April 27, 2012,
C.B. asks from Dublin, OH on April 25, 2012
I just booked a cruise for my 18 yr old daughter and myself. We will be going with another mom and daughter, and this will be the 1st cruise for all of us. Our graduation presents to our daughters. We want it to be fun. So we lloking for any advice you have for first timers? What do people do who don't sign up for an "excursion" at each port of call?
We are on the Carinval Imagination ship.
L.A. answers from Austin on April 25, 2012
If you do not sign up for the excursion you can just go and sight see on the islands we caught a taxi and the driver took us to the best views of St. Thomas.
There is a ton going on all of the time on the cruise. But if you just want to relax...you can just hang out inside or out.
The shows are fun. We got caught in some weather so we went to the movies on board. They have games, competitions..
You can even sign up for a tour of the ship.
Make sure to take good sunglasses, good sunscreen and hats. Being on a white ship in the bright sunlight... Can really surprise you how fast you can burn if you are not carefully.
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K.B. answers from Chicago on April 26, 2012
Our family took our first cruise last summer and we had a blast! Even when we didn't have an excursion set up at each port, we still got off the ship and explored, shopped, went to a beach etc.
Our favorite excursion was a Land & Sea tour in St. Croix. It included an ATV tour in the mountains and then jet skis, kayaking and snorkeling at a beach. So much fun. A little pricey but totally worth it. We would have been satisfied having this single excursion for the entire trip!
This is a separate excursion that you book on your own, not through the cruise line. At first I was concerned about that, but with this company, if your ship does not arrive at port, you do not pay. Our ship had to change itineraries so we arrived on a different day than scheduled, and they still were able to honor our reservation. Make sure you don't book any excursion outside of the cruise unless they have that same policy. Many hold you accountable regardless if your ship arrives or not. And I guess it is common for ships to change their course throughout the week due to weather.
Also, check out www.cruisecritic.com for insider suggestions and recommendations. This site is very helpful with general cruise info as well as recommendations for excursions.
Have a great time!
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G.H. answers from Chicago on April 25, 2012
There is tons to do, even if you don't do an excursion. The ports are filled with shops & fun restaurants. You don't have to exit the ship, you can lay by the pool. You will have a blast
T.P. answers from Indianapolis on April 27, 2012
I love to cruise and I can't wait to take my dd when she's older. If you go to Carnival's website they should have a description of the excursions. You can look at those and determine what you want to do. You won't know the price until you get on the ship. I didn't get off on all excursions but most of them I did.
My favorites were always the party boats. You will leave the port of the island where the ship is docked on a boat that is for partying. They will have rum punch, watered down, and soft drinks. They have games on the boat. The boat will take you to an island to relax and enjoy the sun. You can water ski, parasail or whatever. On the way back to the ship thats when the big party begins. I would definately suggest that.
One day is usually spent on a private island that the cruise company owns. There you can relax in the sun and do many water activites. They will have a bar be que. Its fun too.
Enjoy your cruise. I am excited for you. Have lots of fun.
S.B. answers from Indianapolis on April 27, 2012
I've been on 1 crusie so this might not be the case for every cruiseline......but make sure to take a travel bag and put thought into what you want in it - Our cruise line (Royal Caribbean) made us put our luggage outside our room by 10:00pm on our last night so that it was off the ship and loaded on the airplane. You have to keep out your next day's clothes, and if you want to shower etc, it was handy to have EXTRA travel toiletries such as shampoo, soap,etc.
Also, we had 2 ports - on 1 port we did the excursion. The other port, we just went to the beach, had lunch, did a little shopping (I hate shopping but it was nice that the shops were all one after the other and so I still felt like I was "outdoors" instead of a stuffy mall).
Also, take photocopies of your drivers licensce and any other important documents and keep in luggage or safe in room. I do this no matter what the vacation is, its a good backup.
You get a card to pay for drinks, casino or anything that isn't covered by the ship. Check your balance every day so that you are not overspending.
Have a great time!!