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Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Cruise Itself

I've given you the blow-by-blow of everything we did in Hawaii.

But I haven't really talked as much about the cruise itself. I've had people ask me if I would recommend it.

I have gone on seven cruises in the past 20 years {wow .. the first one was 20 years ago!} Not a whole lot has changed out in the open seas. I've cruised on four different cruise lines, one of which no longer exists. Here would be my advice:

If you are taking your kids on a cruise, go on Carnival (preferably The Conquest.) The rooms are larger, the food is fine, the adult shows are mediocre, but the kids' programs are excellent. There is a good time to be had by all! {I've also heard that Disney is the absolute way to go!)

If you are going on a cruise with your spouse only, definitely go on a Royal Caribbean. The ships are nice, the food is typically excellent, the service is great and the adult shows are a little better. It's an overall nice, romantic cruise.

If you are going on a cruise where you will be exhausted the entire time you are back on the ship, then (and only then) go on a Norwegian {Freestyle} cruise.

As you read from our posts about the cruise, the time difference was a bear. That, coupled with all of the activity we did during the day, had us going to bed sometimes as early as 7:30 p.m. The nighttime entertainment was useless, and it's a good thing because there wasn't hardly any of it. On the other cruise lines there is a very active Cruise Director who you see and hear from all the time. If I would have tripped and fell on our Cruise Director on this cruise, I wouldn't have known it. Norwegian (or NCL) didn't have a show staff of dancers, singers, etc. So, when they had an event they literally pulled wait and bar staff in to do it. Not too entertaining.

We heard from our zipline tour guide that the cruise we were on, on The Pride of America, is known by the locals as the cruise of "newlyweds or nearly dead." So true! I've never seen so many old people in my life! You had to be very patient in the buffet areas. Oh my!

And speaking of food, on other cruise lines the majority of the wait and bar staff and room stewards are from another country. They work on the ships for months at a time, mostly working for tips, and send that money home to their families in poor countries. So, they work really, really hard at providing you with individual service to get maximum tips. Not so on The Pride of America. It was staffed primarily by college aged kids who were trying to figure out (or didn't care yet) what to do with their lives. They were working their 5 months on to make enough money to travel on their 5 weeks off. With NCL it is "Freestyle Dining" which means you don't sit at the same table with the same waiter for every meal. Someone different is waiting on you all the time. So, your tips just go into a pot and are divided evenly among everyone. There is no incentive to go above and beyond and, believe me, they didn't.

All of this being said, none of this concerned us on this cruise. We were using the ship as a floating hotel with free food. And I thought it was a really neat ship! It had an Americana theme, instead of European, which was cool. There was no casino, which thrilled us. We were so exhausted at night that we didn't want to do anything but eat quickly somewhere and go to bed anyway. The food in the Aloha Cafe was sure adequate for that! I had a philosophy: If I wasn't planning it or cooking it or cleaning it up, it was perfect for me! If I didn't like what I was eating, I just put that plate away and went and got something else .. usually dessert!

So, there is my recommendation on cruise ships.

As far as this particular cruise to Hawaii? Other than upping my Dramamine intake that one night, I wouldn't have changed anything about it. I am also glad we chose to go to Hawaii this first time on a cruise. If we would have just chosen an island to fly to, I'm afraid we would have chosen Honolulu and then would have been severaly disappointed! Now we know exactly where we would like to go back, if we ever do that.

We saw some of the most amazing things on the islands, did some of the most amazing activities and surprised each other with what we could do! I love to travel with Rick because we are extremely compatible! We always have a good time (except when we lose hundreds of dollars or drop our camera in the water). But, it seriously was a vacation of a lifetime!

And I have told Rick that I want to go to my death bed not knowing how much we ended up spending!

I hope he thought it was worth every penny. I sure did!

1 comment:

  1. We did the NCL and the Disney Cruise. I have the same complaints about the NCL as you did. However on our boat they had staff dancers and a very active cruise director. We were so busy with excursions we were compltely exhausted at the end of the day.

    Disney was by far my favorite. We are going next summer again.

    Glad you had a great time! The best part of cruises is the yummy food!


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