Hey guys! I just want to start off this post by saying I’ve debated whether or not to post this because most people are cooped up at home right now. This past month has been crazy, to say the least. I hope y’all’s Easters were full of sunshine, and y’all are staying healthy and safe. If anything, I hope this post can be encouraging, and help you plan a trip for when the pandemic finally calms down.
Over Spring break, my family and I had an amazing opportunity to go on a Carnival Cruise. We don’t usually go on luxury vacations, but this year we were celebrating both my brother graduating high school, and my dad reaching a milestone at his job. We were a little nervous about our travel plans because there were increasing rumors about the corona virus and countries getting ready to close their borders. There were also so many articles circulating about how COVID-19 was spreading among travelers, especially on cruise ships. However, my family had been planning this trip for TWO YEARS, and it was a once in a lifetime opportunity. And it’s possible we will never get to cruise again; there are many articles, that I suggest you check out, about how the pandemic is affecting cruise lines and other luxury travel industries, along with a debate about whether they will be able to open again after the crisis. Honestly, my cruise was such a blast and I could talk for hours about all the fun experiences I had, and I hope Carnival Cruises are able to open their doors again. But enough of my rambling, lets get into the post!
BRING MORE THAN JUST YOUR CHARGER
OK this one was big: bring a power cord with you on your trip. You know the kind that turns one outlet into multiple? Basically in your stateroom, you will only have ONE outlet, to share between 2/3/4 people. It doesn’t sound that bad, but if you use your phone for pictures like me, and a kindle for reading, and a laptop for late-night essay writing (Balancing college and travel is hard…) you’re going to want the ability to plug in your devices without unplugging your Grandma’s phone. ( Sorry Grammy! :\) You also will probably want to bring a portable charger. This is something time and time again I wish I had, because ports is one of the only places you have the opportunity to connect to free WiFi, so while you’re catching up on texts from friend and family, you battery drains quick and then you don’t have enough battery for pictures during excursions.
BRING A WATERPROOF PHONE CASE
So I actually thought about bringing one, but when I researched them, $40 sounded like a lot. But honestly, if I had been able to take pictures when snorkeling or kayaking, that $40 would have been worth it.
TEEN CLUB IS WHERE YOU MEET FRIENDS – BUT NOT KEEP THEM
OK, so as a teen my biggest question when getting ready for this cruise was “Is teen club really worth it?” I’m naturally introverted, so that alone makes it hard for me to make friends. Honestly, I would have been perfectly happy just hanging out with my family the entire trip, but my parents said I should at least check out the teen club. And I made some amazing friends with some amazing experiences, but honestly after the first night most teens met up outside of teen club. Most of the teen club guided activities weren’t really engaging to the teen audience, and it felt like you had a babysitter the whole time. But it was a convenient place to meet up with friends before exploring other parts of the ship!
DRINK PACKAGES AREN’T WORTH IT
Oh my goodness. I love my dad so much. He works so so hard, and for our vacation he bought everyone in our family the soda drink package. Basically, on cruises you have the basic drink packages, which includes coffee, tea, lemonade, and fruit juices in the mornings, along with water. Then, you also have the soda package, which includes like seltzer water, sodas, and virgin cocktails. Then you have the alcoholic package, which is, well, alcohol. My family didn’t realize the basic drink package included more than just water until we got to the ship! I actually didn’t use the soda package as much as I should have, mostly because I’m more of a sweet tea fan than anything else, and it was really expensive for how much we used it. In my opinion, that money was better spent elsewhere.
FORMAL NIGHTS ARE ACTUALLY FANCY
So, when I was packing for the cruise, I was really worried about what I would wear to formal nights. I ended up bringing just a normal church dress, but looking back on it I wish I had brought my old homecoming dress because I did feel under-dressed. Really, any kind of evening wear is appropriate, but if you’re a lady I would suggest heels, doing your makeup, and spending time on your hair. PSA: People actually dress up, and if you show up in sweatpants, they WILL turn you away. It actually happened to a family behind us 😦
CRUISE-LINE-SANCTIONED EXCURSIONS AREN’T THE ONLY OPTION
So travel/adventure story time: We did 2 carnival sanctioned excursions. Our first one was at Costa-Maya, Mexico, where we spent the day at a fresh-water beach/lagoon/kayaking. It was honestly so peaceful, relaxing, and restful just to sit on the beach, and take the kayaks out for a spin, and not be worried about the time. However, it was really expensive for the experience you got, when there were plenty of relaxing beaches right off the port. Our second carnival sanctioned excursion was a Jungle Boat Ride to the Mayan Ruins in Belize. If you also want to do more of a cultural/historical tour, then the Carnival Sanctioned tours are the best option, because they have amazing guides and will always get you the most convenient, well priced option. On our third day, we went snorkeling in Cozumel at a port-side resort, and it was the most fun and memorable experiences of the whole cruise. We didn’t book anything in advance, and honestly just asked local shop owners at the market if they had any suggestions for beaches. We had no plan, but it ended up being the best possible outcome. Without a tour-guide we felt more free to make decisions and like we were seeing more of the culture.
Thank you so much for reading! Once all the pandemic craziness is over, I hope you all get the opportunity to travel and explore a new city, and maybe even go on a cruise! Stay safe and healthy.
FOLLOW ME ON SOCIAL MEDIA: