a cautionary tale
- The adults only pool and whirlpools tended to be a lot less crowded. Seemed like even the younger, childless drunkos preferred the main deck pool with the two bars nearby. (Maybe the fact that the adults only pool only had one bar near it, not two, was the major clincher?) A couple people tried to bring kids into both the adults only hot tub and pool, but they were quickly told off by those enjoying the sans children atmosphere.
- The sit down dinner with the assigned table, etc. was AMAZING! Not only did it take us away from the busy buffet, but our waiters were great—we always had the same two guys; both memorized our names and were so gracious in their service to us—and the food was so good! You can also order as much as you want. The presentation of these meals was lovely too!
The sit down dinner insured you always had your reservation at a spec. time. On our ship it was either 6pm (which we chose—good too, since some of the programs started around 8:30ish) and 8:15pm.
- On our cruise, besides being able to eat all over the ship and in the dining halls, there were 24 hours options (like a pizzeria—good to know since we often got hungry between meals, after our excursions, etc.) Also, room service food (food only!) was covered by our food plan too. Good to know in case you want to skip the crowds.
- When we had our first stop, which took us right to a pier, a few of us left a little later after we arrived (just over two hours after), which we found to be great. No traffic. Something to think about, but of course, if you do an excursion at any stop you have to arrive at certain times.
- The shows in the theater (on our ship it was called the Palladium) filled up faster than I thought they would. Get there early for good seats.
- Photographers pop up everywhere. You start to feel a little Hollywood-paparazo action going on. They made us take a fun photo before we could even get on the ship, then we had our pictures taken with Capt. Jack Sparrow at dinner one night, and then apparently Capt. Jack popped up at one of our stops too. Ship photographers also came on shore with us. Constantly trying to gets pics, which they obviously hope to sell. Get really good at: 1. Telling them no thank you. 2. Side stepping them when they pop out of no where. We weren’t able to do either with Capt. Jack Sparrow when he showed up at dinner the other night; you live and you learn.
- Be careful in the bathrooms near the pool. Those floors get slippery. I almost fell on my ass, but luckily caught myself using the hand dryer.
- Bring two water bottles/person. I only brought one and found myself filling up a lot while on the ship, or rationing my water while on shore. If you are a coffee/tea drinker and want to take it with you, having a bottle which doubles for both hot and cold might not be a bad idea.
- If you are a smoker, you might want to consider not getting cigarettes until you get aboard. The ship I was on sold a five pack for $16 (pretty good since in MA cigs are $8/pack). Liquor was also duty free in the shop--something to think about.
- The bucket of beers which they tell you is a better deal, isn’t.
- Take advantage of bringing wine on board. A bottle/person when you get on. A lot cheaper than the booze on board.
- Bring an alarm clock, surprisingly enough there wasn’t one in our room! This made waking up hard since there were no windows in our room.
- Find the bathrooms on the busy activity floors as soon as you get on board. The bathrooms were not clearly marked, occasionally tucked into little hallways. Share these secrets with your friends.
- Bring small bills (singles and fives) to tip room service people. While gratuity is included in your trip, it doesn’t hurt to give them a little extra since there are some amazing people working on the ship (at least ours).