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My family's leaving next Monday for our first cruise. Leaving from Charleston, SC for the Bahamas for 5 days. Never been on a cruise, and my wife's been bugging me for 10 years, so I finally gave in.

I know some of you have been, so tell me what to do, or not to do. I keep seeing a giant buffet....
 

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My family's leaving next Monday for our first cruise. Leaving from Charleston, SC for the Bahamas for 5 days. Never been on a cruise, and my wife's been bugging me for 10 years, so I finally gave in.

I know some of you have been, so tell me what to do, or not to do. I keep seeing a giant buffet....
Eat, Drink, and don't do Mary or the wife might throw you overboard. All kidding aside, driving in the Bahamas seems to be a test of who is most willing to blast thru an intersection with no regards for cross traffic.
 

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Get off the boat as much as possible.
 

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If you have kids, get the early dining...if not get the late dinner seating so you can spend more time in port.

If you are gonna do shore excursions, book them asap as some sell out quick

If you are gonna watch the corny shows on board get your seat early.

At sea days require you to get up early and "claim" your recliner by the pool with a 1/2 consumed drink and a towel and a spare set of flip-flops (no need to actually spend a all day in your recliner if you don't want to, just make it look lIke you are near)

If you drink a lot, get the drink package.

They also have spa packages if you or wife are into pampering.

Have fun, enjoy, relax, do something you wouldn't normally do.

At meals, ask for stuff that's not on the menu, alot of the time if you have a good waiter he will make it happen..ask for 2nds, and order more than one entree` if you want it.

Tip well those that wait on you well

Splurge!
 

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i have been on 4 already this year and have a 5th one planned in October. i have taken that one out of Charleston 3 times and know it pretty good. are you going to be on the Ecstasy or the Fantasy? if you want to call me some time tomorrow shoot me a PM and i will fill you in on everything.
 

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My wife and I did the Alaskan cruise 2 years ago and booked a balcony cabin which was very nice to have the door open and a private balcony to sit on. Nice to sleep with the door open. Book your excursions asap and only buy one drink package if you are smart. You can buy a drink after 5 minutes of the first one and your server will take care of your billing for you so make sure to tip them well. Our cabin person was phenominal and those poor folks start work before you are up and finish well after you are asleep and do not get a day off. Take care of them.
No more cruises for me as I prefer going to a fishing lodge and sitting around eating fresh crab and salmon for a week and fishing from the dock outside the cabin and coming in for an afternoon nap after checking the crab pots!
 

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I have never paid to go on a cruise. Mine were all expenses included but they were not optional.
 

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I have never paid to go on a cruise. Mine were all expenses included but they were not optional.
Gotta love it when they told us they were working vacations! I did get to see some of the most beautiful sights in the world and walk on the black sand beaches of Unimak Island. We were the only humans on the island. Back then we were dubbed the Floating Tampon as our CO & XO were both named Johnson (Johnson & Johnson)
 

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Gotta love it when they told us they were working vacations! I did get to see some of the most beautiful sights in the world and walk on the black sand beaches of Unimak Island. We were the only humans on the island. Back then we were dubbed the Floating Tampon as our CO & XO were both named Johnson (Johnson & Johnson)
I got to see the coast of Cuba and the Yucatan peninsula mostly. Thought we were going to Jamaica once but got close enough to see the lights at night and got diverted back to Key West to escort a boat another ship had seized back to the US Marshalls. I never stepped foot off that ship anywhere but Key West or Miami. I was only onboard for 6 months though, spent the other 4 1/2 years at a small boat station running 41 footers.
 

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Been on a couple to fulfill family obligations, not my thing, seems like lots of people trapped in small place with little to do, but eat and drink and pretend you are having a good time with a bunch of strangers. Some people love them, it takes all the work(and adventure) out of planning a vacation. The last one I went on I was bored to tears, couldn't wait to get off that boat. Watch the crime in the Bahamas, it has gone way up against tourists in recent times and there have been warnings about it. On the bright side, if you plan things right and don't sleep much you can eat a dozen times a day.
 

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Research your stops and find out which ones to book excursions ahead of time. Some places you can get off the boat and get (trustworthy) excursions much cheaper. Grand Cayman comes to mind. If there is something you really want to do, book it early. As someone already said, get the later dinner option. It's nice to nap late afternoon after being in the sun all day. Try to board the ship as early as possible. You can't get in your room right away, but it's nice to relax at the bar while everyone else is waiting in lines for hours.

And most importantly, do not plan on being on a diet!


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I've been on many. When we lived in Florida we would go on 3-4 a year mostly on Disney Cruise Line. Disney and Royal Caribbean, especially if little and around a pool. Crime does occur on ships and is committed by crew members or other passengers. The cruise line industry doesn't like to talk about either. So I know where my daughter is at all times. If you can rent or use your communication devices, then use them.

Since a 5 day out of Charleston, I'm thinking you'll be on Carnival's Ecstasy. That one of their oldest ships so not as much bling as the new ships out today. Be careful in Nassau. Lot of crime there. If you stay on the beaten path, you shouldn't have any problems. Just use good common scene when ashore. And don't bring your best jewelry or etc. When we go to Nassau, we usually go to the Fish Market for lunch and eat conch fritters. So good! We've done all the other tourist stuff. Enjoy yourself.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I've been on many. When we lived in Florida we would go on 3-4 a year mostly on Disney Cruise Line. Disney and Royal Caribbean, especially if little and around a pool. Crime does occur on ships and is committed by crew members or other passengers. The cruise line industry doesn't like to talk about either. So I know where my daughter is at all times. If you can rent or use your communication devices, then use them.

Since a 5 day out of Charleston, I'm thinking you'll be on Carnival's Ecstasy. That one of their oldest ships so not as much bling as the new ships out today. Be careful in Nassau. Lot of crime there. If you stay on the beaten path, you shouldn't have any problems. Just use good common scene when ashore. And don't bring your best jewelry or etc. When we go to Nassau, we usually go to the Fish Market for lunch and eat conch fritters. So good! We've done all the other tourist stuff. Enjoy yourself.
I do worry about our 10 year daughter. Most of my time will be with her, and she'll be happy around the pool and water slide. I'll be happiest where the food is!

Yes, we will be on the Ectasy. I know I can't bring any firearms, but can I bring a pocket knife or stun gun? Don't mean to sound paranoid, but I'll be in a place where there are nothing but strangers, and want at least some protection just in case.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
My wife and I did the Alaskan cruise 2 years ago and booked a balcony cabin which was very nice to have the door open and a private balcony to sit on. Nice to sleep with the door open. Book your excursions asap and only buy one drink package if you are smart. You can buy a drink after 5 minutes of the first one and your server will take care of your billing for you so make sure to tip them well. Our cabin person was phenominal and those poor folks start work before you are up and finish well after you are asleep and do not get a day off. Take care of them.
No more cruises for me as I prefer going to a fishing lodge and sitting around eating fresh crab and salmon for a week and fishing from the dock outside the cabin and coming in for an afternoon nap after checking the crab pots!
My great aunt takes the Alaska cruise yearly, and has for at least 10 years. I'd like to take it too, but I'm letting the wife handle this, and she wants to see the Bahamas.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Eat, Drink, and don't do Mary or the wife might throw you overboard. All kidding aside, driving in the Bahamas seems to be a test of who is most willing to blast thru an intersection with no regards for cross traffic.
Thanks for the warning. I've heard of the terrible drivers there from people I work with.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
If you have kids, get the early dining...if not get the late dinner seating so you can spend more time in port.

If you are gonna do shore excursions, book them asap as some sell out quick

If you are gonna watch the corny shows on board get your seat early.

At sea days require you to get up early and "claim" your recliner by the pool with a 1/2 consumed drink and a towel and a spare set of flip-flops (no need to actually spend a all day in your recliner if you don't want to, just make it look lIke you are near)

If you drink a lot, get the drink package.

They also have spa packages if you or wife are into pampering.

Have fun, enjoy, relax, do something you wouldn't normally do.

At meals, ask for stuff that's not on the menu, alot of the time if you have a good waiter he will make it happen..ask for 2nds, and order more than one entree` if you want it.

Tip well those that wait on you well

Splurge!
One excursion I REALLY want to try is snorkeling. I work at a Goodyear tire plant, and everyone there that goes on cruises tells me to try it. They talk about feeding fish and stingrays from their hands, and it sounds like great fun.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
i have been on 4 already this year and have a 5th one planned in October. i have taken that one out of Charleston 3 times and know it pretty good. are you going to be on the Ecstasy or the Fantasy? if you want to call me some time tomorrow shoot me a PM and i will fill you in on everything.
Thanks for the offer. I'll take you up on that.
 

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I've been on many. When we lived in Florida we would go on 3-4 a year mostly on Disney Cruise Line. Disney and Royal Caribbean, especially if little and around a pool. Crime does occur on ships and is committed by crew members or other passengers. The cruise line industry doesn't like to talk about either. So I know where my daughter is at all times. If you can rent or use your communication devices, then use them.

Since a 5 day out of Charleston, I'm thinking you'll be on Carnival's Ecstasy. That one of their oldest ships so not as much bling as the new ships out today. Be careful in Nassau. Lot of crime there. If you stay on the beaten path, you shouldn't have any problems. Just use good common scene when ashore. And don't bring your best jewelry or etc. When we go to Nassau, we usually go to the Fish Market for lunch and eat conch fritters. So good! We've done all the other tourist stuff. Enjoy yourself.
I do worry about our 10 year daughter. Most of my time will be with her, and she'll be happy around the pool and water slide. I'll be happiest where the food is!

Yes, we will be on the Ectasy. I know I can't bring any firearms, but can I bring a pocket knife or stun gun? Don't mean to sound paranoid, but I'll be in a place where there are nothing but strangers, and want at least some protection just in case.
Nope--- no weapons on cruise ships, TSA regulates the security check points on cruises since 911...most of the time there are random bag checks, metal detectors at all entry gates, and they check for "smuggled" alcohol too....people try to smuggle alcohol on board and have gotten pretty ingenious about it so the TSA is pretty savy to ways of finding alcohol

You can buy alcohol and knives in port but you must declare them when coming on board (they keep them until after you disembark your home terminal) otherwise they will be confiscated and "destroyed"
 

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I do worry about our 10 year daughter. Most of my time will be with her, and she'll be happy around the pool and water slide. I'll be happiest where the food is!

Yes, we will be on the Ectasy. I know I can't bring any firearms, but can I bring a pocket knife or stun gun? Don't mean to sound paranoid, but I'll be in a place where there are nothing but strangers, and want at least some protection just in case.
Ya'll should be fine. Just use common sense when around strangers. You have to be process through security just like in an airport whenever you board the ship, both initially and in the Bahamas. So no pocket knives. But I bet one of those stainless steel pens would make it through security. If you drink, make sure you know the rules on booze since that's where most cruises lines make their money. People bring booze on board in water bottles all the time. Make sure your daughter knows how to be cautious (ie: staying out late, going to other peoples rooms and etc) when in public. If they offer a way to communicate with her via cell phone (ships Wifi) where you can text her, always a good idea to utilize it.

We've probably gone on 25+ cruises. Never had a problem. But we don't go off the beaten path unless it's an excursion and have a guide. We don't get blasted either. We do usually take the local's bus in Nassau to go to the fish market. Done it for years and never had a problem. Beats that Straw Market. Be prepared to leave a tip at the end of the cruise for your Stewart (takes care of your cabin), Head Server, Server and Asst Server. The people who work for the cruise lines work hard and they'll usually try to do everything in their power to make sure you have good time cruise. I always appreciate what they do since they spends months away from their families. Just don't forget them at the end of the cruise.

Enjoy the cruise. I've heard Carnival's food is pretty good.
 
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