The following was contributed by "Frase" on another topic. I thought it was good beginners advice and can be applied to any of the major cruise lines because they all do things in similar ways. Thanks Frase!
Let me give you a little advice and tips for first time cruisers:
- Avoid drinking the soft drinks and bottled water they leave in your room. They tend to be quite over-priced. At least look at the price list before you start drinking them.
- Bring lots of sun proctection items with you:
sunscreen lotion, sunglasses, hats, etc.
- Avoid using the phone in your room to call home. It too, is quite expensive (around 7 to 10 dollars per minute).
- Events on the cruiseship worth attending:
The evenings featured shows in the main auditorium after dinner
The midnight dessert/buffet gala. Make sure to bring your camera to this event.
The formal night in the dinning room
The Captains Gala (just before the formal night's dinner)where you get to shake hands with the captain and get complimentary drinks and Hors-D'ourves[no.. I don't know how the French word for finger snacks is spelled]. By the way, all Carnival Captains are from Italy, so I learned to say a few things in Italian like "Buona sera Signori Capitano
If art appeals to you, take a good look at the art work (paintings,sports memorablia, and sometimes scupltures) and attend the auction for them. I attended one auction, but the prices got way too high for my budget.
Check out the sales events they have in the stores. At the very least you can get free samples of liquor and rum cakes they sell.
-All purchases made on board are made using your Sail-N-Sign card. If you buy anything (even a candy bar from the gift shop) they will ask you for your Sail-N-Sign card and it will be charged to your cruise account. When you recieve your documents(before your cruise), you will need to fill in the page that asks for what credit card (or other method) you will use to pay for the cruise account.On the first day of the cruise, when you check-in, they will take that page from your documents. They might even swipe that credit card using the old-fashion metal slide with multiple carbon copy receipt forms(so make sure to bring that particular credit card). You might be able to pay for your cruise account using cash, but I never did it, so I don't know how that works. Anyway, on the final morning, when the ship returns, and just before you have to leave to return home, they will slip a final copy of the total of your cruise account, under the door of your room. You will then have just a little while to look at it and dispute any charges at the main desk of the ship.
- Make sure to bring a multiple oulet electrical strip if you will be using allot of electrical items in your room.
- They do have a hair dryer in the room, but it is usually small, wimpy and tethered to the vanity desk. So if you use one, it might be good to bring your own.
- Bring spending cash to use: in the casino, while ashore on the island, and to tip crew members when appropriate. Although, they do have a way of using your Sail-N-Sign card to place bets while in the casino (if you win they credit your cruise account, if you loose they charge your account). Sounds a little scary to me: so I only used cash in the casino. And besides, I am not a big gambler at all.
- Make sure to read your "Carnival Capers" cruise newsletter. It has a listing of the events that will go on each day and the time they will happen. The cabin stewards will place on in your room each day when they clean. Also, you can get an extra copy at the main desk, too.