I’ve always been a fan of Lisa’s “Always, Sometimes, Never…” series on her blog and thought, in honor of my fourth cruise coming up (five more sleeps!), I thought I would publish my own list – a cruise edition one!
While cruising, I always…
Get an ocean-view room. The upgrade is completely worth it. I couldn’t imagine being on a ship and not being able to look outside. Waking up to the ocean stretching in front of me for miles and miles and miles is an experience I never want to miss. I need natural sunlight seeping through the curtains and to be able to watch the sunset while perched on my bed as I get ready for dinner. This is something I refuse to compromise on.
Choose an excursion through the cruise line. Look, I get it. I understand that when I book through Carnival, it’s more expensive and I can find cheaper, more authentic ways to spend my time in whatever port of call I’m at by searching around online. But I am just not at the comfort level yet of booking through a discount website. I have had nothing but good experiences with the excursions I’ve booked through Carnival and it gives me a level of safety and comfort that I need when I’m in a foreign country.
Buy the same drink, over and over again. I’m not a huge drinker and I can’t stand the taste of alcohol in most drinks but on my first cruise I ordered a drink called the Mango Swirl. It’s half mango daiquiri and half pina colada and it is, without a doubt, the best drink I have ever had. I get it at least a few times when I’m cruising and I even drank it out of a coconut once. Oh, cruise life.
Come back to the ship at least an hour before it leaves port. I am a bit of a nervous wreck about being back to the ship on time. Obviously, you don’t want to get left behind in a foreign country so I make sure I know exactly when the ship is leaving, that my phone is displaying the correct time, and that I’m back on the ship usually an hour (sometimes earlier) before it leaves. Nobody wants to be stranded!
While cruising, I sometimes…
Buy the ship’s photos. Yes, they are crazy overpriced and cheesy, but how could I pass up a photo of my mom and I with a Rastafarian in Jamaica… or a pirate holding a sword up to my throat? While not all of the photos are worth the price tag, there are some priceless ones that are worth buying.
Check out the nightly entertainment. Some of it is incredibly cheesy, but there are some good shows that happen at night. When we have late dining (which starts at 8:15pm), it’s harder to get to the shows since they start when we’re still at dinner but there’s always something intriguing to check out! I especially love the comedy nights, as they have some fairly good comics on ship. (Or I’m just easily entertained.) Some nights, there isn’t anything that interests us so those nights, we may walk around the ship but eventually end up going back to our room, putting on our jammies, and reading in bed. I love those nights!
Carry on luggage. Just as with flying, you can choose to carry on your luggage or let the ship handle it. This means handing it off to crew members outside the port and then waiting in anxious anticipation for your luggage to arrive at your door. Sometimes, this is within an hour of getting on the ship and sometimes it will be longer. I get really anxious about my luggage getting lost (it’s never happened, but I am a worrywart) so on our last cruise, we opted to carry on and we’re hoping to do that with this cruise. On our last five-day cruise, we grossly overpacked so I think we can manage to fit all our needs into our Grand Traveler. Fingers crossed!
Play in the casino. I’m not a huge fan of the casino and basically hate anything involved with gambling so it’s not an exciting part of the ship for me. But if there’s nothing going on entertainment-wise, or we have some time to kill before a show, we’ll go over to the casino and play the slots.
While cruising, I never…
Use the pool. I have never stepped foot into the pools on the ship. Mainly, because it’s always so crowded and filled with kids splashing everywhere. I’ve never been too impressed with the pools on the Carnival ships, quite frankly. (Though I have been on some of the older ships. I’m sure the newer ships have better pools. Right?)
Order room service. Even though it’s absolutely free and gives you the convenience of eating in your room, I have never ordered room service on a cruise. As introverted as I am, I like being out and eating from the buffet or going to the dinners and forcing myself to make conversation with my tablemates. I really have not seen a need for room service – yet!
Use the Internet. One of my most favorite things about cruising (besides, well, everything) is that it’s my chance to completely disconnect and step away from technology. I have this problem with needing to be super connected all the time. I scroll through Twitter incessantly, think in 140-character thoughts, feel as if I need to Instagram every major moment in time. I want to keep up with reading blogs and writing my own posts. My face is in front of a screen more hours than it’s not. When I get on the ship, my phone goes on airplane moment once we start sailing. Aside from the first time I cruised, I never bring my laptop, opting to bring a journal and write out my thoughts when the moment strikes me. I rarely even use my phone, unless I want to capture a memory. I love being disconnected. The Internet will be here when I get back. There’s no reason for me to use it on my vacation.
Attend the deck parties. I have no idea what happens at a deck party. I’m not sure why I haven’t gone to a deck party on a cruise, but it just doesn’t seem like my kind of thing, you know? I’m sure it’s fun for people who like that sort of thing, but it’s not something that sounds like a good time for me. (Social anxiety, anyone?)
What is one of your “always” while vacationing?