|Mexican wind pastel|
Next month I will be going a cruise, again. There is no better vacation value than a cruise. For those of you who have never been on one or are considering one in the future I have assembled a list of what to expect and suggestions to make it even better. (if that is possible)
1. Check out the various cruise lines and choose one that fits your personal taste. I like the casual atmosphere of Carnival but there are many lines and styles from which to choose. The following lists are based on my Carnival experiences.
2. Large cruise boats have stabilizers that make the ride extremely smooth. I was on a cruise during hurricane Frances and although it rocked more than usual, it wasn’t that bad. When I was a kid I would get carsick if I rode from my house to the corner and I had to carry a cone made of newspaper with me, but I have never gotten sick on a cruise. If you suffer from motion sickness, however, it is best to be prepared. You may obtain a patch for motion sickness from your doctor. I carry Dramamine and acupressure bands (sold in dept. stores) called sea bands, but I have never had the need for either.
3. When you get on the boat you will have to participate in the safety drill. There is no getting out of it so there will be no hiding in your cabin. They will find you. So just go ahead and put that dorky life vest on and follow the crowd. Everyone looks as dumb as you feel. If this drill were mandatory on the Titanic perhaps history would look a little different.
4. Wait to book any excursions until after you have been on the boat for a while. Ask others who have taken them before which are the better value. You can get a lot of suggestions and hints from your fellow passengers. Just because the cruise lines arrange a trip does not guarantee an enjoyable time. We once took an excursion to a glass bottom boat, in a rickety old, un-airconditioned bus to a beat up pier where the boat was so overflowing that we had to sit on the second story where I finally did require Dramamine…
5. Make sure you bring your buffet pants. Buffet pants are what my husband calls his expanding waistband pants. Trust me you will need them.
6. Smile! They will be snapping pictures while you are doing everything from staggering back to your room after partaking of a few too many Bahama Mamas to singing karaoke. Some of them will be rather, shall we say, candid. Relax. Go to the wall of shame where they display them, get a good laugh, and either remove to the trash or purchase them as desired. Honestly some will be keepers.
7. Be aware that your health insurance may not work on the boat. You may have to pay out of pocket if you need to see the doctor.
8. Keep abreast of all that is going on aboard ship by checking out the daily newsletter.
9. One night at sea is a dress up night and you will need to bring one dressy outfit. Anything goes from tuxes and gowns to whatever you would wear for a night on the town. After dinner you can have your picture taken (when you are actually prepared) at one of many photographic backdrops set up around the boat. You are already dressed to kill so you may as well take advantage of it. As with all photos, you don’t have to buy any unless you choose. Unlike photo studios on shore, you don’t have to pay sitting fees.
10. Skip the buffet at dinnertime; the sit down restaurant is an enjoyable 5 star experience.
Honestly, there are so many more little hints to note but I am trying to keep this list down to a minimum. If anyone is interested I can always write a “Cruise anyone, part 2.”