Going on a cruise in a week: any tips or advice?

I’m going on a 4 day 3 night cruise to San Diego, Catalina Island, and Ensenada, Mexico with Royal Caribbean on the Monarch of the Seas.

Any general cruising tips/advice or about the destinations?

I’m 18 btw, so I won’t be drinking or gambling.

I’m going on the same cruise in 2 weeks. Save me some dessert ; )

San Diego Old Town is fun. Catalina is beautiful. I’m taking the scenic drive excursion this time, maybe the submarine tour. The glass bottom boat tour is excellent for the cost. Ensenada is pure south of the border. I have done the blow hole, winery and city tour. When I first did them they were combined, all for $25. Now they are separate. Just remember to tell the hawkers on the streets "No, gracias" and keep walking. You’ll be fine and have a great time.

Technorati Tags: Going On A Cruise, going on a cruise in a week, night cruise


  1. Lizzy says:

    this is the best thing i can tell you:

    don’t talk to many people onboard.
    making friends is cool, but spending all your time with them isnt.
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  2. Tony says:

    I’m going on the same cruise in 2 weeks. Save me some dessert ; )

    San Diego Old Town is fun. Catalina is beautiful. I’m taking the scenic drive excursion this time, maybe the submarine tour. The glass bottom boat tour is excellent for the cost. Ensenada is pure south of the border. I have done the blow hole, winery and city tour. When I first did them they were combined, all for $25. Now they are separate. Just remember to tell the hawkers on the streets "No, gracias" and keep walking. You’ll be fine and have a great time.
    References :

  3. Joshua R says:

    You will have to do a lot of tipping. Most of it is obvious but don’t forget your room steward, he will be your personal buttler. The tours can be cool especially if they are adventure oriented / scuba, boating, or hiking. Try and get way from the rest of the guests during shopping excursions it will probably save you a few bucks.
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  4. private says:

    With all the germs on all the handrails and door handles.
    "Wash your hands often, too many people in confined spaces
    are getting sick. I hear it every week on the news. <}:-})
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  5. Cookies4U says:

    Packing: Clothing

    Most ships have exercise facilities and classes. If you plan on working out, don’t forget gym clothes and shoes.

    Some cruises travel through multiple climates. Make sure to pack accordingly.

    Life aboard a cruise ship is generally laid-back and casual. Pack for comfort.

    Footwear should include walking/running shoes and, if you’re headed someplace warm, sandals.

    Even when cruising warm weather destinations, consider packing a sweater/sweatshirt, water repellant jacket and hat.

    Though most dining areas on larger ships have a dress code, not all do. Options outside of the main dining room, such as a pizzeria or buffet, will generally allow t-shirts, jeans and shorts.

    When the dress code for a dining area is described as "casual", plan to dress in "golf" attire. T-shirts, jeans and shorts are not allowed.

    When the dress code for a dining area is described as "informal", plan to dress "business casual". Women generally wear dresses or pantsuits, while men usually wear lightweight jackets.

    When the dress code for a dining area is described as "formal", women should be prepared to wear cocktail dresses or gowns, while men should consider wearing business suits or tuxedos (though not required).

    Most ships that have formal events offer tuxedo rental onboard, eliminating the hassle of packing one.

    Almost every ship has laundry service (including dry cleaning), but the tab can add up. Consider bringing a small amount of detergent for washing clothes in your own cabin.

    Most ships have powerful air conditioning. A sweater or sweatshirt may come in handy.

    Packing: Necessities

    It’s easy to forget sunscreen and sunglasses with all the excitement of an upcoming cruise. Be sure to pack them if you’re traveling to a sunny destination (including Alaska).

    Bring a camera. Don’t forget extra film, memory cards, batteries, charger, etc.

    Never pack your passport, visa, license, medications, cruise documents or airline tickets in checked luggage. Keep such items with you.

    If you take prescription medication, be sure to pack enough for the entire voyage. Ships tend to only stock general medications and ports may what you need.

    Pack a written list of your medications, including the name of the drug, dosage and times taken, in case they are lost.

    Items to pack in your carry-on bag include: perishables, liquor, cash, credit/debit cards, jewelry, business documents, travel and health insurance information, laptops, computer disks, cell phones, cameras, binoculars, film, videotapes, CD’s and cassette tapes.

    Bring credit cards and travelers cheques instead of large amounts of cash.

    Packing: Luggage

    It’s wise to use hard-sided luggage. Garment bags with hanger hooks protruding from the top may snag and do damage.

    Put a card with your name and address inside your luggage as well as on the outside

    Once Onboard

    Thousands of pieces of luggage come onboard at roughly the same time. Don’t panic if your luggage isn’t in your cabin when you arrive. It may take a few hours to get to your room.

    Two-way walkie-talkies are a great way for family members to keep in touch while onboard the ship. If you don’t have your own, many ships rent them for the duration of the voyage.

    Many ships sell an "unlimited soft drink" cup for kids. If you’re traveling with young ones, this can be a wise investment and save you some significant cash.

    The staff onboard your ship are an invaluable source of information. Most have visited your ports dozens of times. Ask your cabin stewards, waiters, etc. any questions you may have.

    Plan to spend an average of $10 USD to $15 USD a day for tips.

    Plan on giving gratuities to waiters, headwaiters, shore guides, spa and salon experts, cabin stewards and other staff who display exceptional service.
    Cruise lines vary in how gratuities are handled. A few cruise lines include tipping in the total cruise price or have a “no tipping” policy, and will inform you. Others will automatically charge your tip daily to your onboard account (you can usually arrange to have the amount adjusted), while other cruise lines have you tip in cash at the end of the cruise via envelopes provided by your cabin steward. Here are some general guidelines as to who usually gets a tip, and how much:

    In addition to the amounts listed below a 15% gratuity will be added to any bar purchases. A good rule of thumb is that you will tip about $10 per person in your cabin per day of your cruise. For example, if you are on a three-day cruise and have two people in your cabin you would pay $20 per day, or $60 total in tips.

    Here is a general breakdown: Wait Staff / Restaurant: about $5.50 per day (Head waiter $3.00, Bus Boy $2.50). Cabin Staff (Cabin Steward): about $3.00 per day. Other: about $1.00 for the following – Alternative Dining Charge, Restaurant Manager, Maitre d’, Chief Housekeeper.

    Plan for about $2.50 to $3.00 per person per day for your room steward and dining room waiter, and about half that amount for your busboy. Other ship personnel can be tipped for special services at your discretion.
    Some recommendations include $1.50 per person in your party to your assistant waiter, and a total of $2.50 per person for your headwaiter on three- and four-night cruises. For seven-night and longer cruises, headwaiter gratuities are at your discretion. Double-check that bill. Many lines add a 15% gratuity automatically to bar, beverage, wine and deck service tabs.

    It’s never wise to leave valuables out in the open in your cabin. Lock them in your luggage or see if the ship has a safe.

    Many cruise lines offer in-cabin babysitting. Take advantage of this service.

    Learn the exit route from your cabin to the open decks, in case of emergency.

    Sign up for spa services, sporting events, salon appointments and other activities as early as possible.

    In the unlikely event that you book an air/sea package and your luggage does not arrive, the airline is responsible for delivering it to the next port. Give the airline an itinerary and a list of port agents.

    If you have any issues with your cabin, report them immediately.

    Though not all ships offer tables for only two dining, yours may. If it’s your preference, ask if your request can be accommodated when being seated.

    At first, you may wish to carry the deck plan with you. Take a walk and familiarize yourself with the layout of the ship, and learn how to reach your cabin from the main stairways.

    Items that are not included in your cruise fare may include: alcoholic beverages, soft drinks not consumed at dinner, laundry, phone calls and casino gaming.

    Got your eye on that something special in the onboard mall? Resist the urge to buy until the last day of the cruise. Many items inevitably go "on sale".

    Shore Excursions

    Shore excursions can book up fast. If you haven’t booked them before you depart, think about doing so as soon as possible after boarding.

    Remember to budget for shore excursion expenses. Excursion prices can vary greatly depending on your port of call, cruise line and activity.

    If you are elderly or physically challenged, check with the cruise line to make sure all the ports can accommodate your needs.

    If you’re concerned about the drinking water and food onshore, ask your cruise director or physician for recommendations. In certain ports, some items (particularly water) may be off limits.

    You’re never obligated to take an organized shore excursion. To explore a city more in depth or see something not included on an organized excursion, consider exploring on your own.

    If you explore on your own, you may not be covered by your ship’s insurance. It’s wise to check the details of your ship’s policy beforehand.

    If you explore on your own, keep an eye on your watch. If you miss a launch, you’ll have to meet the ship at the next port, at your expense.

    During a shore excursion, always carry identification, the name of your ship and its docked location. Bring a photocopy of your passport with you as well.

    Leave valuables, excess cash and unneeded credit cards aboard while on shore excursions


    At the end of the cruise, you will receive a bill for signed items. If extra charges appear, ask to see all the charge slips and get a copy of a modified bill.

    If your cruise is less than satisfactory, inform a cruise line representative as soon as possible

    This is an easy port to explore. It’s about a 20-minute walk from the dock to town, and shuttles are available for $3 roundtrip. Most shops and restaurants are along the same street, Avenida L�pez Mateos. It’s a town for rambling, stopping in a cantina, enjoying some fresh seafood.

    Since there’s not a lot to do in Ensenada itself–unless you want to spend the day downing margaritas and beers and then shopping for stuff that might look really great after a few drinks–I’d recommend adding an excursion.

    One of Ensenada’s most popular attractions is La Bufadora, a natural "blowhole" south of town. If tidal conditions cooperate, the water can splash up to 75 feet in the air.

    After an unhealthy dose of the mainland’s soupy smog and freeway gridlock, you’ll appreciate an excursion to Santa Catalina Island with its clean air, crystal-clear water, and the blissful absence of traffic. In fact, there isn’t a single traffic light on the entire island. Conditions like these can fool you into thinking that you’re miles away from the hustle and bustle of the city, but the reality is that you’re only 22 miles off the Southern California coast and sti
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  6. Linda S says:

    I hear you may want to shop souviners in mexico..
    The boat is a vacation in its self you may be able to gamble or buy pictures and souviners.
    Some people like to order Cigarettes when they hear you are going… You may buy two cartons and take one pack out of the one carton because that was the limit.
    Save a little money to tip bus drivers and people that clean your room. Enjoy to the Max because soon it will be a great mempry… Take plenty of pictures and if you do an under water sea excursion it it really worth it to invest in the underwater camera that is disposable..
    have fun….
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  7. kernis_h says:

    take advantage of the ice cream machines scattered around the ship! its all free!!! 🙂
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  8. teacher4ever says:

    do not drink too much alcohol and stay away from the edge of the ship. there has been a lot of casualties lately
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  9. Em8279 says:

    Just have fun! Cruises are SO much fun.
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