Chris and I were super excited to arrive at the port in our home state of New Jersey. We had to park at the very top of the parking garage, so that made it a little fun to see the boat before we made our way on to our ship.
Rooms weren’t ready yet, so we wandered all around the ship to see what was available. This was the only day of clouds and light rain we experienced the whole time.
Since I had done research on cruising (way too much) ahead of time, I booked us a fancy lunch for the first day to kick off our trip. Some ships don’t have food available until they leave port, but ours did so next time we won’t spend the extra on a fancy lunch. Though, the shrimp and filet mignons were a nice way to start a vacation!
My Mom was kind enough to get us a room decoration package as well as a bottle of wine we were surprised with as we set sail! You mean, they don’t do all of this for everyone?
We hung around the deck a little while waiting for the boat to move.
Finally, our boat was on the move (and that terrified me). I’ve been deathly afraid of large ships sinking with me on them since I was a young kid. I always found Titanic fascinating. Therefore, that’s why it took me until almost 36 before I decided to push past this fear. Good thing I watched cruise ships sinking on YouTube after we returned… After this experience, I would go on another cruise, but never straight across the wide open ocean!
Chris learned to do the Flow Rider on the ship. He did pretty well and spent a good portion of his sailing days trying it out.
We happened upon the Henry vacuum often, so we took video and pictures for Monkey who is passionate about vacuums. He was so thrilled to see this photo, and everywhere we went we came across these. I’m sure if he was with us, he’d be working on the ship right now for an extended contract.
Our deck was on level 3, which turned out we really liked. It was in the front of the ship, rather quiet, and provided easy access to various areas of the ship I liked which were quiet like the sides on deck 4, or the front of the ship. Up two decks was the main promenade which our deck made it easy to skip the elevators for access and we used them mainly to go up to deck 11 to the pools and for the buffet.
The weather was fantastic and I felt most at ease when I could see the open water instead of being inside the ship for the first few days.
Our first port of call was Port Canaveral. We didn’t get off the boat, as we had no interest in an hour plus drive to anywhere in Florida. We’ve been to Florida a lot. It seemed quite a bit of people didn’t leave the boat here.
Our next stop was Royal Carribean’s private island, Coco Cay, Bahamas. It was a nice small island with lots of shops. The staff and food came off the ship so we could relax on the beach and grab food at our leisure.
I actually took a few rides back and forth on the tenders. I had left something in the room, so I went back and enjoyed a boat ride all to myself. It was nice to just be out on a small boat enjoying the ocean breeze.
Once we were settled, Chris found his way into the water to float around the entire time and I mixed in swimming with him and laying out on a beach chair.
Another image as I entered the island. It was beautiful, and luckily those clouds were moving away from us, not over us.
By the 4th or 5th day, I finally found deck 4 where the side of the ship was quiet with lounge chairs. This is where I could be found the rest of the trip if we weren’t doing something together. Chris and I even recorded some of his podcast on the side of the ship. I just wanted to nap in the calm, and he fell asleep shortly thereafter, too.
The last port of call was Nassau, Bahamas. I was told ahead of time there wasn’t much to do there but shop, so I booked us an afternoon snorkeling excursion with our onboard credit which worked out perfectly.
I wonder who has some of these homes. We found out along our excursion where Oprah’s house among many other celebrities own property. Not too shabby of a location.
On the catamaran, I didn’t bring my nice camera, so you’ll have to settle for this image of the original Gilligan’s Island set. Yep, that was his island he was stranded on!
We had a great time snorkeling. Did I tell you I’m terrified of swimming with fish? Yep. Decided to push past that fear as well, just as I did 10+ years ago on our honeymoon. I didn’t scream too much under water… I actually dove down to be near the coral reef (no touching!) at one point. They kept throwing fish food out over my head to I would be surrounded. That freaked me out! It was a beautiful day though, probably the most enjoyable overall!
And that night was the lobster night! With my dietary needs, I was able to preorder my meals each night in the main dining room. This meant Chris got a preview, and I usually was prepared two dinners since it had to be made ahead of time. They did a great job to keep my food gluten and egg free.
I broke down and bought a silly hat during one of their sales. I don’t know if or when I’ll wear this around at home, but the boys now think it’s my “thinking cap” as we joke at home. The one thing I didn’t love so much about the ship was all the sales tactics to get you to spend spend spend! We skipped any drink packages and stuck with water the entire trip (outside the 2 bottles of wine we could bring on board and the 1 bottle my mom sent us), so we were well aware of how much we were spending on anything on board or off.
By the last few days, Chris decided to make half iced tea and half lemonade drinks for us, and eventually the crew just started making these for him up at the buffet.
There was so much to do on the ship, it was sometimes overwhemling for me. Chris likes to keep busy, so he was right at home doing every activity he could. We played mini golf, he did the Flow Rider many times, there were water slides, rocking climbing walls, an ice skating rink with ice shows, a theater, and so much more. I felt like we had to plan out our day each morning because there was so much to do.
The last sunset of the trip heading back to NJ. It was bittersweet. I was thrilled to be on the way home, but also aware of all the work that lie ahead of me when I returned between the kiddos, the dogs, house rennovations, podcasting, blogging, and other work related things. Plus, I never liked the complete darkness out at sea, but at least by the last day I wasn’t constantly thinking about it. Chris reminded me to watch the staff, if they seemed fine, we were fine. And he was right!
The final morning as we docked, I woke up at 4:30 am so I could catch the sunrise as we came back to the skyline of NYC. It was beautiful.
I took a ton more photos of the sunrise across the water, as well as the moon over the Verrazano bridge, and the sunrise over the Staten Island ferry. I was so glad I didn’t stay indoors. Now, I’ll at least have these gorgeous photos to remember outside of cell phone selfies. Next time, I need to take my nicer camera out on the catamaran for landscape photos for around our house!
Overall, the trip was really nice. It was a bit less relaxing than our previous vacations to sit on the beach in Cancun or Riviera Maya, but I also don’t have a lot of “sit” in me as I did back then. I loved the shows on board, the activities were plentiful, the food was wonderful, and the overall vibe was great. I would go on a cruise again, despite my fears, but to another port, I may not travel via plane. Otherwise, I do enjoy the idea of flying and being in one area for a little time versus being on the move day after day. The main dining room was my favorite. I could sit down and enjoy a fancy meal each night, dressed nicely, and watch the sunset on the side of the boat and have a good conversation with Chris. It’s just what we needed to start our summer right!
We did save money over taking an all-inclusive to Cancun, but that’s mainly because we skipped drink packages. Otherwise, I don’t think it would’ve been any less expensive. The good thing is, we only gained about 5lbs each and we lost it relatively quickly thereafter since we did our best not to overeat. Now to lose the rest of this weight, haha!
Have you ever cruised before? Do you want to or like cruising?