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First Time Cruiser

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Myself, husband, and 2 sons 15 and 16 years old will take our 1st cruise in June 6, 2021 - June 13, 2021 from New Orleans. Should I bring a DL/ID, and copy of birth certificate for each of us, or obtain a passport? What is your take on the photo packages? I want pictures, but packages are a little expensive. What about excursions, is it worth purchasing at least one or two?

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Hi Jana, and welcome to CruiseCrazies! 

Congrats on your first cruise! It looks like you’ll be on one of the first sailings when cruise ships return to the water, so I hope you will come back here and share your experience, as it will be helpful for all of us here with cruises scheduled in the upcoming weeks.😎

A passport is always better, but as long as you are cruising round trip from an American port to the Caribbean or Bahamas, DL AND birth Certificate (with raised seal) will be fine. Passports are taking longer than usual to process, and unless you are expediting them (for added cost), you’re probably too late obtaining PP for a June cruise. Passports are taking around 12 weeks and expedited passports 6-8 weeks.

For a first or any cruise, it’s a great opportunity to get a family formal portrait done. You’ll also see the ship photographers appear around every corner. I remember for our first few cruises we used to stop and pose for every one. Now we usually just keep walking. Still, it doesn’t hurt to stop for a pic - the first one when you board is always fun. You can always buy ones you like or just ignore them all. 

For more helpful tips for newbie cruisers, check out my blog post: https://7seajourneys.com/what-to-expect-on-your-first-cruise/

Also, be sure you’re aware of all the covid health and safety precautions pertaining to your ship.

Have a great cruise! 😎🛳🏝

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Welcome Jana!  Just to add on to what Jan said, excursions are a nice way to get an overview of a port that is unfamiliar to you.  Oftentimes they take you well away from the port area to give you a true flavor of an island, such as a drive up to a mountain top or a visit to an historic site, or my favorite - something out in nature like a botanical garden or national park area.  I like to choose an excursion that might also give me time to wander a bit if the port area has little cafes or pubs where I can get a local drink or try some new foods.  And yes, please do come back and tel lus all about it.  We have several cruises booked this summer and have fingers crossed that we will all get on a ship soon!

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19 minutes ago, Jana said:

Can photos be purchased separately instead of a package?

Yes they can!  We usually let them take a number of photos and then usually pick one (maybe 2) to buy.  Sometimes it's one of the formal night ones, or sometimes we do like the sail away photo or from one of the ports.  You can absolutely buy 1 or more or none without purchasing a package.

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For the formal night/captain celebration does reservations have to be made? Is this considered speciality dining where we have to pay extra? Have you ever received a discount/ or promo code for the Cheers Package?

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Looks like you’ll be on the Carnival Glory (unless Carnival extends their suspension of cruises). No reservations needed in the complimentary dining rooms on formal night or any other. You just show up when you’re ready and wait. Reservations are encouraged for Specialty Dining venues, however. Sometimes Carnival does offer discounts on Cheers, and sometimes travel agents may do so, as well. Check with Carnival or your agent.

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