First Impressions of Cruise Travel

In December, Pumpkin and I set afoot upon our first cruise, a statement we can both honestly say we would never have contemplated making a couple of years ago. This mode of travelling the world is not something we had imagined would appeal to our tastes and many of the assumptions that I had made about cruises had put me off trying it for myself.

Celebrity Summit Cruise Southern Caribbean

Then just a couple of months before we booked this trip, we back-pedalled – not because our cruise desires suddenly bloomed but rather because we wanted to end our year of travels with a trip that was completely different in nature to anything else we had tried.

(Oh – and we wanted it to be warm.)

That was how the Caribbean Cruise idea popped into our heads in a Eureka moment one rainy autumnal day.

I figured, if I am as open-minded with my travels as I like to think I am, then I ought to step up to challenging my pre-conceptions.

Puerto Rico Caribbean Cruise
San Juan, Puerto Rico

After a mini break in New York City, we flew to Puerto Rico to join the Celebrity Summit cruise ship, which was to take us over the following few days to several islands in the Southern Caribbean.I am making specific effort to avoid tangents about destinations today as I have stacks of bullet points scattered around various gadgets that, with a bit of luck, will butterfly into posts about the Caribbean in the coming weeks and months.

Puerto Rico colourful buildings
A burst of colour in Puerto Rico

Instead, I hope to keep today’s post fairly simple, sharing my personal reflections on what worked for me, what did not and musings on whether I would be willing to try another cruise again.

What I liked about cruising

 

Multiple destinations all in one trip

Let’s get the obvious one out of the way. One of the perks of cruising is the opportunity to travel to multiple countries and cities all in a short space of time – or is it? Read on to find out my mixed stance on this but there’s no denying that cruising allows travellers to see a lot of destinations in a short space of time, in our case Barbados, St Lucia and Antigua all within one week. I found it an ideal way of gathering  a general taster for different destinations and gauging which ones cultivated a desire to return.

St Thomas US VIrgin Islands Cruise
St Thomas, US Virgin Islands

A room with a view and waking up to see the ocean every day

How many other holidays have you been on where you stare out of your room window to see nothing but the ocean around you? No frames of buildings, glare of traffic lights, din of crowded streets or darkened shadows of trees; just the seemingly infinite ocean, until the ship starts to pull into dock and the panoramic harbour views welcome you into your super-sized breakfast. Most cruise ships give the option of inward facing rooms (if you aren’t put off by the prospect of no daylight), sea-facing rooms and sea facing rooms with balconies and unlike city breaks where you need to climb up to or pay charges for premium viewpoints, on a cruise, all you need to do for a great view is hop onto one of the upper decks.

Antigua view from cruise ship
A Bird’s Eye View of Antigua

Unlimited Fine Food and Drink

If you don’t enjoy eating much on your travels, it is time to rethink a cruise because this is one travel experience in which you should expect to be fed more than you would do when visiting an Indian grandmother or my Indian mother and believe me when I say, these women know how to feed.

Celebrity Summit cruise restaurant dining

Our ship, which was relatively smaller than many other cruise ships we saw in port, still had an all day buffet restaurant, fine dining formal restaurant, poolside restaurant, spa restaurant serving up healthier dining options as well as a coffee and patisserie-style cake house and ice cream parlour, all of which had food included in the prepaid cruise cost.

cruise ship food experience Baked Alaska

And this makes no mention of the additional restaurants that were available to book with a surplus charge.

Celebrity cruise ship dining

There’s always something to do

One of the things I was most looking forward to on the cruise was a chance to dabble in all the different activities on offer. When I had previously stayed at the Shangri La in Kota Kinabalu, Borneo, I had been so impressed by all the complimentary classes on offer that the various Yoga, Pilates and Tai Chi sessions all gave me an unprecedented impetus to get out of bed at 7am and I do not get out of bed at 7am by choice.

Celebrity Summit Cruise Ship Casino

Having heard that cruises are virtually like giant playgrounds for adults, we made the most of many of the activities that were included in the price, such as table tennis tournaments, karaoke competitions, presentations, give-aways, trying our luck at the slots in the casino and trivia quizzes. I was a little bit disappointed to find that classes like Zumba and Pilates came with additional charges but this still didn’t stop me joining in the samba fun with 3 zumba classes during the cruise. Smug or what?! 😀

Celebrity Cruise Activities

High Class Evening Performances and Entertainment

I have always loved watching live entertainment. Whether it’s cringing through fits of laughter at the Book of Mormon in London or gawping in awe at Penn and Teller in Last Vegas, a night of performing arts and a swanky meal makes for a classic romantic night out and on a cruise, you get to do it almost every night!

We were impressed by the talent showcased during the musical performances and I was mystified and stunned in one with the illusionist artistry of  Adam Heppenstall’s I-Magic Show, a unique and innovative fusion of conventional magic with modern-day digital technology. I have always been amazed by magic and felt just a tad starstruck when I bumped into him (a fellow Londoner) at a bar in St Lucia the following day.

celebrity Caribbean cruise travel blog

An Excuse to Dress Up

I must confess, I become rather lazy when Pumpkin and I dine out in London. Don’t get me wrong, for a special occasion, I still don a new frock and throw on a blingy pair of floaty earrings but most Friday nights, you will find me with a semi-scruffy dash of eye-liner, heading out in my staple pair of black skinny jeans and whichever pair of pumps looks least scuffed. On the cruise ship however, we had two official formal nights and even the non-formal nights seemed to be a reasonably a glamorous affair, giving me the perfect excuse to finally make use of all those dresses I always pack and rarely use.

Making New Friends

The first time we walked into the formal dining room, we realised that most guests are seated on shared tables. This came as a bit of a surprise (you can now infer how little research we had carried out about cruising) but little did we know that the four fellow couples we met would turn out to be such a great bunch of people that we would spend all week laughing with. We would find ourselves bumping into them at the sunset bar…

cruise ship deck sunset view
A Daily View at the Sunset Bar

The Martini Bar

Celebrity Summit Martini Bar
A Martini for Every Day of the Week..(Almost)

And various other bars on board the ship….sensing a theme?!

cruise ship bars and restaurants

I cannot remember the last time Pumpkin and I stayed out till 2am, dancing the night away and I am fairly sure that I will not be repeating any time soon the Spice Girls karaoke rendition that myself and the other ladies on my table sang in front of a large audience not once but twice on this cruise.

Never needing your wallet

Once we were on board and were given our cruise ship card, we realised it was far more than the key card to our room and could be used to purchase items on board and pay for all activities so lock your credit cards away when you are on the ship ladies and gents because you will not be needing them. The week’s statement could be followed live throughout the cruise and could be paid directly from our room without the need of any members of staff to assist us. And while you’re at the safe locking away your cards, put those one dollar bills in there too because tips are already included and can be adjusted electronically should you so wish.

DCIM100GOPROGOPR0511.

Suitable for all shapes and sizes

Travelling with babies? The cruise has got you covered. Travelling with frail relatives or those using wheelchairs or mobility scooters? The cruise has got you covered. In this respect, cruises are one of the most malleable forms of travel I have encountered so it is a great travel holiday option for family or group holidays or for travel with those who may have impaired mobility.

Celebrity Summit Cruise Review

What I did not like about cruising

 

The Hard Sell

Once I have paid for and arrived on a holiday, it is nice to be left to enjoy it rather than be given the hard sell for added extras that I would have paid for in the first place had I wanted them. Given that I don’t drink alcohol and drink, at most, one cup of tea a day, I clearly didn’t need the drinks package and I would have loved it if I didn’t have to explain that five times over on the first couple of days.

bars Celebrity Summit Cruise Ship

Where it wasn’t the drinks package, it was the food package or the shore excursions. On the first day, I was browsing the spa shop just to see if they sold any nail polish and within five minutes, they were giving me the hard sell for a costly pedicure. The destinations talk I attended ended up being less about the islands themselves and more of a long sales pitch for their tours. During the first couple of days on board, it all just started to feel a little incessant but it is difficult for me to know if this is the norm on cruise ships or whether it was just on this particular Celebrity cruise ship.

Minimal Time at Destinations

As mentioned earlier, one of the perks of a cruise is the chance to see many destinations but the downside is that you get very little time in each destination and at several of the places we visited, I found myself wishing I could stay longer.

Ffryes Beach Antigua

Bit of a first world problem, there’s no denying that and to some extent, even this depends on the cruise duration and itinerary but for most week-long cruises, guests have just a morning and afternoon at the port before needing to be back on board. Whilst this allows time to get an overall glimpse at the place or to sample one particular aspect of the attractions on offer, I felt that the cruise mode of travel didn’t allow me to see destinations in the level of depth that I would usually want to.

Sailing and docking times also mean that moonlit walks and sunrise strolls are out of the question so you can’t work entirely to your own schedule when you’re cruising, not if you’re planning to get back on board anyway!

Celebrity Summit Southern Caribbean

Crowds at Ports

When a cruise ship gets into port, hundreds if not thousands of passengers get off the boat. When several cruise ships get into the same port, this number multiplies further so be realistic and expect to find large crowds at most of the popular tourist attractions. You can escape them by opting for more offbeat activities and avoiding the key sites like the paradise, lesser known Ffryes Beach that we chose, away from the crowds in Antigua but I now finally understand why so many non-cruise tourists release disgruntled sighs when they hear of an impending cruise ship arrival in a city.

cruise travel for beginners

Would I go on a cruise again?

You don’t have to be a mathematical wiz to see that my list of positives outweighs the negatives so yes, I would go on another cruise. BUT, now that I have tried and tested the concept, if I were to go again, it would be for a particular type of holiday such as with family or a large group of friends or alternatively, if I was looking for an easy, fuss-free trip where the emphasis is more on an overall holiday experience rather than the destination. If I am travelling somewhere specifically to see a place in-depth and explore it “properly” (always a subjective term in the travel stakes), then cruising would not be  my preferred way to go about it, as I found it a little too rushed for that purpose.

So you’ve heard my thoughts on cruising? What are yours? Have you been on a cruise or is it something you would ever consider?  

69 thoughts on “First Impressions of Cruise Travel

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) February 21, 2016 — 7:34 pm

      Thank you Rasa. These Caribbean Islands were so much more picturesque and scenic than I had ever realised!

  1. I just loved this post, and I feel like what you have written really could help someone decide whether or not to go on a cruise. I think that a lot of travelers brush off cruising, but if you are looking for a specific type of travel, it works. My husband and I took a cruise to Alaska and we loved it, because the cruise ship was able to go to many places that are hard to get to or even inaccessible unless by boat. We went to Glacier National Park and cruised around and saw all of the glaciers. It was incredible! We loved just being able to relax and eat the amazing food. And I loved getting dressed up for the formal nights! When else do you get to do that?

    It can feel gimmicky at times, but overall I think that cruises can be a lot of fun. We haven’t done one in years but my husband and I are planning to do a river cruise in Europe with my parents sometime in the next few years. Now that travel is a bit harder on them, I think that a cruise would be perfect for them. They will not have to worry about where to go or planning out anything, and they don’t have to deal with renting cars or any logistics like that.

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) February 21, 2016 — 7:41 pm

      Thanks so much for your lovely comment Carolann – everyone has their own view on cruises and I know it isn’t for everyone so I just went in with an open mind and wanted to share my feelings on it honestly. Really happy to hear you think it might be helpful to others ☺ It’s funny you mentioned about the way they may be a good option for inaccessible places or for travelling to with parents because those are the exact two scenarios that we were discussing we might do it again, specifically the Alaskan glacier ones! I hear that some of the European river cruises are beautiful like the Danube so I’m sure the river cruise will be a lovely one for the two of you to do together or with family! ☺

  2. So glad you enjoyed your first cruising experience so much! I knew you would 🙂 I’m the same in that I love getting to see lots of different places but you don’t really get a chance to see anywhere more depth. But the all day food is a big bonus (obviously!) and it is perfect for a chilled relaxing holiday. You both look so glamourous in that pic! ❤️

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) February 21, 2016 — 7:46 pm

      Aaah thank you Ayla! The perks of having a rare occasion to both get dressed up eh?! I’m with you on not being able to see places in depth, that’s why I’d consider it for a chilled out relaxing trio where I’d either already seen the destination or wasn’t actually travelling for the purpose of proper exploring but more just for relaxation! SO MUCH FOOD! :mrgreen:

  3. I really enjoyed this as a cruise is something I’ve never even considered, as I tend to lump it in the ‘after I’ve retired’ box, but it’s great to hear that you two really enjoyed most aspects of it! You’ve won me over and I now think it’s something I’d consider if I wanted to get a feel for an area but was struggling to pick an exact location!

    Polly xx
    Follow Your Sunshine

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) February 21, 2016 — 7:54 pm

      It’s funny you say that Polly because right up until we boarded the ship, we were worried we were going to be the youngest people on it by a big margin – rather ironically, of the group of people we met and had such a great time with on our table each night, we were actually the oldest! Talk about karma! It was actually really fun in the end – it’s good for easy travel, group travel and where you’re just looking to get a feel for the place but I wouldn’t use a cruise to visit a specific destination that I wanted to see in detail as it’s just top hurried. Might be an easy trip worth considering when your bubba arrives – lots of them reportedly have great kid’s clubs where they keep the little ones occupied for hours while you can indulge in cocktails!! :mrgreen:

  4. I love cruising. The only reason I don’t do it more often is because I always gain weight.

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) February 21, 2016 — 10:56 pm

      Haha Anisa, it’s funny you say that because as silly as it sounds, that was one of my biggest fears about going on a cruise!! I did see a lot of people hitting the gym hard on board the cruise, which made me feel very guilty every time I was lined up at the ice cream counter :mrgreen:

      1. I was one of those people hitting the gym, but I still gain weight!

  5. Really interesting to hear what you thought of your first cruise – I did mine a couple of years ago and agree on a lot of the points (we didn’t get a lot of the hard sell though luckily). I definitely saw it as a taster trip and have been back to one of the destinations I really enjoyed (Santorini) already. I’m hoping to go a Caribbean cruise later this year, and quite fancy the idea of a Norwegian fjords or Alaskan cruise where the views from the ship are as big a part as the actual stopoffs.

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) February 21, 2016 — 11:05 pm

      We were talking about whether we’d be tempted to do one again Lucy and if so, we’d also be keen to try a fjords or glacier one as it can be so difficult to see the range of those sights through other means from what many people have told me but even for places like the Greek Islands or the Caribbean, it’s a nice sampler as you say! I certainly felt greater affinity to some islands than others which was definitely useful as before the cruise, I really knew very little between the distinguishing features between some of these Southern Caribbean Islands. Obviously, I only got a taster but even that insight has proved valuable!

  6. I went on lots of cruises with my family when I was little and while I did enjoy them at the time it has put me off going in adulthood. Mostly because of the minimal time at each destination and the lack of opportunity to go off the beaten track. Also as someone who prefers boutique hotels, a cruise ship can be a bit of a beast by comparison. However, I think cruising has changed a lot with more smaller and boutique cruise ships. I would genuinely be interested to try it again.

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) February 21, 2016 — 11:11 pm

      Yes I can completely empathise with that Angie. The minimal time in each destination was definitely the most important part of my negative list. I too prefer boutique accommodation but I’m pretty chilled with accommodation so am willing to give most things a go and that was less of an issue for me but it was the rushed nature of exploring that made me realise that if I ever choose a cruise again for a specific destination, then it would really need to be somewhere well served by cruising like seeing the Alaskan glaciers or something like that – or more of just a fun, party holiday with friends or family ☺

  7. hmmm there’s a clash in my head over the idea of a cruise. It seems to really be for the rich most of the time. and as far as cultural exchanges go I think you’ll be limited in ports. but the adventure of being on a boat for numerous days… and then there’s the activities. I sometimes get privilege guilt as a backpacker… or whatever I am nowadays. still, who ISNT inspired just a little by ‘The Love Boat?’

    Love…. Exciting and new
    come aboard…
    we’re expecting you!

    sorry. had to.

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) February 21, 2016 — 11:14 pm

      Haha, no I can totally understand that Andy! Though, rather interestingly, I always thought that cruising had this reputation as being for the “rich” but when I went on it, I got chatting to some people from the US, some of whom told me that one of the reasons cruises are so popular there is actually because it’s much cheaper than staying at nice resorts or hotel so they were actually suggesting it’s considered a cheaper travel option, which I found interesting compared to my prior assumptions.

  8. I LOVE this post, not least because it brought back a flood of great memories from the two cruises I’ve taken – also on Celebrity, one around the Baltic and the other around the Mediterannean. From the glam evenings complete with martinis and musical performances to the plethora of eats and treats to making the most of things to do on board during the days at sea, you’ve captured the fun of cruising perfectly 🙂 xxx

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) February 21, 2016 — 11:17 pm

      Thank you Ayushi! Cruises are quite Marmite like aren’t they?! Though I have to say I’ll take a cruise over Marmite any day :mrgreen: It’s very rare that Pumpkin and I go to anything particularly formal to have a excuse to really dress up so this was a perfect opportunity! Was quite nice for me but I think Mr Casual was less impressed when he realised he’d have to pack more than just T shirts!

  9. ladies what travel February 20, 2016 — 1:27 pm

    I agree with you on a lot of these Shikha, I think cruises definitely have their place, but I wouldn’t want them to be my main holiday of the year. It’s a great way to see lots of different places, but I like to have a lot more freedom – and time – exploring the places I visit!

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) February 21, 2016 — 11:19 pm

      Agreed Keri! I would certainly be open to trying it again but equally, it certainly isn’t my favourite mode of travel and if I was heading somewhere with the sole purpose of exploring, then I wouldn’t choose a cruise to do it! But it was just great for fabulous food, Caribbean island hopping and fun activities and people! ☺

  10. I’ve never been on a cruise and I don’t think I’d go until I’m way into my 80s (hopefully) and can’t do anything on my own. It’s really for the same reasons I don’t like all-inclusives: too many people, too much touristy crap, running to make a schedule…Its also just way too insulated, what kind of original experiences are you going to have on a cruise?
    If I ever did go on a cruise it would be for the same reasons I went to an all-inclusive years ago: I was beat down from work, didn’t want to plan anything on my own, didn’t want to worry about food or any other arrangements, and just wanted to relax without really needing to ‘see’ anything.

    I just think independent travel is the way to go and just can’t imagine how damned bored I’d be on a cruise. I can’t even sit on a beach more than 2 hours without being bored.

    Frank (bbqboy)

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) February 21, 2016 — 11:24 pm

      I can completely understand that Frank and I think a lot of people would agree with you. Even having been on a cruise and enjoyed it overall, I totally agree with you that it’s very hard to ‘see’ anything properly under the time constraints of a cruise but like you were saying about the time you did an all inclusive, it worked for us at the end of a really busy year when we booked seriously last minute, had limited time away and even less time to plan so just wanted something fuss free, somewhere warm and I’d just heard so many mixed opinions, even amongst my own friends and family, that the nosey curious part of me just had to find out for herself!

  11. Really great to hear the pros and cons. Mr A wants us to go on a cruise around Norway, but I’m not sure as I get really seasick. Does it feel rocky when you’re on the boat or is it so big you can’t feel the waves? (Want to be able to make the most of all of that free food if we do go!)

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) February 21, 2016 — 11:30 pm

      You know Emily, honestly speaking, I went there thinking there’s no way you’d be able to feel the rocking on a vessel that big but I was really surprised to find that you can! Generally speaking, it’s quite gentle, mostly felt it in the evenings and I personally don’t feel seasick (only car sick!) but it is noticeable & some people who are sensitive to it use motion sickness meds etc. But if you are going to go, I hear from friends who have been that the Fjords Cruise is a really breathtaking one to take!

  12. You make really good points about the pros and cons. I went on a cruise in Greece years ago, and the one downside was that I never felt like I had enough time in each destination. Then again, it was great to be able to get a little glimpse of so many places on one trip. I suppose it’s a matter of finding balance!

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) February 21, 2016 — 11:33 pm

      Thank you and yes, that’s EXACTLY what my main issue with cruising was, Julie! The islands I enjoyed the most on this cruise are all places I wish I could have spent longer at but then again, if you had listed those 5 islands before I went, I couldn’t have chosen between them so it helped with that! It’s not something that I would close the door on but for me next time, it would need to be a destination either seen very well on board a cruise or a holiday that I was doing for other priorities such as easy going family time.

  13. We’ve always ummmed & ahhhhhed over taking a cruise – mostly because I like to spend more time in cities getting to know them. It is rather handy though as a way to several places from the comfort of a ship!

  14. You look amazing in that purple dress! This looks like such a fun holiday, I would love to see the Caribbean. I am a little worried about the all day buffets though, I have literally no self control so would end up needing two seats on the plane home!

    Ash | Liakada

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) March 3, 2016 — 9:23 pm

      Thank you so much Ash, so kind of you ☺ Hahaha, I was so worried about the same thing with the food! I usually have no self discipline so it was a tough call trying to keep some sense of control over my eating when there was so much temptation! :mrgreen:

  15. I was surprised myself in that I really enjoyed my first cruise and have since gone on to take a couple more. I like that more cruise lines now stay overnight in some ports so that the city can be explored in the evening and there’s a chance to eat in a local restaurant.

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) March 3, 2016 — 9:27 pm

      Yes I had heard that a lot of cruise lines are now doing that & I think that’s a great idea Suzanne! I think it proved to me that it’s worth being open minded with travel styles as you never know what type of experience you might end up enjoying – or at least I didn’t! ☺

  16. It was so interesting to read your thoughts on cruising. I’ve always been kind of against it, but I’m not even kidding, while reading this post, I thought many times… “wow, I would love that!”. I would seriously consider a cruise now. I really love live entertainment too and nice dinners and a chance to dress up, and how fun are all the activities offered? And waking up on the sea everyday sounds so nice!

    And yay, the rare picture of Pumpkin!

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) March 3, 2016 — 9:38 pm

      Hehe, it took a lot of persuasion to allow him to agree to the inclusion of the photo Anna believe me! Yeh cruising is not for everyone but like you, I was actually quite surprised at how much fun it was dressing up, eating delicious food every day, watching performances etc so it’s good fun for that kind of relaxing, trip! You can imagine how excited I was when I found the coffee and cake house on board and that the cakes were all included in the price! :mrgreen:

  17. Really interesting pros and cons which of course all make sense, but I guess I never even got round to contemplating them for myself as I always put cruises into the ‘when I’m a much older adult’ category. But… you and Pumpkin are young and fun and had a good time so I’m rethinking the situation!

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) March 3, 2016 — 9:42 pm

      So funny you say that Connie because we ourselves were really worried it was something for people who are much older but when we met the other people on our shared table, we were actually the oldest (!) & we ended up having such a fun time with them! It’s not my preferred way of exploring a place in depth but for a fun, relaxing or easy group holiday, it actually works pretty well.

  18. I haven’t been on a cruise, but wouldn’t rule it out. I think it can be a good way to see a little bit of a lot if that makes sense?! I kinda see it as a taster – to see the best bits of a few destinations and then I’d probably use that experience to visit one or two in more detail on another ‘dedicated’ trip.

    Love the pic of you two cuties, btw! x

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) March 3, 2016 — 9:46 pm

      Aww thank you so much for the lovely comment Char! He doesn’t often make a photo cameo on the blog so I had to make the most of it when he agreed :mrgreen: It completely makes sense & I agree – it is a great ‘taster’ way of travelling & I certainly identified which islands I enjoyed the most and would want to return for more detailed exploring later. If you ever do decide to try one, I’d probably just suggest making sure it’s one where the destination, style of ship and range of activities already sound tempting as you’ll probably be much more likely to have a good time that way ☺

  19. I don’t think I’m quite there yet, but maybe one day it would be a nice way to actually relax on holiday!!

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) March 3, 2016 — 9:54 pm

      Lol, yes it’s not everyone’s cup of tea that’s definitely true Katie – I actually didn’t know if I myself was quite there until I did it & like you’ve seen here, there were things I did & didn’t like – but you can definitely actually relax on a trip like this!

  20. Ohhhh, I love this guide. I’ve been thinking about a cruise and I like how you’ve laid out the good and bad points. Ste and I can’t bring ourselves to play nicely with others long enough to catch an airport transfer – am now thinking a cruise might not be for us.

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) March 3, 2016 — 10:02 pm

      Thank you! So happy to hear liked the post ☺ Haha, the shared table thing came as a bit of a surprise Mandy & I wasn’t sure how we’d get on but we were so lucky to have met such lovely people who were so friendly that we ended up spending most of the week with them – and we’ve never even been away with any of our existing friends here at home!!

  21. Your pictures really look wonderful! I’m not a huge cruise person, but you hit on some really key points — it’s definitely easy for a group, etc.

    I am definitely one of those people that won’t stay where cruise ships disembark, though. That rush of people that are all in a hurry just drives me crazy!

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) March 3, 2016 — 10:25 pm

      I can fully sympathise Heather because when I’ve been in cities in the past where cruise ship crowds disembark, I always moan and groan about it so I actually felt a little guilty this time being one of them!! :mrgreen:

  22. ❤️ Cruising and Celebrity! I agree that the hard sells are a turn off!

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) March 3, 2016 — 10:45 pm

      So pleased to hear you enjoyed your Celebrity Cruise experience Delores! Thanks so much for sharing your experience here ☺ Yes the hard sell was a bit of shame as it was really one of the only aspects of the service that I found frustrating but actually it did settle down after the first couple of days so it wasn’t too bad after that fortunately!

  23. This is a great round up of the pros and cons of cruising, Shikha. I haven’t been on one yet as I’m worried I’d eat too much!

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) March 3, 2016 — 10:55 pm

      Thanks so much for the lovely comment Suze! I can completely empathise with that worry Suze because that was one of my key worries about going on a cruise too. I did have to set myself some rules like only one heavy meal and not having dessert with every single meal! :mrgreen: Funnily enough though, we found that quite often, people were offering 2 starters or 2 mains each so that made me feel a little better about my consumption!

  24. Great post Shikha! Loved reading your thoughts, we’ll be going on our first cruise later in the year and it’s good to have another persons perspective. I get motion sickness, so that’s my biggest fear at the moment – hopefully it wont be so bad on a big ship! You look gorgeous in that pic btw! x

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) March 9, 2016 — 7:44 pm

      Awww Priti thank you so much for your very generous compliment! So excited for you that you’ll be heading on your first cruise! Where will it be? I sometimes feel sick in cars but it wasn’t too bad on the ship so I hope it won’t be for you either. Have a wonderful time ☺

  25. You did Spice Girls karaoke! I love you.
    I totally agree with you about the hard sell, it completely puts me off buying anything, no matter where it am. Really annoying!

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) March 9, 2016 — 7:46 pm

      I did – and I’m not ashamed to say I flipping loved every second Frankie! :mrgreen:

  26. I have to agree, cruises are for certain types of travel..I will go on a cruise on destinations that are not entirely on my bucket list (meaning cities I can afford not to explore at a depth), or cities I’d already been before. And definitely, it’s more fun with a group of friends / family.
    You and your husband make such a dashing couple!

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) March 21, 2016 — 3:51 pm

      Aaah Jean, thank you for such a kind comment! Believe me when I say, it’s not always an easy job persuading Pumpkin to dress up in his gladrags as he’s a big fan of his casual clothes but I’m glad the cruise dress code suggestions assisted me on this matter! :mrgreen: And you echo my thoughts exactly on the types of destinations I would choose for any future cruises. I would gladly go on one again but as you say, for me, it would have to be for destinations I’ve already visited before or am prepared to see in less depth and I top really think it’s such fun as a big group holiday! Now I just need to find some friends who are willing to take my word for that!

  27. It’s great to read about your experience. W and I also never been on a cruise before and are not so excited about it, especially because you just don’t spend much time in places. But funnily enough, I guess my opinion would be the same as yours, there are some things about cruises that are great, like not needing your wallet all the time and be near the sea 😀
    I can’t wait to see your posts about the Islands and all the places you got to visit on your cruise trip!!

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) March 21, 2016 — 6:00 pm

      Yes even for me, I think it only suits me for specific types of holidays such as cities or countries where I have already been before so I don’t mind too much if the time is limited and I think it works quite well for island hopping which is why we chose it this time – it was lovely to get a feel of quite a few of the different islands so I could see which ones I would want to return to again one day 🙂

      1. So cool! For island hopping it’s perfect!
        I wonderful which ones you would like to return to… all of them? 😀

        1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) April 3, 2016 — 7:23 pm

          hehe, yep pretty much Allane! But if I had to pick favourites, it would be St Lucia for the culture, scenery and variety and Antigua for the sheer beauty of the beaches 🙂

          1. That’s good to know!! I hope to visit these islands someday 😀 sounds heaven!!!

  28. Solid, sound and an honest assessment of the pros and cons of cruising. Longer duration cruises tend to stay in port a bit longer, but they come with a higher cost. A river cruise is an option if you desire more land time.

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) December 31, 2016 — 2:13 pm

      Thanks for the tips. I didn’t know about the cruises that offer more time in port so that’s good to know but river cruises are definitely something I’ve had my eye on!

      1. You’re most welcome. Yes, a river cruise is a spectacular way to see much more of the towns on the way

  29. Great post! We did our first cruise in November and came back with similar views. We had a fab time and would do another cruise but its more about the cruise experience with a glimpse of places rather than seeing them for any length of time. Our review is at frombluetogreen.com/cruise-review-questions-and-answers-for-first-time-cruisers/

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) January 4, 2017 — 11:18 pm

      Thanks so much for reading and for sharing your own thoughts. I’m really looking forward to reading your post with your opinions on cruising! And I totally agree, it’s much better for getting a glimpse than for in depth exploration. I’m actually pondering an Alaskan one later this year…

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