My first cruise was with Carnival and I loved it! But it was my first one. I'm going this summer with Royal Caribbean, and the people I'm going with (my church) are hyping me up for it.
TIPPING- Your friend might be taking care of this for you, but I think that the cruise charges a gratuity every night for their crew members. We went through a travel agency, so it was included in the price, but I don't think it is usually. Of course, you can tip whenever, but I just wanted you to be aware so that you won't be tipping them the whole time and then feel some type of way when they take more tips out.
Hair- I wore a Wet n Wavy weave. I HIGHLY regretted having leave out. Good luck with the mini twists!
Attire- I brought a lot of summery dresses, but be sure to bring fancy dresses as well because dinner is formal, especially the Captain's Ball (I think that's what it's called).
Tips- Girl get it right and get it tight! Ur going to want to eat till u drop, so get a little bit under ur current weight, so when you come back you are back to normal lol. Take at least $200, but more is of course ideal. I brought like $160 and had a ball. I spent all my money at the ports. (Leave room in your Luggage for souvenirs!). The cruise will ask for a card to put a $200 hold on, like the incidentals hold at a hotel.
Enjoy yourself! I'm going to Haiti, Jamaica, and Mexico in August. :D