I'll be honest. I never really wanted to take a cruise because I was fearful of getting norovirus and/or getting stranded at sea (like I occasionally tell you about on the news.)
But the older I get, the less I want to plan. Planning vacations is stressful - where's the best place to stay? eat? drink? shop? play? I get tired of trying to figure it out. How do we get there? Should we rent a car? Take a shuttle? Public transportation?
By the time you get back from your vacation, you need a vacation... am I right?
So this winter, we just kind of said "screw it!" After several recommendations from co-workers (ahem, Mark Koehn and Nicole Nelson), we booked our cruise on Celebrity. Granted, we took the shortest cruise we could find just in case we hated it.
The truth is -- we really enjoyed it! It was the first vacation we had in a long time where we did NOTHING but chill out.
Overall, it goes something like this - wake, eat, sleep...wake, eat, drink, nap...wake, eat, lay out, sleep... Of course, you can do a lot more - play basketball, go swimming, gamble, hang out at the spa, shop on board, watch a show, play bingo, learn about fine art, fine wine, fine jewelry... or bar hop. You can be as active as you want and there are also a lot of things for kids to do.
We did a massage the first day and napped in-and-out of consciousness for the rest of the day. We have NEVER done that and it was truly GLORIOUS.
We eventually got up and ate a late dinner... before crawling back to bed with the sound of the waves hitting the boat and the motion of the sea rocking us into a deep sleep. Seriously, it was awesome. I feel like we've been on-the-go for about five years now and I imagine this would be the ultimate vacation for many of my friends who are parents! Send the kiddos to grandma's stateroom and sleep!
The food was amazing. It honestly, truly surprised me. We had a scheduled dinner time every night at a really nice restaurant but we only went the first evening. We ended up restaurant-hopping, including an incredible upscale French restaurant with a seemingly endless amount of courses. I don't want to sound too "country" but sometimes formal restaurants can feel intimidating... but the staff at the Ocean Liners Restaurant was so friendly and approachable. No one really cares if you don't know what to do with that fifth fork on your table. It was too dark to really take good pictures inside Ocean Liners but I shared a few.
We ate most of our meals from every day classic restaurants and the cafe by the pool. We also ordered breakfast to our room so we could eat it from our balcony -- highly recommended!
The excursions can be a ton of fun. We raced sailboats in Cozumel, called the 12 Metre America's Cup Challenge. You can get fairly physical if you want to get involved in the race. Jim and I were primary grinders and we burned a lot of energy!
Oh, I should mention - I posted on Facebook that I got a little seasick -- this totally surprised me! I grew up fishing on boats so this wasn't even something I had considered as a possibility. It was manageable but it made me a little woozy. It shouldn't deter anyone because I kept hearing from folks that it can happen on your first cruise. To treat, it's as simple as getting a little set of wristbands (you can buy them on the ship like me... or buy them cheaper ahead of time.) Those bands work within 5 minutes.
Overall, we had a wonderful time. We would like to visit the Panama Canal or even Galapagos in the future.
I kept thinking how great it would be to get a group of girlfriends together for a short cruise... or do a family event on one of the bigger cruises. It's literally great for young kids and older people. You can do so much without getting on each others' nerves.
I'll get more specific later because it was really helpful for me to read reviews before booking. Honestly, I would recommend it. We had a surprisingly good time and are thankful to come home from vacation...actually feeling rested and ready to conquer the next work week!