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Gabbie247 10-20-2007 03:10 PM

Hi all, I am going to be a first time cruiser...yippeee!! I am set to sail out of New Orleans on the Carnival Fantasy in Mid Febraury. I have a couple of questions?

What do I need to pack, I do not want to over pack?

Do I need to bring my own shampoo, conditioner, bath soap and towels?

Is the food really free and is included with the price of the cruise?

Do I have to dress for formal night, if I don't want to do I have to stay in my room?

Are they shopping areas close and in walking distance from the ship (Cozumel)?

When is the best time to book a cruise?

How does the tipping work? Do they give you a card when you first board that you use, and they tally everything at the end of the cruise?

Is the food really good on the ship?

Is it best to use a travel agent like ancors away when planning a cruise?

Thanks for all you help, I really appreciate it. I am so EXCITED!! Now, if there are any tips you have for me, please feel free to leave them.

Thanks again,


Berick1234 10-20-2007 03:51 PM

Hi Gabbie and welcome to the world of cruising.

You will need to pack shorts, tops, some dress casual clothing and if you want, formal wear..My wife and I have gotten our packing down to one large wheeled duffel bag and two carryons...and if you need laundry done, you can have it done on the ship...but I wouldn't think you would need will get shampoo, condition, soap, towels on board..unless you need a certain type product, don't bring them...

The food in the buffet and main dining rooms are included in the price...there are specialty restaurants that charge a surcharge...$10 to $20 extra...We eat mostly in the main dining room and buffet...I like the main dining the service and linen table cloths:-)

Formal nights haven't been as formal as in the past...Fancy casual, blouse, skirt, suit coat..the last cruise there were jeans worn on formal night....guess that was formal for them...there are lots of places to don't stay in your room:-)

Most ports have shopping almost as soon as you leave the ship....Cozumel has a shopping area on the main street that is probably 1 to 2 miles long with shops on all the side streets...they want you to spend:-)...

Best time to book is when you want to go...
I've book a year in advance and then again 2 days in advance....depending on where I wanted to go and when...or if a cheap price happened...

Most ships add the tips to your bill...I tip extra for extra service...I give my room steward a $20 bill the first works wonders....but you don't have too....You will have to produce a credit card when you get into the terminal...they will photograph you and make you a Ship's Card...this will be the only way to buy things on the ship....extra food, gifts, will get a finalized billing on your last your tips will be added...

Most food is as good or better than you are used to eating...well balanced, and prepared very you be offered a wide variety of things to try....Try the chilled soups if they have them...yummy...

I always use a travel agent...seems to work out for me....Plus they have access to special prices and events for you...

Hope this helps you...there will be others adding to my list....

and of course...this won't be your last cruise...Guaranteed

Happy cruising,

Bob E

Didikay 10-20-2007 05:44 PM

Welcome Gabbie. Just to let you know that if you would rather spend cash instead of a credit card or check card that option is also available.They will set up an account using whatever amount of cash you decide on. That seems to work out best for us. Less chance of overspending.I got back last Sunday from my third cruise this year. Also, there are picture takers everywhere, bring your formal wear and get some great pics maybe for Christmas presents! We have some of the best pictures ever taken of us and the family due to the cruises.Any questions? Please ask...

Gabbie247 10-20-2007 07:00 PM

Wow..thank you for all the information!! Everyone tells me that I will be hooked and will be crusing again! I am so excited about know I not going until Febrauary but I already started buying things for my Cruise, and sent for my passport last week.

Gabbie247 10-20-2007 07:03 PM

Thank you. I was thinking about cash, so I do not over spend. What would you say is the peek cruising time? Is there a certain time of the year you get better discounts??

Berick1234 10-20-2007 07:25 PM

You are going near the peak Caribbean cruising....I don't bring cash because you have to be carrying it around too much....I bring $200 to $300 in cash and charge the rest on the ship and off the will be surprised how fast you can rack up shopping bills...especially with all the gold, emeralds, diamonds, pearls, etc that you will see in every port...and on the ship....Which ever way you decide to go...have a Grand time...

Bob E

Gabbie247 10-20-2007 08:12 PM

Thank you.

Dwayne 10-20-2007 10:56 PM

Welcome! I usually just use cash and traveler's checks for the casino, taxis, and extra tips. Everything else I use a credit card including the Sail & Sign onboard account. It is good to carry some cash though, alot of the best deals are side street shops and vendors that don't take credit cards.


Gabbie247 10-21-2007 08:44 AM

Thanks for the information! Looks like you are taking a cruise very soon. My friend at work said they are so addicting, she is also going on one in February.

yankeeso 10-22-2007 03:23 PM

Yes Gabbie you will be hooked. It has happened to just about everyone of us. One is never enough.

Going to Hawaii on the Spirit in April 2008.

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