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.
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?
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.