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8 mistakes I saw people make on my Carnival cruise


While spending four nights onboard Carnival Conquest, I noticed some common cruise mistakes that could have been easily avoided. 

Whether you're a seasoned cruiser or about to board your first-ever ship, it is important to be aware of some do's and don'ts, so you can save yourself time, money, and sanity. 

I've made my share of mistakes on a cruise ship and know what to look out for. It's no fun to spend any moment of vacation feeling flustered! From forgetting medication to waiting in line for food, here are 8 mistakes I saw people, including myself, make on my Carnival cruise! 

Not bringing motion sickness medication

Dramamine for kids

On the first evening, my friend and I were browsing the shops and overheard someone asking for Dramamine. They didn't have any, and it was apparent that he was feeling pretty ill. 

Even if you think the motion of the ocean will not impact you, it's always better to be safe. You don't want to be stuck in the cabin or feeling sick while on vacation. 

In fact, I was extra thankful that I remembered to bring some this time! It was my friend's first cruise, and she wasn't sure whether she'd be impacted by motion sickness or not. She took one shortly after setting sail and again the evening after we spent the day at Half Moon Cay

Read more: Bonine vs. Dramamine: Which motion sickness medicine is better? (2024)

Forgetting to wear sunscreen


Speaking of Half Moon Cay, on the tender back to the ship, I noticed quite a few people who could have put an extra coat of sunscreen (or three) on. 

I'll be honest, I have had my fair share of sunburns; however, I was extra careful on Carnival's private island, as there are no complimentary umbrellas— they cost $35. I made sure that I was frequently reapplying and taking breaks from the direct sun. 

Moreover, you should ensure that you bring enough sunscreen. Thankfully, I did not witness anyone fall victim to paying $27 for a single bottle. 

Read more: 10 common cruise ship mistakes first-timers make all the time

Not reading tender information 


Half Moon Cay is a tender port, meaning that you cannot simply walk off whenever you'd like. You must pick up a group number from a specified location onboard. 

When the number is called, you may then proceed to the gangway to board a water taxi that will transport you ashore. If you failed to collect a number or weren't in a rush, you could head to the gangway freely around noon. 

The night before we anchored at Half Moon Cay, everyone was left an informational page regarding tendering in the little "mailbox" outside of their cabins. The morning of, I noticed that many sheets appeared to be untouched. 


When my group was called, I made my way to Deck 1 and noticed that there was a bit of confusion amongst some guests, as there were a few passengers who were trying to get off with the earlier group numbers. 

Unfortunately, they were turned away by a crew member who was collecting tickets before you could proceed down the stairs to Deck 0. 

Whenever you see a piece of paper left by your cabin steward, it's imperative that you take a few moments to read the information. It could be about disembarkation protocols or tender information. Either way, disregarding the sheet will cause some headaches in the future since you won't be fully aware of what is going on. 

Forgetting their IDs when going ashore


While you don't have to carry much with you around the ship since your Sail & Sign card acts as your charge card and personal I.D., it won't work when you get off in ports of call.

Before leaving the cabin to head to breakfast, I told my friend that she might want some cash in case she found something she wanted to purchase at the straw market ashore. When she threw her wallet into my bag, I assumed that her photo ID was inside. 

As we were walking down the stairs to board the tender, she realized that she didn't have it with her and sprinted back to the cabin on the opposite side of the ship. 


Whenever you go ashore, make sure you have these things with you:

  • Cash
  • ID
  • Sail & Sign card
  • Sunscreen

Of course, you'll probably want to throw a few extra things in your bag depending on what you're doing. For instance, those with beach excursions will need a towel, whereas those doing something more active may want insect repellent. 

Ironically, my friend brought her ID when we got off in Nassau; however, she forgot her credit card and cash! She had to use mine when purchasing a few souvenirs for her family back home. 

Read more: Where to keep your cruise card, phone, and cash during a shore excursion?

Not evaluating all dining options


On my first-ever Carnival cruise, I was so excited to try the hyped-up Guy's Burger Joint. When I stumbled upon it, I decided to hop in line not knowing that it was exceptionally long and ended up waiting roughly an hour. At the thirty-minute mark, I was hopeful and didn't want to leave and feel as though I had wasted time onboard. 

While lines are always to be expected on a cruise, there are peak dining times when you'll see them longer than usual. 

I noticed this on embarkation day onboard Carnival Conquest, as the line for Guy's was horrendous around 12:30pm. Just 45 minutes later, it was it was significantly shorter. 


Since we were hungry around 12:30, my friend and I decided to grab a quick bite to eat from the buffet, and this turned out to be the smartest option! We had food within fifteen minutes and still got to enjoy Guy's later on, with a minimal wait. 

While there's no denying that a juicy burger from Guy's will hit the spot every time, personally, I think there are other things that are more warranted on the first day onboard, such as exploring the ship or taking a dip in the pool before sail away.

Not wearing shoes to navigate Carnival's private island


Half Moon Cay is a beach lovers paradise. The sand might be some of the softest I've ever felt, and the turquoise water genuinely seems like it is straight out of a postcard.

When you leave the beach area, though, the pathways can be a little rocky. When my friend and I left to go get lunch at the complimentary buffet, she opted to go barefoot and remarked how this was a mistake. 

She complained about the tiny pebbles that kept getting caught between her toes. Since she began to really watch where she was stepping, it took us a bit longer to navigate from the beach to the buffet. 


If you have sensitive feet, you'll want to ensure that you're always wearing shoes. This is good practice, anyway, as you never know what you'll stumble upon. 

Disregarding disembarkation information


This is actually a mistake that I made! On my two previous Carnival cruises, luggage tags had to be picked up from a specified location on the ship on the last day. Since I was doing self-assisted disembarkation the first time and had a suite the second, there was never a need for me to scope this process out. 

On Carnival Conquest, however, the process went digital. The Cruise Director made an announcement that we'd be able to select our disembarkation time via the HUB app, and our cabin steward would then deliver the tags. 

When I went to the app, I did not see a tab to go to. Rather than going to Guest Services before getting off the ship in Nassau, I figured that the app would be working later. Around 4:00pm, my friend finally got a notification that she could select a time; however, all of the checked times were taken. 


Thankfully, self-assisted ended up working in our favor, as we got to the Fort Lauderdale airport in plenty of time and were greeted by some rather lengthy lines. 

Next time, rather than assume everything will work out, I'll visit Guest Services in a more timely manner. 

Read more: 10 reasons to get off your ship as early as possible on disembarkation day

Trying to do mini-golf on a windy sea day


I love to play mini-golf at sea; however, there are some instances where it's more annoying than fun. We only had one full day at sea on my 4-night cruise onboard Carnival Conquest, so my friend and I made sure that we ventured up to the course that afternoon. 

To our surprise, it was incredibly windy, so much so that the ball was moving on its own! We weren't the only ones up there, either. In fact, we were bouncing suggestions off another travel party to try and play with minimal wind disruptions. 

Overall, it would have been better to prioritize this for embarkation day or when returning from port. 

More cruise tips & tricks: 

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