Impressions of a first time cruiser

This article was published in +977 (a Nepalese Lifestyle Magazine in Australia) in  July 2014 issue.   

977

I have always had cursing on my bucket list but never thought it would happen soon.

During Christmas 2013, I was desperately looking for places to go for our holiday. After evaluating our list and considering our finances, we booked our first cruise on Carnival Spirit to New Caledonia and thus our journey began.

Once we booked and paid for the trip, it was time to do our research and I have to admit there were so many different opinions on the internet that it was hard for us to make up our mind on what to expect. We both decided that no matter what happened, we would try our best to make the cruise holiday memorable.

The first thing we noticed when we went to Circular Quay to board the ship was how massive it was. We joined other excited holidaymakers clearing the customs and boarded the ship. Our luggage was checked in and would be taken directly to our room.

Embarkation was as easy as giving them our credit card and getting a Sail & Sign card (Sail & Sign is Carnival’s on board cashless credit program, which allows you to charge all your services and purchases during your cruise to your room.) We were told to wait on the top deck where drinks and lunch was waiting for us until our rooms are ready and the luggage is delivered.

As we walked in, we noticed that the ship was huge and amazing with Christmas decoration everywhere. I was excited to see so many different bars, lounges and restaurants on the map. It was as if I was in a different city and it was going to be our home for the next 2 weeks.

Once we finished lunch, we were told that our room was ready. We got a room with a window and it was just perfect. It was not very big but enough for two with en suite, a big wardrobe, TV and mini bar. By the time we went to our room our luggage had already arrived. While unpacking, I was really glad that I didn’t need to re-pack until the end of the trip. I also didn’t need to learn a new culture, to speak a different language or to stick to transport schedules but could just relax and enjoy our time on board and look forward to an awesome time in New Caledonia.

The first impression for both of us was really good, starting from the nice lunch to the room, we were assigned and the things we learned. I was quite surprised by how much there is to do on a cruise ship. It is your choice, if you like to have a day full of nonstop activities or simply relax on one of the deck chairs or hammocks and read a book. Every day there is an enthusiastic voice through the loud speaker system, telling us what is happening that day, where we can go, what we can eat and what we can buy on an hourly basis so you are always informed.

We utilise all the facilities on board and were always busy doing one thing or another. My best place to relax was definitely the Serenity area and it was always fun to go and ride in the Green Thunder.

Food was always available no matter the time of day or night. We had most of our breakfast and lunch on the Lido deck and dinner in the Empire dining room. The few times we had afternoon tea, we were very impressed by the selections of cakes and fruits. We saw kids running around with pizzas and ice cream all the time. We had no complains about the food at all.

The one thing I really loved on board the Carnival Spirit was the entertainment. There was always something happening especially during the night that we had no time to be bored. Most nights we were going from one event to another fully enjoying each performance. From stand up comedian to hypnotist, juggler, Vegas style show they had everyone covered. If you are into trivia and games, you could always find one area hosting the event.

They tried their best to make the sea days more entertaining and full of activates to every kind of travellers. Apart from kids club for the young ones, they could be entertained in many other ways. They will definitely enjoy the rides in Water Park so just get wet. They will love the Chocolate extravaganza day and they will never worry you regarding food.

Port days were fun and well managed. If you want to know the details on what to do, please research before you board so you can Google the images and read reviews of the things to do in each island.

Disembarkation at all ports was easy and no stress at all. We really enjoyed different ports in New Caledonia but we were glad to come back to the ship and carry on with our holiday with awesome food waiting for us each time.

I might sound vain but I also enjoyed the fact they made our room twice a day. Every time we came back to our room, it was clean and the bed was made :).

After reading, my experience if you are wondering if cruise is your cup of tea, here is the list of pros and cons I experienced which I hope will help you make up your mind.

Pros

  • The most important pro of cursing is that it is definitely value for money. Your cruise package includes room, dining, most entertainment and many extras. Except alcohol and soft drinks, you don’t need to buy anything unless you are shopping. This gives you a clear picture on how much you are going to spend in advance.
  • Less hassle as everything is planned for you.
  • If you are a social person, it’s a great way to meet new friends. We made a few friends while on board.
  • No need to worry about food. It is always there and always changing. No matter what kind of taste you have, they cater for you.
  • I felt more relaxed during the whole trip as there was not much to plan and no running around. There are fewer unexpected problems to solve.
  • Pack and unpack only once.

Cons

  • Less exploration time as you are in one port for a day only. (May be multiple days depending on cruise but still less than if you go to one place only.)
  • Fewer destination options as your destination will be the coastal areas only
  • If you are after a quiet, relaxing getaway, then cruise may not be your cup of tea.
  • Motion Sickness can be a problem for many people. Do not forget to take some medicines of it.

I hope this has given you some useful insights and helps you make up your mind if Cruising is for you.

Happy Cruising!!!

Take care everyone ,

M from nepaliaustralian

XOXO

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8 responses to “Impressions of a first time cruiser

  1. Nice post. Can you share what you need to pack for the trip. Were there dress codes? Do people dress up or just wear casually?

    • Thank you. I think it depends upon your destination what you need to pack but here was the list of things we packed.

      As I knew New Caledonia has tropical weather, I packed my swimwear, snorkeling gear, sunscreen, reef shoes (we read that there are many dead coral on the beach), underwater camera, lots of seasickness mediation and summer clothes. You get towels on board and we did not have to worry about food ever.

      We knew in advance that we were going to have a Mexican night, Hawaiian themed night and two elegant nights. Therefore, I have packed my Hawaiian dress and few cocktail gowns. During the themed days, many people dressed up but there were many who just wore casual clothes .The shop on board also sales some of the items if you missed to pack something. It all depend on you what you really want to do during the theme nights.

      After you book a cruise, you can go to cruise critic website and find out what kind of theme nights that particular cruise have and it should help you on planning what should you pack.

      Have fun on your cruise.

  2. Hi there, I am a great fan of your blog. This particular post is truly amazing especially the way you have outlined the pros and cons of cruising. Even I would like to go on a cruise. Do you have any suggestions to me that would help me do that? I work for a software company in Nepal and I guess you know how is it in Nepal where we don’t get much leave or holidays to go on journeys of this nature. Even then I can save my leaves (sick leave and other) for that. Please help.

    Keep up with your good work. Help me get enlightened with your insightful articles and blog entries.

    Thanks,
    Much love from Nepal

    Ayushma

    • Hello Ayushma,

      First of all thank you so much for reading and following my blog.

      I am sure you can arrange the cruise from Nepal. You need to do lots of research online and then find a travel agent who can help you with the booking. Please make sure to check all the visa requirements while at it so there is no problem later. I am sure you will love the experience and it is simply amazing.

      It all depends on where you want to go and how much money you want to spend. I know there are some great cruises departing from Singapore, India, China and many other Asian countries. I believe it will be amazing to see Asia and its beautiful coastal lines. Let me know if I can be of any help .

      Take care
      M

  3. Informative post, are cruises generally family orientated or do you get a few younger groups as well?

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