Tee Roy’s Cruise Tips For The Landlubber
I recently went on a Caribbean cruise with my family, and had a killer time. Being my first time ever on a boat for more than a day, I wasn't completely prepared for the experience. Instead of regaling you with a novel, here's a breakdown of a few things that I learned, which may help you should you ever decide to hit the high seas:
1. Sandals, Flip Flops, And Water Shoes All Leave Blisters In Different Spots
Knowing that I would most likely want to be able to take off my shoes at the drop of a hat, I decided that my sandals would be the only shoes I needed for my trip. After one day, and 3 blisters per foot, I changed my mind and bought some flip-flops. Those lasted about an hour, in which I received blisters in-between my toes. I ended up paying an extortion fee for some water shoes, and those ended up being the best. I wore them all week (when I wore shoes), and didn't start developing blisters on the bottom of my feet until the last day. Score!
2. Pack Less, But Bring An Extra Bag
We squeezed a week's worth of clothes and toiletries for four people into 5 bags, so we could each have one carry-on onto the plane, and only check one bag. We didn't wear most of the clothes we brought, and came back with seven bags full of random crap we bought. Since the girls wore bikini's and shorts most of the time, and the boys wore swimming trunks and tank-tops the entire week, we literally had three bags of clothes we didn't even touch. This made our tiny state-room on the boat cluttered and hard to navigate. We also bought random gifts and nick-knacks which took up a heck-of-a-lot more room than we had, so we had to buy two bags. We ended up paying $100 to check our four bags on the way home, and we all still had crap we had to carry on with us. Moral of the story: Only take the essentials, and buy what you need. Clothes on the islands are cheap.
3. Everybody Wants Money
Our cruise was paid for, and that included the food and some juices/coffee. Alcoholic prices weren't too bad, but they gouged you for soda. They also had some higher-end restaurants that you had to pay for. On our four island stops, we had to tip everybody. The guys who took us para-sailing, the cab drivers, the tour guides, the little kid in Jamaica who threw a flower through our window as we were driving by...I probably dropped $200-$300 in tips alone, not including what I gave all of our waiters and bartenders on the boat. They add in tips already (they call it a service charge) but I assume that goes straight to the boat, and I can't not tip a good server. Be prepared...
4. Most People Look Worse With Their Clothes Off
This may sound sexist...well, it is sexist...but there was lack of hotties on the boat. Sure, people look great when they're wearing clothes that lift and separate, but when the clothes come off, the truth comes out. This is actually a good thing. If you don't have what you consider a beautiful body, you'll fit right in on a cruise. Most people have some sagginess you don't see when they're wearing clothes, as well as scars, weird shaped bodies, etc. Nothing better than being able to get down to your skivvies, and feel completely comfortable.
5. Taking Little Kids On A Cruise Makes No Sense
We took our 16 and 17 year old, and we all had a blast. But I was blown away by how many little kids were running around the boat. Why would you pay all of that money for someone who won't remember it? Why would you bring your kid to a place where adults get crazy? And, of course, every time you wanted to do something, their is a little one running about. It wasn't so bad that it ruined our trip...not by any means. But, we did decide that we're doing adults only cruises from here on out. My kids are grown, I don't want to deal with other people's.
Some other random observations:
A) Find a nemesis. There was this 9 or 10 year old kid that we decided to hate as a family. We now have a new saying - "Don't Be An Alvin!"
I hate that Alvin...
B) Everyone in the Caribbean is short. I'm 5'10", and I towered over most of the locals. Beefcake!
C) It is really, really hard to get drunk on the ocean when you are from a high elevation. I drank like a fish, and only got buzzed twice. Not drunk - buzzed. That sucked.
D) Being off of the grid is AWESOME! No phone calls + No Facebook + No e-mails = the best way to enjoy any vacation. I strongly suggest it.