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I want to share my list of cruise tips for first-timers. Previously, I gave a detailed review of my first cruise and shared the positives and negatives. As luck and life would have it, I am eating my negative words because I’ve changed my mind about cruising.
I sometimes think when we have time to look back on things and the resulting decisions, your vision becomes clearer. You begin to realize that your position on certain things may be wrong. I’m a planner. I like to make lists and stick to them.
That is not to say that I am rigid, but I want to have a set itinerary that matches the goals that I hope to accomplish while I am traveling. I’ve been known to take copious notes about my destination and transplant them to an Outlook calendar that spans the length of said trip.
Thankfully, the invention of Tripit! made my life a whole lot easier, so I was finally able to say goodbye to Outlook. That is not to say that I can’t be spontaneous just because I’ve plotted out the perfect time to do just that on my calendar. I can be. I need to make sure that I don’t miss out on essential things to do while I am there.
Re-evaluating my first experience
Now, back to the cruise dilemma. I had realized that I am indeed a control freak. I like to make my plans when I travel, and I felt the cruise director was overstepping his bounds. Alas, I was a captive audience, so I had to participate in whatever he had planned for the cruise. If I am honest, I have to admit that I did enjoy myself.
There was also an immense relief in not having to arrange, plan, and execute every aspect of my trip. I could sit back, relax, and (egads!) do nothing! I think I was kind of mad that I did enjoy it and couldn’t give myself credit for it.
The Carnival Liberty wasn’t half bad. The food was ubiquitous and delicious, the shows were top notch, the slot machines paid off (most of the time), and the crew was friendly and very helpful.
Giving it another chance
Now, taking all of that into consideration, I have decided to give it another chance. Since getting a knee replacement, I haven’t traveled in about a year. So, I am still technically recuperating so I wanted to find a venue where I can still enjoy a vacation but at a slower pace.
Cruising seemed to be the ideal solution for my particular situation. I’ve just booked a Celebrity cruise for December, and I am looking forward to it. I’ve already checked the reviews on the stalwart cruise review site, Cruise Critic, and previous cruisers gave it a 90% favorable rating.
Speaking of Cruise Critic, it doesn’t take long to realize that cruising is a culture in and of itself. For some people, vacation is synonymous with cruising. That is the ONLY way that they travel, and though it’s not widely told, cruising is wildly popular. CC members readily admit to having taken more than a couple of dozen cruises. For some, it’s akin to a religious experience.
reevaluating the benefits of cruising
Now, this might not sit well with most travelers (Believe me, I get it. I used to feel the same way!) but I think it’s pretty clear why people have latched on to the fine art of cruising. I will share my cruise tips for first-timers below and write a detailed report of my latest cruise experience before the end of the year.
- Some people prefer to have someone else make all of the plans; then they can choose which activity they will or will not participate. It takes a lot of guesswork out of the equation and allows them actually to sit back, relax, and enjoy the entire experience.
- You get to stay in a lovely ‘hotel room’ and be pampered by every cruise worker that you come across.
- All meals are included (though some offer excellent meals for a premium price) pretty much any time of the day and include beverages (except for liquor).
- Entertainment is top notch, and there’s usually a stage show every night of the cruise.
- If you like to gamble (they have onboard casinos. Disney is an exception), there are other things for your enjoyment like game rooms, nightclubs, libraries, etc.
a worry-free vacation
Depending on the cruise, you get to stop and visit different ports on their route (for the better part of the day. I will be visiting San Juan, Puerto Rico; Philipsburg, St. Maarten and Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas.
You get all of that and more for one price! Calculate what the airfare alone would be for these destinations, and you will see the extraordinary value in traveling this way.
In summary, cruising is cost effective. You get a room, board, and entertainment for one price. Depending on what deals you get, you can enjoy a long cruise and several destinations at a ridiculously low price.
In our next list of cruise tips for first-timers, we will discuss how to book a cruise.