Friday, April 30, 2010

Cruise docs have arrived!

Just posting this here since it seems not everyone received yesterday's email. (I didn't again and I have no idea why. I confirmed that I'm on the mailing list, and it's not in my spam folder. Very odd.)


The booking number and link in the email let you complete all your travel documents and print them, your Fun Pass, and your luggage tags from Carnival's site. Make sure you bring all of them with you when you check in, with a luggage tag attached to every bag you have with you.

If you didn't receive the email but your roommate did, that's all you need since your booking numbers are the same. (Maybe not for roommate match; I'm not sure.) If neither of you received the email, you'll have to contact Rose Tours.

Biggest surprise: all assigned seating this year and the concert has been moved back to the theater. Wooo! Aside from having a New Kid assigned as my room porter, I don't know what better news I could have hoped for. Bye bye lines!

Assigned seating will be determined by the time you booked. To put this into perspective, booking numbers started at 1000. This is the number in the first email confirmation you got way back when, not in yesterday's email. Last year, I want to say we were 1300-something, and that put us on the first level in the round booths on the perimeter. Suites receive the first 5 rows and 6E rooms receive the first 6 rows.

(I've wondered a lot about assigned seating over the last several months, and I had not been expecting it to happen. If you think of the ship theater, it seems not at all conducive to assigning seats, and I'm sure the whole undertaking was a complete pita. So you'll hear me saying thanks for this a lot.)

Concerts in the theater means we will be split into groups after all. This has led us to speculate that the shows will be a bit shorter than the normal set list. Enough to make anyone else rethink attending the Fillmore show?

It seemed there was some initial trouble registering for the poker tournament, but I believe that has been fixed. Some others had trouble logging into the site. If you get a timeout error, you will have to wait an hour before trying again. As for me, I could not get Carnival to recognize me as a past guest, but whatever. Probably not a big deal.

Full itineraries to follow.

Printing out that luggage tag makes it seem real, huh? Two weeks from today!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Things to throw in your suitcase (Your full service packing list)

I wasn't going to do a packing blog, but now that I've started making my own list, I thought I may as well make the list here. I'll probably be editing from now till I leave because I'm sure there are things I'll forget.

Organized by category.

  • Three casual day time outfits: sundress, shorts and tanks, etc. 
  • Bathing suits and cover ups
  • Photo op outfit
  • Theme outfits: Casino Royale, PJ party, white night
  • Going home outfit for Monday
  • Thursday night outfit if you'll be in Miami for the kickoff concert
  • Sweater or light jacket 
  • Shoes: in addition to theme outfit shoes, flip flops and/or comfy walkabout shoes
  • PJs to sleep in 
  • Gym clothes and shoes if you're really ambitious
  • Bras and underwear. Make sure you have any special undergarments that go with your specific outfits. (Tangent: I am packing a bra for this trip that has 62 configurations. SIXTY TWO! Men have no idea. On the other hand, I wouldn't want to have to lug around what they do, so I guess fair's fair. Anyway . . . .)
  • Sunglasses
  • Jewelry for each dress
  • Watch (since you won't want your phone turned on)
  • Beach bag/day purse (to hold your camera, sunglasses, ship map, book for pool reading, etc.)
  • Evening bag/wristlet (when all you want is your room key and lip gloss)
  • Hair ties/clips
  • Hat or visor 
  • Make up and moisturizers
  • Hair and make up brushes
  • Make up remover
  • Chapstick
  • Q-tips
  • Flat iron or curling iron
  • Hair dryer
  • Hair products/hairspray 
  • Razor and shaving cream
  • Nail care kit
  • Safety pins
  • Wrinkle releaser spray
  • Tide bleach pen
Bath and body:
  • Sunscreen
  • Aloe vera gel
  • Deodorant 
  • Toothbrush/toothpaste
  • Face and bath soap
  • Shampoo/conditioner
  • Body lotion/oil
  • Perfume
  • Aspirin/Tums/other OTC meds
  • Tampons (let's hope not)
  • Meds you take regularly
  • Motion sickness medication
  • Contact solution, case, and glasses
  • Band-aids
For the cabin:
  • Extension cord/power strip
  • Door decorations
  • Tear-by-hand tape (not magnets) for the decorations
  • Travel steamer (irons not permitted)
  • Flashlight or night light
  • Battery powered alarm clock
  • Post-its to leave on your door/friends' doors
  • Earplugs/sleeping mask
  • Concealed liquor
  • Ziploc bags for wet swimsuits and the like
  • Your @BHCruise project
  • Camera, memory cards, and charger
  • Camcorder/flip cam and charger
  • Walkie talkies
  • Laptop and charger
  • iPod and charger
  • Extra batteries for all of above
  • Electrical converter/adapter, if you're coming from outside North America
In your carry-on:
  • Passport/ID/Birth Certificate
  • Cash and only the credit cards you will use on the trip
  • Airline and hotel reservations
  • Cruise docs, luggage tags, and Fun Pass
  • Tickets to Fillmore show
  • Books for waiting in line and pool lounging
  • Gum/mints
  • Sharpie and anything you wouldn't mind having autographed
  • Anti-bacterial wipes or hand sanitizer
  • List of your friends' room numbers

Whew! And to think I fit everything in a carry on last year! Ok, what did I miss?

Monday, April 26, 2010

Six things to watch out for

A few weeks ago, I posted 15 Little Things You'll Love About the Cruise (it easily could have been 50), but let's take a look at the other side. While this is one of the best vacations you can ever hope to take, it still holds some inherent travel dangers that you'll need to keep in mind.
  1. Unattended valuables. As I've mentioned before, there is only one small safe in the cabins. As a key, you use any card with a magnetic strip (e.g., your sign and sail card). You don't have to use the same card every time, but you must unlock the safe with whichever card you used to lock it. This means if your roommate locked the safe with her card, you'll need to borrow that card to get back in.

    The safes are very small. If I had to guess, I'd say 10"x8"x4". Enough room to hold our passports, wallets, cell phones, and a few bits of jewelry, but definitely not enough for a laptop. Just wide enough to fit the Kindle. If there's anything you can't fit in there, such as a designer handbag for example, think twice about bringing it with you.

    Also -- and I cannot stress this enough -- USE THE SAFE. I learned my lesson on this the hard way, while I was at a work conference in San Antonio. We were staying at a fancy resort, and I went to a reception or some such leaving my purse on the desk. Two days later, when I got to the airport and went to pay the cab driver, I discovered every dollar of cash I had brought with me was gone.

  2. Unexpected charges. Most things on the ship are included in your fare, but not everything. Bottled water is not free. Lattes and other drinks at the coffee bar are an extra charge. Just because a waiter is carrying around a tray of drinks and offering you one doesn't mean they're complimentary. I read one story of a first-time cruiser who handed drinks off a tray to a bunch of surrounding passengers and then found out it had cost him $300.

  3. Unscrupulous passengers/crew. While every passenger on the ship is a fellow New Kids fan, that doesn't mean they're automatically trustworthy. When we get together, though, we tend to let down our guards. For example, maybe you'd ask someone to watch your bag while you jump into the pool for a minute. Chances are they'd do just as you asked, but there's always that one who will lift your iPod before you come back.

    Along the same lines, there are lots of Carnival staff on board. A few may be a bit too excited to be surrounded by 2,000 women. Don't forget your safety. Watch your drinks. Keep an eye on your friends. I don't know of anything disreputable happening last year; I'm just saying be aware, the same as you would be in any club.

  4. Sun. The rays out at sea are intense. There are no trees on the boat, obviously, so no shade.You also get the sun reflecting off the water and hitting you at all angles. At the risk of sounding like your mother, wear sunscreen, drink water, and don't stay out too long in the middle of the day, or you could end up sick with sun stroke.

  5. Local merchants. This may not be an issue on Half Moon Cay, since it's a private island, but some girls got taken for a ride last year by local merchants. They know we're tourists and they try to milk every cent out of us they can. If you get in a cab, agree on a price beforehand so you don't get to your destination and find yourself charged $50. If you book an excursion or buy souvenirs, ask for a lower price than what they originally quote you. If they won't go low enough, walk away. We had wanted to rent beach chairs at Paradise Island, but when the guy wouldn't go below $15/hour, we said no thanks and left. Sometimes when you start to leave they go lower.

  6. Illness. Every summer, you hear of a cruise ship getting hit with a norovirus. The same trip where I got robbed at the Ritz? There was a norovirus sweeping through the resort. Least fun thing ever. Take advantage of the hand sanitizer stations set up around the ship.

    My problem last year was alcohol-induced illness, especially Sunday morning when we had to get up early for the photo op. The boat was extremely rocky that morning, and the combination of hangover + boat rocking was not great. Cruise ships really need to start offering Gatorade.
Miscellaneous news:
  • Last I heard, the wait list was up to #2840.
  • @ColetteBett talked to Rose Tours, and they told her they're hoping to have our travel documents out to us this Thursday or Friday.
  • @NKOTB confirmed my guess that the best door decoration would be one that fit the stated theme. 
If you have your own travel tips, please leave them in the comments. I'm also taking suggestions for blog topics. Don't want to miss anything in the next 16 days (eep!).

Friday, April 23, 2010

Time to get creative! Decorate those doors.

In the theme frenzy, you may have missed the other part of this week's email: info on the door decorating contest.
Theme: High School Flash Back - "Locker" Decorating Contest
Remember how you used to decorate your school lockers? Here is your chance to really show off your vintage NKOTB collection (old & new memories) - Be sure to include pictures of yourself back in the day. Big hair, acid washed jeans, and lots and lots of neon! Raid your scrap books! We want to see you at your first NKOTB concert, or standing by your High School locker with all your NKOTB pix. This is as much about YOU (and NKOTB of course). Get creative! Best-decorated door will win a fabulous prize.
*The cabin door is 22" x 6.8" and is magnetic so we suggest you bring magnets to decorate and hold items in place.
The doors are most assuredly wooden. Bring tape. The blue painters tape works well and won't damage the door.

As for the decorations, people REALLY got creative last year. The theme was similar, but more focused on merch than personal photos. It was so cool to see all the old memorabilia, artwork, and themes.

The girls with the winning submission must have packed a full suitcase of nothing but decorations. The prize was concert tickets.

Here are a few others from last year, posted on ning:

Obviously not everyone followed the theme, but the winning entry did, so if you are in it to win it, go with the theme in the email. I couldn't really do the theme if I wanted to. I have maybe 4 NKs-related photos of me from that time, and one is worse than the other. See? This is the least embarrassing one.
Anyway, Malina and I made our door already and we love it. Plus we really aren't looking to win anything. I can't say more or I'll give it away ; )

What are your plans? Did you design your door already? Are you going to go for gold or make up your own theme? Did you find a secret metal door somewhere on the boat last year?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Themes, themes, themes

Did we all do dances of joy yesterday upon receiving the theme email? Yay, now we can finish shopping and planning!

Here's the email if you missed it. (I did. Mine never came. Anyone else have this problem?)

So where are we standing on each of the themes? Let's run them down.

Friday: Casino Royale
The glitz and glam of Monte Carlo comes to the Lido Deck. Dress to impress with your best international elegance and flair

Fun! Who at some point has not wanted to be a Bond girl? The themes are always 100% anything goes, but to me this says a bit more elegant that last year's dress to impress, which was billed as "girls' night out." Here's an image from the film:
On the other hand, a black sequined cocktail dress is more than I want to pack or wear in a tropical environment, so I probably won't be fully Monte Carlo ready. But I do plan to be classier than the girls' night out theme (i.e., dress that falls at mid-calf instead of mid-thigh). I'm predicting lots of black dresses, up-dos, and dark lipstick. I'm also crossing my fingers it means tuxes for the guys, tropical climate or not.

If the schedule is the same, this should be open bar night. Vodka martini anyone? Shaken, not stirred, of course.

Saturday: Pajama party
Pillow fight anyone?

No description needed. I'm curious to find out if girls will go as extreme with their PJs this year, or if all the photos making the rounds will scare them off. Know this girls: it was effective. Bra + no pants usually got you on stage.

After a full day on the beach, it will be fantastic to slip into PJs. I was really hoping this theme would repeat, so I'm pumped.

Sunday: White night
Better make this one white hot!

Some have asked how dressy white night it. Like all the theme parties, it's anything you want. There were girls in dresses they could have worn as brides, and then other girls were in white denim skirts and tank tops. It all looked good. The really cool part is looking out into a sea of white. You can be as fancy as you want.
Last year I had a heck of a time finding a white dress, but I'm slightly optimistic it will be better this year. Yesterday I was at a huge BCBG store in New York, where a whole wing of one floor was dedicated to white. The saleswoman said white is the big color this year. Lots of options!

Can't wait to hear your thoughts. How dressed to the nines are you getting for Casino Royale? Have you been lucky enough to score a white dress already? What are you most hoping to see at PJ night? Did you, like me, somehow not get the theme email? Please leave comments!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Keeping in touch with friends on board

On Tuesday, I posted about the outrageous costs of using cell phones at sea. Most cruisers don't turn their phones on at all on board, which makes finding your friends quite a challenge. So how do you find each other to meet up?

I won't lie. It's not easy. But most of us are old enough to remember life without cell phones. Somehow we managed to get by then, so we can do it now. Unlike when we were kids, though, we probably weren't going on vacation hoping to meet up with people we'd never seen before.

Things that work:
  • Walkie Talkies. This is the first recommendation on any cruise forum. They will work on the ship, but they're limited to at most four people, and most of them are pretty big. So for a small group of roommates this would work, but overall, walkie talkies probably won't get it done.
  • Setting meeting points and times. I did not do this nearly enough last year. "I'll meet you around the pool later" does not really work, particularly when it's white night and searching a crowd knowing your friends are wearing white does not help one bit. Think more like "I'll meet you next to the guest services desk at 9:30." If you are arranging a photo group before the cruise, set the meeting place and time before we get to Miami. Key point to this method: wear a watch.
  • Post its. Throw a cube of post-its in your suitcase so you can leave notes on your friends' doors about when and where to meet. Or leave a note on your own door about where you are in case your friends stop by. Key point to this method: have a list of your friends' room numbers.

Things that don't work:
  • Room-to-room calling. I can't say this absolutely doesn't work, but it involves both parties being in their rooms at the same time, which doesn't happen often. From what I remember, unlike hotels, there was no voice mail. (Confirmed: there is NO voice mail on the in-room phones. Thanks wizbiff!)
  • E-mail or DMs. As I mentioned in my last post, I never once got my e-mail to load using the ship's internet. This was how I was planning to communicate with my husband and it didn't happen. I ended up calling him on my cell from Nassau. That's not going to work this year, since Half Moon Cay supposedly has zero cell coverage. DMs may work if you are able to limit who is DMing you, but if you're not getting texts or e-mails, it would require signing into Twitter to get them, so you'd have to check in fairly often.
Last year, I way underestimated how tough it would be to find people. It hadn't occurred to me that DMs and voicemail would be off the table. This year I'll be setting a lot more meeting times. If you have other tips or tricks, I'd love to hear them! Please share in the comments.

Custom cruise jewelry

I'm posting this for my cruise roomie Malina. Normally I wouldn't do this, but the jewelry is very cool, and she's offering a discount to BHs!

Jewelry by Kila Rohner or

My cousin hand makes all jewelry. She talks about exactly what she does on her pages. She will custom make pieces based on an outfit or just on perference. She likes to use stones that have meaning or are somehow healing in nature. She is all about the natural. If you have a specific outfit you would like a piece made for, please send her a picture of the outfit and then tell what kind of tones you like if any or what colors you would like in the piece and she will make it custom for you.

Also, she is extending a free shipping offer to New Kids fans. In your order, in the comments section or wherever you can fit it, put NKOTB and she will send it for free. Feel free to email her if you have questions at

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Cutting the cord(less)

One of the trickiest things about the cruise is getting by for three days without cell phones. (In my next post, I'll talk about how to keep in touch with friends on the boat without them, but for now, let's stick with the facts of cell and internet service.)

First things first: your cell phone WILL work on the ship. But think twice about using it. Case in point: Cruiser disputes $28,000 bill for wireless session on ship. And I'm not even going to talk about the in-room phones, which are about $10/minute.

While cell phone rates at sea vary by wireless company, they generally reflect international roaming rates, which can be breathtakingly expensive. On the cruise, your only connection is through the ship's provider "Cell at Sea." This on-board tower works with both GSM and CDMA. Once you are a certain distance from port, they will turn it on.

Here's what I found for calling rates, but don't take my word for it. Check with your provider!
  • AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint: $2.49/min 
  • T-mobile: $4.99/min
Text messages are generally $0.50/each for outgoing and vary for incoming. When the ship reaches port, pricing will switch to the country-specific roaming rate. (The rate for this should be listed on your wireless company's site.)

The problem is, if you have a BlackBerry or other smart phone that downloads e-mails and texts automatically, every time it scans for incoming messages, you are charged as if you are making a call. And some cruise lines charge extra for attachments or photos due to the extra bandwidth they consume. (There are lots of horror stories out there of $3000 phone bills for week-long cruises.) Some carriers will even charge for incoming calls that aren't answered.

There is usually an option to turn off data/e-mail on smart phones, but if you are sending texts, there's no way to turn off the phone service. So you risk the cost of receiving incoming texts and phone calls while your phone is on for you to send texts. I've also read stories of people who had their phones turned off but were somehow still picking up a signal and getting charged for roaming. That's why last time I left my phone in the room safe with the battery out.

But let's say you are okay with the rates and want to use your phone anyway. It may not be an option everywhere. Many people said last year they were unable to get a signal on the lower decks of the ship. And since Half Moon Cay is a private island, there's no cell service there. There's also no wireless there, so it's going to be a several hour stretch of no tweets for those at home.

There is, however, internet access on board. You can bring your own laptop/iPod/iPad/what-have-you or use the Internet cafe. The rates for both are the same: 75 cents per minute. You can also buy blocks of minutes. Last year I paid $24 for 60 minute blocks. There was a minimum charge of two minutes, which was about a minute and 45 seconds longer than it took me to send a tweet. I did not figure this time minimum out till Sunday night.

Cruise ship internet is . . . not the best. For one, it takes a good minute to get logged in and do anything. Once you're in, you can use it for sending a quick email or tweet, but don't plan to upload a photo album to Flickr or anything. Remember the internet in 1998? It's like that. Last year, I never once successfully got my email to load, even in basic HTML mode. But it's certainly better than nothing, and they do have wireless throughout the ship, which is nice.

What are your plans for phones on board? I'm going to do the phone in the safe/tweet with the iPod again. Seemed to work last time, even if I did spend about $60 on internet.

If you do plan to tweet, make sure you get Marliimarl to add you to this list:

Friday, April 9, 2010

15 little things you'll love about the cruise

Even if you're never cruised before, you probably have some ideas about what to get excited about: deck parties, hanging out with friends, the all-too-quick photo op. But the cruise experience is so much more. All these little things packed into one weekend will make you wish we could keep sailing.
  1. Open bar on Friday night! The reason I don't have many photos from Friday night is because I usually had a drink in each hand.
  2. Seeing NKOTB family everywhere and chatting with the dads and kids. I must have run into Danny's dad with his grandkids six times per day, and Mr. Mac was usually surrounded by 15-20 girls.

  3. Unfiltered Jon: singing Happy Birthday at 3:00 a.m., running up to the balcony during Q&A, and wearing a mankini during the concert.
  4. Pizza and ice cream available 24 hours a day.
  5. Unscripted moments like the Family Feud theme song or Troy Kids doing Games at the concert.
  6. Running into New Kids several times per day: in the elevator, at the pool, in the atrium.
  7. Donnie's PA announcements, like "everyone grab the ass of your favorite New Kid after 2 a.m."
  8. Joe taking off his shirt.; )
  9. All the tropical drink specials, like the Rum Runner, served in coconut shells.
  10. NKTV, the all-NKOTB-all-the-time channel in the staterooms.
  11. The DJ who only seemed to know 20 songs. I hope we have the same guy this year.
  12. Seeing everyone's amazing door decorations.
  13. Chatting with the band and crew near the pool during the day or at the deck parties at night. 
  14. The goody bag waiting on your bed when you walk into your room for the first time.
  15. Dancing Carnival staff

This is just my list of favorites. What are yours?

Monday, April 5, 2010

What are your plans for May 13?

Yay for the announcement of the Fillmore show!

If you missed it:
The Fillmore Miami Beach at Jackie Gleason Theater
Miami Beach, FL
Thu, May 13, 2010 08:00 PM

ILAA 5 star is $395. 4 star is $195. American Express Preferred Seating cardmembers only presale starts this Friday at 10:00 a.m. Strangely, I can't find anything that says when the ILAA general sale is.

As for regular tickets, everything is GA. Tickets are $81 with the Amex presale Friday at 10 a.m. and general sale Friday 4/16 at 10:00 a.m.

I've never been to anything GA that has regular rows and seats other than the movies. The venue seems to do this kind of set up regularly, and presumably there is some benefit to them in doing it, although I can't figure out what it is. No matter, I'll be happy with whatever seat I end up with, and since my fight doesn't get in till late Thursday afternoon, I couldn't wait in line if I wanted to.

In related news, Jared posted on Ning this morning in a thread that has since been deleted that there will not be a Danny party this year.

I'm curious what other cruisers are planning to do on May 13. Are you attending the show? Skipping it to have an early night? Skipping it to have your own party? Post in the comments and please vote in the poll!

Update: So far, it looks like about half the cruisers are planning to skip this show. From the comments and Twitter replies, the reasons seem to be:
  • Already had plans for that night
  • Already have tickets for one or more spring shows
  • Already maxed out cruise budget
  • Don't want to spend time in line for GA
  • Lack of tiered pricing (i.e., same price whether you climb into the pit or sit in the back row of the balcony)
All certainly valid reasons. I'm just surprised the split is so even. My feeling is: I know I would not be happy doing anything else while there was a NKOTB concert happening only a few miles away, so I won't miss it. On the plus side, this leaves lots of room for local non-cruisers, who presumably don't read this blog and aren't voting in the poll. Do you know locals or Southerners who are planning to attend?

Friday, April 2, 2010

Tips for first time cruisers

If this is not only your first New Kids cruise but your first cruise period, these tips will help you make the most of the weekend.

Checking In
A couple weeks before we sail, you'll receive a link for online guest registration. Make sure everyone in the room completes these forms at home and print out copies before you go to present at check in. You also print out your luggage/bag tags at home and attach them before you even leave for Miami.

After you go through the x-ray machines (just like at the airport), you bring your paperwork, passport, and credit card to the check-in agent. If you are using cash rather than a credit card, you have to pay a deposit at check-in.

Once you're checked in, you will have your wrist band put on for you by the agent. Not sure if we will have colored zones this year, but it will at least show your dining group. Security was very careful to check that no one from the wrong group was trying to sneak into an extra show. (There was a bit of confusion last year because red and orange looked very similar and meant the difference between row 6 and back of the balcony.)

You will also receive your Sign and Sail card, which is both your room key and onboard credit card. You use this for anything you buy on the ship. They won't accept cash or other credit cards.

If your suitcase is bigger than carry-on size, you leave it with a porter to be delivered to your cabin. Most bags were delivered by dinner time, but make sure you bring a change of clothes and all your toiletries in a carry on if you want to use them before the sail away party.

Chances are, you won't be able to get into your cabin right away. So hang out and have a drink until 2:00 p.m. or so.

Food Tips
Soda and water are not free. Coffee, tea, iced tea, and juices are. There are drink stations around the buffet and pool area. If you are addicted to soda, you can buy an unlimited soda card for something like $25.

On the other hand, room service is free. I highly recommend hanging the order form on your door the night before so you can wake up to toast, fruit, and cereal -- and a pot of coffee.

Don't worry about tipping in the dining room. You pre-paid for tips through Rose Tours. However, the room service waiters will not turn down a few singles.

I don't typically get motion sick, but those that do relied on behind the ear patches on board. I've also heard ginger capsules work well. Sunday morning was especially rocky, and combined with lack of sleep and excessive drinking the night before, I was not feeling great. While we were waiting in the photo op line, I saw one person throw up and one pass out.

What I did not expect was to feel so strange 2-3 days AFTER the cruise. This is called Mal de Debarquement Syndrome, and it made me feel like I was on a moving walkway for much of the following week. Eventually it went away.

Most cruise articles will recommend you pre-book shore excursions months in advance to avoid waiting in line once on board and to make sure you can get the popular options. But don't do it for this one!

From Sarah in the comments: "I spoke with Jeannie right after we booked about shore excursions. She was quick to advise me NOT to book anything for Half Moon Cay because just about every option on the island will cause us to miss events planned on shore and the NKOTB functions."

Don't leave home without
A watch. There are were very few clocks on deck or around, and you won't want to have your cell phone turned on because of the outrageous roaming charges (even if you're not making calls).

A travel alarm clock. Even though you can request wake up calls, you'll need to make sure you're on time for all the activities. I read on a Carnival website that it needs to be battery powered because the electric ones will run slow.

A power strip. You get one outlet in the room. One.

A night light. The room is so dark at night you could think you've gone blind. Lots of deck party drinking leads to middle-of-the-night bathroom trips, and you don't want to break an arm.

A hair dryer. Unless you're in the penthouse or owner's suite, you won't get one in your room.

On Monday morning, be prepared to be booted from your cabin bright and early (think 8:00 a.m.). There will be lots of porters walking up and down the halls banging on doors and hurrying you out. But you can head up to the Lido deck for coffee and breakfast before you get back to solid ground.

Hope this helps you know what to expect. Experienced cruisers, please add your tips to the comments!