Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Western Caribbean Cruise: Part I


This cruise was amazing. Fantastic. Exhilarating. Fun. Action-packed. Relaxing.

Everything I wanted.


I had two choices for my graduation gift: a cruise or a trip to New York. No brainer for me. I wanted to go on a cruise! There are so many positives with taking a cruise (provided you’re not prone to seasickness) but I think the major reason is all you get for one standard price. A beautiful room, fancy meals, all-you-can-eat buffets, and the chance to visit some amazing countries.


I thought about recapping all my adventures throughout the trip but I imagine those would be more interesting to me than you. Instead, I want to recap my time on the ship, my excursions in Grand Cayman and Cozumel, and an overall rating of the cruise ship/experience. I’m not lying when I saw I want to go on another cruise this year. How possible is it, I don’t know. (And Krysten and I have already been talking about a bloggers cruise. This will happen.)


Getting to the port and onto the ship was a relatively easy experience. We got onto the ship itself sometime around 2:00 pm, two hours before departure, on Saturday. Our cabin was more spacious than I imagined but we were more excited to check out the ship and watch our departure from Tampa!


We booked an ocean-view room and it was a great decision. As much as a suite or balcony room would’ve been nice, they are pricey, so an ocean-view room is the next best thing. I couldn’t imagine waking up, on a cruise ship, and not having a way of looking out of your cabin window! The views are magnificent and it’s incredible to watch as your ship pulls into an island. Watching our ship pull into Grand Cayman after seeing nothing but ocean for a day and a half was more incredible than I ever expected. (Although watching us pull into Tampa was not as incredible.)


Our most-coveted spot on the boat was the Serenity Now deck. Located at the back of the ship, it was the perfect peaceful setting. The deck was 21+ and we were told by other people it might be a clothing optional deck. I’m happy to report it is not. Instead, it was a place to get away from the hustle and bustle of the lido deck. And also, the lounge chairs were much, much comfier. The only downside to this deck was that it only held about 50 lounge chairs so it was a fight to find places to sit most days.


While we didn’t take part in a lot this ship had to offer, we had a good, relaxing vacation. I’m not a big fan of vacations where you’re so busy doing stuff that you have no time to relax and I think we had a good mixture of both. There was always something to do at night, although some of the shows were hard to make it to because we had a late dining time of 8:15 p.m. We did make it to a comedy show and a performance night, as well as checking out the casino and getting professional portraits done. (They looks super cheesy, though, so we opted out of them.) On Sunday, we went to the gym and on Wednesday morning, we went up to the track at the top deck. Mom ran and I took pictures of the sunset. Fitting. We played a game of putt-putt golf, although I forgot how windy it was on the top deck and wore a dress. So I had to putt with one hand, my other hand holding my dress down. Needless to say, Mom killed me.


One of my biggest fears about this whole vacation was getting sunburned. I’ve been on too many vacations where I get red as a tomato on my first night and it makes the rest of the vacation uncomfortable. I applied that SPF like it was my job. Any time I knew I would be out in the sun, sunscreen would go on immediately. So I didn’t come back super tan, but I’m OK with that.


I wouldn’t say the dining was everything I expected, but it was still pretty good. We ate in the dining room every night, and had some good tablemates. (A grandma and her 19-year-old granddaughter and a family of three - a mom, a dad, and their 19-year-old son.) Conversation flowed easily, although it was mainly between the grandma and the mom of the other family. My mom and I inserted our opinions when needed, but didn’t talk a lot. The food was good, most nights, and the desserts were fabulous. (Also, I found out I enjoy alcoholic beverages so much more when I ask them to go light on the alcohol. Basically, a virgin but with a little kick.)


One of my mom and I’s favorite things was rushing back to the room after dinner to see our itinerary for the next day, what towel animal we would have, and to eat a delicious square of mint chocolate. Our beds would be turned down and the low lights near our beds turned on. We loved checking out what was going on the next day, as well as squealing over the cute animal sitting on either one of our beds. Silly as it may be, it was a highlight for us.


I’ll stop here, for now. I’m not sure what else I have to share about the ship itself, but I have a lot to say about our time in Grand Cayman and Cozumel so be prepared for that! (And if you have any questions, feel free to ask them in the comments! I’m sure I’m leaving things out, so just let me know what you want to know!)


  1. You look like you had a FABULOUS time. Love the shot of you with the slot machine.

  2. You know, I've heard super mixed reviews about cruises. A lot of people say it really depends what ship you're on, otherwise it's easy to feel sea-sick. You didn't feel it at all, though? I've been DYING to try out a cruise but I'm so worried to pick one that's going to make me nauseous the entire time, which would really suck. 

    It looks SO gorgeous so far though. I totally agree with you, I need to RELAX on vacations, sprinkled with a little activity- not the other way around. I bet you loved being able to just sit in the sun with some good books! That's one of my favorite parts :)

  3. I remember going on cruises when I was in middle school. I went on them with my dance company. They were so much fun, and I loved the little towel pets they left in our room. I took a picture of a monkey they left hanging from one of the beds. So cute! But we never had the experience you and your mom had. We didn't have even a window in our room, and the space was so tight and cramped. It looks like y'all had a really great time, though. That would be so awesome to do a blogger cruise!

  4. girlwiththeredhair6/1/11, 12:14 PM

    I'm SO glad you had such a fabulous time! I have never been on a cruise, I worry I'd get seasick because I get seasick taking the ferry!! 

  5. Mmh, for some reason, I can't see the pictures right now... but I've had a glimpse on FB and I must say, your trip sounds absolutely FABULOUS! So glad you had such a fantastic time!

  6. KJHartenstein6/1/11, 3:47 PM

    I am SO jealous, we so need to plan a blogger cruise.  That would be ridiculously fun.

  7. Yay for pictures! I've heard people really like cruises (never been on one), and one of the reasons is it's all inclusive. However, I've also heard you come back to a stack of little envelopes in your room on the last day for gratuities. Is that true?

  8. Everyone who's been on a cruise raves about them, but I am just *so* worried about the seasickness! I'm prone to motion sickness, so although cruises look like tons of fun, I feel like I'd be sick and it'd ruin the whole experience. But anyway, it looks like you had a blast on the ship! Can't wait to hear more!

  9. I love towel animals...they just make the world a better place.

  10. lisasyarns6/1/11, 9:50 PM

    Sounds like a really fun trip for you and your mom!  My parents took a cruise years ago but they said it was too much hustle and bustle for them and that they would choose ot just return to one island next time...  So that keeps me from looking into a cruise...  But they do sound fun!

  11. A blogger cruise trip would be so much fun!! I'm glad you and your mom had a fabulous time! I enjoyed seeing all the photos you posted on FB. :)

  12. I had such a great time. I want to go again and again and again.

  13. So many people with this fear! I will say that because of how HUGE my ship was (and all Carnival ships, for that matter), you don't feel any rocking. I bought some pills just in case, but never felt sick. Will have to do a post on this for sure, though!

  14. A towel monkey hanging from the bed?! Oh, I was robbed. ;)

  15. I bought pills for that reason, but never even felt a smidge of seasickness. I think because our ship was so huge, you couldn't feel much movement. I mean, there was some movement and I KNEW I was on a ship... but never to the point of being sick.

  16. Thank you! I had SUCH a fantastic time. I'm sad it was over so soon. My mom and I are already trying to figure out when we're taking our next one!

  17. It will happen. I can't get the idea out of my head!

  18. Untrue, at least in my case. Just one envelope for the maitre d', which was optional to add money to. All the other tips were just added to our bill directly.

  19. I don't know if I'm the best judge because I don't get motion sickness, but because of the size of the ship, it's very hard to feel the rocking. It's more relaxing and soothing than anything!

  20. Don't they? They made my entire night.

  21. We weren't into the hustle and bustle either, which is why the Serenity Now deck was perfect for us. I'm not sure if I would have enjoyed it as much without that deck! There is a LOT going on, though, so you have to be prepared for that.

  22. Oh, yes. This bloggers cruise thing needs to happen. :)

  23. Courtney Rae6/2/11, 6:54 PM

    It looks like you had so much fun! These pictures are great. That's so amazing that you got to swim with and kiss sting rays!! What a neat experience :)


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