1) Doesn't matter which, just as long as you do a 45 block, and keep re-applying. Don't know where you're from, but sun gets more intense, the closer you get to the equator.
2) I don't snorkel, but I would not but my own, as you have to worry about carrying and packing. Some ships rent it from the ship, others you rent at the boats that will take you to the dive site.
3) There are some locations that you must carry your passport with you, ei: Russia & I believe China. Keep a minimal amount of money with you, a license (photo ID), and your sail and sign card (a must for getting on and off the ship). You can buy a waterproof plastic box, that you wear as a necklace, and you could tuck it into your bathing suit for extra security.
4) We have used the safe in every ship that it was offered on. Have never had a problem, and never heard of anyone that did, with one exception, of someone that tried locking with a regular credit card, and then couldn't get it opened. Some are credit cards only, some coded only, and we even had 1 that was a cobination of both. Don't let that concern you. Don't wear jewelry out to a lot of these locations. Most people wore no jewelry when we went to St. Petersburg, Russia. Some did, but with the poverty you see in a lot of the islands, it's just not worth the chance. That's what the safes are for. As far as cash, no more than $50, as your credit card (Use a Visa or Master Card) will take care of any major purchases. Most places do not recognize Discover or American Express.
5) There is a Captain's "Welcoming Party" that everyone gets invited to. In addition, for previous guests of some cruise lines, and some that have "bought into" a Captain's Club, there will be another party that just previous cruisers are invited to.
Yell if you have any more questions.
Sue [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_confused.gif[/img] [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_confused.gif[/img] [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_confused.gif[/img]