My First Cruise

Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by Holley Calmes, Oct 29, 2011.

  1. Holley Calmes

    Holley Calmes Well-Known Member

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    OK, at my ripe old age, I am going on my first cruise-from New Jersey (essentially NYC) to Bermuda. I really need some advice! I have been WAY too busy to study up or ask questions. I leave next Friday. It's a 5 night cruise.

    It's a girl thing. I'll be with three gal pals, and it's a fitness cruise on Royal Caribbean. I can't take too much in my suitcase because we're flying from ATL to NYC on Friday, and we don't want to check any baggage.

    I basically just want the experience of lying on a cruise deck chair and reading a book and watching the ocean float by. I don't care much for dressing up for dinner, and I have no desire to partake of the fitness events. I just want to get away and get some rest!

    What I need to know is what the temperature might be in Bermuda from your practical experience. What weight clothing should I take? Any and all advice is appreciated!
     
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  2. Moto Guzzi

    Moto Guzzi Well-Known Member

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    Two years ago this week I was on a Royal Caribbean cruise to the caribbean. Luggage wasn't a problem for me because I drove to the dock rather than flying, but I didn't take that many clothes. Don't worry too much about what to wear; you'll see anything and everything on a cruise. It was hot and we took mostly summer clothes.

    We left from Baltimore and I wore jeans, sneakers in case we went to the gym (we didn't), and a light-weight jacket. I brought two pairs of black pants and several nice tops to wear at night and lightweight cargo pants, shorts, and tops to wear during the day. Our cruise was 9 nights long and we had two formal nights. A few people wore long gowns or tuxes but most just dressed nicely. I wore black palazzo pants, a silk tank top, a satin jacket, and black sandals. I brought two swim suits, a sarong, flip flops, a beach hat, lots of sun screen, and several books. Most of my clothes were light-weight washable silks or knits that didn't take up much space and didn't wrinkle easily.

    I went with a friend and we spent most of our time loafing around, reading, shopping on the islands, lying around on the beach or at the pool, and going to whatever was on for entertainment each night. Be sure to go to the Quest, an adult scavanger hunt in one of the lounges. You can join a team or do as we did and just watch. It was very entertaining. Some people have no shame when it comes to trying to win a cheap prize. :lol:

    A useful item for shore excursions is a refillable water bottle that you fill before disembarking. If you buy a bottle of water onboard, be prepared to pay $4 or more. I brought along yoga pants to wear in the gym that we ended up not using. I wore the yoga pants a lot because they were comfortable and I wore them for rehearsals for Gotta Dance. Gotta Dance is a program they were offering for all ages to show that anybody could dance. We worked with some of the ship's dancers and learned a hip hop routine that we performed on stage the last night of the cruise. One of the people in our group was an 82-year-old woman who was up for trying anything.

    For lots of tips on cruising or to meet up with people who are on your cruise, go to http://www.cruisecritic.com and sign up. Look on the forum for your particular cruise. Usually there is a link to sign up for a meet-and-greet party the day you set sail. Even if you aren't interested in meeting other people, sign up because you get free drinks and hor d'ourves and a chance to win some door prizes.

    I hope you have a wonderful time! I thought I would be bored silly on a cruise, but I really enjoyed myself because it was so relaxing. I hope to go on another one soon.
     
  3. Holley Calmes

    Holley Calmes Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Moto Guzzi!
     
  4. Skittl1321

    Skittl1321 Well-Known Member

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    You have to go to cruisecritic.com Absolutely everything you need to know there. Great forums!
     
  5. Garden Kitty

    Garden Kitty Tranquillo

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    For pretty much any trip I suggest - layers! Pack mostly lighter thin tops that pack easily and then add a fleece jacket and some sort of rain/windbreaker. Whether or not the top layer is lined depends on the expected weather forecast. This covers you whether it's warm, rainy or cold because you can just mix and match layers appropriately.

    You are on the ship for the most dressy events so don't worry about packing a "fancy coat". And a nice black skirt/dress will cover you for a variety of "formal" events. Some heavy duty cruises will have very fancy gowns, but if that's not your style, a black skirt or dress will cover you for just about anything.
     
  6. Holley Calmes

    Holley Calmes Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Garden Kitty!
     
  7. numbers123

    numbers123 Well-Known Member

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    Most cruises have an "eat anytime" seating and is very informal. The only cruise that I went on that had assigned seating was 12 years ago. The other 2 cruises had the anytime eating plan, which fit into a lazy lounging schedule. Like most places in the US, a nice dress or slack outfit will be appropriate. The big formal gown/black tie type of diner just didn't exist on the last 2 cruises. The one formal dinner we had on the more recent cruises was because it was a "wedding celebration" and really more for the family than the setting.
     
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  8. Moto Guzzi

    Moto Guzzi Well-Known Member

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    Royal Caribbean has two dining times with assigned seating in the main dining room and offers the option of any time dining, usually between 6:00 and 9:30 p.m. In addition to the regular dining room, Royal Caribbean has another dining room that is more casual and seating is open. It has a large buffet and an area where you can have sandwiches made to order. There are restaurants onboard where you'll need a reservation and will have to pay extra. You can also get food in the pool area or go to the solarium where they have hamburgers, hot dogs, and pizza available until midnight.

    My friend and I mostly ate in the regular dining room because the food was better there than at the buffet. We were at a table for six and were lucky to have good dinner companions. We all got along so well we frequently made plans to do something together during the day or after dinner. I celebrated my birthday during the cruise, and our table companions gave me flowers and bought me drinks. They also told our waiter, and he and some of the other waiters brought me a birthday cake and sang Happy Birthday.
     
  9. Holley Calmes

    Holley Calmes Well-Known Member

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    Now I'm getting excited....and HUNGRY!!
     
  10. paskatefan

    paskatefan Well-Known Member

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    We took our first cruise in mid September (Atlantic Canada/New England) and had a blast. We enjoy taking the excursions once we're in port. My husband booked the cruise in mid-late August, so we weren't able to get the early dining times. Our first night on the ship we ate @ 8:15 PM, which we didn't like (too late for us). However, by the next day we realized that through alternative dining there was much more flexibility, and we could have our dinner at a more reasonable time. One night I just had a slice of pizza, some salad, and dessert (had to have my chocolate fix). We love boat rides for a few hours, and usually take them on trips when available. I think the main reason we had never taken a cruise before is because we wanted to avoid the temptation of all that food each night. I didn't want to feel we had to eat (or be tempted to do so) a Bar/Bat Mitzvah/wedding reception size meal every night (reminiscent of family vacations in the Catskilll Mountains of NY state - too much food - 3 meals a day - always wished for the option of two meals a day). I kept busy though, got to the treadmill several times that week, enjoyed the hot tub, danced, did Karaoke, etc. So, all was good! I doubt that we will cruise every year, but we'll consider it in the future. Some day we would love to do a Disney cruise.

    Have a fantastic time on your first cruise, HolleyCalmes.
     
  11. Bev Johnston

    Bev Johnston Well-Known Member

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    Are you planning on doing any shore excursions? If there are things you know you definitely want to do, I recommend signing up now before you go. We did this and I was so glad. The lines for signing up for excursions after passengers were on board were very long, and we got to skip them and enjoy pool time instead!
     
  12. CDANN1013

    CDANN1013 Active Member

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    If you don't want to do a ship shore excursion, I recommend getting either a 1 or 3 day transportation pass. It is good for both the ferry and the buses. The bus drivers are great with the tourists and will tell you if there is a specific beach or attraction you want to visit. The bus stops are pinik and blue stripped. Bermudians drive on the left hand side of the road.

    Have a great time. Love Bermuda.

    Carol
     
  13. skatesindreams

    skatesindreams Well-Known Member

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    Looking forward to your report. Holley!
    Have a great time.
     
  14. Holley Calmes

    Holley Calmes Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Guys! I'm getting excited!
     
  15. milanessa

    milanessa engaged to dupa

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    Have fun!
     
  16. snoopysnake

    snoopysnake Well-Known Member

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    It looks like you are on Explorer of the Seas. Did you know that this ship has an ice skating rink? That would almost certainly mean that you can see some on-ice entertainment. There is also public skating, and rental skates are available.
     
  17. paskatefan

    paskatefan Well-Known Member

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    Ah! :)

    Very good advice! We did this too, and were so glad we did.
     
  18. Cheylana

    Cheylana Well-Known Member

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    So exciting!!! Do give us your impressions when you return, if you don't mind. I've always wanted to travel to Bermuda; maybe this spring! :cheer2:
     
  19. Twilight1

    Twilight1 Well-Known Member

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    Nothing exciting to add to the conversation but have fun!!!!

    I went on a Western Caribbean cruise in 2009 (we went to Belize, Honduras, Cozumel and Key West) and had an absolute blast. I did get sea sickness and definitely had sea legs but I would do all over again in a heart beat. Bring Gracol just in case. My ship had seasickness pills that helped though.

    My husband and I are still trying to figure out what we want to do in the spring with the boys.

    Add me to the list for setting shore excursions in advance. Also set up your a la carte dinners asap. We didn't luck out on getting French cuisine because we waited too long to set it up.

    Mosquito spray is a definite asset. lol. No short flowey skirts...I made the mistake of wearing a 'shortish' skirt (to my knees) and the sea wind was strong. I had to hold my skirt down and run back to my room to change. Hubby laughed his butt off at me. :lol:
     
  20. genegri

    genegri Active Member

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    I was on the exact same cruise just last month, same company, same port, same ship. We were blessed with perfect weather, both at the seas and on the island. If I am not mistaken, your cruise will be the last one to Bermuda this year. I would think the cruising days will be somewhat cooler. But once you reach Bermuda which has a temperate climate the temperature will be very pleasant.

    The ship is large and lovely. With a skating rink, rock climbing wall and even a mall in the middle of the ship. :D The skating show was fun to watch and better than I expected. The audience obviously was not even remotely skating fans and it was funny to hear them call every jump a 3A. The lady behind me insisted she saw one girl doing 3 triple axles! :lol:

    I don't know what kind of cabin you have. We had a huuuuuuge balcony and it made the sea days so much more enjoyable. But even with an inside room (no windows) you will still have a great time because there is so much to do.

    Anyway, have fun! And take lots of pictures. ;)
     
  21. Holley Calmes

    Holley Calmes Well-Known Member

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    I'm back!!

    And yes....it was INCREDIBLE! I never knew a ship could be so large, so beautiful, and full of so much to do!

    Yes, it was the last cruise to Bermuda for the season, and unfortunately we didn't have good weather. No beach time on the pink sand of Bermuda! In fact, we went through gale force winds and very rough seas. Everybody was falling around and getting sick. Fortunately, I had my patches to put behind my ear, and it was actually kind of fun! I enjoyed the roiling waves.

    My little group of four girlfriends didn't join any tours on Bermuda, but we were so lucky to hire a taxi driven by a native who showed us the whole island over several hours. (I even got a sneek pic through the gate at Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta Jone's home....shame on me, but what the hell...) This gentleman told us so much and took us to spots that tour buses couldn't get to, like the oldest church on the island dating from 1605. So cool!

    Yes-Genegri pretty much said it all....I was amazed at the quality of all the performances. I was amazed at the professionalism and warmth of the staff who seemed to come from every country in the world. Food was good. I tried not to overindulge.

    I could write on and on...like how my housekeeper, a precious young gentleman, would twist towels into various animal shapes so that after dinner every night, my roomie and I could open the door to find a new critter on the bed- an anteater, a rabbit, and a darling monkey hanging from a coathanger! It was a lot of those small touches that just blew me away-as well as the big touches!

    I followed a lot of the advice you gave me, and thank you so much for telling me what to do. I'm just sad it's over...now back to work and tackle that gigantic Nutcracker program due at the printer on Monday...EEEK!

    If anyone is remotely interested, I did get some good pictures. I'm processing the raw data and will have them all up in a day or two on Facebook. Please friend me! Just search for the same name I use here....Not that my pics are that great, but there are some cute ones.

    Thanks again, and hopefully there will be another wonderful cruise in my future!
     
  22. Skittl1321

    Skittl1321 Well-Known Member

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    I'm glad you had fun! I love cruises. Bummer you didn't have good weather in Bermuda, but sometimes the ship is as much of a destination :)

    Excellent to hear you didn't get sea sick. I like the days you can actually tell you are on the ocean the best, DH hates them! Usually the ship is so calm you can't tell you are even moving. I don't think we've had any truly bad days yet though...
     
  23. Ozzisk8tr

    Ozzisk8tr Well-Known Member

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    SO glad you loved it. Have you booked your next one yet?
     
  24. Holley Calmes

    Holley Calmes Well-Known Member

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    I actually loved the ocean-motion. I'm still slightly in a state of rubber-leggedness! I feel like I'm still on board.

    I loved how every day they'd take a strip out of the center of the elevator carpet and replace it with a strip that had what day it was...Monday, Tuesday, etc. So many small things as well as excellence in big things.

    Our captain was Norwegian. He announced on Sunday that we might not be able to dock in Bermuda because of the very bad winds (50 mph +) Bermuda has a very small slip to get into their harbor. But we made it! Then we found that a Princess Cruise Lines ship hadn't been able to negotiate it that same evening.

    I wish they had announced the last names of the skaters...they were so lovely, and I felt to bad for them to be on such a small rink...but they did an excellent job. The stage shows were phenominal-and the lighting and costuming were about as good as I've ever seen.

    OK, I'll hush now!

    No, haven't booked the next one yet. But I definitely will! I'm so enthusiastic I think maybe even my husband would go with me next time. Then again, a pack of wild women like we had this time might be more fun....
     
  25. paskatefan

    paskatefan Well-Known Member

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    Welcome home. Glad you had a fabulous time.

    I wonder if one of the skaters was Shaun Rogers (from Delaware) or Chris Mabee?
     
  26. Bostonfan

    Bostonfan Well-Known Member

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    I love cruising. I've been one a 1/2 dozen cruises and it's my favorite form of travel. I'm glad you had a great time!
     
  27. Holley Calmes

    Holley Calmes Well-Known Member

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    They didn't give the last names, but there was definitely a Chris and almost all were from Canada. Chris had a turned up nose, cute face. There was one guy who was injured and couldn't skate named Dmitri. Long hair, adorable. He was sitting on the front row. A hoop lady from Moscow whose name I forgot. She was fantastic.
     
  28. victorskid

    victorskid Skating supporter

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  29. skatesindreams

    skatesindreams Well-Known Member

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    I'm delighted that you had a great time, Holley!
     
  30. skatemommy

    skatemommy Well-Known Member

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    Last month's SKATING magazine from USFS has an article about several cruise ship shows and their casts. Marcy Hinzman is one of the skaters.