- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.