For those of you who do not track my every move, Frank and I just returned from a 5 night cruise leaving from Ft. Lauderdale, with Belize and Cozumel as ports-of-call.
Some thoughts on cruising/our vacation:
- I don’t think we would do a cruise again, with just the two of us. Maybe with a group of friends, or another couple. Maybe if we had a family or something. But for just the two of us? We are too lazy, not “joiners”, don’t drink, shop or gamble enough to make a cruise worth it. We may have been better if we did an all-inclusive at a resort.
- I can’t just “do nothing” for 5 days. I thought I could, but I can’t. I get crazy bored and not in a relaxing sense.
- Was nice to know that Frank and I can spend an extended period of time with no one else to speak to, and no internet and still really enjoy each other’s company.
- Wow, Belize City is a terrifying slum. Apparently, Belize proper is an awesome time, and I have friends who went on awesome vacations, but Belize City? Scary. The country itself is gorgeous though – jungles and mountains and just … pretty. But the poverty levels in the city definitely made for a downer. Lots of fat, rich, white American guilt here.
- My god, the food. It wasn’t amazing food, and the desserts were nothing to write home about – but it was plentiful. Just an insane, insane amount.
- I was really excited about our jungle river inner tubing excursion, but it was a bit of a downer. The currents were really strong, and we were on a time limit, so instead of just lazing down and enjoying, we had to paddle and ended up being pushed almost the entire way by the natives. Felt fat, lazy (in a bad way) and not relaxed.
- I really, really hate a large amount of people. Top of the list are not the annoying horrible children who stand on top of Mayan ritual sites and kick off the stones and spit their orange peels on it, but the awful parents (I nicknamed this particular one the Teutonic Terror) who do nothing. They don’t ask their kid to stop, they don’t explain why it’s wrong, or yank the kid off of there. They just complain about the bugs or why everyone on the elevator wants to go up, when she wants to go down.
- The service was great, and you expect a certain amount of ridiculousness from your Cruise Director, but the ship announcements were incredibly annoying. Not only in their inanity (Bingo on the fourth deck! Shopping!) but their timing. It was loud, and obnoxious and either really early in the morning, or late at night. How do you page some errant busboy over the ship loudspeaker at 6:45AM?
- Our room was over and had a view of the “Royal Promenade” which is essentially the “Main Street” of the ship. It was cool to get a view of the parades and ridiculous “dance parties” without actually having to attend.
- Everyone says to get the “soda card” (a $40ish unlimited soda pass). We both did, and while it was nice – not really worth it. It was suggested for just one person to get it, but I think that’s kind of cheating and not fair. There is plenty of included stuff to drink. I would skip it next time.
- Excursions can be expensive, but I definitely recommend them. When you budget your trip and get suckered in by how cheap cruises are, make sure you add the cost of excursions in to your budget.
- Bring cash! We forgot to do this, and were unable to tip some of the awesome guides we met in Cozumel.
- Cozumel was a lot more fun then I expected! It was decimated by Hurricane Wilma a few years ago, so I imagine it can only get prettier.
- We went on a last-minute excursion in Cozumel. We went ATVing and I went snorkeling while Frank lazed on the beach.
- I love ATVing! It’s scary as hell, (no Frank – we aren’t buying one).But it was a lot of fun when it was smoother terrain.
- Snorkeling is the most awesome thing ever. I saw a barracuda! And shark eggs! And I think I may be over my crippling fear of fish staring at me!
- Frank and I spent a lot of time out on the deck, just staring out into the water, or reading/listening to music, talking – whatever. As we were staring out, Frank thought he saw a sailfish out of the corner of his eye. We looked closer, and it was a pod of dolphins, playing in the wake of the ship. It was awesome! There were about 15 of them, just hanging out, and playing. It was magical and romantic and awesome.
- We now call dolphins “sea puppies”.
- Frank and I played a bunch of ping-pong. We are so awesome.
- I really loved a lot of the art in the ship. Really cool stuff.
- The service and hospitality. Wow. It’s like they couldn’t figure out what to do for you next. And it was done with a smile, and I never felt like I was putting anyone out. I am going to research more into Royal Caribbean’s hiring practices. Just wonderful!
- My god, the color of that water. Just gorgeous.
- They made up the room almost every time we left it. Which was kind of awesome, because it was bigger than I thought it would be, but still pretty small.
- Each time they fixed up the room, they would leave something behind. Usually the “Compass” which is the itinerary for the next day. Kind of like a little daily newspaper. And they made awesome towel animals! Like, monkeys, or puppies. It was awesome!
I have written “awesome” 10 times in this post. This is embarassing, but I saving my uncreative enthusiasm for posterity.