Well you guessed it! Let's talk about cruising. I'm not a cruising expert by all means but I figured I would share with you some cruising tips from a first timer!
So MK and I went on a 6 day cruise in October 2015 to the Western Caribbean for free! Yes folks you read that right for free (kinda).
MK and I are rewards members at a casino that we frequent ...Cough a lot cough. So we won a cruise through the casino. We were extremely happy since I was finally able to get my passport and this cruise was the topping on the cake.
So once we got all the info on the cruise package and what was offered, I was ready to start looking. The only thing we had to pay for in terms of the cruise was the port taxes and fees, it wasn't much for 2 people and it was my birthday gift, so I lucked out since MK had to pay it.
We decided to go in October, through the cruise line (Norwegian cruise Line) and the ship was called the Star. We were offered cruising packages through the cruise line (free style cruising) we decided on the dinning package. They also offered a drink package, and a wireless internet package. We didn't choose the drink package since winning the cruise through the casino we were given free drinks in the casino on the ship.
The cruise line had given me the dates that were available for cruising in October, since the cruise was out of Tampa, Florida I started comparing flights and hotels to Tampa. I searched around and found which options would be good for us in terms of flight time and cost. I suggest flying out a day before your cruise just to make sure you make it to the cruise port, but by all means if you are a risk taker try your luck and pray to the cruise gods if you fly the same day and make it there on time to board.
So after comparing I found the best and affordable dates and I called and booked the cruise, flight and hotel. We ended up having to stay an extra day after the cruise but it ended up saving us money as weird as that sounds.
Let's fast forward to the day of the cruise we get there early to try to check in and board early, make sure you have all your boarding documents, cruise luggage tags and pass port ready.You will hand over your bags (with cruise tags on them) so they can be delivered to your room. Make sure you pack a carry bag. Your luggage will not be delivered right away to your room.You want to make sure you pack everything you will need for that afternoon (bathing suit, medications and change of clothes) even what you will wear to dinner. You will wait in line and get checked in and assigned a room on the cruise ship. After this you have to sit down and wait to board the ship. Once we were on the ship we could not wait to get this party started!
We went to our room to scope it out it was decent, we just got an inside cabin. We didn't want to shell out any extra money for a better room since we figured we wouldn't be in the room much. Our bags were not there right away so we got changed and headed to the pool area. In October there wasn't much children on the cruise and if there was wedidn't see them much since the cruise line was good at having things scheduled for them to do most of the day.
After the ship sailed in our situation it was the next day! It's a long story as to why it took our ship so long to sale out, but there isn't enough time and patience to get into all that.
We started exploring the ship and what it had to offer. The casino was OK we didn't end up winning anything while we were there so we didn't spend much time there (only when we wanted free drinks). The other amenities the ship had to offer was good we experienced a comedy show, game show, night clubs,bingo and much more. The food was cafeteria buffet style. So if your one of those people that gets grossed out by people being that close to something you will eat I recommend eating at one of the specialty restaurants.
When it comes to things to do off of the cruise ship its all about the excursions you book. Since MK and I were both cruising novice we decided to book all of our excursions through the cruise ship. The only plus with that is that they keep in constant contact with the cruise she and know when you should get there and back. The negative is that it always cost more. We only booked one excursion directly and it was great! A coworker had recommended it at it was perfect. Sometimes booking outside of the cruise line can be pretty shady so be very careful when booking.
The places we visited were beautiful (Mexico and Honduras).
When it comes to tipping on the ship, keep it to a minimal. The cruise line will charge you a daily charge anyway (we learned this the hard way). So only tip someone if they deserve it.
WHAT TO PACK FOR YOUR CRUISE
-Toiletries (shampoo, conditioner and body wash are provided)
-Advil or Tylenol
-Motion Sickness Medication or Bands
-Walking Shoes,Comfortable Sandals, Water Shoes
-Sweater or Light Jacket
***Do not pack beach towels, the ship will supply it***
BELOW ARE SOME PICTURES FROM OUR CRUISE
P.s we should be cruising in October this year!
What are your tips for cruising?