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I’m on a Boat!

Sea breezes, sunsets, and staterooms: setting sail on a pleasure cruise is a classic vacation choice that balances options for organized fun with opportunities to laze about in the sun.   Great for couples, singles, families, or rowdy groups, the variety of shipboard amenities and port activities touches on all tastes and temperaments - flip flops and evening gowns, zip lines and pedicures, karaoke and shuffleboard.  You basically can’t lose.  And, with embarkation points all over the U.S., you’re no longer locked into departing from Florida, so pick a city that’s affordable to fly or drive to (New Orleans, anyone?), and head out from there.

Alright, first things first.  For our friends with not-so-small claustrophobia issues (hey, we know who we are), we are happy to report that cruising is most definitely comfy for ladies and gents like us.  Promise!  Just score yourself a cabin with a balcony.  The fresh, sea air does wonders for the psyche, the balcony ads an extra 50 square feet or so of space, and all the light from the outside doors is energizing.  Do it!

What to Do on a Cruise

Even if you don’t suffer from a fear of closed-in spaces, you’ll appreciate the enormity of cruising vessels.  They really are built to entertain passengers, and trust us when we say there is plenty to do onboard, even if you consider yourself a little lacking in the attention span department (who, us??).  Every night you’re sailing, you’ll get a full rundown of the next day’s activities. Those who favor constant entertainment can tuck it in their back pockets for reference, and those who’d rather work on their tans can feel free to tear it up into tiny pieces.

We must say, however, that a lot of the fun of setting sail is joining in the antics, especially if you can handle a little blow to your street cred and agree to geek out for a week.  Play those bingo games, take photos of the fruit carvings, and sing your heart out in the piano bar.  But, if you’re too cool for school, you can still find whole decks of the ship that are quiet, too.  The library is usually deserted, and shops can be empty in the afternoons.  Check out the adult pool, the gym, or the spa, too.

Your Cozy Cabin

When you’re ready for a nap or a shower, you’ll find your room surprisingly comfortable.  Passenger cabins are smallish, but in that Ikea showroom kind of way – where the space is maximized beyond the laws of physics.  Lots of times bathrooms come stocked with goodies, too, like trial sizes of popular beauty products, candy or gum, and little trinkets. Bonus.  Enjoy TV during down times, and be sure to check out the channel with the low-budget video tour of the ship; that’s where you’ll learn cool, nautical terms, like “aft.”

Food, Glorious Food

Yes, we can sense your trepidation from here: there are lots of calories involved with cruising.  Grab a celery stick and calm down – you won’t gain weight at sea if you follow one, simple rule: always use the stairs.  Now feel free to enjoy yourself!  Depending on your cruise line, your dining experiences can vary from structured (set dinner times and table companions) to freestyle (open times and seating).  We don’t consider ourselves particularly fond of chatting with strangers, and we’ve survived and even enjoyed both types of dining with ease.

A few tips: 1) if you’re traveling without kids, request the late dinner seating on a traditional (structured) cruise 2) remember that on most cruises alcoholic beverages are not included in your fare and 3) “formal night” is really confusing for most people, so you’ll probably end up in a dining room with schlubs in khakis as well as self-important ladies in head-to-heel sequins; we recommend medium-quality suits and short cocktail dresses as a happy medium.  Cheers!

Land, ho!

If you have funds for fun, be sure to get past the tourist area of any port you’re visiting.  Use or develop your world language skills in non-English-speaking countries, meet some locals, and do things you can’t do at home.  We give props to vacationers who check out cultural offerings, like performances or museums.  Do a little homework ahead of time to find things that will appeal to you, especially if you know you’ll want to find things off the beaten trail.

Depending on the region of your ports of call and the amount of cash you have to spend on excursions, you may find that stops can start looking the same after awhile.  Don’t be afraid to stay onboard the ship or to only get off for a little while if that’s the case for you.  You’ll usually find discounts at the spa and shops, deals in the casino, and specials on drinks when the ship is docked. It can be fun feeling like you have the whole boat to yourself.

Nighttime Entertainment

Booking the later dinner seating on your cruise will help set you up for a night of fun on the sea. Most ships have loads of themed bars and lounges, dance clubs that people actually dance in, live variety shows, first-run movies, theme parties, and a passenger talent show to keep guests happy. Also look for wine tastings, themed photo opportunities (free to sit for, and everybody does it), jewelry and art auctions, and live music.

And be sure to take a few minutes each night to stroll the decks in the moonlight.

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One Response to “I’m on a Boat!”

  1. We totally geeked out on our cruise: trivia galore! But we wouldnt have it any other way.

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