Bring a bungee cord for that balcony stateroom- you don't need boring spa music to fall asleep , because you have the acutal ocean.
* Bring a surge protector, there are NEVER enough plugs in any room.
* Pack your swimwear in your carry on, while everyone is hanging out around the ship waiting for their cabins, you will be having fun in the pool.
* Skip the buffet until later in the afternoon on day of embarkation... Lines can get kind of long, and people can get kinda... grouchy.
* If you aren't happy about something, please speak up. Cruiselines are super accomidating to your needs, but not if they don't know there is a problem.
* Opt for the 'as you wish' or 'anytime' dining. If you don't like the people you are assigned to sit with, that 7 day cruise can get kind of long..... With the other dining options you can opt out of sitting with them, with out hurting anyone's feelings.
* Skip the cruise line for booking your shore excursions.... I'm a big far of www.shoreexcursionsgroup.com. They are cheaper! They are better!
* And please try the specality resturants.... I know there is a cover charge, but you will thank me later. ( I accept starbucks gift cards... haha just kidding )
I always suggest to first timers to use the ship diagram given at sign in. It's so easy to get lost. Also it's possible to change dinner time/table if you visit the maite'd either right after boarding or during the first seating.
I've NEVER had to use those extra hooks. I brought them on my last cruise, but never opened them.
The one thing I bring, and get laughed at for (til people see us disembarking), is a spool of shrink wrap. I use it to wrap our luggage and to hold carry on to the big piece. If you buy T.O. artwork,you can bind it to the front of the luggage til you get to your car. We leave from NY alot and park on site. You buy the stuff at self storage and packing stores.