Just made reservations for our 15th anniversary. This will be our 1st cruise, and we're excited, but confused. If anyone can answer my questions, we would appreciate it!
1-Reserved online, had a few issues, but will be completely paid tomorrow...what's next?
2-I went ahead and paid gratuities, is there anything else to be paid once I board?
3-should we go ahead and book excursions now, or closer to our trip. Would like to snorkel either at CocoCay or Nassau
4-We're going on a 4 night cruise, when is the formal night?
5-We're on deck 5, inside cabin toward the middle, are we ok?
6-We would like to use cash instead of cc once we board. How do we know how much to put in our account and how do we add more if we need to, and get back the extra?
7-Any tips for a 1st timer?
Hi Ubee and welcome to Cruise Chat;
I'll see if I can answer some of your questions-if I mess up, I'm sure some of the other more experienced members will help too.
1) Since you've already paid in full, there is really nothing else "Reservation" wise to do. I've never booked on-line before-I usually call RCCL and book with their people, so if you had issues, can't help there.
2)Once on board, you will have to use the "Sea Pass" card-like a credit card or debit card that you have told them to use to pay for on-board expenses, i.e Gift Shop, any Pop or alcohol drinks, speciality dining... room like Chops or Portofino, casino, etc. The casino is the ONLY place that I know of which allows you to use cash to buy chips. You get your Sea Pass card at the port prior to boarding the ship, and you tell them then how you intend to pay for your on-board expenses. You will need cash for your shore shopping, etc.
3)You CAN book them now if you'd like-I don't know when your cruise is going, but some excursions book faster than others.
4)Never been on a 4 night cruise, only 7 day cruises, so I can't help with formal night. Some people "do it up" for formal night, others, like me, keep it casual always-shoot, I'm on vacation!!! Anyhow, I don't own a suit or tie or sport coat or a Tux-I'm a basic golf shirt and slacks kinda slob.
5) Middle of the ship length-wise will be best if you think there is ANY chance of getting sea sick. Most of the ships have NO problems with listing side-to-side;just a slight fore to aft motion.
6)I'm sure they can figure out an account using cash, but why take a chance. Put an extra $1000. in your checking account and use your debit card-less if you're more conservative. That way, you get to use your cash and save burning up the CC.
7) Unless you're a MAJOR Pop drinker, take a pass on the soda stamp offer. Alcoholic drinks are a little steep, but all of us have bought at least one "Fru-Fru" drink to get the plastic glass. The travel insurance is a good idea (I mean in case something comes up and you have to cancel the cruise). As your date comes along, about 1-2 months before you leave you will get your Travel Documents from RCCL. Read them carefully and fully-they have a ton of infor for the first timers. Get your Passports NOW.
Hope this helps. I'm sure someone else will add some more, and agree or disagree with me. That's what we're here for.
Enjoy yourself!!!! I can guarentee you of one thing; after one, you're hooked!!
Once you are on board, you will need to pay for room service tips, casino (if you use them). Your cruise account won't cover these. You can put cash up for your onboard account. You can look on the TV for acct status, and you can add money anytime on the desk. As for formal night, you won't know until you get on the ship unless you can find someone who has actually been on the exact same cruise ship/itineray, and then there is no guarantee. It will generally be on a day at sea, not in port. Your room will be fine but dark! You may want to see if you can get an upgrade (for free) when you board. My first cruise was an interior room, which was upgraded. Now I won't go without a window or balcony. I hope this helps somewhat! Have a great time.
ubee since you have an inside cabin bring a NIGHTLIGHT. Your room will be pitch black 24hrs a day. The nightlight will help when you get up in the middle of the night. Also bring a clock so when you wake up in the dark you can see what time it is. If it is cordless make sure it lights up. I cannot remember if they offer wakeup service. They probably do but just in case make it an alarm clock. Make sure you set your clock for a descent hr otherwise you may find yourself sleeping till 2am. It will always seem like nighttime in your room. Your body will think it is always time to sleep.
Other than sleeping and dressing you will not be in your room much anyway. If you wish to pay cash as you go you will need to give them at least $200.00. When you reach your charges they will summon you for more deposit. It is best to just give them a credit card and on the final day you can go to the pursers desk and pay your bill in cash. Hope this helps. You are going to love cruising!
After you have paid the entire balance, you should go through the on-line check-in process. It allows you to print your sea-pass so you are ready at the pier.
As far as tips go...DO NOT OVERPACK!!! I can tell you that my wife and I used to overpack every time and I have finally realized that I only need to bring a few pair of shorts, pants and half-a-dozen nice shirts to wear. They have a laundry service available, just in case you really mess something up.
I've always heard that the shore excursions fill up quickly, however, I have booked several while on board the ship without a problem. It is nice, however, to have everything arranged ahead of time. If while at any port you just want to go to a local beach...I suggest just getting off the ship and taking a taxi. That way you can come and go when you please. My wife and I, for example, did this while in St. Thomas. We simply took a taxi to Megan's Bay beach and it was not too expensive.
Ask other cruisers on the ship about which port to shop in. Sometimes, one of the ports of call may be better than the others for good bargains.
Most of all...CHERISH EVERY MOMENT AND HAVE FUN!!! You will be very sad on the day you have to leave the ship.