First off, I’ve barely scratched the surface of the cruising world. At this moment, I think I’ve done maybe 6 big ship cruises. Here is a list of some of my personal likes and dislikes.
Like: The ease of cruising, no schedules to follow, you can be as active or lazy as you wish. Scheduled for the 6pm dining? You can blow it off and eat at the buffet or take room service anytime you like. There is always plenty to do, but you don’t have to do anything.
Dislike: At embarkation there is always about a 2-hour window when passengers are boarding and the cabins are not ready. This makes the public spaces very crowded and on top of that everyone is schlepping around their carry-on luggage. It’s loud, dining area is packed, no place to sit, and dining staff is furiously working to clean up all the dirty dishes and tables. Once everyone is allowed in their cabins….aahhh.
Dislike: The loud pounding music at the main pool area. And trying to use your I-pod here is impossible. The loud music forces everyone to yell when talking to one another. I don’t mind passing through this area and hanging out for a little bit, but it’s definitely not my camping out space.
Like: Here is my little secret– I like sitting in the lounge chairs on the deck where the life boats hang. It’s shady, quiet and breezy. It’s lower to the water line and sometimes you even get a little ocean spray.
Dislike: Sitting at a table with strangers for dinner. I’m not good at small talk. There are tables for 2, you can always ask.
Like: On our last cruise we discovered eating lunch in the main dining room, rather than the crowded, standing in line buffet. This became the highlight of our days at sea. We always got a table of our own and we’d have a long, relaxing, three course meal with cocktails, and white tablecloth service.
Dislike: The hairy chest/belly flop contests, I think these events are probably geared more to the Caribbean and Mexico cruises. This probably does not go on with the upscale cruise lines like Regent, Oceania, or Seabourn. I’m getting old, but I’d rather go to high tea in the afternoon or play scattagories.
Like: Days in port and you don’t get off the ship. Sleep in late, while the others are lined up to get out the door, and have a leisurely breakfast (you’ll have the dining room practically to yourself). This is the best time to schedule a spa treatment, the spa runs the best specials on port days.
I love cruising and I’m counting down (7 weeks) and I’m heading out for my 2nd Alaska cruise, can’t wait!