Hi Big Will,
Welcome to Cruise-Chat. I will try to help with some of your questions.
1. The ship departs at 4, what is the earlyest that i can board?
Usually, you can get onboard about noon, sometimes a bit sooner. It really depends on the time it took to debark all passengers from the previous cruise.
3. Is it smart to try and sneak liquor onboard, for consumtion in our room. And if so what is the best way to get in on?
I am not going to tell you it is "smart" to try and sneak liquor onboard, but with that said - I always have. I transfer it into plastic bottles (colorless liquor in water bottles, amber colored into ginger ale bottles) and pack it in my checked luggage.
4. What kind of dress will be requered, do i need a tux?
While there will be some passengers in a tux - they are definitely not necessary. A suit and tie works just as well. But, cruise ships are becoming much more relaxed in their dress codes, so you will even see gentlemen in sports shirts and slacks on formal night.
5. We are not heavey heavy drinkers but how much cash should we plan on (just a ball park)
While onboard the ship you will not use cash - everything (including all drinks purchased) will be charged to your onboard account which you have secured with a credit card before sailing.
6. Do we need to book excursion before we go?
Depends on what you want to do. There are a few excursions that are quite popular and sell out before saiing. Also, again depending on what you want to do - you can often book excursions on your own in the ports. What ports will you be visiting and what are you interested in doing?
7. when is the best dinning seletion?
That is totally a matter of personal preference - I prefer late seating, but I like to spend as many hours on deck in the sun as possible, then rest ahwile before showering and getting ready for the evening. I HATE to feel rushed.
8. How can we make an appoint ment for the spa on board and how much?
As soon as you get onboard, there will be Spa personnel greeting you and delivering flyers with specials that are being offered. They always have an open house before the ship sets sail and many people make their spa appointments then. As for prices - they are expensive. As examples - a 50 min. Swedish massage or Facial will cost about $110, a 75 min. Aroma Stone Therapy will cost about $175.
I am sure others will offer their advice as well. Hope that helps.