In January, I get to enjoy my very first blues cruise -- in fact, my first cruise of any kind. After perusing the chat archives, I found I still had a few unrelated questions.
1) Temperatures: I saw a reference or two to occasionally needing jackets because of cool air. I'd like to better understand the normal temperatures on the Caribbean cruises, especially while "at sea." (Remember that I've never been on any kind of cruise...) Are short sleeves/T-shirts sufficient for being on deck most of the time? Or is it routinely jacket-cool on deck during the evenings? (I'm thinking in particular of outdoor music performances after dark, and sitting out on one's room balcony.)
2) Costumes and themes: I've read all the other posts on "theme nights," but I'm still a little unclear. When there's a theme night, are you supposed to wear some kind of costume all through the ship, all evening long? Or is the use of costumes focused on a particular party/event? Do virtually all the cruisers get in costume each time, or is it more like 50/50? I guess I'm a little concerned about trying to pack for all those different costume events.
3) Cell phones: No, I don't plan to "stay in touch" very much; I'm as anxious to leave problems behind as anyone. But for both family reasons and business (I'm a one-man operation), I may want at least the option of using my BlackBerry onboard. I see that Holland America offers cell access, probably expensive: "Through an agreement with Wireless Maritime Services (WMS), a leading provider of maritime cellular service at sea, Holland America Line lets you take advantage of your wireless devices while at sea." Has anyone used this service in conjunction with Verizon Wireless? In particular, how does this service work with BlackBerry email pushing? When it's closer to cruise time, I'll call Verizon Wireless to get more specifics from them, but I'd welcome any advance advice from other users of this service.
4) I think I saw a reference to in-room refrigerators or mini-bars. Are they in all or most rooms (I have a Deluxe Verandah)? Are they usable for your own stuff, perhaps by removing some "for pay" items? Or is it strictly for the ship's own for-pay items?
Thanks so much for any advice. I can't begin to describe how psyched I am for this cruise!