I apologize for the very long absence but May was a very busy and exciting month, I graduated from Mary Washington, got a puppy, went on a cruise and got engaged! So there’s been a lot going on but for my first post back I wanted to share my experience with going on a cruise and give some helpful tips to get the most out of your experience.
Before this trip I had never been on a cruise or to the caribbean before but it was such a fun and exciting experience and I would definitely do it again. My fiancé and I booked our six day cruise with Carnival and were on their ship the Valor. We left from Port Canaveral, Florida and from there we traveled to our three stops. 1. Nassua, Bahamas 2.Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic 3. Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos. I had a wonderful experience with Carnival and I would definitely book with them again.
What makes a Carnival Cruise special:
Booking: Carnival Cruises have a very easy booking process online, once you book your cruise you have an account on their website where you can book excursions, book rooms, pay off your cruise and so much more. Through their website you can customize your cruise to fit your needs.
Less Stress: Cruises are great if you’re looking to have a vacation with less the stress. Before you even step onto the ship your luggage is taken upon your arrival to the terminal and will arrive in your room later that afternoon. You don’t have to worry once you’re on the ship the staff is eager and ready to help cater to your needs. Plus you book all your excursions in advance so you don’t have to figure out what you’ll be doing at your stops.
Great Staff: Carnival had an amazing staff, from the bartenders, to the housekeeping, to the waitstaff everyone was exceptionally good at their jobs. Everyone was so friendly and helpful they made you feel like you were a part of their carnival cruise family.
Food: The cruise had some of the best food I’ve ever had. I wasn’t disappointed with any of the food I had on the trip and the drinks we’re great as well! The dining hall was exceptional every night and offered a large variety of entrees, appetizers and dessert.
Tips to keep in mind:
- When booking and preparing for your cruise keep in mind that you are on a ship. I didn’t find it a huge problem for myself but getting sea sick is a possibility. At times I could feel the ship moving especially when we were far from shore, so just keep that in mind.
- Because your on a ship standard rooms are smaller than average hotel rooms are, however I still found a standard room to have enough room for my fiancé and I. There’s also a lot of storage in the rooms so there’s plenty of room for your stuff. However if you want a little more space there are rooms that are a little larger with balconies and suites you can book as well. I was perfectly happy in a standard room though.
- Only select drinks are free on the cruise, sodas and alcoholic beverages must be purchased. Tea, milk, water, lemonade and juice are drinks you can get for free but if you want sodas or alcoholic beverages then there are drink packages you may purchase online before your cruise or on your cruise for the first few days. Bottomless Bubbles is the unlimited soda package and that will set you back $6 a day. The Cheers program is the alcoholic drink package and that is $50 a day and you get 15 drinks a day, plus unlimited sodas as well. While 15 drinks seems like a lot if you’re having about 5 or 6 drinks a day you’re still saving money.
- Read your daily flyer placed on your bed the evening prior for information all about whats going on the next day on the ship. Everyday there are so many different fun events and shows to keep you busy especially on those sea days.
- Purchase a lanyard before your trip to put your Sail and sign card (cruise ID) on. You don’t want to lose this card because it acts as your room key, and credit card. No cash is accepted on the ship so you will use your card to purchase anything additional on the ship. Having it on a lanyard is an easy way to take it with you everywhere.
- Make sure you check the website on what you can and cannot pack and bring onto the ship.
- You can check the sail and sign kiosks while on board to manage your account, and change which card is hooked up to your sail and sign card. You can also check your bill on this kiosk.
- While in international waters you may not have an cellular service and the wifi on the ship costs an additional fee so you may want to use alternate forms of communication if separated from your group or travel partner. We used sticky notes and made use of the room phones. You can call another room on the ship from your room free of charge.
- Lastly make sure you make the most of your experience, relax and have lots of fun!
About my trip:
1st stop on the cruise, Nassua Bahamas
We booked a bar hopping excursion for our day in the Bahamas and it was a lot of fun we got to try Bahamian beers, local food and even toured their only brewery. We also learned a lot about pirate history. It was a fun excursion that incorporated beautiful scenery, history and delicious beer.
Stop #2 Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic
For the Dominican Republic we booked a private beach day excursion which was probably my favorite excursion. We were taken by bus to a beach house with private beach where we could go kayaking, snorkeling, and paddle boarding. There was an open bar and we also had lunch cooked for us which was delicious. The Dominican was so beautiful it was definitely one of my favorite stops.
Final stop, Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos
For our day in Grand Turk we booked a horseback riding excursion. This was such a cool experience. I had never been on a horse before so it was a little scary but also a lot of fun. The people in charge made sure we were safe and taught us the basics of horseback riding. We got to practice for a while and then we took the horse out on a little trail and after that we got to take the horses onto the beach and go into the water. It was such a beautiful area of the island and a very memorable and fun experience.
We also got to explore the beach on the other side of the island closer to port. That side was filled with bars and restaurants booming with music and people. The water was so blue, warm and calm. The beach on Grand Turk was probably my favorite beach we went to on this trip.
My fiancé and I on the last night of our cruise on our way back to Port Canaveral 🙂
It was an amazing trip filled with so many unforgettable memories. I would highly recommend a cruise for a vacation and definitely recommend carnival as well.
Happy Cruising everyone 🙂