I just recently took a cruise. My first cruise to be exact and there are a few things I wish I knew before I went. So I figured for anyone who is about to take their first cruise I would give you a list of things you need to know before going.
Mike won a 4-day cruise to Costa Maya Mexico from 102.5 the bone our local radio station. We both filled out the contest form almost a year ago in John Smith’s sandwich shop in Welsey Chapel. It was for the Mike Calta Show and he called it the Calta Cruise. We hadn’t heard anything about it so we thought we didn’t win and forgot about it. Until Mike got the call from Mike Oliveria at the beginning of February. So we had a month to get everything in order to head out March 10-14th on Royal Caribbean’s Brilliance of the Seas.
Me being me I did a bunch of research to prepare and I still didn’t feel prepared. There are just things you don’t know that apply to you until you are on the ship. So these are mine…
Join a roll call Facebook group
The first thing I did was find a Facebook group for the Brilliance of the Seas Fans in that group that makes sub-groups for specific cruise dates. So you can chat with people who will be on the same cruise as you. So I ended up joining the group Brilliance of the Sea March 10th 2022. It is a great place to get advice, find out specific things for your cruise, and make some friends before you get on the boat.
Comfort over Trendy clothes
I spent so much time trying to find the “perfect” cruise wardrobe. What I can recommend is don’t pack a short sundress. I heard from so many women on the cruise and experienced it myself numerous times. The wind is a force to be reconned with… Our dresses flew up and wanted to expose our lady bits to EVERYONE. Stick with Long skirts or maxi dresses. Be careful with crop tops too. I flashed my bra to some people twice. That wind man… humbles a person real quick. After the first day and a half, I switched quickly to shorts, workout pants, and long t-shirts. LOL
Pare down your clothes
This I learned from our first road trip where I packed WAAAAAAAYYYYYY too much and ended up not using or wearing half of the shit I packed. My trick is to leave your suitcase open on the floor and every time you ‘think” you want to bring something… throw it in the suitcase. 2 days prior to leaving create outfits that can be mixed and matched while on your cruise. Leave everything else that you are “debating” about. If you are debating about it now, you won’t use it on your trip.
Break-in your new sandals
I use to live in sandals in my teens well into my 30s but as I got older I needed better support. So I have been strictly sneakers or well-cushioned slip-on shoes. I knew I wanted cushioned sandals to wear on the ship as well as at the pool at the Mexico port. Stupid me should have worn them before I left.
Not even 5 minutes passed and I had to take my new sandals off because they started rubbing on one of my toes on each foot. Thank god I packed a mini first aid kit with band-aids. I didn’t have scissors but I did have a little facial razor for that unwanted PCOS hair. I cut the sticky pieces off of the bandaid and wrapped them around the toes part of my sandal and put another piece on my raw toe. BREAK-IN YOUR SHOES BEFORE YOU GO ON VACATION!
Buy motion sickness meds
But also speaking of that mini first aid kit. On my list of things to buy before I left was motion sickness medicine. I said forget it thinking I would be fine. In reality, I was for the first 3 days then we were in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico with 12-15 foot waves. The cruise ship put out barf bags on the railing of the stairs. I headed down to their shops to buy some motion sickness meds for 20 dollars. It is 5.58 at Walmart… Lesson learned.
I thought the formal night was just a nice dress for me and nice pants and a shirt for Mike. Nope… Formal night is FORMAL. Think of any red carpet celebrity event and dress like that… I did not have a dress like that.
If you don’t know if you go on a 4-day cruise you will have at least 1 formal night. If you go for a 7-day you might have 2 formal nights. You don’t have to participate but the main dining might not let you in at your assigned dinner time. Mike and I did not participate we just dressed comfortably and had dinner at the buffet.
I bought what I thought was a really good corkscrew for our 2 bottles of wine we brought in our carry on but when we went to open our wine… That corkscrew sucked and I bought it just before we left for 7.99 at a convenience store.
What makes for a great story now is that the corkscrew broke halfway through opening the bottle. Mind you we did not get the cork out the slightest bit. The corkscrew left a hole in the cork so we proceeded to use my makeup brush handles to make the hole bigger. We went through every size thinking the hole was big enough to pour out of. In which it was not. We called our room attendant and asked for a corkscrew.
While we waited we still worked on the bottle and eventually after making the hole big enough to get drops out… somehow we pushed the cork inside the wine bottle but we didn’t care as long as we could pour the wine. Since we couldn’t recork it to put it in the fridge… We pour 2 really big glasses and what little was left in the bottle I chugged like a shot… Classy I know.
Start the MANDATORY safety protocols while waiting at the port
After you do the check-in at the port they may have you wait in a waiting area. Make sure you download the app for your ship and do the safety protocols while you wait. We had to watch a couple of videos on life jackets and what to do if we were in our room or out and about on the ship if something happened.
The only thing we needed to do when we got on our ship is to find our muster. The place we would go in case of an emergency. For an hour and a half we were on the boat waiting to set sail they kept making an announcement over the speaker for EVERYONE to complete the MANDATORY safety protocols. They will take your luggage and WILL escort you off the boat if you don’t complete them. Just do it and as soon as you get on the boat…
Follow the signs to find your muster
Follow the little signs above your head to find your muster. The app will tell you where yours is at. Ours was U15. After getting a little lost we asked for directions and they pointed us in the right direction. The person who is waiting at your muster will either ask for your room number or will scan your boarding pass. THAT IS HOW THEY KNOW YOU COMPLETED YOUR SAFETY PROTOCOLS. That person marks you as completed.
This is half the list I came up with. I didn’t want to make this too long. Next week I will be posting Your First cruise: 8 more Tips You Need To Know. I hope these helped and definitely wish I knew them before taking my first cruise.
If you are a seasoned cruiser what is one piece of advice you would give someone taking their first cruise? Leave a comment below with your advice!
Until next time, Have a great day! Remember you are a badass!