Ahoy matey! My first cruise experience with Carnival Cruise Line

Reflections on my first cruise with Carnival Cruise Line.

It was my first time, and truthfully I was a little nervous about it. For, despite all the travelling I had done, I had never been on, or even considered, a cruise.

So when Carnival Cruise Line invited me and five of my nearest and dearest to sail on one of their vessels, I hesitated.

Why? Well, for one, I’m not a fan of ships– sailing green-faced around Croatia for a week a few years back taught me that I have a wicked propensity for seasickness.

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Secondly, as an independent traveller with a “go with the flow” travel style, the thought of having to adhere to the ship’s schedule didn’t seem very appealing. This landlubber also suffers from “ants in the pants” and “itchy feet” syndromes– I figured that I would be super bored during the “at sea” days.

Thirdly, I worried about the food.  My palate is far from refined, but I’m a picky eater who has an aversion to buffets. With so many people on the ship, how could the quality of the food be high?

And then… I also had my own foolish biases based on half-truths and misinformation. Cruising, for me, immediately evoked images of blue-haired seniors playing shuffleboard on the top deck of the ship. While I have a soft spot for the elderly, spending a week on a ship with 4,000 of them gave me pause.  After all, weren’t cruises mostly for the those in their golden years? Would my travel companions and I be amongst the youngest guests on the ship?

Gulp.

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At any rate, despite my reservations, I accepted Carnival’s invitation (you only live once!) and am so glad I did!  Me and my team (a rocking crew comprised of Liebling, my mom, my auntie, and Joy and June, my two besties from the food blog A Dash of Two) found ourselves on the July 3rd sailing of the Carnival Breeze.  One of the most impressive of Carnival’s 25-ship fleet, we selected the 7-day Western Caribbean cruise departing from Galveston, TX, which had Montego Bay, Grand Cayman, and Cozumel as its ports of call.

And that’s when the fun, as well as the crushing of any preconceived notions I had about the experience, began.

Because, get this: I wasn’t seasick. I wasn’t bored. I actually appreciated being on a schedule sometimes. And I certainly wasn’t amongst the youngest on the ship.

Whaaa?

I wasn’t bored and I wasn’t sick

I immediately assumed that my days on the ship would be spent feeling vomitous and filled with ennui but the reality couldn’t be any farther from the truth. Firstly, the ship is massive, so its movement, even in choppy waters, was mostly imperceptible (nighttime was the exception-the ship moved a lot when I was in bed but even then I never felt ill).

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Furthermore, there were SO MANY THINGS to do on the ship: from movie screenings and Zumba to karaoke and bingo, there was always something to occupy your time and your interests.  The range of activities was also enviable, with enough varied offerings to appease every taste and age bracket, so that even my very picky husband was happy and engaged.

It was nice being on a schedule

Vacation is my time to unwind, so I typically don’t like my schedule dictated to me. When you’re on a cruise, you have to adhere to “ship time”, especially for meals and at ports of call.  This usually irks me: I usually like to see how the day unfolds when I travel and don’t like having too many standing appointments. But, while I wish we had more time to explore on land, I found that knowing exactly what time I was expected to, say, be at dinner, helped me structure my day accordingly.  I also found that these meeting times for meals were a good anchor for our group, because we often did our own thing (see above– there were so many things to do on the ship!).  Dinner was thus a great time for us to come together, relax, and relate the events of the day.

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The food was the bomb.com

Carnival DELIVERED on the eats, y’all. I expected to be disappointed but in fact was flabbergasted by the quality of the food on board.  The buffets were surprisingly fresh, with dishes prepared and put out for consumption with lightening fast regularity. The food was also extremely flavourful, despite the speed with which it was prepared and the large quantities. Tandoor, the Indian restaurant on the Lido deck, was my favourite.

The demographics of the guests surprised me

I was shocked to see the range and scope of the guests on board. There was an equal amount of young, middle-aged, and older people, and, while the majority were Americans, they comprised all races,  religions, and ethnicities.  There was also a sizable number of families on board, which makes me think that a cruise is an excellent idea for a family reunion.

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The verdict

My first cruising experience was a huge success, for all the reasons I mentioned above and more! I have loads more content coming up so watch out for future posts on various aspects of my Carnival cruise!

Have you ever been on a cruise before? How did you enjoy the experience?


This post was created for Away We Go with Carnival, the destination for getting in the getaway state of mind. Head on over.

 

9 Comments

  • Natasha Fuller says:

    I have been in three cruises, two with carnival and one with Costa. Carnival is the place to be for fun and I can’t wait to try another one. Costa was awful, very old group of people and less to do. I do plan to try one of the mega ships from royal caribbean. I hear their cruise are even nicer.

  • Joy says:

    I agree on all fronts! Even the vegan fare was quite good in the dining room. Everything is more fun when you are with a great group 😃!

  • Deirdre says:

    I have my 2nd cruise planned this December for my 50th. I have only cruised Carnival and if it ain’t broke…🚢

  • Noelle says:

    I had the same thoughts as you – and then brought my son on a cruise from Miami to the Bahamas and we LOVED it. It was so nice to have plenty of activities, we loved the pool and food on the ship, and greatly enjoyed our Bahamas beach time. I’m thinking of going on another cruise next year!

  • k_sam says:

    I never used to be a fan of cruises, but then we did one down the Nile and it totally changed my mind. I travel so much for work and it takes a lot of mental effort to plan everything, figure out how to get from A to Z, etc, that it was so NICE to just be able to relax and let someone else take care of the logistics.

    I still enjoy planning my own vacations, but there are times when I still need a vacation but feel like I can’t look at another flight schedule or hotel review – and for me, that’s where cruises come into play!

  • Jay Small says:

    Hello Oneika! First off, I am a HUGE fan of your blog. I love your writing style and your photography. I just completed a Mediterranean cruise and had a great time. I have recently created a blog http://www.smallworldtastes.com I’d love for you to take a look at my post about my cruise at http://www.smallworldtastes.com/royal-caribbean-harmony-of-the-seas-mediterranean-trip-report/ and give me your thoughts and feedback. Can’t wait to see more of your videos!

  • Floree says:

    So Im not afraid to admit that I’m addicted to cruising! Ive done two with Carnival and one with Royal. And I will be trying MSC in Europe. I like the fact that you can wake up in a different place everyday. So far Carnival has the best food and but Royal’s ships have better features. I live in the Caribbean so for me its a faster and inexpensive way for me to visit many places in one trip.

  • Mikelah says:

    I went on my first cruise last year, was the Welcome to Jamrock Reggae Cruise, was an amazing experience, but that’s because it was basically like one big part and festival, plus you can’t go wrong with Jamaica (says the biased Jamaican!)

    Glad you had a great time, I had those reservations as well. Sometime our our thoughts get in the way of us having new experiences.

  • Partrick says:

    I took the exact same cruise at the end of august 2016. It was my first cruise, it was planned for a family reunion and I was really impressed by all there is to do on board. I usually hate the “all inclusive” vacations because I prefer travelling without having to follow a schedule or a tourist group, but I must admit that the cruise was really nice. The kids( 6 and 3 years old) loved it and still talk about it… The variety and quanty of quality food on board is insane ! I miss pretty sure we’ll plan another cruise in a few years.
    I really enjoy reading your blog. Keep up with your good work !

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