You should plan ahead where to go before arriving on every port. Some are easily accessible through local trains & that will save you money.
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make the most of your day, peruse your Cruise Compass that is left in your room for the next day so you don't miss out on anything that you would be interested in. Don't be afraid to try something new. You can bring onboard 2 - 750ml (standard size) bottles of wine per stateroom. we had a glass while getting ready for dinner in the room. You can also take it to the dining room and they will serve it with your dinner. Bring extension cords in your carry on, you will need them. And a night light if you have an interior room...it is pitch black when you turn off the lights.
If it is your first cruise watch the cruise ship channels. Pay attention to the port of calls and the map. Plan every evening for the next days schedule. You can't do everything so plan out your day. Take pictures. The ship is beautiful!
The ice show is great and very popular. It should be booked in advance so as to get a seat.
Cupcake decorating is NOT just for kids. I'm 61 and loved it.
Room service breakfast on days in port is the way to go. The buffet is packed with everyone wanting to get off the ship early.
The salad at the Cafe on the Prominade was great. Fabulous amaretto cookies at Sorrento's.
Water stations are throughout the ship and a few on Deck 5 (the promenade) were our favorites. Both in the Starbucks and Sorrento’s they have flavored the water with lemons, oranges or mint along with having plain ice water available. It was a great place to grab a drink to stay hydrated without going all the way to the Windjammer. Premium drink package was worth every penny!
Don't race to get off the ship at Belize ... the lines are long and poorly organized by the cruise staff ... Belize City is really an undeveloped dump with a very nice ship terminal (but don't leave the terminal!) ... good shops & bars. There are four pharmacies at the terminal selling cheap counterfeit pills to tourists ... beware!
Try to see the ice show before the last showing, you'll want to see it again. The green water slide is the best water slide. The library has a few good gems in it, like a series by an author named Tiffany Green.
Use the ability to Self-Assist on disembarking. Also, do the wine tasting as Vintages.
Overall the ship 1 through 10 I would give it a 10 maby a 9
Balcony room. Pay attention to the cruise compass, so many things to do and time flies!
Eat breakfast super early or late, much less traffic at the buffet. Same with lunch. Book My Time Dining prior to your cruise for the same time every night. You'll get gthe same table/wait staff. Also, earlier dining times (5:45-6:00 pm) are better if you don't want to have your evening free to see the shows.
The cantilevered adult hot tubs can be pretty full during the day, but if you go while most of the people on board are at dinner (usually around 7:00-9:00) they will typically be fairly empty. Also, if you go to deck 4 and take a walk outside, you can get to the very front of the ship and stand right at the prow! If you are a fan of the movie Titanic, you can easily recreate that famous scene where Rose is "flying".
Choose Carnival, $900 less, for the same itinerary and MUCH BETTER service, overall experience, comfort and cleanliness.
If you're going to book excursions, book them as early as possible. They tend to fill up quickly for the more popular excursions, so don't wait until the last minute!
Pack lighter than you think you need.
Our cabin was about as far forward as you can get and our dining room was way at the back of the ship. We found to go to dinner it was way easier to take the elevator down to the 4th deck, go outside on either side and walk down the deck to the end and then come in to the dining room.
Keep a close eye on charges and added gratuities. Don't rely on guest services to remedy or follow up on issues.