I just returned from my first Carnival Cruise and sharing travel tips I wish I had known before I left on vacation!
1. Pack your swim suits in a carry on bag so you can swim when you get onboard.
It might take a while for your bags to show up in your room. I was jealous of those who did this and were able to enjoy the pool right away!
2. You are allowed to bring a 12 pack of soda and a bottle of wine per adult. Do it!
3. Find a map right away when you get on the ship. Study it. I got lost a lot!
4. Don’t pay full price at the spa.
Take advantage of the great spa treatment specials while at port. Also the last day they will announce major discounts.
5. Be prepared to be in LOTS of photos!
I had no idea there would be photographers set up everywhere. It was a little crazy. Anytime you get off or on the ship a photographer is waiting. You don’t have to take the photos, we just walked past them most of the time. Believe me… if you skip once, they will find you again. ha!
Carnival had rows and rows of backdrops set up everywhere on the first formal night. If it’s packed, you don’t need to wait in line that night, because they will do this several times throughout the week. We didn’t pose for any pictures, but I had a great time watching all the families dressed in the same colors for family photos. I even saw one family all wearing the brightest orange and white stripped shirts!! The dad did not look thrilled at all. ha!
6. The main lobby deck is a wonderful, quiet spot to lounge and read.
The main lobby deck is shaded and a great place to get away from the crowds around the pool.
7. Come in early from a shore excursion and enjoy the ship to yourself.
8. Get sea sick? Try Sea-Bands.
I tried these out before I went on the cruise and got addicted to them. I have really bad ears and vertigo pretty bad, so I was worried about going on a ship and getting sick. I actually felt fine on the ship and didn’t need the Sea Bands, but brought them just in case. They really do help!
9. If you want a good seat by the main pool, be sure to bring towels and save your chairs on the way to pick up breakfast.
We liked eating breakfast in the early morning by the pool while the kids would swim. For us, morning was nice and quiet and the only time the pool was not super crowded. There are plenty of chairs around the rest of the ship. But the chairs close to the pool fill up quickly.
10. Wear elastic waist pants or a flowing dress and order Carnival’s Chocolate Melting Cake every night! ha.
You might even order two… they will bring it… just ask my husband. I like what our cruise director Chris said on the first formal night: Be sure to wear your good outfit on the first formal night because you might not be able to wear it by the end of the trip!
11. Formal night is really not that formal.
Business casual is fine. I found some really cute inexpensive dresses at Charming Charlie.
12. Be prepared to walk up and down a lot of stairs.
Stairs are everywhere on a cruise ship and also WAY faster than waiting on the elevators. I don’t think I gained any weight from all the food because we walked so much! At least I’m telling myself that since I don’t dare get on a scale:-)
13. Great advice from one of my readers: Bring a power cord to plug in more than one item and a nightlight.
I would add air freshener to that list as well. Sharing a tiny bathroom in a tiny room with your family… you’ll be glad you have it!
14. Get a room with a balcony.
It’s worth the extra money, especially if you have kids who need to nap. I enjoyed reading and napping myself on our balcony!
15. Take advantage of the kid camps. They are SO worth it! Having time alone with your spouse is priceless.
You might also like my other cruise travel posts:
Have you gone cruising with Carnival?
For more information on their ships and booking, visit them at Carnival.com!
Disclosure: This was a sponsored post by Carnival as a part of their Brand Ambassador program. All opinions and photos about the trip are my own. Photos © 2010-2014 LivingLocurto.com