We absolutely love CRUISES!
The hubby and I went on our second cruise September of 2019. Currently in the works of planning our third.
While everyone unpacks, I waste no time getting into my "ready for vacation" mode.
Almost always, we select our departure from the Miami port because we enjoy the Caribbean Islands and it's considered a cruise hub, therefore you have plenty of cruise options to pick from. On our first cruise, we visited Grand Turk- Turks and Caicos, Nassau-Bahamas, and Half Moon Cay- Bahamas.
Our second cruise consisted of Amber Cove- Dominican Republic, St. Thomas - USVI, San Juan- Puerto Rico and back to Grand Turk- Turks and Caicos.
Why are Cruises so Amazing?
For the last 5 years I have been traveling all over the world (35+ countries) and although historic trips are the best for cool insta photos and culture, cruises are the trips that I find fun and easy because all you have to worry about is having fun.
In my relationship, I am the person responsible for planning all of our vacations and adventures as the he is responsible for taking all the beautiful shots. On the trips that are 3 weeks or more, it takes me about a month to plan/ research to put togethe a great itinerary. I love it but sometimes it takes some serious work and consumes a lot of time. Because we are always so busy, its been difficult to plan vacations and we have really enjoyed how cruises offer everything (food, excursions, lodging, bars, relaxation, dancing, shopping, and entertainment) in one trip. When it comes to traveling we just want to go, have fun!
If you like: scheduled itineraries, plenty of excursions to choose from, nightly entertainment, food whenever you want, naps on deck with the view the ocean, gorgeous sunsets and sunrises, water themed parks , live music, casinos, room service at no ext, and the ability to relax and enjoy the ocean and the sun in a new country every day, then you should really consider booking yourself a cruise vacation.
Here is how You Can Make the Best Out of Your Cruise vacation!
1. Waking up early
Take advantage of your vacation days. This really pays off because when you wake up early, you get to eat the fresh breakfast that has yet to be picked off by the hundreds of passengers.
If you are into working out daily, each cruise has a track to enjoy a beautiful, mid ocean run.
You can also enjoy a peaceful sunrise while eating breakfast and a fresh cup of coffee.
Explore the boat and get yourself acquainted as to where everything is located. This will come in handy when you are rushing after dinner to catch one of the shows.
Pick the best location by the pool or spa and keep it for the rest of the day
Get out to explore the destination of the day earlier- get to know more of the town and avoid the lines through security.
You have more time to prepare what you need to bring along for that day. You're brain doesn't work the same when you are rushing!
2. Optional- Get the drinking package
The hubby and I didn't actually get this package the last two times because we are not too big into drinking. We are huge lite weights and feel super dehydrated every time we go out to drink, even if its just one drink! So the $500 added expense per person doesn't make sense for us. In fact, last time we were on the cruise we had a total of 3 drinks the entire 7 days. But they have plenty of bars that you can get yourself a cold one. Even at dinner you have the option to order something different each time.
If you aren't sure on whether you want to buy the package, you could just bring yourself two wine bottles! Some cruises let you bring a bottle of wine per person. Check with your cruise line. It shouldn't be a problem, I always see people bringing in the 12 packs of Pepsi or Coca-Cola and that's not including the drinks they have in their luggage ;).
SIDE NOTE- If you do decide to get this, get it prior to your cruise, because the price per person increases by $100-$200 when you walk into he boat.
3. Attend The Shows in the Evening
I know that after a long day of exploring and being exposed to the sun can wear out. But push through it because at the end of the night you will happy you did so.
Attending shows is MY FAVORITE PART of being on a cruise!!!
Especially as a couple, It feels like we are going on a different dates each night. We pick early dinning reservation to be able to make it to as many shows as possible.
Each night there were at least 3 different shows to choose from right after the other.
Comedy shows, family game shows, live bands or art shows. We personally loved the fact that the comedy shows were adult only.
4. Dress up!
Every night, a row of photographers line up by the casino areas with different backdrops and themes just to be your personal paparazzi! Work the camera!!!
The next day you get to check out the fun pictures.
We take at least one as a souvenir but if you are the kind of person who wants to purchase all the pictures of you and your family (like me) get yourself a picture package ahead of time so you don't end up spending so much money for each picture...I believe they are each $20 so it can get pretty expensive if they all look amazing!
5. Pick the Early Dinner option
After a day full of activities, it's not hard to work up an appetite early in the evening. For us, his is the key to being able to enjoy the evening and being able to make it to more than one show.
6. Spend Wisely- Book Excursions Prior to the Cruise
Cruises may be a steal nowadays, but your total trip cost can skyrocket once you factor in shoreside sightseeing and activities.
Decide well in advance how to spend your hours in port. Web access can get costly with a dollar a minute at sea, so waiting till you're on board to check out port options is expensive. And don't rely on the concierge desk, their goal is to sell you its tours. Start your excursion research right after booking a cruise and book it online too if possible.
7. Dance in the Night Clubs!
Latin Nights! The Spanish singers are a blast and it didn't matter who was watching or if we weren't dancing correctly, it's all fun and you get to burn a few calories!
8. Enjoy the Late Night Kitchen Food
This was totally our weakness a the end of our dancing. It was relaxing. I took my heels off, sat outside and while hearing the ocean I enjoyed some pizza, sorbet, or French fries. At 2 AM in the morning...it's the little things in life :)
9. Volunteer for Contests or for the Game Shows
Did anyone ever tell you that being shy is a waste of personality? If not, I'm telling you now! IT IS. Especially on a cruise. Where you are 100% likely to NEVER see the same people ever again! Unless you are traveling with professionals for work or with your very conservative and judgmental In-laws, Have fun! Let loose. You are on Vacation!! Become part of the experience, indulge in your adventurous/spontaneous side and don't hold back. Do a belly flop competition, volunteer to spin the wheel on the game show at night, sing karaoke, go down the water slides! Have fun and make sure that at the end of the cruise you didn't wish you would have done something.
10. Don't Let the service fees scare you!
At the end of each cruise, you get a final bill for all of the things that you purchased while on the boat. In there will be a "Service Fee" however, most of the time when you book your cruise your service fee has already been taken care of. Take the time to go to the customer service desk before you leave (preferably on the last night) and let them know that you have already paid for all of your service fees at the time of booking.
There you have it!
I had the time of my life on the last cruise and I'm planning to do it all over again soon.
Comment below you think I missed something :) Also, feel free to share your experience cruising.