I’m pretty sure I’m addicted to cruising! With several Carnival cruises under our belt, I wanted to share 5 things, with you, to ensure that you have the most enjoyable cruising experience!
- Don’t be afraid to relax, have fun, and participate!
This seems obvious, doesn’t it? A cruise is no time to stress about what you’re wearing, how you look in your bathing suit or looking silly during the hairy chest contest. One of the things I regret with my previous cruises is not participating more. This last cruise I went on, my friend Sarah decided to partake in the mixology competition. She had a list of ingredients to choose from. She circled the ones that she thought would make a great drink, named it, and then waited. There were a lot of people who entered but it was ultimately narrowed down to the final 4! Those 4 had to do a live presentation on the lido deck, Carnival style of course! Sarah had NO idea if she’d make the final 4, much less a shot at winning but you know? She tried anyway and had a blast doing it!
There’s so many awesome activities on board for y’all, you’ve just got to jump in. And y’all those cruise directors work hard to be entertaining and get you moving, laughing, and having a great time! I don’t know how they can smile and keep going like they do ALL day every day, but they do!
This is such a touchy subject with everyone and none of us will ever agree but here’s my take on it. Unless we have super crappy service, which has never happened, we leave the gratuities on. There are sooooo many hard-working crew members, many that you don’t see, that probably need the money more than I do. I had the chance to visit with some crew members, specifically the ones in the casino, and learned that when you tip extra, say after you order a drink, that additional gratuity goes straight to them! So basically, if I take care of them, they’re gonna go an EXTRA mile to take care of me. So if you want the ultimate pampering experience, tip a little extra.
I also had the opportunity to go on a galley tour and see many of those crew members working hard to get your food all prepared! It really gave me another perspective with the whole tipping debate. I’m pretty darn blessed and if it helps them in some way or another, I’m happy to do it. Just sayin’….
3. Let’s talk about photos!
It’s super easy and cheap to take photos of ourselves with our own phones or cameras but there are times when paying $12 a photo, can be worth it. It’s no secret that I have always avoided the camera at all costs. I hate photos of myself but this last cruise, friends convinced me to just take one. Y’all, I’m so glad I did. While I felt completely uncomfortable during the shoot, I was so pleased with how they turned out, so much so, that I had the hardest time deciding which ones to keep!!!! That’s a first for me! And sometimes, it’s just nice to not worry about carrying around a camera. We took a lot of photos, some we loved, many we didn’t, but every one that Carnival took of us, we pretty much loved! The first one below made it on the Wall of Fame and the boys got to keep it for free!
4. Excursions – Don’t be afraid to do your own thing.
We always travel with groups when we cruise. It’s easy to get caught up in the group activities and do what everyone else does because it’s so much fun to hang out with them. If you’re like us, you’re torn between hanging out with the group or doing something YOU really wanna do. I highly recommend going through Carnival for excursions but if you’re not, try to be as safe as possible. There’s usually always some sort of police around at ports. We find it helpful to ask them if they know if so and so is safe. We have never been steered wrong. When we got off at Key West this last cruise, we decided not to go to the beach with our group. Instead, we picked one of the excursions just off the ship, at the port! I’m so glad we did because we had the best time with these guys!! Key West Extreme Adventures Shark Tours is family owned. They were the nicest folks!! You could tell they were very knowledgeable and so respectful of the ocean and everything in it. They take credit cards but prefer cash, and will give you a discount for paying that way!
On the cruise before last, the entire group went snorkeling at Belize. Me and my husband decided to stay in Belize and shop and just sit and have some drinks. That was probably one of our most favorite times ever! Do your own thang!!!
5. The SPA!
This one is short and sweet! Want the BEST deals on some luxurious spa treatments? Attend the little seminars they hold! They don’t last very long and y’all, they pile the discounts on!!!
Bonus tip!!! This is especially useful if you’re coming back from a port excursion and you’re sharing a room with more than 1. Did you go Mr. Sanchos and now you’re sticky, sweaty, and a little sandy…but so are your cabin roomies? You’re all fighting for the shower, right? Take advantage of the gym showers!!! It’s a great way for you ALL to clean up quickly!