5 Things you Should Know Before You Cruise
No one is happier that cruises have resumed than the Cruise Lines! This was evidenced in so many ways during my recent cruise vacation aboard the Royal Caribbean Cruise Ship - Independence of the Seas. The crew, beginning without Cabin Steward, to the waiters at the pool, to the waiters in the dining rooms, were so happy to see clients back on the ship. Our waitress told us that during the 9 months that the cruise line shut down, she used every bit of her savings, and now that cruising is back, it's her goal to start saving again so that she never has to worry if they start sending them home again.
I have cruised several times, and on 3 different cruise lines, but, this was the first time for James. It was so fun watching him. He kept saying, 'We have to do this again!' Cruising is great fun and so relaxing. Whether you spend your time poolside (like me), or wandering from deck to deck, exploring all of the fun activities that the ship has to offer, or just finding a quiet corner of the ship to read (or finish) that book that you brought, cruising offers something for everyone!
We opted for a show on day two, but for me, vacation is mostly about resting and putting your ordinary life on hold, and de-stressing. Those are true goals!
If you have never cruised before, or it's been a while since your last cruise, there are some things that you should know before you go.
I know that there are opinions about the COVID vaccines that are available, and some, whether for personal or health reasons are not able to take the vaccines. For cruising purposes, it definitely makes a difference! There are places on the ship that you can only go to if you have been fully vaccinated. Those that are not fully vaccinated must wear masks the entire time they are indoors on the ship. Because James and I were both fully vaccinated, we were able to go maskless in certain areas.
Even though James and I were fully vaccinated, we still had to do a pre-cruise text within two days of our cruise departure. I'm not going to lie, I was really stressed about this! I ordered the tests online from the website recommended by our cruise line. They came in really quickly, but we didn't know anyone that had done this test before, and we didn't know exactly how it was going to work. We downloaded the app for both the cruise and the company that does the testing, then James came to my office to do the test. It took about 15 minutes for each of us, and the test cannot leave the camera of your computer for the online test. Once the test is complete, you get an immediate e-mail with your results (which you can see for yourself on the test strip), and it also sends a QR Code to be scanned at the port. Way easier than I had imagined, and I stressed for nothing!
I'm going to have to say that you have to be a BIG drinker to make the purchase of an onboard drink card financially responsible. On our first day onboard, the bartender tried hard to get us to buy a drink card. I'm not a huge drinker, and I know that this also includes soda, which I have been off of since March (yay me!), but goodness, the price on the ship was $371 per person! Our drinks were usually about $12.50 apiece, and that included the gratuity, and with that, we figured we would each have to drink at least 7 drinks a day, and there's really no way that we were going to do that. As it ended up, our onboard drinks only totaled about $$200! So it was a solid NO to the drink card for us. Now, if you like to imbibe, then you may want to consider it. We just went ala carte!
I overpack! For every trip I've ever taken. I guess I think that there is going to be some apocalyptic event that I'm going to need 8 pairs of jeans for a 5-day cruise. I didn't. At least I have clean jeans to bring home. I brought two dresses for the evening meals, and just some nice jeans (hence the 8 pair), but I stayed in shorts almost every day until dinner. James brought 2 or 3 collared shirts and just hung them back up after dinner and recycled them for the evening meals. My advice is one outfit per day. Throw in a couple of pair of shorts and a couple of swimsuits (they don't dry too fast, so you'll want a dry one on day two), and call it a day. Cruises have become less formal on some ships and just say dress your best. Luckily, we had a few extra days after the cruise, so I had different clothes to wear then, but, I'd say the rule of thumb, one nice outfit a day, then casual all the way!
We booked our cruise in 2020, because it was meant to be our honeymoon cruise. Then COVID happened, and the cruise line was forced to cancel our cruise. Rather than taking a refund, we were able to leave our money on account, and take the same cruise the next year, and the cruise line gave us a percentage back for keeping the balance with them. We got home from our cruise on Wednesday of last week, and were immediately contacted with cruises on Sale! Up to 60% off. We always use our friends at Adventure Travel, when booking any vacation. It just makes sense, they are the travel experts, I just like the vacation part. Check with them, or visit cruise lines to find your next getaway!