So, at one point in time I would have said – Yes!!! Go on a cruise, it’s amazing, it’s wonderful, you’ll have the best time ever. Now, not so sure – please remember this all about your own personal preferences (and they change). I’ve been on over 30 cruises and enjoyed all of them (some more than others). There are cruises that I still want to experience – would love to do Norwegian’s Hawaiian Island Cruise and I really want to do a Mediterrean Cruise and I will eventually do both.
My very first cruise was a gift from my brother. It was a short cruise from New York to Canada on Carnival. There were 18 of us who went. It rained almost the entire time, but it was great and I really enjoyed myself. I had all the anxiety ever first time cruiser has – the biggest probably was “would I get sea sick”, I tend to get motion sickness and have had some pretty bad experiences with small boats (I went on one of those casino/gambling boats and was sick the entire time – I had to stay outside on deck to keep from throwing up and it was December)
So, that very first gift cruise started my fascination with cruising – I always booked an inside cabin (how much time was going to spend in there anyways) until the upgrade fairy shined upon me and I ended up with a balcony. No turning back from that point – it was now always a balcony (or better).
Then it was all about how many sea days? I didn’t want more than one in the beginning and one at the end – what would I do all day at sea? Well, that changed to after my first cruise out of New York – which had two sea days – and guess what – I found something to do – wasn’t bored at all and actually I now enjoy having more than one sea day back to back. I find that with only one, I never really get to experience the ship itself, the restaurants, the shows, the silly games, relaxing, enjoying the pool – just seem to be enough time with only one sea day.
Itinerary – I prefer Southern Caribbean or Western Caribbean cruises. Ports in the Southern Caribbean include Antigua, Aruba, Banana Coast (Trujillo), Barbados, Bequia, Bonaire, Curacao, Dominica, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Illes des Saintes, Martinique, Mayreau, Nevis, Pigeon Island, St. Barts, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and Tobago Cays. Many of these destinations you cannot reach on a traditional cruise ship, some just by private yacht – but the Southern Caribbean is so diverse in what it offers, from beautiful beaches and clear blue water, to mountains, rainforest and volcanos.
The Western Caribbean is just as unique and varied – Honduras, Belize, Costa Maya, Cozumel, Falmouth, Grand Cayman, Montego Bay, Ocho Rios, Playa del Carmen, Progreso, and Roatan.
To pick a cruise, you first need to determine what interests you more – the ship or the destinations. You either pick the ship you want to sail on and then go where it goes or pick your destinations and find a ship that goes there. There is no right answer; it’s all what you enjoy. I’ve cruised with people who never ever leave the ship – they have no interest in the ports – they just really like to experience the ship.
People ask me all of the time, what is my favorite cruise line – I can honestly say I don’t have one single favorite (but I haven’t sailed on them all YET!) I’ve done Carnival, Princess, MSC, Norwegian and Royal Caribbean. Each of them has things I love, I like, I’m okay with and I don’t like. I like Carnival’s itineraries; I like Norwegian’s food and beverage package and specialty restaurants, I like MSC ships and Royal Caribbean, and they have more on board activities.
Next up – some detailed info on the various cruise lines I’ve had the opportunity to sail with . . . .