Let’s go cruising!!!

There are an estimated 10 million people who will cruise out of US ports in the coming year, and my family plans to be one of them.  In 2001, cruising quickly became our family’s vacation of choice with the sailing of mine and Steve’s first cruise aboard Royal Caribbean’s Monarch of the Seas. http://www.royalcaribbean.com/vanity/null  We soon fell in love with the warm Caribbean sun and the cool ocean breezes we enjoyed on that five-day journey.  There are a number of reasons why we have come to love cruising so much.  I’ll just hit on a few in this post.

First, there is nothing like the service you get on a cruise ship.  Now depending on how particular, finicky, and persnickety you are, your mileage may vary.  However, I have never found us to have bad service.  Some have just gone above and beyond.  It is great to not have to cook, clean, or make my bed for a whole week!  The service in the dinning room is usually on the ball since they do this day in and day out every week.  I love coming in and sitting down to have the delicately folded, linen napkin sitting at my place setting draped over my lap, and handed a menu of food so fine I could never afford to order it in a restaurant back home.  My water glass is filled.  I feel like royalty!  If you have a good dinning room team, they will remember when you made a request like lemons for your water or a specific soda to drink and have it there before you arrive for the rest of the cruise.  Then there are the room stewards who make up your bed in the morning and do turn down service at night while your out enjoying the nightlife onboard.  It is always fun to open your state room door and see what kind of towel animal they have concocted for you that evening.  They keep ice in your ice bucket and clean towels in the bathroom.  Yes, there is nothing like taking your first step onto a cruise ship and knowing that for the rest of your trip you will be well taken care of by your room steward and dining room staff, as well as the entertainment and bar staff……which brings me to my next point.

“Bar service!”  The first think I love to do after we get onboard (and after we eat our first lunch at the buffet ;)) is get up to the pool deck, find a spot to relax for a bit, and listen for those two words…..”bar service!”  My drink of choice, especially during sailaway, is the Miami Vice, a mix of pina colada and strawberry daiquiri– with an umbrella, of course.  In the last couple of cruises, I have developed a fondness for mojitos as well.  Often times, if we are sitting with a group of people, we will order buckets of beer to share and take turns buying the rounds.  This works well to a) keep us from having to go up to the bar (we are on vacation, right?) and b) not have to wait for the waiter to come back by as often to order more drinks.  Of course, buckets of beer are a good tip for them, so they tend to hover and know when you are ready for another bucket, usually even before you do.   Most bars on the ship are open by around 8 or 9 in the morning, and the night clubs, pubs, piano bars, karaoke bars, etc. are usually open into the early morning hours.  Basically, there is not a lot of time that there is not bar service available during your cruise vacation.

Of course, there are more things to do on a cruise ship than just sit and drink umbrella drinks and buckets of beer all day, which brings me to my next point.  There is such a wide variety of  things to do on the ship.  If you go home bored, it’s your own fault.  Like to play b-ball on a full-size court in the middle of the ocean?  Some of the newer, more innovative ships have options like this available.  Royal Caribbean’s Freedom class ships have a sports deck that consists of a full-size b-ball court, rock climbing wall, mini-golf, a running track, and the Flow-Rider (surf’s up, dude!)  In fact, all of RCI’s ships now have rock climbing walls.  The Voyager, Freedom, and Oasis class ships even have an ice skating rink on deck 3 where you can test your ice skating skills in the Caribbean.  And speaking of the Oasis class ships…..these two ships are now the largest cruise ships in the world to date.  These ships feature a full-size carousel and a zip line from one side of the top deck to the other.  Not into that much action?  There are things like bingo and trivia games that go on through out the week.  Most ships feature a casino if you like to try your hand at lady luck.  Need a good book?  Visit the library and cozy up in a comfy chair or take it on deck and read in the sun.  Maybe you need to check in on things back home.  The business center has internet available for a fee for you to use.  One of the things that we enjoy is the fun things that happen on the pool deck.  We like to watch (or participate in) the sexy legs contest, the belly flop contest, the crew-versus-passengers pool volleyball, and the line dancing.  And of course,  I would be remiss if I didn’t mention all the nightlife.  There are usually some great comedy acts and broadway-type shows that are always fun.  Our favorite place to hangout is in the pubs on the Promenade (RCI) or the piano bars and sing along with the one-man shows that perform there.  We usually can be found in the midst of a group of people belting out our best rendition of Neil Diamond’s Sweet Caroline until the wee hours of the morning.

And so that brings me to my last, but certainly not least, topic for why we love cruising so much….. the people we meet.  Steve and I have met so many wonderful people in our 9 cruises from all walks of life and many different countries.  One of my dear friends, who is also an avid cruiser, I met on a cruise in 2003.   We have cruised together 3 more times and went on 2 land vacations together since then.  I look forward to many more with her and her family.  The last cruise we were on, our tablemates for dinner were from Shanghai, China.  A lovely young couple; he spoke english well, but his wife was a little rusty on what she had learned as a child.  I loved the conversations that we shared about the differences in our homelands and our cultures.  I really liked that my two boys were able to meet them and see such diversity of which can only make them better people as they grow.  I remember, on our first cruise, meeting Ben from New Zealand.  We had fun talking about how we both spoke english, but had difficulty sometimes in understanding what each other meant.  Almost every person that works on a cruise ship is from somewhere other than the US.  I like to read all their name tags and see where they are all from and if they have time, ask them about it.

So, I hope this gives you a little bit of an understanding of why we love cruising so much and why it is our vacation of choice.  I have only touched on the tip of the iceberg on the reasons why and could go on writing forever.  Maybe I will save it for another post or two.  For now……happy sailing!!!


3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jen
    Nov 24, 2010 @ 17:15:03

    I am loving this. Great job, you should put this in a magazine. I really like the reference to me in there also. 🙂 I thought we were on vacation 7 or something though. Great job, I look forward to more!


  2. Trisha
    Nov 26, 2010 @ 11:50:16

    Glad you like it Jen. I couldn’t write a travel blog without mentioning you. That would be like PB&J without the jelly. HeeHeeHee. 😉 You’te right, next summer’s trip will be #7. We have done 4 cruises and 2 land vacations together.


  3. Lisa
    Nov 28, 2010 @ 23:37:57

    Time for another one! Ready to read more vacation wisdom and live vicariously through you.


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