November 1, 2011

November 1, 2011
5 Things Not to Do on a First Cruise

Welcome to another day in my life. Today is Tuesday and I hope you are having a safe and great week so far. It is another busy week for Dab the AIDS Bear and me.

My favorite way to travel besides flying is going on a cruise. I have been cruising since my grandparents took me on my first cruise to South America when I was about six years old. For many years, I was taking at least one cruise a year to different locations around the world.

But do you know what not to do on your first cruise? Let me give you a few hints:

Do not overdo it your first day onboard. Most mainstream cruise ships are bigger than you think even if they are not among the largest afloat. Most modern ships are composed of deck upon deck of cabins and public spaces and can accommodate thousands of people. The last thing you want to do is wear yourself out trying to unearth every nook and cranny of the ship before your vacation is really even underway. It is easy to want to see and do it all on the first day but avoid the temptation.

Do not try to eat at every specialty restaurant. Most major cruise lines have made a habit of building multiple for fee specialty restaurants into newer ships (Norwegian Dawn has seven), and while these restaurants can be fantastic, you could end up shelling out a fistful of cash by the time your cruise commences. Plus, you risk missing some of the special items found in the ship's main dining room. During my cruise, I was in such a hurry to start trying out the specialty restaurants that I neglected to realize that Night No. 1 was lobster night in the MDR. I was so sad to miss it and those passengers raving about the quality did not help.

Do not stay in your cabin for hours at a time. While a few short naps are nice (especially if you have a balcony to veg on), if you spend too long of a stretch in your cabin, you’re sure to miss out on some fun onboard activities. It took me a couple days to realize that I was missing things like movies on the big screen, trivia sessions and game shows like "Battle of the Sexes." When cruising, there is something going on every hour of the day, and the only way you are going to have the best time possible is to venture out of your cabin and get involved. That brings me to my next point...

Do not think you are too cool to participate in corny cruise activities. Sure you can sit in your cabin all day or loaf about on the pool deck, but the real fun comes when you dip your toe in the cheesy cruise waters. No, I will not sing karaoke and bingo is not really my thing, but I found that even playing spectator at some of these events resulted in gut busting good times. And do not forget, cruising's much better when you meet new people and these cruise line organized activities are the best way to do so.

Do not forget to be nice to the crew. These guys work hard for your enjoyment. Remember to smile at them and thank them for their hard work. You will be rewarded with personalized service and great conversation. It was awesome to have crew members addressing me by name and stopping in the halls to chat me up at every turn. Be sure to set the right tone from the beginning, and your effort will surely be reflected in your experience.

Hope these tips help you enjoy your first of many great cruises!

Until we meet again; here's wishing you health, hope, happiness and just enough.

big bear hug,

Daddy Dab