We ended 2014 with a 12-day cruise through some of the South Pacific Islands, a holiday for the whole family that we’d planned in Oct 2013. Once we’d made the booking, we a 300 day wait for our departure day to arrive.
Now that we’re back from the cruise, here are some of my thoughts, recollections and good/bad points of the trip – There are a lot of tips in here for would be cruisers:
- The staterooms are smaller than you think. This is not really an issue as you wont be spending much time in there, but it is on the small side.
- You will eat way more than you need to. Food is in abundance and it really is up to the individual to police what goes into their stomachs! The saying is that for every week you’re on a cruise, you’ll gain 1Kg in weight.
- It’s up to you how much or little you do. If you’re part of the FOMO crowd, you’ll be non-stop for almost every single day of the trip! You can also choose to take it easy and partake in as many or as little activities you wish. We learned to
- Gym/Exercise. Getting to the gym early in the morning or later in the evening was bliss – if you happen to be able to exercise at sunrise or sunset, it’s even more special (only if there’s a view of the outside world!) It was a popular part of the ship and often had queues for some of the equipment.
- Powerboards. Ask whether you can take a powerboard/powerstrip on board BEFORE you go. Our powerboard was surrendered (returned at the end of the trip). We didn’t need to worry as we had 4 power points in the room and enough adapters to charge the necessary devices (thanks to being a frequent traveller in a previous role, however 1 adapter and powerboard does make sense if you’re travelling )
- Kids. The kids’ club was great as it allowed the kids to have some time away from the parents. It was a great break for the parents, too! Travelling with 2 other families made the process easier to manage
- Peace & quiet. With all the activities on offer, you need to seek out and locate quiet little corners of the ship where you can slink off to for a few mins breathing space. Even though we enjoyed the trip and filled our days with as much as we could, you still need some time away from others to be able to relax/recharge. I found it on one of the mornings when I awoke well before anyone else, went to a quiet part of the ship and revelled in the early morning sunrise whilst chilling out to some music.
- No-one cares what you wear! There are decency standards on the ship, but many times you’re able to walk around in whatever you’re comfortable in. For many this meant they stayed in their swimwear most of the time!
- Laundry. Every opportunity we had to rinse your clothes and hang them to dry we did – the laundry fees were steep and we didn’t
- Packing. I hardly used my socks as we wore sandals/thongs most of the time. barefoot (in certain places) was also acceptable, although in any food or entertainment venue, footwear was required.
- Groundhog Day. Our regular dinner time made me think of Groundhog day – the feeling you have lived it all before. We had a 6pm sitting and on a few of the days we simply could not eat at 6pm (due to coming back in the mid afternoon from a shore excursion). The Casual dining options would also have been fine for us, however would have added to the issues outlined in point 2, above)
For our first cruise, we all did have a wonderful time. Personally I did not sleep well and was tired before I got on the ship, and tired when I got off it. Most people do sleep well due to the sumptuous pillows and fantastic bed – just not me.