My First Cruise, the Reality! – by CEO Thomas

CEO Thomas learned about cruise reality aboard his first ship

As promised, CEO Thomas is back to tell us whether or not his first cruise met his expectations (and whether that’s a good or a bad thing!) Read on…

I hate preconceptions. They always seem to tarnish the experience of something new.  My first cruise, with Royal Caribbean, shattered my preconceptions.  They put on an amazing time and catered to everyone on board.  Young, old, male, female, drinkers, readers, adventurous, lazy, dieters and gluttons alike, there was something for everyone to enjoy their own experience.  It was great that we had 27 people in our group, so I could pick and choose the right shipmates for the right activity – and there are a LOT of activities.  Pick your flavor and dig in!

1) FOOD – Expectation… Clean plates and rubber chicken.

Reality… The food was good, decor was amazing (ocean views for most everyone), service was stellar and the cost was reasonable.  On the Zagat scale, I would vote Food – 20, Decor – 25, Service – 22 and Cost 18.  (Stay away from the breakfast buffet feeding trough and you’ll have a wonderful dining experience at every meal.)  I would recommend paying a little extra for some of the specialty restaurants for lunch, because dinner in the main dining room is exquisite, and you get the same friendly servers every night.  Juliet and Verna from Jamaica were gems.  I wish them the best!

2) ROOM – Expectation… Carpeted coffin, but who cares?

Reality… The room was probably the most pleasant surprise.  It was like a hotel room that had everything you need, and nothing you have to pay extra for.  I could do without the PA system speaker directly above the bed (certainly when the Captain woke us up to say that a few kids released a rescue boat that turned the cruise ship around, but whatever).  As long as you don’t have to scrub the bottom of your feet with the the futuristic Jetson’s shower tube, we had all the room we needed.  Just don’t stay in the room!

3) ACTIVITIES – Expectation… Move over kid, it’s my turn!
Reality… Royal Caribbean definitely has the crowd factor figured out.  I would bet that they had more beach chairs available than required to seat every guest.  My only gripe about long lines was at the Flow Rider surf machine.  There’s nothing to build your confidence like watching 23 other people eat wave in the first 15 seconds. Instead of “just” two Flow Riders, they need like four of them on each of the 16 floors.  Make it so, Captain!

4) DESTINATIONS – Expectation… Hey Mon!  $59.95 please.
Reality… This was a definite hit and miss.  St. Thomas (I am not a Saint, nor do not own an island) was fun, but commercialized. St. Maarten was amazing, especially the French side, with the beach front cafe and floating beach chairs.  Someone later told me that’s not what they are used for.  Anyhoo, I knew that the Bahamas was going to be the least exciting so I milked my blister “injury”, stayed on the empty boat and headed to the Spa.  (Ask about treatment specials when the boat is docked!  I felt like the only person on the boat, nevermind the spa!)

I was concerned my cruise vacation would be more imitation crab-like than sushi-grade ahi, but my first experience changed my mind, and I’m a cruiser for life!  Highly recommended.  Go get it!

  • Adiana

    That’s a smart way of thinikng about it.

  • joy

    I am going to try and go on this boat for my next cruise. The cruises i went on didn’t have the inside balconies I think my son would love that

  • dm

    looks like quite a ship!

  • Megan

    I just want to stay in one of the rooms with the cool balcony. I’ve never been on a cruise. Maybe for a graduation gift….

  • Mike Bowers

    I’m actually going on a cruise next week myself (which is actually what helped me find your website…trying to find airport parking!), and I’m a bit nervous. It’s been 11 years since my last cruise, so I’m wondering how much it’s changed. The excursion part worries me as well…I tried to avoid plopping $200 for a dolphin/stingray excursion through Carnival, but it was actually the cheapest option I could find. Here’s hoping it’s worth it!

    • Rebecca

      We do cruise parking too, so if you ever park at a cruiseport, check us out for that as well!

  • Han

    I’ve been on 2 cruises and I think your experience very much depends on the ship. Our first cruise was on a smaller older ship and our second was on a newer one (by the same cruise line) and boy did it make a difference. More to do and better amenities. We’re about to go on our third in a few months on an even newer and larger ship and I can’t wait! Glad to hear to enjoyed yours!

  • Carol Wheeler

    Tell Deb that the Pumpkin Bread recipe on the email page does not exactly match the same one on the Blog. Email recipe has no flour at all, but has 1 cup butter which is probably an error too. The Blog recipe seems to be correct but I haven’t tested it yet.

    • Rebecca

      Thanks Carol – we realized the mistake yesterday and corrected it on the blog. I’ve added a note to let people know which to use!

  • Mitch K

    Very nice to hear that the reality was on for a couple of the expecatations, this helps me in deciding to go on a cruise in the future. Thank you very much.