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First timer, holidays distracted me, time to get ready!

Ask a Cruise Question - boards.cruisecritic.com
We're taking our first cruise in a few weeks - and I could use some pointers. We're on a 5 day Carnival cruise out of Galveston. I was asleep at the wheel regarding online checkin - actually, between the holidays and being sick - I've let this thing sneak up on me! I did set up our boarding time,the earliest I could book was 12:30. I have no idea if this is ideal, but it is the earliest available.

I know we'll want to take a carry on with early use stuff since cabin may not be ready/luggage may not show up for some time. I'm also aware of gratuities and such and have picked up several nice tips in general on the forums here. We still need to plan excursions, hopefully we're not too late to have good options. I believe we stop in Cozumel and Yucatan/Progreso.

I'm green enough at cruising that I don't even know what I don't know. I'm guessing that things will become clear once we arrive at the port? We're arriving the night before and driving down to stay in Galveston. We'll leave our car there and hopefully take the shuttle to port. This is a bit of a test cruise for us. Thought we'd start with a fairly cheap and somewhat short cruise so we know if it's going to be an option for bigger trips.

I don't even know what to ask - but wondering if there are other things I need to do before the cruise. Especially since I almost let the online check in slip by me! Obviously, we need to figure out what excursions we need to do, we'll look for independent/local vendors for that asap. Is the online check in all we need to do before hand otherwise? And then we just show up at the port at our assigned time with our carry on and checked bags in hand? I'd assume we can board no earlier than our assigned time?

Thanks, and thanks for all the tips provided on the boards here.


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