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lauraf

First Cruise, I can't wait!

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I was hoping that I could get some advice and info.

My husband and I are going on our first cruise in April for our 1 year anv. We've booked RC, 7 night, Mariner of the Seas, Western Car.

Any and all tips would be greatly apprecited.

Is it safe and stressless going on your own at ports instead of booking through RC?

What's an average spent on the cruise. Not including excursions and the actual trip. Just the ship extras, ie drinks, spa, and things like that?

Is the ice skating rink, wall climb and whatever else is on the ship included or is that extra?

Is there a safe in the room?

Do they supply shampoo, soap, and things like that or do you take your own?

If you can think of anything else that would be helpful I'd appreciate it.

Thank you

Laura

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Hi Laura. I'll try to answer most of your questions, other than the ones specific to the ship as we haven't yet been on board Mariner.

Depends upon the ports. Cozumel is one you can certainly do on your own, unless you plan on going to the mainland to see the Mayan ruins at Tulum. One thing to keep in mind is that if you are on a ship-sponsored tour and it runs late due to traffic or anything else, the ship will wait. If you are off on your own, there is a small chance that you might miss the ship. If you do go off independently, I advise you to go early in the day for this reason. For what it's worth, we are about to go on cruise #19 and all the ports are new to us, and we have booked a ship's tour in each port.

What's an average spent on the cruise. Not including excursions and the actual trip. Just the ship extras, ie drinks, spa, and things like that?
That's the beauty of a cruise -- most of these expenses are up to you. Drinks are about the same price you'd find on land, except maybe for sodas. But you can buy a soda card to save $ if you are big soda drinkers. Iced tea, hot tea, coffee, and sometimes milk and juice are often available all day at no charge. Spa treatments are expensive, figure at least $100 for a massage. Then, there is almost always a pitch to buy $hundreds more in at-home treatments. Resist these pitches!
Do they supply shampoo, soap, and things like that or do you take your own?
They usually do, just as in a hotel. My husband uses the shampoo they provide, although I bring small bottles of shampoo and conditioner from home.

Hope that helps somewhat. :smiley:

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Thanks Lisa, this helps alot.

We were just looking at the RC excursions and I was concerned about the time being close to the time at port. I was hoping that since it's a RC excursion that would be a plus. But they don't give you transportain back. Is that something to be nervous about? It marked as a 6.5 hours long and the port time is 9 hrs. They say it's so you can shop on your own and go back to the ship at your leisure. Should we be nervous or just shop for fast and just head back?

Far as the shampoo, I normally take all my own stuff but we just got from our belated honeymoon in Punta Cana and it was nice to not have to worry about taking all that extra stuff. I'm trying to minimize what I pack.

Thank you for all your help, if you can think of anything else please let me know.

Laura

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Hi Laura...

Welcome to Cruise Crazies and congratulations on your first cruise!

Lisa gave you great information. We have often gone on our own tour in different ports, but you should always go early as Lisa said, and if you take a taxi tour, or any tour, be sure to get a set price with the driver before you go. Be sure that he/she can speak English if that is your only language.

I haven't been on RCCL, but most of the new ships have safes in the rooms. On Celebrity, you can set your own combination. You have the right idea about trying not to bring too much with. It seems like every cruise, I bring things that I realize I didn't need to bring, and it's just more to carry.

It's a good idea to bring clothes that you can coordinate with each other. Black and white slacks or capris are good because you can rewear them and wear different colored tops. Small plastic travel bottles are a good idea, so that you don't have to bring full bottles of shampoo, etc. Plastic zip-lock bags are great for just about everything. Have a great cruise!

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Laura - Lisa and Shari gave you some good advice.

Can you tell me which ship excursion (and the port it is offered at) you are looking at that does not take you back to the ship? I think most ship sponsored excursions give you the OPTION of being dropped off to shop and return on your own or dropping you off at the pier. Also, if one of your stops is Grand Cayman, I highly recommend Stingray City............and you might be better off booking that privately through Captain Marvins or Captain Bryans.....smaller boats and they get you out there between the times the big cruise ship excursions arrive.

Another thing is to be sure to budget for tipping. There will be guidlines published by the cruise line, but it usually rounds out to approximately $10 per person per day divided between your room steward, waiter and assistant waiter. An automatic gratuity is added to your bar drinks and sodas. Also, if you order room service a small tip (1 or 2 dollars) is usually appropriate.

There are plenty of free activities offered on board - games, shows, lounge entertainment, demonstrations, etc. You can choose to be as active as you want or as much of a laying by the pool and don't disturb me person as you want.

You are going to have a great time on your cruise!

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Thanks Shari2,

Again some great info.

I can't wait to go, I've been wanting to go for a longgggggg time now. And now it's less than 4 months away. YEAH!

Thanks again

Have a Safe and Happy New Year :smiley:

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SailingLisa

It's the Cozumel Port, Tulum Mayan Ruins Express. It says the tour ends downtown and does not include transportation back to the vessel (ie taxi, etc) This is to allow guests free time downtown and to return at their discretion. I guess they take you from Playa del Carmen where we ride a ferry back to Cozumel, but from where the ferry drops us off to where the ship is, is on our own. Do you know if there close to each other? It's listed as a Federal ferry.

You mentioned budeting for tipping. Does the 10 per person per day not go for everything? I was thinking that since it was included that we wouldn't have to worry about any additional tipping. Am I wrong?

Also our agent did mention if we order a drink from a server that they add the tip in the total. Is this correct.

It's not a big deal if we should expect to tip more. We've never had a problem tipping if someone isn't already getting a tip.

Room Service? I didn't even know we had that option. Is that included in the cuise price or is it extra? Would they not add the tip to the total?

So have you been on a RC curise before? Do you know about the ice skating and the wall climbing? Is it extra or included?

Thanks for all your help.

Laura

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OK - the ferry does drop you at the downtown pier. There are two piers for Cozumel - you will need to catch a taxi back to the ship - and the rate is relatively cheap - $5 per CAB (not person) the last time I was there from downtown out to the International pier.

You mentioned budeting for tipping. Does the 10 per person per day not go for everything? I was thinking that since it was included that we wouldn't have to worry about any additional tipping. Am I wrong?

The $10 per day per person covers your room steward, waiter and assistant waiter. If your head waiter or maitre'd do something special for you, you may choose to tip them also (a minimal amount.)

Also our agent did mention if we order a drink from a server that they add the tip in the total. Is this correct

Correct.

Room Service? I didn't even know we had that option. Is that included in the cuise price or is it extra? Would they not add the tip to the total?

Room service (a limited menu 24 hours a day and a continental breakfast) is offered and included in the cruise fare. The only thing you would pay for through room service are sodas, bottled water and any alcoholic beverages (and the automatic gratuity would be added to that.) It is customary to tip the person who delivers the room service a dollar or two.

So have you been on a RC curise before? Do you know about the ice skating and the wall climbing? Is it extra or included?

I've been on 1 RCCL cruise and yes the wall climbing is free. I haven't been on any of their ships that have the ice skating, but I THINK it is free except for the skate rental. Also, I do know that you need to get tickets for the ice shows - tickets are free but get them as soon as you can once on board to get the show you want to see - seating is somewhat limited.

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Laura - congrats on your first cruise - we can alll but guarantee it won't be your last - enjoy the anticipation - it's almost as much fun as the cruise itself - good to see you posting - ttfn Jennifer

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