Cruise Ship Blunders: Lessons Learned
Millions of people hop aboard cruise ships each year. They get their manicures and pedicures, buy cute, lacy swimwear covers, and stunt in their stunner shades. Off they go to, all-you-can-eat buffets, sunburns the shade of lobsters, and numerous planned excursions. Oh, the life they live! Or is it?
When I was 18, my family and I took our first cruise aboard a Carnival ship. The cruise line had just opened in Mobile, AL and we were anxious to try it out. This trip taught me about myself as a traveler and about cruise ships. Here are my lists of cruise ship blunders and what to expect, what to love, and what to avoid about cruises!
8 Cruise Ship Blunders:
1.Being 21 or under on a cruise: Hello, with bars on every deck, why would you take a cruise and not be old enough to drink? There were many drunken experiences I missed on because of my age! You also cannot gamble in the casinos if you are under 21.
2. Small Cabins: I am a minimalist at heart and did not expect a mansion of a room. However, my bed was a cot on the floor of a shared room with my sister and grandpa. The toilet was in the shower; but on a positive note, you could shit, shower, and shave at the same time! Oh and if you fall out of bed, you are already on the floor!
3. Designated Dinner Dates: You are expected to dress up like a dime and have dinner with complete strangers each night. For my fellow introverts, you understand why this is a blunder! We were assigned a table with another family of similar means, to dine with each night. Let me say, a sexy dress DOES NOT allow for a 5-course dinner to fit and I often went to bed hungry the first two days. On a positive note, we did meet kids
near our age that we later hung with on deck.
4. Nightclubs for each age group: First, I understand why this is important, sexual misconduct and all. Obviously, I could not drink on the ship but there were nightclubs I could boogie in. The problem was the age and time slots to enter them were unrealistic. There were 3 time slots for each of the three age groups. My sister, our new friend (aka dinner mate), and I were all filtered into these varying slots. This meant that none of us could dance together. In the end, we ALL lied about our age and had an enjoyable time! Avoiding cruise ship blunders at it’s best!
5. Small ships=nothing to do: We traveled on the smallest ship in the fleet. This meant that we literally discovered everything the ship had to offer within 2 days. We still had 7 to go!
6. Planned Excursions: Planned excursions can take place on any trip, not just cruises, but this was a HUGE blunder for me. Some people love to have everything planned for them. I may be calculated, but I like to find adventures as I go instead of being tied to a schedule. My family members are the first type of traveler. When we docked in Cozumel, we were hurried off to snorkel and ride 4-wheelers. I was devastated we couldn’t rent a Jeep and explore the great island. Instead, we participated in events we could do at home and paid full price for it!
7. Your time is limited: Don’t get comfortable on land because you only have about 8 hours there. Sadly, you are herded like cattle back to the ship before sunset. This was the biggest of the cruise ship blunders for me!
8. No Cell Service: This would not be a huge deal to me now, but at 18 years old, I wanted to keep in touch with my friends. A text message could cost you like $50 or some excruciating amount, talk about your cruise ship blunders! Of course, this was back in the days of Myspace, too LOL.
What I loved in 3 points:
- Sunsets and the night sky: There are no lights, other than the ship’s, to take away from the beauty around you. Every evening, I made my way to the top deck to watch the sunset and dream until the stars appeared. I saw many shooting stars and made a plethora of wishes; some came true!
- Blue Tequila: I was old enough to drink on land and headed straight for tequila kiosks once docked. My favorite was a smooth, blue agave tequila we found in a small shop in the town center. I also had a blast a Senor Frogs! Though a big tourist zone, it was fun taking shots with my parents and Papaw! The videos are priceless! (now to just find it)
- Getting lost in Calica: We took a bus to explore rural parts of Calica. On the way back, we got off too soon and were stuck in the middle of a pedestrian (non-touristy) area. I was in heaven! There was a marketplace with locals goods everywhere and not a souvenir shop in sight! My family was terrified! As I am trying on dresses and sampling fresh fruit, my parents are checking their watches and pulling out their hair, knowing our time on the island was up!
Luckily, I knew Spanish (they did not) and hailed a cab to take us to port. I knew in that moment, I loved different languages, hanging with the locals, and raw, unplanned experiences. This would forever change my travel life, for the better!
I wouldn’t take another cruise because it costs more than it was worth. Of course, never say never. I would rather fly to my destination and travel by foot for a week; instead of, spending 5 days water-locked with only 2 days of exploring. That is ludicrous to me!
I also hated having so many people in my personal space. The only place I could escape them was in the gym, because those gluttons were not working out, trust me! When I travel, I try hard not to have a schedule or at the very least a loose time frame. The cruise ship was one schedule after another, which took the spontaneity out of your day. Cruises are great for some people but they are not for me!
Is a cruise on your bucket list? Have you taken a cruise? What did you learn from it?
Be Well and Travel Often!
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