Wet Behind the Ears – Confessions from First Time Cruiser

Yes, I must confess I’m well traveled. I have used planes, trains, automobiles, buses, rickshaws, bicycles, kayaks, sailboats, ferries, and my own two feet to reach destinations near and far.  However, I failed to accomplish one type of transportation, a cruise. With a port of call only a hop, skip, and a jump from home, I thought it only appropriate to continue my summer of being a mermaid with a cruise.

First impressions of cruising:

1) Wow this is easy! The arrival was seamless.  The porters, parking, efficient check in, and quick customs were a great “Welcome Aboard!”  The airlines need to start learning from the cruise lines.

2) How many other people are on this ship?

(See the Majesty of the Seas left with a total of  2700 cruisers plus 800 crew)

3) Who is driving this monstrosity?

(I found him. Believe it or not this Captain lives in my neighborhood. I went all the way to the Caribbean and could have bumped into him in the supermarket!)

4) Uh, why haven’t I cruised before?

(Still baffles me that I have lived in one of the cruising capitols of the world for over 6 years without cruising until this summer.)

Tips for first time cruisers:

1) Get to the port early to enjoy and check out the ship before departure. There is always a restaurant and bar open. Getting the “lay of the land” is crucial to enjoying the rest of the time aboard.

2) Plan your land excursions early. Most of the popular activities sell out. For Caribbean cruises make sure to get your snorkel, SCUBA, and kayaking reserved prior to the departure week or as soon as you board.

3) Get your deck chairs for departure early.

4) Don’t miss the opportunity to walk the deck to see the stars and moon. For those of us living in the city or around too many lights, this is an epic display of what we miss nightly for the other conveniences of metropolitan life.

5) Even if you aren’t an early bird, do get up one morning for sunrise. Not much beats a sunrise at sea. You can always take a nap in your cabin or on a deck chair later.

You don’t have to be in Mexico to take a siesta.

What I will do next time:

1) Explore a longer cruise 3 days was not nearly long enough. You crave more. Here’s a site for booking: www.cruise1st.co.uk 

2) Going with a larger group to celebrate a birthday, success, life, etc. It was amazing the amounts of bachelorette, milestone birthdays, and reunions that were going on. It appears to be the best way to make a group gathering easy, fun, and a crowd pleaser from the adventureros, spa goers, barflies, and shoppers.

3) Pack less.  You don’t have the restrictions like the airplanes, but if you want to walk in and out of your cabin, closet, bathroom, etc. I would suggest you pack lightly to assist in getting used to the not quite full size bed, not quite full size stand up shower, and the like.

If you have tips from your cruising experiences, please comment on this post. I’m looking forward to sharing more good times and good stories with you of my summer of being a mermaid.

4 Comments

  1. DKN says:

    I will be coming next time!

  2. DKN-

    Absolutely!

    On my list #2 for next time is to go with a larger group to celebrate. Perhaps there is a Look Up Day on a cruise in the near future or even a double birthday this Fall?

  3. Srinivas Rao says:

    I went on a cruise in December of this year for the first time with my parents. At age 31 you can probably imagine how excited I was about spending 7 straight days with them. I love them, but you know how it goes. Anyways, my parent’s said “this is the perfect vacation because if we’re sick of each other we can just go somewhere and do our own thing, but we’re all still in the same place.”

    Needless to say I thought very highly of the experience. The food was AMAZING. I couldn’t believe how good it was considering that it was being made for so many people. The service in the dining room was impeccable. I always thought cruises are for nothing but old people, but it turned out to be a great vacation. Talk about getting your money’s worth.

    I probably will do one again with a younger group of my friends.

  4. Tanya says:

    Congratulations on your first cruise! Having been cruising since I was a child, I love the ease of them as well. Especially now with children of my own (7&9), they get their time, hubby and I ours and then lots of family time too. We, like you enjoy adventure which is why we always plan our own excursions, never through the ship. You get so much more for your money this way and get to experience more of the local culture as well. For newbies this may be a bit scary at first, the thought of not making back on board in time. You just have to plan well and be mindful of the time, etc. I just returned from my 23rd cruise two weeks ago and loved every bit as much as any other.

    Cheers!
    T