The wide-open seas, either you love it or hate it. But if you’re anything like me you particularly don’t care for spending your vacation confined to a ship. You would rather get straight to relaxing by catching a direct flight to a pristine destination. Nevertheless, regardless of which type of vacation you prefer no one, even me could have passed up the opportunity to take a quick getaway to the beautiful Bahamas no matter how I got there.
This past month at the last minute I hopped on an all-inclusive cruise to The Bahamas with Carnival Cruise Line! The first two cruises to the Bahamas I took I was literally either too young or too naive to truly enjoy it. But not this time around, I was ready to take full advantage of this last-minute deal by filling up my schedule with endless, unlimited food, drinks, and shore excursions. Of course, none of these things actually happened; but, let me give you some tips on what I did learn and experience from my time on the seas so you can be better prepared for your next cruise.
Don’t rush to book an on-shore excursion: How alluring are those great adventure excursions you can pre-book right? Wrong! Granted while the ship will take you to private cruise owned islands such as Half Moon Cay that’ll only offer company excursions, on the bigger islands such as Nassau, Bahamas you will get a better deal if you just book an excursion from a local company. I wanted to go on a full day ATV tour sponsored by Carnival Cruise Line but unfortunately, I waited too late and the ATV tour along with every other shore excursions were completely booked. No worries, as soon as I got off the ship there were endless local companies that offered ATV, Jeep, and scooter rentals. I was blessed and paid a half a day price for an ATV that I used for my entire time on the island.
Don’t wait too late to eat: Forgive me for thinking that when a ship advertises unlimited food anytime of the day it actually means anytime of the day. I made the mistake the first night thinking that I could get up in the middle of the night and grab a full course meal. And what did I get, a ham and cheese sandwich. Keep up with the hours of the buffet because while it may offer unlimited food it does not supply it 24 hours of the day.
Say “NO” to the endless drink package: All cruise liners offer an unlimited drink package that you can book for your vacation for about $50 per day. But what they don’t tell you is that this drink special must be prepaid for the entire duration of your trip. So, if you're cruising for 5 days like me that’ll cost you an extra $250! And no, you cannot pick and choose which days you want to take advantage of your drink package. It’s all or nothing. Now no offense to my drunk buddies out there, $250 for unlimited alcohol is a great deal, but for those of you like myself who may drink 5 times max while you’re on a vacation this is not the deal for you. The better choice for you would be just to pay as you go. Plus, you can bring 1 bottle of wine or champagne per person on board with you.
The bigger the better: This title says it all, the bigger the cruise ship the more on-board activities they’ll be. In turn, the smaller the ship the less activities they’ll be available to you. Don’t get me wrong there was a lot to do on the cruise ship I went on but after the second day of relaxing by the pool, listening to karaoke, watching a comedy show, then ending the night at the only club on board became a little redundant. So, choose your cruise liner and ship carefully when you are planning your perfect sea escape. Make sure there is enough variety of activates on board so you won’t end up bored midway through your vacation.
There you go fellow cruiser, a few tips I discovered after my spur of the moment trip to The Bahamas. Will I go on another cruise to the Bahamas? Probably not, but maybe one day I’ll go on a larger ship to a different destination with these tips in mind to help me prepare a little better.