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I have cruised a variety of ships from the intimate, boutique river cruises to budget friendly cruise ships with many thousands of passengers. We have enjoyed beautiful state rooms with gorgeous balconies and cabins crammed with my husband, me and our three children. On all of the cruises, we had a good time. We laugh now when we think about my youngest “accidentally” stepping on his brother’s face while climbing back into his bunk after a midnight pizza run. But for all of the cruises we have taken, the one constant that seems to hold the key to having a good time is meeting interesting people.
We have been fortunate enough to meet people from around the world. I value the friendships we have made because of these encounters. After meeting several people who had business cards made up just for the purpose of exchanging information with new people, I ordered some. It may seem a bit odd at first, but since it includes information like our email, contact information and blog address it has helped us keep in touch with new friends.
We have just completed our fifteenth cruise and although we’ve made mistakes in the past, we have learned and grown from them.
On our most recent cruise we took a back to back cruise onboard the Celebrity Equinox in the Western and Eastern Caribbean.
Cruising offer some conveniences and benefits over other vacations:
Unpack Once. You settle yourself in your stateroom and you are done for the duration of the cruise.
Visit Beautiful Locations. On port days take a tour and see locals attractions, or stay on board and enjoy the amenities of a relatively empty ship.
Daily Maid Service. Miraculously, when you are away from your room a Room Steward Ninja comes in and tidies everything up. Amazing.
Exceptional Dining. Choices on our cruise ranged from burgers on deck to buffet, and sit down fine dining. By the second day our waiter knew our name and the bread and wine we preferred.
Entertainment. This cruise offered production style shows, jazz ensembles, party bands and “Quiet Disco” where each participants listen to a variety of music genres on color coded headsets and danced to their own beat. This was a real advantage to those of us who are dance impaired.
Pools. Our ship had large family pools, complete with party games and dancing and The Solarium, which was an adult only quiet enclosed pool and jacuzzi
Gyms. The gym offered fitness classes, and a large variety of machines and weights. Now why didn’t I go more?
Spa Services. Everything was offered from massages to Botox.
Casinos. Table games, as well as slot machines were popular. Lottery cards and Bingo were also offered on the ship.
Bars. The Equinox had outside bars at the back of the ship, inside bars for quiet conversation as well as an ice martini bar, complete with flair bartenders. If you choose to drink, it may be a good idea to to check into an all inclusive alcohol packages before you book your cruise.
Otherwise, the cost of your bar bill may overtake the cost of your cruise.
SEVEN SECRETS TO A PERFECT CRUISE
1. Budget Ahead of Time For Your Cruise. Cruising can be a relatively inexpensive way to visit a variety of ports. Look for deals, pick a cruise line and ship that you are comfortable with. Some cruise lines’ loyalty programs offer perks such as early boarding, free laundry, drinks etc. Whenever possible, try to be flexible with your travel dates.
2. Smile and Relax. The entire point of a cruise is to have a good time. When you smile, other people reciprocate. Relax.
3. Participate in Activities That You Might Not Otherwise Engage In. Try something new, take a dance lesson, kiss a stingray, meet the locals, eat something you’ve never tried before.
4. Disconnect From The Outside World. As much as possible try to unplug and not think about your responsibilities outside of the ship. Life will still be there when you get home.
5. Talk To The Person Sitting Next To You. Regardless of whether you are sitting at a bar, a show or the pool ask questions and learn about someone else’s life. You will definitely learn something new, and maybe make a friend.
6. Look Out At The Ocean. It is calming, relaxing and beautiful.
7. Enjoy The Journey. Because that is exactly what this life is, a journey.