It’s official! We are back in the states… and, yes, we are sinking into a slight state of depression. The shell shock of coming from perfect Caribbean weather to 34 degrees and rain is jarring to say the least. And, of course, we wish we could spend every morning having coffee delivered to us in bed while we hang with our besties, but that is not our everyday reality.
Ok, enough complaining! We are home, nonetheless, and ready to share our experiences.
Our ship embarked from Miami and had a full day and half at sea before the first port. We sailed on a ship called Carnival Magic.
So, was it magic you ask? Probably depends on your definition of magic, but, I must say, for us it was close. Everything has its pros and cons, but in our humble opinion, cruising definitely has more pros than cons.
1. So much food. Can we say all-inclusive? I mean cruising has got it down. Not only are there the buffets, but there are also restaurants, so you aren’t stuck eating at that some place each night. They even have snack shops only open after hours, you know for a snack after the late-night fun. And that is not even mentioning, in case you like Pina Coladas, there is pretty much a different bar on every corner with its own unique menu. Sayonara Keto Diet!
2. There is so much to do. There is something for every kind of personality on a cruise ship. Besides the classic activity of sitting by one of the many pools and hot tubs the ship has to offer, there was a dinner show, theater, comedy club, karaoke bar, full spa, entire floor for shopping, and even a nightclub and piano bar. This doesn’t even include the exotic Ports and the excursions you can book when you leave the ship! We booked an ATV beach excursion in the Dominican and it poured rain on us, but that turned it into an unforgettable muddin’ adventure, and made for some hilarious moments!
3. You can see multiple countries and only unpack once! This is one of the best things about a cruise. Rather than having to pack up your bags and lug them through the airport to hop from adventure to adventure, you have a home base. No hotel hopping and way less booking and planning. Once you are on the cruise the work is pretty much done! And they still have daily housekeeping with towels folded in the shapes of various animals, turn-down service at night, and did we mention free room service!?
4. If you live within driving distance of a cruise port, then you can save money on airfare, as well. In addition, most states offer a discount if you cruise out of a port in your home-state. In many cases you can get an all-inclusive vacation in a balcony cabin for less than $100 per person per day. You can’t beat that!
We highly recommend a cruise in general, but we’d like to state that this is a great option for a honeymoon. Especially if you are new to travel booking or new to travel, the cruise lines make it easy to set everything up before you leave, so you can just worry about having fun and relaxing.
So, then what are some of the cons?
1. This may be more of a pitfall than a con. Up-selling. If you aren’t sure what you are doing there are additional packages you can purchase that may not be totally worth it. We discovered this particularly with alcohol and specialty drinks, such as soda and coffee. The cruise sells packages you can purchase but depending on how much alcohol and specialty drinks you plan to drink, it may not be worth it. On our cruise the unlimited drink package cost $52 per person per day. Typical drinks were between $6-$11, so you’d have to drink between 5-9 drinks per day each to make it worth it.
2. Read the fine print. There are some very specific caveats that can be easy to miss. For example, if one person in your room purchases the all-inclusive drink package then everyone in the room must purchase. The same goes for reading the fine print regarding what you pack. There are many things that you wouldn’t normally recognize as a fire hazard but become one on a cruise ship, such as an iron or steamer .
3. I am sure this depends on what you book, but there may only be one outlet in your cabin, maybe two. Before leaving you will want to pack a power a surge protector. There are so many travel blogs out there that have specific suggestions for cruise packing, don’t forget to check them out too!
4. Excursions. The cruise companies want to make booking easy for you, but they also want to make money. So do your homework before booking directly with them. We learned from some locals in the Dominican that the cruise line will become like a broker taking a cut from local businesses instead of promoting the local businesses directly, meaning the local economy gets less of the money and your pay more. We booked an excursion through Expedia, directly with a local company, and we saved $50 per person!
Obviously we are not travel experts, but we wanted to share what we learned in case it helps you with your planning! There are so many unique places in the world and it can seem like there will never be enough time to see them all. If we are honest it often feels like life’s clock is running out as fast as minutes did on an old skool flip phone.
The truth is it will never be convenient or easy to get away, but it’s important to make the time, at least every now and then. Whether your goal is time with the girls, romance , dreaming and planning, or family time you just gotta go for it!