11.29.2017

A Caribbean Cruise

October was a CRAZY work month for Dave! At the beginning of the month I literally looked at hime and said "See ya in November, Buddy!" Thankfully November came and his work was gracious and gave him an entire week off without even asking. I was so thankful! We knew we wanted to go somewhere and had it narrowed down between going to NYC, a cruise or hiking in the dessert and we went on a cruise. Neither of us had been on an cruise in the US before and I went in with minimal expectations.

It's been really interesting to hear people's different perspectives and experiences about cruising. Some people love it some people don't, I think we fall into the latter category but I wanted to give a recap and explain why.

The cruise was a five night four day cruise. For starters, if you read my latest half marathon recap you'll know I had major poop issues on that run so when we got to Florida and I received this email I was just bracing myself for a week of diarrhea.





I bought a pack of Clorox wipes and went to town on our room when we got in there. Apparently I wasn't the only one who bought Clorox wipes because I saw a lady with a tube of Clorox wipes cleaning her chairs and tables at dinner! Hilarious! The first night of the cruise we had a dinner and I looked over and to my dismay saw a lady barf ALL OVER THE CARPETED AISLE. Then people walked through it and even some waiters walked through it. Dave and I laughed and I figured if we lived through Burma we would live through this. ha! I thought that was a foretelling of what was to come but thankfully there weren't reports of sick people. I'm guessing that lady was sea sick or something.

Our cruise had 2 port days and 2 sea days and I'll just recap by sharing what we did for port days and we did on sea days.

Port 1 - Princess Cays

The Princess Cays is located in the Bahamas. It is property owned by the cruise line. We were going to go on a snorkeling excursion but they were all sold out so we just swam and snorkeled at the beach.

The beach was a man made one and there was a gate to even get into The Bahamas. The beach was pretty and the ocean was beautiful but it felt very commercialized and we saw zero local culture that day, which is okay it's just different than how we travel. We did love the swimming and sunshine and you can't beat that. The beach is always lovely.

My favorite thing from that port was the local ferry boat captain I got to talk with. He told me things about the island and was just really nice.

Here are a few pictures from the Princess Cays.



Port 2 - Domincan Republic (Amber Cove / Puerta Plata) 

Our second port was my favorite. We ported at Amber Cove (another commercialized property owned by the cruises). We went on an early morning waterfall tour and really enjoyed it. We hiked up about a mile and then got to slide down the rocks, which were like a water slide, into the next cave pool. It was a lot of fun and we even got to jump off a 15-20 foot cliff. I don't have pictures to show you of that because they were like $60 and we weren't allowed to bring our own camera. The local guides were really great I just wish our group was a bit smaller. There was 26 of us and that made it a bit cramped in the cave pools. We still had a really good time though and I would recommend that excursion.

After that we went back to the boat and grabbed our things and completely left the resort area. We hired a local taxi to tour us around Puerta Plata. He took us to town square where the Cathedral was, to a fort and to a local market so I could buy some fruit but I ended up with coffee beans instead. =) We loved loved loved leaving the commercialized property and cruise tours to spend time with a local. He was incredibly gracious and kind and it was fun to speak some Spanish to him and learn a bit about his life there.

A picture of Dave, taking a picture. You're welcome, Dave. =)


Sea Days 

I think originally we were supposed to have one sea day but we had two sea days due to the hurricanes that recently came through. The cruise ship had many activities to choose to do. My favorites were the games where everyone interacts together and art talks / auctions. They had a hilarious comedian, a magician, musical shows (70's disco so we didn't go) and even a little cooking demo.

We also swam and I hit up the treadmills twice. It felt so good to run, and I'm not going to lie, seeing how lazy people were on a cruise and how much everyone ate motivated my running. So thank you everyone on the boat. ;)

They had other events that were just too 'fake' for me. For example, they had a lei making class which sounded so fun but when I got there I discovered the leis were just a little plastic DIY packet rather than real flowers. LAME! LAME! And major disappointment for this girl who loves flowers. There were only about 15 of us there so they could have had some real flowers. I did sit by a really nice lady though and had a lovely chat with her so that was really nice. Some of the other events really seemed to be advertised hard but when you arrived it seemed more like a photo opp for them rather than an event.

I did like the pools but I got grossed out after seeing a lady use a tissue to soak up some ooze coming out of her wound and then she got in the pool. BARF! That was the end of swimming for me.

Pros & Cons


Pros

-All food provided. It is nice to not have to worry about finding food. They had a nice variety so that was fun.

-Don't have to pack and unpack bags. After backpacking in Asia and camping in my car this is a pro. It's nice to have all your stuff in one room and not have to worry about it.

-Get to talk to lots of different people! I enjoyed talking to lots of the staff on board and also thought it was fun to chat with people on the boat.

-It's really easy. You don't have to worry about how to get to different places you just show up.

Cons

-Too much 'serve me' American mentality. There's a difference between relaxing and between just binge eating and expecting people to answer your every beck and call. After living in Asia, that just doesn't sit well with me.

-Crowded! 3,000+ people on one boat means crowds. Some people don't mind them some do. I felt a bit overwhelmed by the crowds so we tried to swim and do activities when other people weren't around, like at dinner when they were all eating.

-Commercialized and overpriced excursions. We felt like many of the events on the boat were another chance for the cruise line to take photos which you could then purchase for an extremely overpriced amount. As an example, if you wanted to take a tour into the Dominican Republic it was around $75 a person. However, if you walked out of the cruise area you could rent a local taxi for $30. I just felt like it was very expensive for add ons but at the same time I think that is just how cruises work and you can expect that when you do it.


Final Thoughts

There are definitely things we enjoyed about cruising and things we didn't. We decided we most likely won't cruise again just the two of us but think with a group it would be fun, especially an Alaskan Cruise. I think for us personally, we like to engage more into the local culture and cruising isn't made for that. I think if you are needing a very chill and laid back vacation than a cruise would be absolutely perfect!



What are your thoughts on cruising? Do you love it? Don't love it? Tell me your thoughts. 

2 comments:

  1. I've never been on a cruise but I can imagine that we might not be quite the right fit. I think I'd like one more in a cold place--like Alaska or Norway, than in the tropics. I like the idea of lots of tasty food, though! :P Not sure if we'll ever try one--honestly my favorite sort of trip so far is a road trip, I love the freedom and the flexibility of having your own personal transportation.

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  2. Ewww...the way you describe it makes it sound like traveling on one giant germ! I'm already prone to motion sickness so I've never had a huge desire to go on a cruise, but your experience definitely didn't help! Haha

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