[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="400" caption="Me and VC in front of our Boat - I'm On a Boat, I'm on a Boat...."][/caption]
Last post I mentioned that I went on my first ever cruise. Here are a few things I learned that may be helpful to you if you are planning on taking a cruise:
(1) It is very easy to overpack. This is not a good idea as the room is the size of a shoebox.
(2) On the other hand, the men in your party may underpack. This will become evident the first night it is time to dress up for dinner. One male may only bring two collared shirts and a pair of slacks with a hole in it.
(3) It is possible to give yourself a concussion before breakfast. If you have a "little one" who is sleeping in the bunk style bed that opens from the side wall, be prepared to bang it at least 3 times while trying to reach your luggage. Then sit down on your bed and impale yourself on the edge of your own headboard.
(4) It is a study in over-indulgence. Kids eat ice cream 24/7. Members of your party can literally gain 12 pounds during the week. I may know somebody who did this.
(5) ****The key to avoiding weight gain = take the stairs whenever possible. You may think this seems obvious, but watch how many people take the elevator while you hop up and down the steps and come home with a loss of .5 lbs despite eating at every meal and having soft-serve yogurt at midnight.
(6) There are zero waste baskets around the cruise. (other than the ones in your room) - this means that people leave cups of ice and other crap in the elevators or in the stairwells which pose a tripping hazard. *I know this makes me sound like an old fuddy duddy, but it's true, we tripped over a glass of ice that was on the bend of a staircase.
(7) People are rude and save entire rows of seats for some of the shows. This will piss you off especially when the row is still completely blocked off and the show has already started. The seat in that row that you had your eye on 20 minutes earlier as the rude oaf told people they could not sit in the row, will eventually be your seat after a little chit chat with the MC :D After the show you will want to make a hasty exit :D to avoid a possible smackdown.
(8) Generic Pepto Bismol costs $4.00 at the medical center. You will find this out after the performer in your party gets violently ill only hours before the Showcase of Stars that he is scheduled to perform in. He will hurl 4 times, writhing in pain on the floor, but manage to rally for the show - put on a stellar performance - and then make a hasty exit (just like in the above scenario) - He will go back to the room satisfied with his performance only to have to hurl one last time :-( But at least he will have the 24K gold plastic cruise ship replica participation trophy to console him....
(9) The amateur performances are likely better than the professional ones!!! You will find this out when you attend the big "spectacular" broadway - like production number the last night and realize the singing is horrible; Be careful to observe the lighted strips marking where the stairs are - or you will scrape up both ankles and your knee as you fall when hurrying to the exit and turning around to assure the person who keeps thinking you are about to sit in the 5 seats she is saving that you are EXITING!!! Yes, the pain in the a$$ seat savers again!!!
(10) Bring along plenty of Dramamine - the "less drowsy" kind. Although the illness referenced above was most likely a "bug" - motion sickness is no big picnic either.
(11) Don't get confused with all the raffle stuff. Bingo is NOT required to win the free cruise raffle. This said after I misinterpreted the directions and wound up having to play a $20 game of Bingo. Biggest waste of time and money - ever. OK, I shouldn't say that and maybe now is a good time to confess that I purchased 30 minutes of internet service for $20 just to do a quick check of emails mid-week. That was a bigger waste of money as the computers were still on Windows 2000 and the internet was slower than dial-up. 30 minutes was barely enough time to log on to my email.
If you really want to keep in touch via computer - be prepared to shell out big bucks. I limited myself to $20.
(12) It is next to impossible to locate your smiling faces in the photos from dinner each night and the visits to the islands. Don't bother and instead poke fun at some of the bad pictures of your fellow cruisers :D
I'll probably come up with another hint or two as I let these thoughts percolate. Let me know if you have any questions. Being a "virgin cruiser" I may not be able to answer it but will give it my best shot.