I got quite a few questions about our cruise so I thought it would pop back and talk about the cruise again (sigh...) I mean cover all your questions in this post. Pass the fruity cocktail and let's set sail...
You get motion sickness, did you get sick on the boat?
I do get motion sick in the car (especially in the backseat #nobueno) but I have never gotten even one ounce of sickness on a cruise ship. We have had some rough seas especially on our first cruise but I did not get sick. You can feel the movement at times and we joked about not being able to walk in a straight line down the hallway BUT I never got sick. Some people wear sea bands
or behind the ear patches
. They are big ships and there is plenty of fresh air and room to roam, don't let sickness hold you back!
What was included in the cost of the cruise?
You might be surprised to learn room service is a complimentary service (there is a small fee from 11pm-3am). We got breakfast delivered to our room nearly every morning (the last morning there is no room service). You can get a late afternoon snack delivered (hello spinach dip and cookies!). We did tip our room service $2 as a kind gesture but its not expected.
All regular coffee, tea, and water are available in the buffet area and included. All food in the dining rooms, buffet area and stands on the promenade offer free food. There is even a complimentary soft-serve ice cream machine on the pool deck! Pool and beach towels are complimentary and just need to be checked in and out with your sea pass card. No need to bring extra towels along.
When you book your cruise you pay for your state room and with that comes all complimentary on board services, entertainment and food. Shows, bar entertainment, dance classes, ice skating, rock climbing, the flow rider, and miniature golf are all included.
What did you pay extra for?
Those heavenly margaritas and other alcoholic beverages all cost extra. They do offer beverage packages you can purchase online before you board or when you board the ship. We got one soda package and it was plenty (not sure we needed it actually). If you pay as you go for any drink, it can get expensive so just plan accordingly!
Internet and phone packages are also extra. You cannot get phone coverage in the middle of the ocean. We opted to sign up for Verizon's travel pass and paid when we used it. It was more cost effective for us.
There are a couple of reservation only restaurants and special activities on board that cost extra but it's very clear they are. There is also a Johnny Rocket's diner that is a set price per person.
Shore excursions are booked in addition to your cruise fare. It's up to you whether you book with your cruise line or book from a place like Trip Advisor. We have done both and had great success with word of mouth tours. We were worried that if we didn't book with our cruise, we might get in a pickle with not getting back to the ship BUT they are in the tourism business and its in their interest to do well for continued business. Some of our favorite excursions were booked privately, I suggest reading reviews on Trip Advisor and asking around!
Gratuitites are not included in the base fare of the cruise and you pay a set price per person per day. This is then divided by the cruise line and distributed amongst those that assist you while on board. If you wish to give extra to a particular crew member its your discretion.
What was your favorite island?
If we had to choose an island to go back to and stay at, it would be St. Thomas. My husband reminds me that it might be my favorite because we did all my favorite things from snorkel, to eat beachside, being out on a boat and laying on the beach but the island vibe was awesome. The people were super friendly and the island seemed really quaint, clean, modern and beautiful. I would love to go back and stay for a week!
Why did you choose cruising over an all-inclusive? Is it cheaper?
I don't think its cheaper than all-inclusives but we wanted to see more than just one island and get a flavor of what we liked and wanted to visit again. Cruising isn't for everyone but we like that there is down time while at sea, some adventure time while exploring on shore and as much or little entertainment as you want and it's all included.
What did you do to prepare for your kids while you were gone?
Oh my goodness - lots!
We lined up care for our children (both grandparents split the time).
We made sure both parents were on record that they could provide care at the doctors/dentists offices. We also left a signed letter that they could administer care and had guardianship while we were on vacation. Due to HIPA laws, you need to make sure you grant your caregivers permission ahead of time.
We also alerted the schools to let them know who would be caring for our kids and how to get a hold of them (which was good because Solon got sent home from school sick :( ).
I wrote out an itinerary for the week including when kids need to go (activities, school, etc) and people to contact if they should have questions. I set up people to take my kids to school and even a playdate so my mom could have a moment to breathe.
We also shared all internet passwords, information about the TV, I left meal ideas and suggestions with a full refrigerator of things I knew the kids would eat. I prepared a room for my mom to stay and laid out towels, etc so she would feel at home.
So do you plan to cruise again?
YES! Cruises go everywhere. Someday we would love to go to Alaska or Europe on a cruise...but that might have to wait until our kids are grown! We also want to try out the new Harmony of the Seas
...have you seen it? Crazy big!
Our kids would love to go on a cruise, so maybe a Disney cruise, we heard they are awesome! We are partial to Royal Caribbean but we heard Disney is awesome too - I mean it's Disney ;)!
So there you have it - your most frequently asked questions...what did I miss? Leave a comment and I will be sure to do my best to answer!
Until next time, keep smiling and keep on keeping on!
Labels: cruise, travel, vacation