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Old 01-10-2004, 06:16 AM
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Hi Everyone! I am new to the forum and I'm looking for some good ways to make my cruise the best it can be. My husband and I are 22, have been married for almost 2 years, and have never cruised or been out of the US. I have read many reviews and articles but could use some practical advice. We are sailing on March 7th on the Carnival Paradise, Western Caribbean to Belize, Roatan, Grand Cayman, and Cozumel. Thanks!
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Old 01-10-2004, 06:16 AM
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Hi Everyone! I am new to the forum and I'm looking for some good ways to make my cruise the best it can be. My husband and I are 22, have been married for almost 2 years, and have never cruised or been out of the US. I have read many reviews and articles but could use some practical advice. We are sailing on March 7th on the Carnival Paradise, Western Caribbean to Belize, Roatan, Grand Cayman, and Cozumel. Thanks!
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Old 01-13-2004, 07:52 AM
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I am not sure what you mean by practical advice. I was on the Paradise in September on back to back sailings so I did go to the ports you are cruising.

First advice I can give is go with an open mind and relax and let the crew take care of you.

Do not try to do everything that looks fun because you will just wear yourself out. Find a few things you really would enjoy and focus on those things.

Read the Carnival Capers every day. It will tell you of the times and locations of everything onboard the ship as well as dress code for the night. It will also list the specials for drinks or souveniers.

On the Paradise the majority,not all, of lounges are on deck 9 and you will find them by walking Carnival Boulevard.

The main pools, buffet, pizza and ice cream are on deck 10.

The gift shops on the Paradise are small and get quite crowded and are on deck 8.

If you want to see the shows in the main showroom go early to get a seat because there are a lot of poles to block your view.

Once you set sail you will leave and board the ship from deck 3 in every port.

If you like hand carved wood gifts than shop in Roatan.

Belize is a 25 minute tender to and from the ship.

If Grand Cayman has a lot of ships in port they all tender into the same pier area so there may be long lines of people waiting to board tenders.

The Paradise is a beautiful ship. The crew does a good job and are very friendly. Have a great cruise.
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Old 01-13-2004, 02:05 PM
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Thanks for the advice! Everywhere I look I find advice for singles, families, teens...pretty much everything we're not. I have found some advice and tips which seem over the top and we just want to be as prepared as possible so that we have the most enjoyable time we can.

Thanks again!
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Old 01-14-2004, 05:24 AM
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Here is some practical advice bring half of what you are planning to pack. Remember you will have to carry your own luggage. I have done two cruise and my third is in ten days (I can't wait). Each time I bring less with me.
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Old 01-14-2004, 06:20 AM
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Thanks Jess, I can hardly wait for my cruise but I could only wish it was 10 days. Mine is March 7th but I have been planning and researching so much that I am ready to go now. Your advice is really useful though, in that I plan so much that I tend to pack everything we could possibly ever need and my husband has to carry it all!
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Old 01-19-2004, 11:31 AM
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Hehe, I can sympathize with wanting to pack lots. It helps to plan out what you'll wear - there are two formal nights (suits and dresses), and the rest is casual so slacks or skirts are fine.
Grand Cayman and Cozumel are amazing! Haven't been to the other ones but they sound great as well. Don't worry the month and a half will fly by and you'll be sailing before you know it!
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Old 01-28-2004, 01:22 PM
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Hi there,
My husband and I just got back from cruising the western caribbean on the paradise (Jan.11)and had a blast!!! We are both in our 20's and were able to meet up with some other couples we had chatted with on the message board.
Listen up and I will give you a lot of great advice from VERY recent experience!!!
First of all DO NOT BOOK any excursions through the ship. Everything is VERY over-priced and you can go to the EXACT same place as the ship offers, but research and book on your own online.
YOU MUST go cave tubing in Belize!! It was amazing!! I emailed Reggie (Reggie's cave tubing) www.regtours.com
He was highly recommended by past reviews, etc.
It cost me $65 per person, and we booked 10 people for a group rate of $60 each. Our group was only 10 people!! That's right a private group!! While the ship charged $85 per person and had 60 people in each group!!
We did more on our tour too, we swang on vines like Tarzan, tubed through an extra cave, we had Reggies son, Jami take us...etc. research them!!
Also in Cayman, DO the STINGRAY city. It was wild!! We tried booking with Sotos, but they left before our ship came to port, so we went with Captain Marvins. They were great, we went in the aft. at 1:30, and got back in time to catch the last tender. We were lucky enough to have another private tour there as well. There were 6 of us on the trip, and it was great. The ships tours had as much as 100 people on it!!!
Also goto 7 mile beach, the cemetary area, or govenors was beautiful!!
It helps to have your own snorkel gear and take it with you. Or you can rent it wherever you go.
In Roaton, we just took a taxi to the west side, snorkelling was great there!!
Cozumel, everyone told us to shop, but there weren't that many deals, we just picked up Kalua and Tequila VERY CHEAP!!
The place to go and party though was Carlos & Charlies!!! Crazy there!! and since the ship stays in Port until midnight, have a blast! Don't miss the congo tequila shot line!! and the yard stick drinks!! You will be staggering onto the ship.
Overall have a blast, enjoy your time!!
Oh yeah, don't forget to pack your own liquor in YOUR CHECKED luggage!! You can bring your own water and mix too! Saves a lot of money, as the pop is over $2/glass and the drinks are as much as $6.95 each. Everyone brings their own stuff. I think everyone on the ship had enough liquor to have a full bar in their room. The stewards don't care and they will even keep your mix (coke,etc) on ice! I recommend you buy one drink in a souvenier glass and then refill it yourself in your room with your own stuff!! We even bought a smoothie machine to make margaritas!!
I hope I've helped, if you have any questions, feel free to ask!!
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Old 01-29-2004, 10:26 AM
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Thanks for all the great info! My friend and I are travelling the Western Carib in April but she doesn't want book a tour at every stop. If you had to choose, would you pick Stingray city or the caves in Belize? I heard that there isn't really much to do in Belize but that the walk to the caves is over 45 mins? Thanks again.
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Old 02-04-2004, 07:04 PM
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I am not sure we have the best advice in the world, but for what its worth, here is what I would suggest.

First, take a camera with you and use it. The photos taken by the shipboard folks are pretty pricey. Almost anyone will snap a photo of you and your loved ones if you ask, and we always ask.

My wife and I cruise together a lot. We are 48 and 43 respectively, and we've been doing this for about 3 years now. We've been on the Paradise and the characterization of that vessel as a great ship is absolutely accurate. You will have a good time.

The Stingray City tour is a must do in Cayman. You cannot miss it. It is worth the money. We booked on board because we wanted to be sure we got back to the ship. But on our next cruise (on the Elation in March) we are going to go outside the ship to make our reservations mostly because we do feel suckered by the high prices charged.

If you've not booked a cabin already, we always book an inside cabin. We've had balcony cabins and mini-suites, and while they are nice in the abstract, they're a waste of money. You don't spend any time there, and you eat the same food and go the same places as the people who book an inside cabin. Also, if you're motion-sensitive, its better for you there as well.

If you are not a big drinker, then buy a soda card on the first day of the cruise. It costs around $29 or so, but at 1.50 to 3.00 a pop, it saves you money by the second day. Also, the geegaws for sale on board get progressively less expensive as the cruise goes on. Don't buy anything in the gift shops until the last or next to the last day.

Items charged to your shipboard account take on a life of their own. Its easy to forget what you charged if you put it on the room, and it can become a real shock when you get off the boat. Be judicious.

You get out of a cruise what you expect to get out of it. If you expect to have a good time, you will. Little things will go wrong. They always do. It may be a late tender. It might be a bad tour. Things happen. Adopt the right attitude and don't let it get you down. You're there to have fun. Don't let anyone or anything stop you.

A. L. DeWitt (aldewitt@sprintmail.com)

A. L. DeWitt
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