Prior to going on this cruise, I had all kinds of reservations about spending my vacation time this way. I was envisioning a week-long outing with people elder to my grandfather, buffet style food and hours of mandatory bingo every day. But that wasn't the case at all. Here are the top ten reasons of why I thought this cruise was great. It should be noted that we traveled with Royal Caribbean on the Adventures of the Sea which might be a completely different experience than other ships or cruise lines.
- The food was ridiculously good, with lots of choices and no shortage there of it. I particularly loved the formal dining room dinners. Unfortunately the great food also resulted in my mother not being able to button her pants for the latter half of the trip which was an avid topic of discussions amongst a number of anonymous cruisers. Leave it to my mum to ruin the family's reputation.
- The service was terrific. I couldn't believe how nice and accomodating the staff was. They always went out of their way to please the customer. Going back to cleaning my apartment on a monthly basis will be quite the change to them cleaning my stateroom three times a day. On our boat, there were 3500 guests and 12oo crew members. That says it all about the level of service offered.
- There was plenty to do. We were on a big boat, mind you, but there was no shortage of activities. Ping pong, gym, sauna, steam room, pools, and yes....bingo.
- Cruises are a great way to meet people. You start running across the same people and everybody (happy and well fed) seems to be excited to strike up a conversation.
- You do get to see a lot of different places. I think we visited six different islands on our cruise which was really neat. I would have to say that the one big negative of going on a cruise is that wherever you arrive people look at you as a dollar bill. That was no fun, and I don't enjoy being labeled as a cruise tourist. But you don't have to be. On Barbados, we simply jumped in a cab, had them drive us to a great beach and spent the day snorkeling there.
- They don't make money on everybody. If you enjoy gambling and expensive mixed drinks then I am sure every cruise line would love to have you as their customer. If you're a frugal German who can eat seven meals a day, then ...not so much. I ate like crazy, went to all the shows and didn't spend a dollar in the casino. It was a complete luxury hotel experience without the luxury price tag. True, camping is cheaper. But if you want a luxury vacation, I don't think there's a better way to do it than cruising.
- The entertainment was short and sweet. Every night there was a new show - jugglers, dancers, ice skaters, comedians, singers, etc. The shows were highly entertaining and short so I tried them all.
- It's a fun activity to do with your friends. I was lucky to do this with Jen, my family and my host family. We had a great time together – all while being pampered by 1200 cruise staffers.
- Cruise employees are interesting people. Most folks working on a cruise are young and from all over the world. On our boat, they came from 67 different nations. I got to meet many of them and found their stories to be very interesting. There also was the rather uncomfortable Sauna encounter with a gay dancer from Argentina. Jen won't shut about that one.