This was my (Adam) first cruise and I think I was a little spoiled by the experience. Our ship was incredible and I couldn’t have asked for a better crew to roll with for seven days and nights. But I also learned some things the hard way, having never done anything like this before. Here are a few of the things I learned on my first cruise:
Do #1: Enjoy the views! We are moving to Ventura because I wanted to be able to look at the ocean every day. Well you don’t get much closer to big blue than when you’re on a ship, so that, in itself, was incredible. Then, as an Alaskan cruise, we were never NOT chugging past some incredible snow-capped mountain, tree-covered hillside, adorable fishing village, or, of course, a glacier or five. In a word – breathtaking. Get outside, even if it’s cold, and take advantage of those views. If you can’t handle the cold, grab a window seat somewhere and camp out. It’s a gorgeous world out there and cruising is an amazing way to see it.
Do #2: Take advantage of your boats amenities. Apparently, cruise ships are floating five-star hotels chalk full of free amenities. Our ship, the Celebrity Solstice, had a sauna (one for each gender so you can let it all hang out), a very well-equipped gym (that I must admit, I didn’t use at all – though I did walk through it), jacuzzi tubs and pools, games, free shows and classes, SOFT SERVE ICE CREAM, etc. It’d be silly to have access to all of those things and not use them. Now that’s not to say that you have to run around like a kid after his third soft-serve trying to get to all of the amenities. This is a vacation. You should relax. Which leads me to our next “do.”
Do #3: Try it all at least once and then claim your favorite spots. We found ours on the very first day. One, pictured above, we lovingly referred to as the nap room. It was really just an indoor pool area, but because of the slight humidity from the jacuzzis and the warmth of being enclosed, it was a prime spot for a good nap.
One of many outdoor lounge areas…all with spectacular views.
The theater – home of all of the shows. We saw several of them, and they were all pretty great. The first was an illusionist. I have to start by saying, I freaking LOVE magic! There is something about having no clue how things are done that speaks to the five year old child inside of me. This show did not disappoint. There were three illusions to end the show that blew my mind-hole. Then there were two song and dance shows: Rock City and Amade. Both were super entertaining. Finally, we saw a comedian. I wasn’t crazy about him, but everyone else seemed to really enjoy it. To each his own, I guess.
View down the elevator corridor of the reading/game room and, at the very bottom, a live music and dance room. Also, check out this nice lady looking fly in her melon-colored evening dress. Stay classy kids!
Another spot we loved was the Sky Lounge (pictured above). Located on the highest deck, it had incredible views. There was a full bar inside, and plenty of space to spread out and play cards, read, or just have a good old-fashioned family discussion. Many an afternoon and evening were spent in the Sky Lounge. Bonus – there was live music and dancing at night.
Do #4: If you are cruising with a group (which I highly recommend), set meeting times and places to avoid wasting time. We learned this one the hard way – mostly my fault. I would consistently wander off and do my own thing (usually getting soft serve) and would lose track of the team. Best to set meeting spots (you can pick any of your favorite spots listed above) to add personal flexibility without sacrificing time with the crew.
Finally, our one and only don’t. Don’t overdo it. There will be a smorgasbord of things to do, eat, and see. Pace yourself. I also learned this one the hard way, but I’ll get into that in detail in another post. For now, I’ll leave you with a fun fact: the average cruiser gains a pound per day he/she is on the ship. Just throwing that out there.