Set to Sail ? Some helpful ship tips.

My first cruise was in March 2019. Although many people provided advice due to their prior experiences, there were many new things along the way. Obviously, I am a photographer. I had BOTH my professional camera AND camera phone with me (99% of the time). As my trip progressed, I posted photos to social media. Many of you commented on the beauty of the location, but, some (too) asked for cruise tips.

Spring Break is just around the corner. Many are planning senior trips following graduation. Summer Break (too) is a busy time for cruises.
Therefore, I hope the information below is helpful.

I will be updating this link (occasionally) with new photos from the trip (to include the two ports from the Carnival Liberty trip to Nassau. Should you have any further questions, be sure to inbox me on facebook at

1 – You need a lanyard (to hold your key card).
It holds your key for EVERYTHING (from getting into the door, the casino, for food / drinks, and more). It also serves as your ‘payment’ at the end (meaning, leave the cash at home).

2 – Faster to the Fun
If you are using Carnival Cruise Lines, I HIGHLY recommend this. It is PER cabin, not per person). Was the best money spent as was first on the ship, first off the ship. Your luggage goes directly to your room while you start to enjoy the fun. Just be sure you have ALL travel documents, money, prescriptions, and the essentials in your carry on — so you can start enjoying the minute your feet hit the ship.

If at all possible, pay these BEFORE Your trip. It lessens having to have cash, to remember if you have tipped, AND I (personally) think it puts your mind at east knowing you have equal the experience each day. Whether you dine in the formal dining room for all three meals one day —> to eating at one of the many burger / sandwich / taco bars … no need to carry cash.

4 – Bottomless Bubbles
This is for unlimited pop, juice, ginger ale.etc. My only advice IF you choose to purchase this … drink worth your value. This might be something I did different (as there are tea and lemonade options ALL over the place).

Best advice is to prepay this (before you get on the ship) (You get a discount). -On a side note, TAKE your own thermos / lidded cup / whatever you drink out of. The cups in the cafe are TINY.

AND, you can choose to purchase a Carnival momento OR simply forgot yours at home …..For $7.50-8 on the FIRST day of the trip, you can purchase at a discount. But, on the second day – they return to $12-14 per piece.

5 – Wine
You CAN take one bottle of wine (750 ML) PER person in your carry on.Just remember to take a bottle opener (they do not have those in your room). You can choose to call for an attendant to come to your room for opening, but, be prepared to tip

Just be sure … to contact your Mobile Phone Carrier to let them know you are going Internationally so they can add to your plan. I am with Verizon … so it added either $1.25/minute for calls OR $10 for the entire day (whichever you hit first). Texts were the same (even if I did not open them). So, the $10 was the best route

7 – Three Plug Outlet
Make sure this item ends up in your carry on. This is a wonderful, easy way to make your cruise a breeze. There is ONE outlet (per room). One in the bathroom (However, it is on the ceiling).

Not only should you take a photograph of your room number to remember your trip, but, a great reminder to get you back to the correct room in between stops. There are HUNDREDS of rooms and many are similar in format. Familiarize yourself with your floor, the side of the ship, and something to help assist in getting you to the correct hallway.
Trust me …. it can be frustrating

9 – Beach Towels
They provide you two beach towels per room. So, you choose whether you take your own. IF you do not bring them back to your room OR leave them off on an excursion, you will be charged.

10 – Bathrobes
These are available ONLY if you ask your housekeeping attendant for one.

11 – Hairdryers
There IS one per room. (It is inside a drawer so it cannot walk off). It isn’t strong in strength — so perfect for a guy or woman with short hair.
I was thankful I packed my own 🙂

12 – GYM and SPA
Most to all of Carnival Cruise Lines have a full gym and full service spa. The gym is free and contains a locker room. Each ship has different spa services. Be sure to check for details once you board. Spots fill up quickly.

Each night (before next day), they leave something on your bed (so you know the next day’s activities) along with some sore of towel animal. It will tell you when it is ‘cruise elegant’ … Some people were in formals / tuxes; others were in summer dresses.

You don’t have to buy, but the one thing I regret most is not taking advantage of the photo booths (professional photographers). Because I took a selfie stick (and it is my profession), I thought it wasn’t important. Hate that I didn’t get that shot from someone else’s eyes.

My Discover credit card doesn’t charge international fees — permitting you contact them FIRST. However, I do know that Visa and AMex charge either 3 or 4% in fees. It is a MUST to contact them, first, before travel so you can know what to expect.M

As you leave the port …. Make sure to be on the MAIN deck (around the pool) as you start to take off. They have a big dance party with a DJ, shoot off party streamers and get everyone fired up for a great vacation. I had NO clue and missed the opportunity for some fabulous photos and videos.

The staff puts on an incredible show with lots of dancing, music and more. They truly are there to give you the best experience and memory possible.

Even if you do not gamble, simply take in the excitement as others do. I noticed some people, sitting at the same machine almost the entire trip. Some won money, others lost money. But, the experience they had was well worth it.


If you are new to traveling abroad or within the United State, please be sure that every time you enter a new area to capture some photos. This was my first time to the Bahamas and one thing on my bucket list what to capture the flag. It just so happened to be a picture perfect day.

If you have access to your phone during your day, a great photo tip is to screenshot the temperatures AT your location. This will help in future years to remember the exact temps (when planning your next vacation)

Since it was my first time on the sea, I was prepared with a trip to my local physician. She prescribed patches (for behind the eye) while at sea. It is advised to place behind your left eye the night prior to boarding -> then to replace every third day.

I will, however, offer some extended advice:
BE sure to wash hands thoroughly after application AND to not touch your eyes for at least 2-3 hours. Some people have experienced blurred vision. I was one of them. It is also advised AFTER you get off the ship, to leave the patch on for 24 hours to get your sea legs back. (I did not listen to this advice and wish I had. The rocking of the boat did not stop for three to four days).

Stay tuned ….. more tips will post soon 🙂

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