Carnival Cruise Line passengers share crucial advice for fellow cruisers

In many cases, cruising gets better as you do it more. 

There’s a lot of nuance to maximizing your cruise experience. Your cruise preparation actually starts the second you pick which cruise to book. And once you do that, you need to learn all the little things that maximize your vacation.

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That list involves everything from packing the right things to deciding about aspects like drink packages, internet services, excursions and specialty dining. 

It’s not always easy to fix a mistake that you make before boarding. You won’t ruin your trip if you get something wrong, but you can end up having to spend your precious vacation time at guest services or wishing that you had brought something you left at home.

For example, if you forget a sweater or light jacket, you might have to settle for a cruise-line-branded sweatshirt or opt to be a little colder than you’d like to be. 

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Carnival Brand Ambassador John Heald asked his followers a simple question:

“If there is one thing you could tell your first-time cruiser self before you took that first cruise, what would it be?”

His audience responded with more than 800 pieces of advice.

Rolling luggage is essential for your cruise.

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Cruise fans say: Do your homework

Many commenters made clear that doing some work and learning about your ship before you cruise are important matters.

“Plan, research, and plan some more,” wrote Vera Wallican. “Explore the entire ship, review the [Carnival HUB app] daily to know what’s available, and know all excursion options! 

“I traveled with a large group for my first cruise. I only attended our scheduled activities and excursions. I had no idea what I missed until it was too late. Now that I know better, I definitely cruise better.”

Some of Heald’s fans regretted not doing more homework before their cruises.

“Research .my very first cruise in 2011 with bf..thought we was gonna float and sail 4 days didn’t know about stops in port lol,” shared Pamela Griffin.

Many people also stressed the need to stay informed while on board.

“Familiarize yourself with the ship,” Jodi Adams posted. “See what is offered every morning on the hub so you can plan your day and not miss things you want to do. Enjoy yourself. You are responsible whether you have a fun cruise or not. It is what you make of it.” 

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Carnival passengers share cruising tips

Many posters also made clear that you should not let your cruise, and all the things there are to do, overwhelm you.

“Enjoy every moment, but don’t think you need to do everything, every day. Take time to relax and enjoy the experience,” Bob Kirsh wrote.

A lot of people also offered packing advice.

“Don’t pack too much. And you don’t need a tuxedo. It’s not the love boat. But it is the fun boat,” added Alan Mandato.

Glenda Newberry went even further.

“Don’t pack different shoes to go with every outfit. And after packing, remove half of the items from the suitcase, then hang them back in the closet. You can do laundry or pay to send laundry to be done by the staff,” she wrote.

Many people offered the same advice about bringing just the essentials.

“Leave up to half the clothes you think you need at home…shoes? I take the flip-flops I have on, one pair of dress shoes…maybe a dressy pair of sandals for casual dining,” added Linda Spencer Daily.

Many people also urged cruisers to expect embarkation day to be a little difficult.

“I would tell them that embarking is the most confusing and crowded part of a cruise and to not stress out,” advised Rick van Loon. “Things will get remarkably better around 1:30 when people are allowed to get to their room.”

Dennis W. Craig mirrored that advice: “Don’t stress the embarkation. You’ll be on the ship quickly enough and the rest is easy.” 

Related: Get the best cruise tips, deals, and news on the ships from our expert cruiser

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