Usually I travel alone. It works out better for everyone this way. Yes, I do become a bit passive-aggressive when stuck with one person for too long (just ask my roommate). But, my best friend is getting married this year and as a last hurrah, we decided to take a 3-night cruise together.
I had never been on a cruise and wasn’t sure what to expect. I certainly didn’t expect to get seasick on the first day or have a shower so small that I couldn’t bend over to shave my legs. Not so good. I didn’t expect the pool to be filled with salt water. Amazing!
Drinks – the cost of drinks was one of my main concerns. I tend to drink…a lot. Especially on vacation. And maybe it is the New Yorker in me talking, but drinks were cheap. Cocktails were around $6.50 with an automatic gratuity they came to about $8.00 a piece. In New York, cocktails can easily be double that price! I was thrilled. Of course, cheap drinks did not stop me from wracking up over $100 in bar bills over the course of three days.
The private island – I thought Royal Caribbean’s private island, Cococay, would be overcrowded and dirty. After all, they bring thousands of guests through there weekly. I thought we would get off the boat, take a look around and then get back on again. We ended up spending the entire day there. The beaches were clean and not over crowded. We got there early enough to get the perfect seats by the water. We took a walk through the glorious blue-green water, and then we snoozed in a hammock in the shade through the hottest part of the afternoon. If the boat had sailed away without me, I wouldn’t have minded.
Food – I have to admit, at first I was a little anxious about eating the food and drinking the water. With all of the issues on a certain cruise line; I was afraid we would get sick and end up in the bathroom for the entire trip. But the food was pretty good! The buffet was maybe even a step up from college dining hall meals. The dining room offered good service and plain but good breakfasts and dinners. And, I only got sick drinking too many coco locos on the pool deck, but I’ll blame that on myself and not the boat.
Extra fees – There weren’t as many extra hidden fees as I thought there would be. I was not expecting there to be an automatic gratuity on everything (at the end of the trip we were charged $12.00 a day for a gratuity for the service) but in the end, what they took out automatically was less than what I would have tipped if left to my own devices, so the automatic gratuity saved me some cash.
Total disconnect – I’ll be honest, I didn’t think about this one at all. I tend not to think many things through when I travel (or ever really). But when I woke up on the second day, I had no cellphone service. In fact, my phone wouldn’t even display the correct time. At first, this gave me a twinge of anxiety (before I realized that the only person that ever called me was my mother) then a sense of freedom that was blissful. Without a clock to constantly check, the days seemed to pass slower and hours by the pool really felt like hours. The only bummer was, it was hard to keep track of how long it had been since I had put on sunscreen. I had to steal glances at other people’s watches so I didn’t get burned. I did get burned, in case you were wondering.
Overall, going on a cruise is something I would definitely do again, but maybe next time to somewhere a little more exotic and definitely not for over a few nights or else I’m afraid I’d go stir crazy. Three nights is the perfect length for an antsy traveler like me.