggie and save yourself a few dollars?
3. Book a cabin mid-ship if you’re prone to sea sickness
This is the safest way to go as you’ll feel the least amount of motion at the middle of the ship. Quite honestly, most of the time you hardly realize that you’re moving until you look out and the water for a few seconds. This is obviously going to differ from person to person but my mother has vertigo, and she was just fine on her first cruise that we took a couple of years ago.
4. Excursions (activities) can be booked with locals once you get to each port
There are some people who swear by booking directly through the cruise lines…I am NOT one of those people. I like to save myself a few coins by booking with the locals at each location. They typically offer a variety of activities from snorkeling to SCUBA diving, catamaran rides, all inclusive beach packages, ATV rides, island tours, etc. This is sometimes at half the price that you would pay directly through the cruise line for the same options. I will say that the benefit of paying more to book through the cruise line is that they’ll wait for you if you’re not back at the ship on time. This has never been a problem for me because I have this thing called a cell phone and it ACTUALLY has the time on it (go figure!). This girl right her will be back in PLENTY of time to make it to the ship, okayyy?!
5. Bring a power strip/multi-outlet box
Most of us have several devices that we use each day and therefore need to charge often. Since there’s only 1 electric outlet in each cabin, I bring a power strip so that there’s not shortage of space. There is an outlet in the bathroom but it’s made just for electric razors.
*Note: Carnival requires that the power strip DOES NOT have a surge protector
I hope you found these tips to be helpful. I’ll definitely be adding more tips and tricks to my travel page and hope to have you put them to use in the future.