Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Cruising 101

So, ya know how on the side of my blog it says there will be randomness? Well here you have it. Cruising 101. Alright- so I'm no expert BUT I can give you a few pointers! In 20 days I will be embarking on my 11th cruise! Ever since I was little I've been cruising with my family. My very first cruise was to Canada when I was in 5th grade I believe. It was short but sweet. Our next big adventure was to Alaska. We actually flew out to Washington a week early and rented a car to explore the Canadian Rockies. If you have never driven though that area I'm a telling you, it is not worth missing out on. I always told myself that one day I would return to the Canadian Rockies and stay at this hotel. I stood at the edge of Lake Louise and was in absolute awe.

Anyways, back to cruising. Of course Alaska was beautiful. On our flight back home our plane dropped 1,200 feet in mid air forcing us to make an emergency landing and officially scaring the crap out of my family and I. From there on out we only took cruises that left from ports near our house. Hellllooo Caribbean.

Puerto Rico (San Juan) is clean, has lovely architecture and great shopping. St Maarten is your typical Caribbean island. St Thomas has GREAT beaches (magens bay) and terrific shopping. I have come home with things such as cameras, watches and a few pieces of jewelry. When the cruise lines tell you they are taking you to Haiti, you kind of picture the Haiti that you see on tv. It's nothing like that. I'm pretty sure Royal Caribbean owns a piece of the island or something because it is literally fenced off and locals need to go through a gate to get in. They have rides, water parks and everything else that you would NOT expect to be there. Cozumel and Costa Maya offer great beaches, snorkeling and of course, shopping (more so Cozumel).

You are probably thinking. Wow, you must be lucky because traveling is expensive. But my whole point here is that is really isn't. Keep in mind that on the 10 cruises that I've been on, I have never once visited the spa, or eaten at the fancy restaurants on board or have ever gone on a cruise excursion. Why? Because I don't have to. Cruises try to tell you that you shouldn't rent your own scooter because it is risky- which I guess it could be- but my family has never run into trouble. We love exploring the islands and seeing beyond what the port has to offer. You can do research before you go on where to rent a scooter- otherwise you can usually easily find a rental place near the port.

If you are flexible as to when you can take a cruise, that's even better. At the bottom of this post I will link two sites where my family usually finds our deals. I have literally taken a 7 night cruise for $450 per person. That less expensive than staying at a hotel for 7 nights. PLUS you get unlimited food on a cruise ship!

Out of all of the places I've been to, Bermuda is by far my favorite. (Someday I will get married there). The island is gorgeous, the beaches are breathtaking and the island is clean. Bermuda is NOT a good place to go shopping! Everything on the island is expensive, but thats ok because everything you need is on the cruise ship. Definitely rent a scooter on this island. Its safe and totally easily to find your way around the entire island.

I have been to Bermuda, Alaska, Canada, St. Maarten, St. Thomas, Dominican Republic, Cozumel, Costa Maya, Haiti, Puerto Rico, Key West and the Bahamas. One day I hope to cruise the Mediterranean!

Alright, enough babbling, here are some of the pictures I have taken on my adventures...

You may hit rough seas, but thats a part of the package!

These are the sites that help my family book affordable cruises:

So remember. Be flexible on travel dates, skip the excursions, eat on the cruise ship, drink the water/juice provided on the ship (skip the booze and soda) and enjoy your future cruise!!

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