Before this year, I’d never been on a cruise ship before. It’s not the type of vacation my parents ever took us on growing up. Cruise ships were for other people. Besides, getting on a boat with a few hundred strangers? No, thank you.
But when my mother had the brilliant idea of taking her daughters and daughters-in-law on a bonding trip, a cruise came up. So I did my daughterly duty and took one for the team 🙂
My mom was very insistent that we ALL come. We wanted to go a full week, and with six of us trying to figure out schedules, childcare, and work details, there were A LOT of emails sent back and forth.
Finally it was decided. We would go on a 4-day March cruise to Key West and the Bahamas – two places I’d never been. Even when we had our tickets I felt like I was living in a dream world. The Kardashians go to the Bahamas. I go to, like, Wyoming.
As the day approached, I was excited, thou I also had that mother-guilt of leaving the kids and husband behind during their spring break. Yes, it was a cross I had to bear…:)
I have to say: I’m sold. It was incredible.
If you’ve ever thought about embarking on a cruise ship, here are ten reasons why you might absolutely love it.
10. Get a taste of the Titanic Wait. That’s not a selling point? I wasn’t scared of the ship going down, but I think anyone who gets on a vessel this large must have that scenario run through their head. The ship is huge. Everyone has to attend a safety meeting the first day. It was pretty awesome to embark on something that big and to float into the sea.
9. Have a Relaxing and Luxurious Vacation We don’t take relaxing and luxurious trips. It’s more like, Get your backpacks and you’re one change of clothes! We’re going to rough it, eat squirrel, and like it! Which, you know, has its place but it’s not exactly… relaxing. On a cruise, you’re treated like royalty. Someone comes in to “make up your bed” twice a day. There is a gym, spa, yoga, games, night-time karaoke, dancing, and 24-hour room service. Everyone is so nice. You don’t lift a finger. You begin to think: I could get used to this.
8. Adventures of a Lifetime My mom and sister will love this photo…aren’t they cute? 🙂 It was my first time snorkeling and once I got past gulping salt water and the chilly water, it was a blast! Another activity I’ve never done: parasailing! Hands down, a sisterhood favorite. I’m scared of heights but I wasn’t at all afraid up there in the sky. It was so fun. So exhilarating. SO BEAUTIFUL. This is Key West. I couldn’t get over the color of the water. Cope wasn’t drooling over my water pictures…just the boat crew and photographer 🙂
7. Sea and Animal Life When you can dive down and pick a starfish off the ocean floor? Wicked cool, no?
Many seagulls and birds.
6. FOOD! So, when you go on a cruise, you’ve already paid for everything. You never have to pull out your credit card unless you’re buying the extras. I couldn’t get over the fact that I could walk into a buffet every morning, lunch, dinner, snack, and late-night snack to get unlimited FOOD that I DIDN’T HAVE TO PREPARE or clean up after. I was so thankful for this fact I could have wept several times.
And the food was good. We were on a Celebrity cruise. I’ve been told Norwegian cruise lines are even better, but I tell you what, I felt I was living pretty large!
5. It’s an Economically-Savvy Way to See the World! This is downtown Bahamas which has a lot of history. It was very sobering to know that the dock we landed at was a former slave auction/port. Cruising is a pretty economical way to see the world. Our tickets, with taxes, came out to about $500. For $100 more we could have had a 7-day cruise and seen more of the world.
Hotel costs, transportation, and food will eat that money up in a second. In addition, there is NO HASSLE. You just get off at different ports, explore, snorkel or whatever else you want to do, and make sure you get back on the boat at 4 pm. (If you miss the boat you’re on your own!)
Every other time I travel, we are using the GPS, finding a place to eat, calculating costs, figuring out the hotel, how to get here and there. This was just so easy.
4. Disconnect and Unplug A wi-fi plan is available, but I didn’t want to pay for it, nor did I have any urgent business. I just shut my phone off for four days and hoped the kids would survive. Gasp…I had to read books and talk to real people! No email to check, no texts to respond to. Until you unplug, you might not realize what a load it really is.
It was very freeing to ponder the great big world under the great big sky.
3. Get a Taste of How Others Spend Spring Break Yeah, so I’m joking about this one. But one afternoon while we were in port we chose Señor Frogs and realized it was party destination number 1. We Mormon moms were only slightly out of place…haha!
2. See the Great Beauty of the World Man, there is so much beauty out there. I took a gazillion shots of the sunrise and sunsets. Watching the sun slowly slowly come up over the horizon was like watching a master artist. I remember Cope telling me that we should STOP using plastics because it’s destroying ocean life. Once you’re on that ocean you really understand what a precious and beautiful resource it is…and maybe it’s one worth preserving (those “beady” face washes? Plastic? Destroying the ocean.) Clouds and water and sunsets hold an enormous fascination. A fishing vessel out on the water.
1. Bonding Bonding was the #1 purpose of this trip and that’s exactly what occurred. I loved these girls before, but I loved them even more now. We’re all so busy, living in different parts of America, working hard, raising kids, and only get to see each other once a year. Aren’t they beautiful? How FUN and wonderful to leave real life behind for awhile, to get to know one another even better. To laugh, cry, karaoke, eat, and talk late into the night. Such a dorky picture of me, but you know, we were pretty darn happy 🙂 Thank you, Mama Mary. For such a great idea. For sponsoring us, for loving us, for bringing us together.Will there be a next time? Oh, you bet your pa-tooty! It was unanimously decided it’s a definite YES. Top picks: Charleston, a ranch, another cruise, Venice, North Carolina…so many parts of the world we need to see TOGETHER.
I came back with a totally new appreciation of vacationing on a cruise ship. And I’m already planning a husband/wife trip…the Professor isn’t so sure but I think I can sell it. Anyone else in?