Before the end of October 2016, I’d never experienced a cruise before in my life, so the anticipation prior to this trip was real! For years I’ve listened to countless stories from family members, friends, co-workers, strangers, and so on about their cruise experiences and how much fun they were. When the opportunity arose to take a five-day Caribbean Cruise, I immediately jump on it without any questions or concerns.
If you haven’t noticed by now, I travel quite a bit to the Oakland Raiders NFL games. This season, the Raiders played against two NFL teams in Florida towards the end of October, the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Instead of booking back to back trips to the same state, it made sense to stay out in Florida the entire time; which was for 10 days.
On this trip I went along with my mom, Aunt, and Uncle. After deciding to stay out in Florida, we had to figure out how we were going to utilize our time. Some of the Raiders fans were taking a Royal Caribbean Cruise to Nassau and CocoCay Bahamas, and also to Key West Florida during the week. Those were places we’ve always wanted to visit so of course we agreed to go! I traveled with my family members before and it’s always a blast, but sad to say that this particular time, not so much.
I don’t know what it was but it seemed as though nothing worked out in my favor. First of all, not only was I the only 20-something year old in the group, it seemed as though I was the only person my age on the entire ship. It didn’t bother me at first because I tend to venture off and do my own thing, but being on a boat however made this an impossible option. So I had no other choice but to hang around the older folk who will always view me as a 12 year old, even if I’m 30+, and with whom I have to watch my actions around because I was raised to respect my elders. Basically, the trip started off extremely slow and quite boring I must say.
As the days went on, I remained optimistic and hoped the bulk of my enjoyment would be during the time spent in the Bahamas and Key West. Unfortunately, the weather conditions were not in my favor as well. There were rainy showers the entire day in Key West, which isn’t normal by the way, and it wasn’t safe to explore CocoCay because of the wind. The only perfect weather day was when we stopped at Nassau; which is mostly a tourist attraction so I didn’t get that full on Bahamian experience.
Due to the weather, most of my time was spent on the ship and as I mentioned before, majority of the passengers were 40+. On top of that, the food provided wasn’t very appetizing. Eventually my optimism faded away and reality came to surface. So in conclusion, my first cruise experience sucked! The only highlight was sitting out on the balcony every morning with a hot cup of coffee.
Although my first cruise was a miss, I’m not opposed to taking future excursions. However, there will be some crucial factors I will consider before agreeing to book another, such as:
- Who’s all going? (Preferably my close friends and/or significant other.)
- What type of cruise? (Will go to the Caribbean again but next time I’ll try a cruise through Carnival.)
- Checking the weather to make sure it’s perfect for exploring.
- Check reviews of the food and overall experience before booking.
In my opinion, I feel everyone who hasn’t been on a cruise should at least experience it once. My main suggestion before booking a cruise or any future travel reservations is to be completely honest about the kind of trip you’re seeking and the type of person that you are. If you’re looking to relax on vacation with your family, friends, or lover, a cruise may be perfect for you. If you’re similar to me and prefer to explore on your own time and be amongst the locals, a cruise may not be the best option.
As a traveler, there will be peaks and pitfalls on your journeys. I’ve had better trips in the past but I definitely do not regret going on this cruise. I’ve grown to take in all the good, learn from the bad, and not dwell too much on certain situations that do not work out. I simply accept the fact that shit happens and to keep moving forward!