Tuesday, August 30, 2011

internet message boards/forums and ettiquette.


If I were to count the number of forums I've signed up to/are a member of, I think I'd be shocked...it's a large number.  Guns, motorcycles, massage, woodworking, cooking, baking, appliance repair, cruising, cars, multiples of each, actually.  I've actually learned a thing or 2 over the years.  Probably the most important thing I've learned:  my thoughts don't always translate into forums well.  Of course it is due to my hand/eye/brain miscommunication;  I'll type in something that is clear to me and think that everyone else will understand it.  But!  they don't.  Let me know if you have that problem, too.

Something I have learned:  there is such a thing as a stupid question, and you should not be asking that on the forum.  For instance.  I started reading thru the thread on "Cruise Critic" called:  Carnival, secret things that they usually don't tell you about.  One question asked many times (keep in mind that there should be no questions here, it is for "secret things that they usually don't tell you about" is:  "what is a lanyard?". 

I must interrupt this irregularly scheduled blog post to state:  I do indeed like my wife.  I also love her, which is not always or exactly the same thing.  I neglected to state this in my last blog post thingy, don't let it happen again!
Another thing that I have learned:  read the entire thread before replying/answering/asking.  So what if it spans 8 years and 178 pages with 20 replies per page.  Read thru the entire thing.  That way you won't look like a dumbass when you ask for the 10th time "what is a lanyard?". 

I've learned to ease up on those that can't spell or insert grammar or punctuation into their posts.  All it does is make me look like an asshole, and I really don't need any help there, most days.  I already smell like one most of the time.  Some people didn't grow up with an excellent school system like I did, didn't grow up with the love of reading instilled, didn't get their full regiment of brain cells, or burned some of them out, or maybe they just don't care....which is the worst of all.

Here's how to enhance your forum experience.


Post an introduction!  Fill out your profile!  You don't have to put a lot of personal information in there, although bra size is always nice to note.  But do put something about yerself there so people aren't wondering:  Who the hell is this jackwagon?

On a huge forum, it can be nice to post a secondary introduction, I'll copy/paste one:  Originally Posted by Sunny AZ Girl  I have cruised before on RCI & Princess but am a Carnival newbie. I have a question that has probably been asked and answered, but the search feature did not give me the results I was hoping for.

This is excellent, as it tells you a few things about the poster:  gives background info, is smart enough to search, offers an apology, too.  Right away, I'm more apt to like this poster, no matter what she asks.  If she'd tell me her bra size, I would like her even more.

I'm on page 135 of that 178 page thread.  I was able to turn off signature files to hasten load times.

If you post an acronym, spell it out unless it is well known.  An example is:  lol, Megan's favorite.  Very popular on the CC (cruise critic) forum is DH, DW, DS, DD.  Also PVP.  And CD, which is not compact disc.

Don't use a thread for secrets to test something.  Don't "bump" the damn thing, either.  When quoting a reply, just quote the relevent portion, no need to have a 3' post.  (this could be applied to emails as well...if you have to send on that funny email...delete all extraneous crap from it first...like all the addresses and >>> and lines of ...................
This CC site has countdown times till the next cruise, and some people have trouble getting them to work.  The roll call thread for that cruise is a perfect place for that.

Still wondering what DH DW DD DS are?  annoying, isn't it.  The D stands for "dear/darling" the other is husband, wife, daughter, son, etc.  Or damn, or dumb/dense/dipshit depending on what he's done recently. 

I dunno if this spell check is working or not, had quite a time making sure everthing after that copied quote wasn't italicized that I'm not sure that bar is working.  BTW, CD is cruise director. 

Stay on topic when on a message board/internet forum thread.  If you have your own blog, you can type about whatever the hell you want.  But a few posts about lop eared rabbits really do not belong.....nor to posts that are "roll call related"  or better off in the introduction section.  If you want to compliment someone on their whatever, send a private message (PM).

If a posting makes you angry, best not reply right away.  You better wait a couple hours.  I try to not post anything but basic stuff after 10.  I don't type anything after midnight.  My brain turns to mush (shit).

If you are replying to a huge thread, that just so happens to be 178 pages, quote the message you are replying to...otherwise....your message may not make any sense.  If you don't quote, then please type enough in yer message so that it does make sense.

Of course, everyone knows ABOUT TYPING IN ALL CAPS, RIGHT?  Makes it harder to read, in my opinion.  But what about those blind people? 
huge font is also annoying, as is a weird colour.  Personalizing your fonts and whatever is good, sets yer info off from others.

Some dope has quoted this: 
Carnival Cruise Tips & SecretsSome will surprise you!
FOOD
· If your dining times are not what you expected, immediately go to the dining room upon boarding & they will straighten it out. If you delay or wait until after sailing, you'll probably be disappointed.
· The dinner menu is on your TV so you can check & see if you like the selections ahead of time.
· Order a second entree or second anything in the dining room.
· If there is anything you want while in the dining room but it’s not listed, it doesn't hurt to ask.
· If you don't like anything they have on the menu, ask them to bring you a steak or a grilled chicken breast instead.
· Any pasta dish on the main entree section of the menu is also available as an appetizer.
· Room Service is free. (2-3 dollar tip is pretty standard)
· Soda Drink Cards: $6 per day for adults & $4.50 per day for children, times the number of days of the cruise, plus 15% gratuity. For example, a soda card for one Adult on a 7-day cruise would cost $48.30. Remember, wait until the Casino & shops open so you don’t have to pay Sales Tax as well (you will automatically have tax applied to the soda card if bought while the ship is still in port!).
· Alternatively, consider getting one card & using it to "buy" sodas for your significant other, but be discreet! As you move through the ship, order one soda at one bar & another soda at the next bar.
· Iced Tea & Cappuccino are free in the dining room.
· Order your Coffee & Danish the night before so when you wake up, you won't have to wait for that first cup of coffee.
· The Pizzeria: If there is a special kind you like, i.e. different toppings than they show in the display case, they will custom make the Pizza for you if the toppings are available. However, it takes about 8 minutes & you will have to take the WHOLE Pizza.
· If you want Orange Juice at any time at any time other than at Breakfast, simply remember the exact place you got it during Breakfast. All they do is remove the label “Orange Juice”, making you think there is none!
· Bring a salt & pepper shaker & a bottle of ketchup to your room for any midnight snacks. It’s quite a convenience.
· When the lights start to dim in the dining room this means Entertainment is coming so make sure you have your camera ready!
· Dessert lovers: When they bring the dessert menus in the dining room ask the waiter for the children’s dessert menu where you will find a plethora of desserts you've come to love like Banana Splits & Hot Fudge Sundaes. Also, you can always get ice cream added to any dessert!
· Ask for a cheese plate from the dessert menu & take it to your room for a Wine & Cheese party on the balcony.
· If you want good Bananas at the end of the cruise you better pick some up at the beginning of the cruise & put them in your fridge. They cannot pick up fresh fruit, so by the end of the week they start looking a little bad.
· Don’t forget about the 24-hour Soft Serve Ice Cream & Frozen Yogurt (both come in Chocolate, Vanilla & Swirled). Check your daily “Capers” for the Sea Days that they have the Sundae toppings available. Also, since Ice Cream is free on board, take a large insulated mug & fill it halfway w/ Ice Cream, a bit of ice, & 2 shots of coffee. Stir well, & Voila, Frappachino!
· If you want to order sandwiches to take off the ship in port, you don't have to order them the night before. Take Ziploc bags w/ you & order them in the morning. You are absolutely NOT allowed to take food off into port, but they only check your bags getting back on the ship. DON’T try to take food off at the end of the week though. You will get caught there.
· At breakfast there is an omelet station, they will fry your eggs to order, all you have to do is ask.
· You can bring a tray w/ food & drink from the buffet to your room.

DRINKS

· For all the deck drinkers - Order all your drinks from the same bar server during the week. By mid-week they usually slip you a free 1 now & again. At minimum, you’ll normally get a little extra “kick” in your mixed drinks!
· Carnival now charges for the cakes it brings to your table for your birthday, anniversary, etc.
· Your only free drink opportunities as of Sept. 2009 are: 1st night at the gift shops for free samples, Captain’s party from 5-8pm w/ Drinks $1 off, last night onboard from 5-6pm for Farewell party, past guest party, and then lastly free champagne will be available at the art auctions.
· Bring a Thermos style hot/cold mug w/ a lid & fill w/ coffee, ice tea, lemonade or self made ice coffee from the lido deck dispensers & ice machines.
· Souvenir Glasses: If you have the souvenir glass you can order any frozen drink as a refill, not just the drink of the day! They do charge you the price of the other frozen drink you ordered, but you get it in the bigger glass. When you place your order say "refill’, it is only $4.95 compared to the original $6.95. If you order the drink of the day in the small glass, I believe you also pay $4.95, but it doesn't hold as much as the hurricane cup. Many people on the first day don’t realize that the “Souvenir Glasses" are for keeps.
· If you order a bottle of wine at dinner & don't finish it, they will cork it & bring it back for you the next night. This is for people who don't normally finish an entire bottle at dinner but don't want to pay the higher price of ordering by the glass.
· Take some Rum onboard & use the free 24-hour punch on the Lido deck to make some great Rum Punches.
· Forget Rum & Cokes. Long Island Ice tea is best Value, best Drink w/ all the Booze they pour into the Glass...Very Good Too!
· Take a flask so you can “spike” your free fruit juice.
· The water aboard cruise ships goes through extensive processing to assure its purity & taste, & is as clean as any bottled water you can buy. If you do buy a bottle of water, refill it from the faucet in your stateroom & keep it in the fridge or fill at dispensers in cafeteria but don’t touch the dispenser w/ the bottle.
· Order drink coupons throughout the year so then by the time your trip comes around the sail & sign bill isn’t so big. To order Drink Coupons go to Bon Voyage dept on Carnival website & they will be in your room when you board. Also, on some cruises you can buy a drink of the day card for $23 (plus tip) that gets you 5 DOD's - & they can be any DOD that has been done (maybe even before). First one is in hurricane cup & the rest are the same amount just in regular cup, or you can have them refill the Hurricane cup.
· With the regular drink coupons, the tip is included. You get 4 coupons for $21.25 so a $6.04 drink is actually $5.25 w/ the coupon... plus many of the bartenders give you want you want w/ the coupon anyway so you can even save more! Frozen drinks run $5.25 to $7.75 Beer $4.75 mixed drinks $5.25 (Spring 2009)
· A Bucket of Beer (comes w/4 beers) is $20.70, including gratuity (prices may have changed!). Many aren’t twist off, so ask them to open only one & leave the rest capped. Bring along a travel can opener & take the extras back to the room for later. Otherwise, they open every one before they bring them.
· Did you know you can call Carnival's Bon Voyage department & pre-order alcohol to be delivered to your cabin? You can order bottles of hard liquor so that you can make your own drinks. You can't order online. It is a little pricey at $40 a liter but cheaper than buying by the drink. Call to order 1-800-522-7648 Monday to Friday 9:00 am –5:30 pm Eastern Time up to 1 week before departure.
· Have an infant? Ask for a whole container of milk from the dining room to take back to the cabin w/ you.
· Kids can order Shirley Temples, Roy Rogers, Cherry Coke & Cherry sprite w/ their Drink Cards.
GENERAL TIPS
· Make sure that your bank & Credit Card Company are aware that you will be out of the country. They won’t it on your account so that you won't be flagged for fraudulent activity.
· Don’t use a debit card for your sail & sign account since Carnival will place a hold on your funds which could turn into a problem. Credit cards offer much more protection or you can use cash instead.
· When standing in a long line to embark, pay the porter to take your bags & that will allow you to "cut" in line - don't forget to tip $3 -$5 per bag!
· For first timers, if you have early embarkation to the ship (before the cabins are ready), proceed directly to the Lido deck for a buffet lunch. This is also the time the bar staff will try to get you started on your bar bill w/ their drink specials (often called a "bon voyage"). However, there are free alternatives like coffee, tea, lemonade, & fruit juice.
· Odd # cabins are on the right; even # cabins are on the left. The higher the cabin #, the closer to the back of the ship.
· On some of the Carnival ships, you can get a deck of cards w/ the Carnival logo at the Pursers Desk.
· The Purser's Office will carry stamps of the different countries that you are going to. You can buy stamps ahead of time so you don't have to find a post office in each port. It makes it much easier to send postcards home from the different ports. Free Post Cards are there as well!
· In the casino, they'll give you a lanyard, as well as punch a hole in your S&S card for you just by asking at the purser's desk.
· If you need Aspirin, seasick pills, or a variety of general medications, check the "0" deck where the waiting room for the Doctor is. There were free samples for the taking in individual packets. There is also a scale in case you need to weigh a suitcase (or yourself!).
· Ask your cabin steward for a foam pad for your bed. It makes the bed very comfy. Don't be afraid to ask for extra pillows.
· Ask for Preference Toilet Paper.
· 2nd night of a cruise is the Captains Welcome & Formal Night, while 3rd Night is Past Guest Night.
· How about a FREE FACIAL? After getting settled into your cabin, go up to the salon/spa area & let someone at the desk know you are willing to be a volunteer for “whatever they need” during the spa tour later that day. I haven't missed a free facial yet, & it's kind of fun to be the model & listen to all the questions people ask!
· Also, check out the INTERNET CAFE for a drawing for free internet minutes (day 1 only)...check the CAPERS waiting in your cabin.
· One of the first things I do is ask my room steward for the use of a bath robe during the cruise. These are usually standard in suites, but if you write your steward a note while you are out to dinner the first night (I always include a cash tip as well) there will be one (or 2 if requested) waiting for you no problem. This saves so much room in my luggage & is useful for the pool/spa visits. Enjoy!
· Bring lots of $1 & $5 bills for tipping cab drivers, porters, & to have the exact change when bartering at the straw markets & stores in port. Contrary to popular belief Crew members DON’T LIKE $2 BILLS! They don’t work in their vending machines.
· Bring quarters for laundry, or if you don’t want the extra w8 in your luggage you can always ask for quarters at the purser’s desk.
· The Mini Bar is full but, if you ask, the steward will empty it for you.
· Send yourself a Bon Voyage gift of champagne & snacks. Carnival does a FANTASTIC job of having it set up in your cabin all ready for you when you board the ship.
· Do walk the entire ship on your first day. It will help you learn where everything is, & will help you discover spots that others never find.
· You can also ask your Room Steward for the book that is in your cabin (a Carnival book that tells you all about the ship), just ask & they may give it to you.
· If your stateroom is cold, call your steward & ask for 2 extra blankets.
· Learn & USE the crew member's names, & smile. They're doing the same for you most of the time, & a little kindness can go MILES. You'll be surprised at the service you can get. Saying "Please" & "Thank You" can work miracles.
· When they push the 2 twin beds together to make a king they just overlap the twin sheets. They will put king size sheets on if you ask.
· Make photo copies of your passport (the inside page w/ all the important info), credit cards, & airline tickets (just print extra’s if they’re e-tickets) & put them in the safe, another set of copies to keep in your luggage under the bed, & one set to carry w/ you in your carry-on/wallet/purse/neck pouch.
· Store larger suitcases after they've been emptied under the bed. It’s a great place to stash stuff you've bought, just make sure to lock your luggage! It's out of sight & you're not stuck tripping over it.
· On the Conquest class ships (not sure about other classes) the couch has drawers built in underneath.
· Casino tips: If you play blackjack, one secret to keep in mind is the Fun21 table - there are NO QUEENS in the decks, Slots are really tight, & your best odds are on the 3 card poker.
· Pride is a Spirit class ship so they have refrigerators in balcony rooms (I've been on Spirit). Triumph is a Destiny class ship & they have refrigerators as well. Paradise is a Fantasy class ship & they don’t have refrigerators in balcony rooms (I've been on Ecstasy, another fantasy class ship & as I know it, only the suites have fridges). I think the Conquest class & Spirit class ships have refrigerators in all.
· A hair dryer is provided in the bathroom (Destiny, Triumph, Victory) or at the desk/vanity in the stateroom (Spirit, Pride, Legend, Conquest, Glory, Miracle, Valor, Liberty, Freedom, Splendor & Dream). Hair dryers are not provided in the staterooms of all other ships.
· The safes operate w/ a magnetic strip. You can use anything w/ a magnetic strip, like a room key, credit card, store discount cards, etc. A good choice is the blank gift cards you find in stores. There is no value to them until you purchase it & have it activated.
· Never put your S&S card (or any kind of credit card, gift card, etc.) into a money clip that has MAGNETS holding everything together. The magnets will demagnetize your cards & you won't be able to get into your room or even buy a drink. At the Pursers desk they can fix your S&S card if this accidentally happens. Cell phones will also demagnetize your cards.
· Cell Phones: Most cell phones have alarm clocks built in so you don’t need to pack a real alarm clock. Call your carrier & activate international roaming, usually about $1 a minute. If you plan on using your cell in ports remember to set it to the ship’s time & don’t forget your watch! Your cell phone is your friend, take it & you can use it when you are in sight of land. My tip: use your telephone for leaving each other messages.
· Don’t sit in the balcony when attending shore/shopping talks because they give stuff away & it rarely makes it past the first 15 rows of the main area.
· If the A/C is not working too well in your cabin (at night when the cabin steward cannot come in) you can remove the vent cover w/ 2 "slides" on each side, & open up the A/C valve all the way so you get better air flow in your room. It also helps to pack a small Fan.
· Dryer Sheets can be used for all types of things: Place halves of sheets in between layers in your luggage to keep clothing smelling fresh & static free, place in drawers, & in the closet to keep the room smelling fresh, rub on skin as a mosquito repellant, etc.
· On some ships, the balcony door frame has a button on the inside of the door frame. When you leave your balcony door open, the A/C in your room won’t work while the door is open. Simply put a small refrigerator magnet over the button & your A/C will continue to run while the door is open.
· If you have a balcony cabin bring a Bungee cord to hold the door open. They also make excellent clotheslines.
· If the port is not a tender port & you are there for most of the day you can come back on board, freshen up, drop off packages, grab a bite to eat on the ship (since it's free) & go back out.
· Always take a white h& towel when you get off at a port. It comes in handy for wiping off your hands after suntan lotion, to get sand off of you, or wet it down to cool yourself off.
· buy an over the door shoe organizer (avail. at Wal-mart for about $5) & hang it over the inside of the bathroom door...it's a great place to put all of your toiletries that would otherwise clutter up the minimal bathroom counter space. Good for holding many other things as well like Cell Phones, batteries, & Cameras!
· If you are traveling to the port from an airport, take the Super Shuttle instead of the ship transport. It’s cheaper, less crowded, & departs more quickly. If you have 3 or more people, it might be cheaper to take a taxi.
· If you fly in a day or 2 prior to your cruise try to find a hotel that offers free shuttle service to & from the airport. It will be one less cab fare to pay while on vacay!
· Flying from an area that is prone to bad or unexpected weather changes like lots of rain or snow (especially in the winter)? Consider taking a flight out to the port a day or 2 early, this way if there is a delay you’re already prepared!
· Buy a beach towel at the first port for cheap. They make great souvenirs & are a lot less expensive than the Carnival one at $22. However, there are 2 beach sized towels for you to use at the pool or for an excursion, provided for you onboard.
· If you don't have clothes on every hanger, be sure you have at least something hung on every other hanger in the closet. That way, they are cushioned, & you won't be kept awake w/ the noise.
· Clothespins are very useful! Use them to clip curtains closed on balconies or room dividers, to hang bathing suits or clothing to the clothing line in the bathroom or chairs on the balcony, or to weigh down the bottom of the shower curtain.
· Bring a flashlight/night-light w/ you for late-night bathroom trips or leave the light on in the bathroom at night (keep the door only slightly ajar so it’s not too bright).
· Happy hour (half off) is in the afternoon when in port.
· Deck chairs unoccupied for ½ -1 hour ask attendant to reassign.
· SHHHHH, this is a secret…Go ALL the way forward on the Upper deck on the left hand side. You will come to a place where there is a door to the left that looks like it only goes to another door. It will be VERY windy when you go through the 2nd door so hold on tight. There is a set of stairs that you CAN go down which leads to a very quiet & not very often used deck. It’s the Balcony decks that offer ways to get here on the various ships. Deck 9 has the best views from the extensions on either side of the bridge
Forward Observation Decks located on decks 6, 7, 9, 10. Exterior stairwells connect 6, 7, 9, & 10. On the Carnival Liberty, there are doors both port & starboard on Lido Deck 9 & on Panorama Deck 10 which lead to forward outside decks. Just keep walking forward down the hallways until you get there & then step outside. It seems that not many people are aware of these places because we rarely have others there w/ us. Great places for viewing when entering or leaving port, but quite breezy when the ship is moving at full steam!

· Make sure, at the very least, that you purchase the embarkation photo. That is the one photo that is sure to have a date on it, & makes a good way to remember all the countless cruises you've been on.
· Don’t buy the cruise video. If you do insist on buying the video, wait until later in the week, when they give you $5 off & 12 free wallet photos. The video would cost $25 w/ 12 free wallets, making the video really only cost $10 (4 wallets for $5). If you’re in a suite w/ a VCR you can make your own, just bring your own blank VCR tape.
· Wait until the last day to purchase your pictures, that way you can choose the best. If you pull them each day, they should hold them for you (at least they will on RCCL), that way you don't have to search through everything for the same pics day after day either! & sometimes they will have discounts for purchasing multiple pics! Have heard of 2 for 1 sales.
· When the ships are in port, look for LOTS of specials to keep you on board!
· Silver Jewelry & Hot Saltwater doesn’t mix well.
· Swimsuits: Bring Ziploc’s to put your swimsuits in for traveling home, this way you don't have to worry about them drying out before you leave! Be VERY CAREFUL of cotton or cotton-blend swimsuits in the Jacuzzis because they are SALT WATER, & hot salt water will BLEACH your suit. The hot tubs are all salt water, except for the one in the gym. Bring at least 2 bathing suits so you never have to put on a wet one.
· When having any service in the spa - tell them up front you already use & have MOST of the Elemis products, & order off the web. They won't try to SELL you to death.
· SUNSCREEN, SUNSCREEN, SUNSCREEN!
1) Take different SPF’s & use them based on your anticipated exposure times.
2) Always take something along the lines of 40 SPF waterproof.
3) Bring Aloe burn gel and/or other sunburn remedy.
4) DON’T underestimate the amount of sun you are getting!
5) Don’t forget to apply it to:
a) Feet (especially if you’re wearing sandals in port)
b) back of neck
c) under arm area
d) anything that is exposed

· Things take FOREVER to dry in the bathroom, so if you have a balcony take along a short piece of clothesline & some clothespins & rig up a line on the balcony. Hang things out there & they will dry MUCH quicker. Here’s a twist on clothes line; we used karabiners to secure the lines & then strung our clothes through the lines, like through the sleeve or pant leg. You’ll never lose any clothes due to wind.
· Post-its are good, or you can leave notes on the door on a white-board; small ones are inexpensive & come w/ magnets on the back & a wipe-off pen.
· Decorate your door & or balcony. Helps you find your cabin from the inside & see it from shore.
· There are several different methods of getting you off the ship in tender ports. On some of the older ships i.e., Elation & Inspiration, they stick a colored dot on your shirt when you meet for your ship booked tour. They let the people w/ colored dots off the ship first. Go to Wal Mart & buy a pad of assorted colored dots. When they are loading the tenders from the ship, get in line & paste your own dot on your shirt. We have gotten off the ship near the front of the line every time. We have used green, blue & orange dots in the past.
· On the formal nights have your picture taken at each of the settings but only buy the good ones. After your cruise, contact Carnival directly & they will send you a photo release so you can duplicate them. Also for the formal nights, the gents can rent a tux & keep it for the entire week for whatever occasion. It costs somewhere around 85.00, which is not bad, although that’s w/ out shoes.
· There are showers in the Spa, these aren't the normal cabin showers, they are like the 'rain' showers that you find in some higher end hotels it’s a great place for a guy to go shower while the wife is using the cabin bathroom for a formal night or something.
· There are steam rooms & saunas in the SPA that people may not realize are free to use, they are separated so men & women can't go together.
· Another good idea is to take some souvenirs from your country or city to give to your waiters, room steward, etc.
· Take a journal w/ you & remember to write each day's events. They are so much fun to re-read years after the cruise.
· After taking hundreds of pictures, hard to remember the details about each picture. Take a small spiral note pad. At the end of each day, go through all the pictures on your digital camera & write the picture number & a comment. Or, if you have a laptop, upload the photos onto your computer & re-name/comment on each photo at the end of each day.
· Take a car ashtray the kind w/ a lid, preferably new (no smell).
· Pack your clothes w/ dry cleaning plastic bags in between; it helps prevent wrinkles.
· Laundry special day is usually the second to last night. They wash & fold a FULL bag for only $15.
· The "gold by the inch" & "silver by the inch" are all plated, not solid.
· Crossword puzzles, trivia sheets, & Sudoku puzzles are found in the library. If you don't see any, go during library hours & ask the attendant for one. I would go early in the cruise because they sometimes run out.
· In the hardware supplies section of Wal-Mart they have this nifty little motion detector light. It comes w/ the 3 AA batteries it needs, & it has an LED light. As soon as it detects motion, it comes on & stays on for 20 seconds after the motion tops. PERFECT for cruising. I was so impressed! It is by Meridan & called "LED Motion Sensor Light". States it uses up to 95% less battery power, turns on automatically when motion detected only in the dark, & detects motion w/ in 15 feet. 30,000+ hours of bulb life. Not bad for less than $6.00!!!
· Book Shore excursions on your own in MOST cases. You will save money & get to see & do more. Check these boards for suggestions; they were all pretty accurate. Ask lots of questions. However, cruise booked excursions do offer peace of mind that should you be late the ship will wait.
· If you own at least 100 shares of CCL stock, you are entitled to shipboard credit depending on the line & the length of your cruise. For a 7 day cruise, it amounts to $100. The credit can't be used for gaming chips, & must be asked for in advance.
· How do you add the cruise countdown numbers on your signature?http://www.geocities.com/quietman01970/maker1.htm
1) Type in your cruise time.
2) Use the "Generate UBB Code" button.
3) Copy the code & paste into your signature

· If booking more than 8 cabins call the Carnival Group department- it’ll be worth it!
· When your voyage is paid in full, go to carnival.com to register & check your booking. You can view your documents & print luggage tags, etc.
· If you ask your room attendant, he/she will see to it that you get a sharps container, almost immediately from the infirmary - you don't have to go there yourself! Thus, not having to put anything potentially hazardous in the trash, causing a possible problem for them. They don’t charge for this.
· For first time cruisers, here's the best tip ever, there will be some things that don't meet your expectations, & some things that surpass them. Someone will get a better deal than you did, someone won’t follow the guidelines, somebody will cut in front of you, & someone will let their kid(s) be unruly. DON”T expect everything to be perfect, it won’t be! If you have a concern write the “Hotel Manager” a letter & forget about it (his or her name will be posted in the lobby by the purser’s desk).
· Don't over plan your day. It's very easy to plan something for every minute you're awake. But you won't make it to everything, & the sun will sap your energy. Plan the things you REALLY want to do, & keep others in mind. If you have been looking forward to the galley tour for the whole trip, you don't want to be too tired to enjoy it.
· If you are traveling to Mexico remember one very important thing. In Mexico they sell tons of sling shots made out of wood. If you have children (especially boys) they will want one. Don’t buy one. The crew will confiscate it the second you try to board the ship as they are considered weapons. The crew won’t hold them for you & they won’t be returned.
· On Paradise: Go to the children’s pool at the back, & go thru the little gates at the top of the stairs on the Port (Left) side that says conference room. This is not a crew area, & it is a nice place to sit & read a book.
· I have been told that if your kids play ball, it's best to bring your own, as sometimes the older kids will monopolize the ball given by the Purser's desk.
· If you are going to Jamaica, something they don't tell you is that US citizens can bring back an extra bottle of alcohol duty free, if it is both made & sold in Jamaica.
· Always bring extra clothes, undergarments & toiletries in your carryon bags (on your return trip home). If your flight gets overbooked they will usually offer you airline vouchers if you stay overnight & take a flight out the next morning.
· Beach Bag Excursionson’t forget to bring your Sail & Sign card, Money, Meds, Kleenex, Moist wipes, small cabin towel, First-Aid kit (packets of vinegar for a jelly fish run in, Bonine, Pepto, Imodium, Tylenol, etc.), Neosporin & bandages, leave-in hair conditioner, brush, comb, hair clip, sunscreen, lip gloss/balm, hat/bandana, sandals, walking shoes, water shoes, waterproof pouches, swimsuit, cover-up, beach towel, bottled water in collapsible cooler (add ice in a Zip-loc for colder or extra water later), 2 Zip-loc bags for wet undies & wet suits, change of underwear, book, sun/reading glasses, Video/Digital Camera & spare batteries, snorkel, mask, fins.
· Get your luggage outside the door early on the last night.
· Everyone in your group should use the same color bright bandannas tied onto the luggage handles. When you debark & go into that large (& I mean large) warehouse area to get your luggage, you will instantly know which pieces belong to you.
· Bring Clorox or Lysol wipes to wipe everything down in the bathroom & cabin, even though it may look clean...you never know for sure.
· Bring 2 or more insulated cups for coffee in the morning, drinks by the pool, or to take on shore excursions.
· Take an extension cord and/or a triple outlet power adapter. It's green & looks like a big cube that has 3 outlets for plug-ins. You can pick up the adapter in the electrical section of any hardware store for about $3. Just make sure it has the ground plug (3 plugs).
· Bring some highlighters to highlight items on the ship’s daily program that you might want to try out…a couple different colors for different people’s activities. Like one for DH, one for DD/DS, & one for you.
· 5 words: DUCT TAPE & CRAZY GLUE. You never know when something is going to break & duct tape fixes everything from taping up a loose hem, to fixing ripped luggage. Crazy glue can be used for broken fingernails, broken heels, etc.
· Put all your valuables in a zip-lock bag then put the bag in your safe. That way when you get ready to leave the ship at the end of the cruise you will know you have everything out of the safe & not have an earring or a credit card "hiding" under the front lip of the safe door. Of course during the cruise, because the bag is clear, you can easily spot what you are looking for w/ out groping around the "dark" safe to find it.
· Bring a blow up Swim Raft for Beach Day. Find a child to leave it w/ at the Beach; they are so very thankful & they are only a dollar at the dollar store
· Pack underwear in gallon sized Zip-loc bags. This way, if for some reason your baggage is checked, the inspectors won’t have their hands all over your clean undergarments!
· go to your bank for cash & ask for new, clean bills to spend & to use as tips...I know from experience that in Mexico they won’t accept old, ripped or any bills that have a mark on them.
PACKING
· Never pack all of one person’s clothes in the same bag. Separate everything equally amongst the bags so that if one bag gets lost or stolen you won’t have to go naked!
· Pack a change of clothes & swimsuit in your carry-on because sometimes it may take a little longer than you thought to get your baggage!
· Ladies, make sure you don't forget your nylons, for they don’t sell them onboard.
· Pack a 9x12" manila envelope w/ a piece of cardboard in it to keep your photos from getting crushed on the way home.
· Take large (1 or 2 gallon) zip lock bags to put things like the Capers & other memorabilia.
· DON’T forget to bring LOTS of Underwater disposable cameras!!!
· DON’T forget water shoes!!!
· Wear the same clothes to embark & disembark, as well as first & last night’s dinners. Wash them using travel packets of Tide (about $1 for 3 at Wal-mart!). Also, try & have pieces that can coordinate w/ other pieces & do double duty. Example: If you take a black pant suit u can wear it w/ a top during the day then add a dressy cami & change the shoes/bag for an evening out.
· Pack bandanas instead of hats…they make it so u don’t have to fuss w/ your hair & are cheaper & don’t take as much room in your luggage. Plus, they come in a variety of colors if you want to match your outfit!
· Put some gum in your carry-on or purse to help w/ ear popping on the flight.
· Bring a mini sewing kit & mini first-aid kit...never know when u might need it.
· Bring some plain white envelopes to stick your credit cards in. Take one envelope & print & sign your name on the outside. Stick the credit cards in the envelope & seal it before putting it into the safe, this way you’ll know they haven’t been tampered w/. Keep the other envelopes in a pocket in your luggage (don’t write your name on them beforehand!).
· Never pack jewelry or prescriptions in your checked luggage! Always bring them in your carry-on. This way if your luggage is lost/stolen you will still have your more valuable items.
· Put a copy of your itinerary into your all your bags. A truly lost bag is unidentifiable. Most bags that go wayward for a while are just routed incorrectly.
· Shoes have holes! Fill them! After wrapping toiletries in zip-loc bags, stick them inside the shoe to save space in your luggage. Then, place shoe in a grocery bag so you don’t dirty your clothes.
· After you've packed everything, take a good look & remove 1/3 of your packed clothes. You can always use the ships' laundry room (if available about $4 a load). No one ever uses everything they think they’re going to need. Besides, who wants to pay over-w8 luggage fees?
CRUISING-A DON’T FORGET LIST (not everyone will need nor want everything on this list)



Ÿ Cruise documents
Ÿ travel agent’s info
Ÿ Passport(s)
Ÿ airline ticket(s)
Ÿ Certified Birth Certificate(s)
Ÿ picture ID(s)
Ÿ personal phone book
Ÿ travel insurance paperwork
Ÿ Prescription Medications (put in carry-on)
Ÿ pill organizer (little jewelry baggies work great)
Ÿ OTC medications: children’s Tylenol, Aspirin, bonine or Ginger root to prevent sea sickness (acupuncture wrist bands don’t work), Imodium-AD, Ex-Lax, Tums, Pepto, Vitamins, Geritol, Zicam
Ÿ Travel First-Aid Kit
Ÿ SPF lip balm
Ÿ Sunscreen
Ÿ sunburn lotion
Ÿ travel size bottle of hand sanitizer & lotion
Ÿ individual packets of "wet ones”
Ÿ anticipatory feminine products
Ÿ birth control
Ÿ extra pair prescription glasses & repair kit
Ÿ travel sewing kit
Ÿ Travel Manicure kit
Ÿ Q-tips
Ÿ RX for antibiotics from Doctor just in case
Ÿ Lysol/Clorox Wipes
Ÿ Palmolive Dish Wipes
Ÿ laundry dryer sheets
Ÿ Tide to go stick
Ÿ Release (may produce a sheen when pictures are taken)
Ÿ sanitizing wipes
Ÿ zip-loc w/ a small roll of toilet paper (for some tours!)
Ÿ lint roller
Ÿ glasses cleaner
Ÿ ear plugs
Ÿ sleeping mask
Ÿ tweezers
Ÿ curling iron
Ÿ hair dryer (if one isn’t available in room)
Ÿ bungee cord
Ÿ Cell phone & charger
Ÿ Calling card
Ÿ Camera, camcorder, batteries and chargers
Ÿ Extra film/digital cards/tapes
Ÿ battery charger
Ÿ disposable underwater camera
Ÿ small camera bag w/ a neck lanyard
Ÿ a Laptop for downloading digital pictures (or you can use most MP3 players w/ a large hard drive)
Ÿ binoculars
Ÿ flat, low power usage, plug-in night lights
Ÿ portable CD player (MP3/iPod, etc.) w/ miniature speakers
Ÿ headphones
Ÿ voltage converter (especially if you want to use an electric razor in the bathroom)
Ÿ Flashlight
Ÿ walkie-talkies
Ÿ post-its or dry erase memo board
Ÿ hanging shoe organizer (w/ pockets)
Ÿ Sunglasses
Ÿ Snorkel gear
Ÿ aqua sox
Ÿ hat (to protect from the sun)
Ÿ Backpacks
Ÿ fanny pack
Ÿ wrist lanyards
Ÿ hole punch to attach cards to the lanyards
Ÿ bandanas
Ÿ poncho
Ÿ windbreaker
Ÿ waterproof sports watch w/ an alarm
Ÿ beach towel (don't want to lose the cruise ship’s onshore, too expensive)
Ÿ rollerblades
Ÿ Ice skates, (for voyageur class ships)
Ÿ cooler for beach excursions
Ÿ Velcro strips (to hold the curtains open)
Ÿ flavored creamers for your coffee
Ÿ insulated thermal mug
Ÿ flask
Ÿ Zip-loc bags of different sizes
Ÿ Extra cable ties & clippers
Ÿ 8 1/2"x 11" cardboard & a big manila envelope for on board picture purchases
Ÿ Translation Dictionary
Ÿ Journal, Diary or a notebook
Ÿ pens, pencils, and/or Crayons
Ÿ waterproof pouches, specifically a “water wallet”
Ÿ box of small dog bones to take snorkeling
Ÿ empty collapsible soft sided travel bag (for taking home souvenirs & other purchases)
Ÿ 2 sided tape to put the cruise pictures up on the mirrors
Ÿ pre-printed labels for postcards
Ÿ door decorations so the kids can find their way back to the cabin
Ÿ word searches, crosswords, coloring books or reading book for the flight
Ÿ Travel munchies & drinks
Ÿ A “pop-up” hamper (5 bucks at IKEA) or take the plastic laundry bag from your hotel room)
Ÿ Bring a shopping list of people you NEED to buy souvenirs forŸ Name tags for any pre-arranged ship board meetings
Ÿ buy some good luggage tags & TSA approved locks




Before you go don’t forget to:



Ÿ Leave a copy of your itinerary w/ cruise line phone number for family or friends in case there is an emergency
Ÿ Stop the newspaper
Ÿ Stop the mail
Ÿ Get everything dry cleaned
Ÿ Make sure prescriptions are filled
Ÿ Get traveler's checks
Ÿ Send out b-day/anniversary Cards
Ÿ set up your out of office assistant on your outlook
Ÿ Make sure you line up someone to feed the pets
Ÿ turn the answering machine on & the volume down
Ÿ Wash the dishes (trust me you’ll be thankful when you get back!)
Ÿ If you're taking the kid's out of school, make sure to notify the school that the kids will be out
Ÿ turn down the heat to lowest level for pipe safety or pet comfort
Ÿ remove perishables from refrigerator
Ÿ set the timed night light
Ÿ get lots of $1’s & $5’s for tipping
Ÿ Make sure the coffee pot is turned off and the garage door is closed
Ÿ Call a cab
Ÿ set the alarm’s on the car’s & the house
Ÿ Make a notation of where you parked at the airport (if you did park there)
Ÿ bring a good attitude, manners & a huge appetite!


Last Changes I heard about

Official fleetwide rollout was Sept 12th.
Your only free drink opportunities are:

1st night at the gift shops for free samples

Now its a Captains party from 5 to 8. Drinks $1 off.
Last night onboard from
5-6pm for Farewell party
Past guest party

Free champagne will be available at the art auctions

And then sometime (quite awhile)  later, some guy posts:


Very interesting! Thank you
 
10 minutes later, he posts: 
 
Thank you
 
WTF????  why waste the time and space/the effort??  No one knows for sure what it is in response to.
 
So, clearly, we're going on another cruise, and wehn we get home we'll probably have to get plastic surgery to remove the smiles from our faces.  Carnival again, same itinerary as our very first cruise...western carrib.  We like to read up on different things, learn what's new, what's going on etc.  That's about all I've got for now...ttyl
 
 
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