Until recently I had never been on a cruise before. When traveling, I like to get “lost” roaming the streets of foreign cities. The idea of being trapped on a big floating apartment building didn’t necessarily appeal to me. But I gave it a shot anyway: Destinations are as exotic as the Caribbean, Europe and Asia. No driving. No packing and repacking from place to place. All the food you care to eat. Gambling, dancing and all kinds of night life. And best of all, no phones! Here’s a review of my first cruise vacation (with Royal Caribbean), and some tips for yours.
First of all, let me be clear there’s a difference between “traveling” and “vacationing”. Real travel for me is pretending to live somewhere for a while, and act like the locals do as much as possible. Taking a cruise definitely falls in the “vacation” category: mandatory relaxation, with a limited amount of “culture” on the port days: how much can you really soak up from a foreign country with only a few hours to spend in port?
Despite the short time in port, there’s a lot to do, ranging from snorkelling, sightseeing and visiting places that I have only dreamed about. In a single week I got to visit three different countries. Despite the short time you get a bit of an appetizer of each place, which is a great way to decide on places I’d like to return to later for a more extended stay.
Once on board, you will have access to 24 hour free food including international cuisine. There are three scheduled meals a day and many opportunities to eat in between. I would recommend everyone go to the scheduled dinner. It usually has a different theme for each night of the cruise. The wait staff is superb, they perform a show (based on the theme) for you and you get to meet people from other parts of the world. Tip: Dress up at night and don’t go too casual. It’s all part of the experience.
When you aren’t eating, there is lounging by the pool, soaking up the sun as well as some drinks. There are movies, shows and activities for all ages. You can visit the spa, exercise, read a book at the library, visit an art gallery or do anything else you want. It is your free time after all!
Every cruise ship has ports of call where they dock for a period of time. Once at port, you can go ashore and do whatever you like or you can go on any number of planned excursions the ship provides. You can even stay aboard and do nothing, but I suggest you get out and see the world.
From crystal blue water and their reefs of fish, to historic places to mountains and icebergs, I have seen it all… you should too.
Curious about taking a cruise vacation of your own? Start by exploring your options here.