For my first cruise, I went to the Caribbean Islands via Royal Caribbean. I was definitely hesitant to go as I get seasick easily, but with a recommendation to take Dramamine, I was off to the Caribbean. Although I had a great time, I did have a few issues along the way and had a slight irritating feeling of queasiness the whole trip.
What to Bring
I thought fun on the ship and in the sun meant all I needed were a lot of shorts, sunglasses and a few swimsuits. I was wrong! It is my luck that I forgot items like sunscreen and a variety of casual dresses for the evening. Think of the rooms on a cruise ship like it is a hotel. Bring the soaps, lotions, and shampoos you use to avoid using brands that may not agree with your skin. Don’t forget your meds and other items related to your health to make your trip pleasant.
For dining, bring casual or formal clothes to wear to dinner. You are expected to wear casual formal wear to dinner! I felt silly trying to dress up my shorts so I could get into the dining hall. Please bring your passport as well. Although some cruise lines don’t require it, most will recommend you bring it. I bring my passport for insurance! You never know when you need to get back home and from my experience, anything can happen and you may need your passport for safety and identification purposes.
Okay, the cruise ship is like a huge estate on the ocean. It is massive and there are a lot of people on there. If you are wary of large crowds, like me, then you are really going to be uncomfortable with all of those people, but that will wears off after meeting a few folks and a few drinks. The rooms are also very small but for an extra hundred bucks a night you can get a deluxe or family room. The ship is so big that you may forget you are on it, but if you have motion sickness like I do, you won’t!
The people that work on the cruise ship are great! Most of them are outgoing and very friendly. They are from all over the world so you can find yourself having long conversations with them if you are not keeping up with time. Aside from the workers, my favorite people were cruise “veterans”. Some of them have been on over 30 cruises! They live for the cruise experience and will tell their stories a million times over. They are crazy, but listen to them as they give good tips and advice. Depending on what time you choose dinner, you may see or recognize people you have had conversation with previously, but don’t count on it. We had at least 3000 on our ship.
What to Do on a Cruise
There are an amazing amount of things to do on a cruise ship. Believe me, from my experience they should call these mini city ships or party ships because you can gamble at the casinos, attend a day party, dance, and even do sports activities. I mostly enjoyed in people watching in the casinos while I sipped upon some ‘non’ virgin drinks! Most cruise ships offer on land excursions as well (why I recommend having your passport). My excursion of choice was off-roading, but going on land makes you feel nervous that the cruise ship will leave you if you don’t make it back on time. Of course, there were many cruise ship ‘urban legends’ floating around about the couple that got left on land. True or not, I didn’t want to test the theory!
If going on a cruise ever crossed your mind or sparks your curiosity, I would recommend you try it at least once. While I don’t expect that I will be a cruise veteran, planning another trip on a different cruise line from Royal Caribbean would be fun to consider in order to get a variety of experience.