[ DINING ] [ ONBOARD ACTIVITIES ]
[ SHORE EXCURSIONS ] [ CHILDREN'S ACTIVITIES ]
- You will undoubtedly have multiple choices in dining. The usual lineup includes the traditional dining room with multiple seatings (check your keycard or cruise documents for your assigned table and time), buffet, grill/pizzeria, and on larger ships an alternative such as a reservations-only specialty restaurant for which there is a cover charge. (usually around $20.)
- You will find your dining room seating assigment and time either on your keycard or on one of your cruise documents. Your seating preferences were requests only, not guarantees-- however, if you must change them, see the maitre'd the first day of the cruise. He or she will TRY to accomodate you.
- Formal nights: see [ Pre-Cruise Prep ] for packing suggestions and comments.
- Room Service is included in the price of the cruise. I find it particularly pleasant to have breakfast in my cabin, especially if I have a balcony. All ships have a limited 24-hour room service menu. If you miss dinner in the dining room for whatever reason, many times the kitchen will let you order from the dining room menu and have it sent to your room. (you must do this by the end of the second seating, though.)
- Read your daily newsletter which is delivered to your cabin in the evenings! You will also find the next day's activities, dining, and entertainment venues listed along with shore excursion info, specials, and other pertinent information. I cannot stress enough the value of the newsletter, as it will keep you informed as to how things operate and any changes that have occurred. Also, you may miss some very important information regarding policies and procedures.
- Sample activities: wine tasting, cooking demonstrations, bingo, karaoke, trivia game, cards, art auctions, pool games, casino tournaments, movies, production shows, lounge entertainment, spa services, yoga, pilates, aerobics, weight training. *[ Sample activities newsletter from a day at sea ]
- Pools: Most are chlorinated salt water. If it is a full ship, you may want to get out to the pool deck early to get a choice of lounge chairs. Many ships have a band playing outside during the day, so if you like peace and quiet, try going up a deck or two. There are usually plenty of open deck chairs out of the way from all the hubbub. Towels will be provided. Please do the right and courteous thing by not "reserving" your lounge chair by placing a towel or other object, then walking away for hours. This is highly discouraged by the cruise ships, and many times will not be tolerated. FYI, most outdoor pools close at night.
- Finding a quiet shady place: If you want to find a quiet place to sit or lounge, here are a few suggestions. Most ships have at least one "promenade" wrap-around deck, and/or deck space on the stern of the ship. These teak decks often have lounge chairs and small tables placed at intervals. Sometimes there are dining seating areas open all afternoon which have outdoor seating, or large windows. A favorite of mine is the ship's observation lounge. It's usually empty during the day, unless the ship has an activity planned for this space. The card room and library are also good bets.
- Spa and Fitness: All mid- to large ships have an extensive gym and spa area. Sometimes you will also find an adults-only jacuzzi or a special mineral bath pool located inside the facility. Yoga, aerobics classes, personal training, free weights, fitness machines, treadmills can all be found here. The spa offers salon services, massage, and an entire array of body therapies. Prices are high, and do not let the staff pressure you into buying their products.
- The million dollar question: Do you buy the ship's excursions, use a local tour guide, or venture out on your own? The answer: It depends. This is another area where Cruises By Kate can help you decide, as there are many more things to consider in this area than the space here allows. Here are some instances where you may want to use the ship-sponsored excursions:
- The ship docks far away from any decent activity within walking or cab distance.
- You want to do an activity that would be more expensive or complicated to piece together on your own.
- When you are afraid of running late getting back to the ship in time.
- You do not have much traveling experience.
PROS: The ships excursions hit the major activities the average tourist would like to do. You don't have to do any planning on your own, and sometimes can save you money in the long run. You have the convenience of charging it to your shipboard account, and if the activity runs late, they hold the ship for you.
CONS: The ship-sponsored shore excursions are usually more expensive than going it alone. You will be in a medium to large crowd of people all going to the same place. There is a lack of freedom; you can't change your plans midstream.
CHILDREN'S ACTIVITIES: [ visit or Families and Groups page ]