First-time Cruise Do’s and Don’ts

  • DON’T pay for the perk to board the ship early. Instead, DO schedule your embarkment time for the earliest time available. Most cruise lines start boarding at noon.


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We were at the port at 11:30 and on this ship by noon!


  • DON’T look like a pack mule on a long walk from parking, DO use the valet service, and give a tip.
  • If paying for WiFi, DO download the cruise line’s app, BEFORE the ship sails. There is a map of the ship, onboard activities with notifications.
    • DON’T pay for the ship’s chat service. Use Snapchat, iMessage or other services.

      Cruise app provides daily activities
  • DON’T eat at the buffet on embarkation day, it is a madhouse! DO eat lunch in the dining room!
  • DON’T even try to go to your cabin until it’s time.
  • DO check your onboard spending account. DON’T be surprised on last day!
  • DON’T skip muster – Muster is not optional. They red flag guest cards that didn’t attend, and they will find you. Do you want to be told to report to guest services as you are trying to enter the dining room for dinner?
  • DO check for first-day duty free deals on alcohol. This is the cheapest it is going to get. DON’T expect to see the bottle until disembarkation day.
  • DO unpack – Hang everything up so the wrinkles can loosen.
  • DO watch the ship approaching the ports.


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My family watching the ship dock in Nassau


  • DO order room service. It is free – DON’T forget to tip a dollar or two.
    • DO have a carafe of coffee delivered to you in the morning.
    • DO order milk and cookies before bed!
    • If seasick DO ask room service to bring you green apples and bland crackers (crewmembers swear by this)
  • DON’T expect an iron in your room. DON’T try to iron your clothes one hr before dinner, the lines are horrible.
  • DON’T tip for alcoholic drinks – gratuity is added.


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You have already paid gratuity don’t retip


  • DON’T order the soda plan for every person in your room. The plan can be added to individuals.
    • DO bring CANNED soda’s- 1 twelve pack per person.
  • DON’T buy the alcohol plan if you won’t drink more than ten drinks a day. Drinks cost between $7 and $10.  Do the math pick the best option.
    • DO bring a bottle of wine. (1 per person)
    • DO buy an entire bottle of wine rather than several glasses – Wait staff will even mark the bottle and send it to your room later or save it for next night’s dinner.
    • DO buy the entire bottle of alcohol at the bar for around 70 bucks; it is cheaper than buying shots or drinks.
  • DO have breakfast in the dining room, the food is better than the buffet
  • DO order more than one appetizer, entrée, or dessert at dinner.
  • DO try the chilled soups such as strawberry bisque.


2018-01-09 10.37.59
Also try the Vichyssoise, cucumber, watermelon and mago soups!


  • DO ask about booking your next cruise while onboard for considerable discounts or perks.
  • DON’T get in the hot tubs. It is people soup!
  • DO jump in the pool. The hot tubs are not drained and scrubbed every night, but the pools are.
  • DO see the sunrise.

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  • DO sing-a-long in the piano bar
  • DO play a round of BINGO!
  • DO try new things, like a comedy club act, yoga, line dancing, or escargot.


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Escargo is actually pretty good once you get past the metal image.


  • DO see the copious amounts of stars visible at night.
  • DO NOT GO MISSING. True Story: 3 A.M. the intercom in every cabin squelched “Hannah Morelli please call guest services” The same message every thirty minutes until 5 AM when the captain announces, “a guest is missing and a search of cabins will begin”. At 5:15 our cabin was searched. At 5:17 A.M. stupid Hannah Morelli was safely found. Hannah Morelli was officially on 2500 people’s $h17 list.
  • DON’T have your photo made if you don’t want to pay $20.00 per sheet.  DO have someone take your photo with your phone.

2018-01-05 20.33.09

  • DO NOT sit on the rails or climb on life rafts. On our last cruise, a girl passed away from a fall.
  • DO get to know the crew members. Many of them are away from their home country and would love to talk about home.
  • DON’T miss out on fun opportunities such as dance parties, trivia, contests or sing-a-longs.


Name that Tune – sing-a-long with cruise director and 500 of our new friends.


  • DO leave your bags outside in the hall on your final night to have them picked up  and taken to the hull for disembarking. Otherwise, you have to haul your bags around the ship until you disembark.
  • DO NOT argue if you are “red flagged” by customs. They randomly flag about every 30 people. While you may think it is an inconvience, they pull you aside, collect your bags, and usher you to the front of the line. They do search your bags, but it is faster, you don’t have to pay for valet, and they haul your bags.
    • DO make sure you bring medication in original bottles. Customs can confiscate it.
    • If you are carrying any drug paraphernalia, it will be confiscated. Even that funny bong you bought.
  • DO allow the valet to grab your bags while standing in the customs line. They zoom you to the front of the line for the price of a tip!
  • DO have your passport ready when approaching the customs agent. The line is very long, and the better people are prepared, the sooner you’re through.

DO Keep the Lust for Wandering Y’all,

The Hamptons




One thought on “First-time Cruise Do’s and Don’ts

  1. On Carnival, at least, the drink package isn’t $70 a day, it’s $55. So it’s definitely worth the money if you are having at least 5-6 drinks a day. And their pre-board package is worth it to me…I like having my room ready when I board.


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