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We just got back from a cruise with my husband and two of our children. I read and listened to a lot of tips. Today, I wanted to share 6 lies I heard about cruising that I hope will help you on your next trip!
By way of information — we sailed on a 7 day Carnival Cruise Line to the Mexican Riviera out of Long Beach, which we booked with Get Away Today because not only do they price match, they have the best rooms available of anywhere I saw.
We absolutely LOVED the cruise, but there were a few things I’d heard several times that I felt just weren’t true. Hopefully these help you set realistic expectations for your upcoming cruise!
Cruise Lie #1: You won’t feel the ship swaying in the ocean.
Honestly, I am not sure what these people are thinking.
From the minute we pulled out from the doc I could feel the ship moving in the water.
Now, FYI — we sailed on the Carnival Splendor that holds over 5,000 people (3,100 passengers) — so, I am sure this depends some on your ship size.
We chose a cabin on level seven, near the middle where I was told we would feel it the least.
I still felt it.
Now, I wasn’t bothered by it until we turned back towards home (on sea day 3 we turned around towards home). I was grateful for these patches I bought. I tried both sea bands and some ginger candy (the ginger chews from Trader Joe’s) and neither of those helped much.
The patches worked within about 30 minutes for each of us.
I mean, I never wanted to throw-up — but my stomach just felt sour.
Other things that helped:
- Sitting on our deck and getting some fresh air, as well as focusing on the horizon.
- Drinking more water, as I always think hydration fixes everything.
As an FYI, I am NOT prone to car sickness. I can normally do anything in the car without feeling sick. The one other time I felt ill like this was at Universal Studios. So, even if you think you have a pretty strong motion stomach, you might be wrong. Bring the patches. 🙂
Cruise Lie #2: Disembarkation is easy
This is a total lie. Ours was a total mess. I guess maybe people didn’t listen. There was a huge line in the lobby. We finally asked one of the nice Fun Squad girls and said we had faster to the fun and we thought we got to get off easier. She finally found us a way out.
Also, I think if you get a porter after you get bags, you wait less (and they take your bags to the car).
And… a little tip for people who are as dumb as we were
What happens if you leave a bag at the Carnival Cruise terminal?
Yes, we did that.
And they actually called us about it before we figured it out ourselves (which is probably a big blessing). I just had to call customer service, and they shipped the bag to our house for the price of shipping ($37). Yes, it’s not cheap — but better than leaving that stuff in CA.
The process was really smooth — AND I am glad that my bag had a couple of tags on it so they knew who to call. 🙂
If we had been more local, we could have picked it up. Phew. And yes, I am dumb — and yes , at least I didn’t leave a kid. 🙂
Cruise Lie #3: All the food is great!
This is a lie.
The buffet is just about as good as your basic Vegas buffet. Probably a more high end one, but not a Caesars/Bellagio buffet. It’s fine.
The desserts, however, I felt sick every time I ate them. Which is sad, because they look super tasty. Just something about it…
We always tried to eat at the restaurant whenever we could.
The restaurant serves breakfast (or sea day brunch when you’re not stopping at the port), and dinner.
Dinners have many different options, and you can order as much or whatever you like (portions are small, so I got a couple o appetizers many times at meals). I loved the desserts at the restaurant. They didn’t have the after effects of the ones at the buffet.
A note on meals on Carnival Cruise Line:
We chose anytime dining, and I wish we’d chosen the early dinner time. I never felt like our service at dinner was consistent. Sometimes we had people who were great, and often we had people that were… not.
We always ate early — so it would have been nice to have things more consistent and not get asked about coffee and wine every 10 minutes. 🙂
Breakfasts and brunch are always open seating.
Cruise Lie #4: You don’t need to get a balcony room on a Carnival Cruise
Oh man, maybe you don’t if it’s just two of you — but our tiny room with 4 of us. Two of whom were kids who like to be silly and loud quite a bit.
That balcony saved my life.
It was just so nice to GET AWAY FROM THEM.
Also, it allowed some fresh air into our room.
Even though we used PooPouri habitually our room just kind of seemed “stale” — if that makes sense.
The balcony allowed for some fresh air (although you have to stand with the door open — it closes automatically).
Cruise Lie #5: There is always something happening on a Carnival Cruise
I felt like there was a TON happening at night. So much, that I had to choose between my favorites, but during the day things were pretty light.
A LOT of trivia… and a sprinkling of things here and there. It sort of seemed like they expected us to all be drunk and asleep during the day, and then party til midnight.
If you know me, I’m an early to bed early to rise kind of gal. SO, that was kind of sad for me. I do like action, just get tired easily, even with a nap.
I did watch a lot of HGTV though, and I do love that.
BTW, there are only like 5 real channels on the TV — so hopefully you like HGTV, the Discovery Channel or Food Network. Oh, or CBS news. That’s your options. 🙂
And finally, tip #6
Cruise Lie #6: You don’t need Faster to the Fun
Yes, we could’ve done it with just myself and my husband, but faster to the fun gives you SO many perks for under $100:
- You can check in for the cruise faster.
- Your room is ready when you get on board — which means you don’t have to carry your luggage around the ship til’ 1:30 when other rooms are ready
- You get your checked luggage faster (honestly, not sure on that one, I saw plenty of luggage delivered before ours)
- You can use tenders without getting a ticket for it (tickets are free, it just allows you more flexibility).
- You get off easier (as I mentioned, that didn’t quite work as well as we’d planned though).
Anyway — I was a big fan. Since we paid per ROOM vs per PERSON it was a great deal for the 4 of us.
A few other quick lies:
Bingo is SO fun. I’d never played it. It was $40 for some cards and there were only 3 winners in the whole game. Sad… the girls running it WERE fun, the game itself wasn’t really. I actually want to take my own cards next time and just play on our own for no big prize!
You don’t have to pay for anything on board — there are constant upgrades and extra things put in your face. Soda, excursions, bingo — all that costs money!
All cruise dealers are the same — yes, pricing might be similar, but they each have their own pricing structures, and many charge their own fee on top of the cruise pricing. Plus, customer service varies a lot — which is why I picked Get Away Today. Best customer service I have found, they answered ALL of my 500 questions, without even sounding annoyed.
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Katie Clark says
Definitely agree with the swaying thing! We felt that a pretty frequently on our cruise. We really liked the food almost across the board, and the anytime dining – our service was great! But with younger kids, it might be different. Our disembarkment was really easy as well, but it may have been the ship, the port, etc. that makes the difference with that We did a lot of Trivia. hahaha.
Hilary Erickson says
We had a few servers that seemed to just ignore us — and Paige would get restless. I think we had a 90 minute dinner one night, everything took SO long (ordering to 30 minutes).
Much needed info! I agree with so many of these lies. We got a balcony our first cruise and I will never do one without. The food, oh the food. I struggled with the food. I found that the buffet layout was strange too- by night 4 or whatever I just wanted something I was used to eating at home. They had baked potatoes on the buffet that night- but no where nearby was butter or sour cream. I had to wander a ways until I finally found it and was so grateful. Breakfast? I needed my standard Raisin Bran but found the milk at the buffet to be too warm, so the nI ordered milk via room service and kept it very chilled to use for breakfast the next day. Agree with the night time activities as well, more day stuff would be fabulous. My husband and I watched every free movie our cruise line offered on lower activity days. Another thing? I never used the pool once. I planned too but always found them so packed and I wasn’t exactly golden and busting out of my swimsuit like most of the pool crowd lol!
Hilary Erickson says
Interesting — hopefully this helps some people be a bit more realistic. 🙂
Cindy deRosier says
I wouldn’t recommend Carnival for many of the reasons you listed. Try another line and see if some of the lies disappear. I’ve cruised with 6 different lines and they’re night and day, particularly when it comes to food and activities.
Hilary Erickson says
We really DID love it — I just thought some of the stuff we had heard was a lie (and it also made a great title).
We seem to have had a different experience. We did Disney cruise on the Disney Dream. I believe that is one of their biggest ships and it was during the time when the water was very rough and I literally only felt anything one time. I know their ships have lots of stabilizer so maybe this made the difference. We had no issues with disembarking as I feel toward Disney is so well organized. The food was always fantastic whether it was the buffet or any of the restaurants. It was always over-the-top good. Always plenty of entertainment all day long and we were with our high school aged children and they had an absolute blast!
Hilary Erickson says
I also think I am VERY sensitive to movement…. the rest of my family didn’t feel it as much as I did. And I bet Disney is better, you just pay a price for that. Maybe I’ll try it next time!
I agree with many of these “lies” about cruises – it really depends on your cruise line and where you’re at. We’ve found that in the bahamas/carribbean or even in the gulf of mexico we hardly or never felt the boat move. When we did a pacific coast cruise – way different! The pacific is less protected (unless you’re doing Alaska inside passage) so I think the water is really different.
If you were underwhelmed with a the food or service on Carnival – you should try a DISNEY cruise! We’ve been on Princess and Disney and Disney BY FAR surpasses Princess in food quality and service- not to mention the amazing shows! It’s a more expensive cruise but I think all around so worth it.
Hilary Erickson says
We still loved it — I just thought I’d point out a few things that were a bit different….
Rita C says
What patches did you use? I’ve been on 3 Carnival cruises so far and I’ve always felt the boat move. Even sitting down to eat I can feel it. My husband said he barely felt it. I’ve stayed 9th floor balcony twice and 10th floor balcony this last time all mid ship. And we always get faster to the fun. It is such a great investment!
Hilary Erickson says
I link to them in the post ( https://amzn.to/2YJyPfH — partner link). I agree, faster to the fun was a “must!”