You've probably already read this, but I just got back from a week on Royal Cribbean's Freedom of the Seas, visiting the Western Caribbean. It flew by way too fast, and I was too busy visiting and enjoying the new experiences to really document our adventures. I still have things to tell you about it though, and I'm going to start with this - my top ten favorite things about my first cruise!
(nb: they're not in order, because that's never the way my brain works)
Visiting the ports.
As much as I really loved being on the ocean, my favorite part of the cruise was getting a glimpse at a different place, and being in the water! My favorites were Labadee, Haiti and Cozumel, Mexico. But man, the stingrays were pretty spectacular as well. I plan to write more about them in another post.
this is the beach we visited in labadee in haiti
nachi cocum in cozumel was my mom's favorite
Watching the water, especially at sunset!
There were doors to an outside deck (deck 4), so after our early dinner every night we'd head out to watch the water. We'd usually catch, or just barely miss, sunset. That wasn't the only time I'd watch the water though. It was my favorite shipboard activity.
Making memories with my mom.
What do I even say about this part? That's my mom. I've known her my entire life, and she has always been one of my best friends, even after she ruined my life by having more babies (although just like every other time she knew best and they turned out to be some of my best friends). Sharing such adventures with her, and watching her laugh so much and have such a great time was priceless and my absolute favorite part!
Getting Dressed Up.
When I was first planning this cruise, getting dressed up was one of my biggest worries. Then I went shopping and suddenly it was something I was super excited about! I watched so many YouTube videos and read so many blog posts I knew I was ready, and I had plans to make my own What I Wore post or video (because every video I watched featured ladies who were younger and much smaller than me). But then we got busy and taking time for photos of my outfits didn't seem worth the time. Also I got sunburned on our first full day which definitely made me not so cute. We did get dressed up for the MDR every night though, and I liked the stuff I wore at other times too. I don't plan to eat in the MDR every night, and don't know if I'll always wear cute dresses the whole cruise in the future, but I sure had fun doing it this time. Both of these photos are from nights I had about 10 minutes to get ready because we barely made it back from our port in time!
The top decks in the dark.
Sometimes there was something going on, like the nights they showed Star Wars:The Force Awaken. Most nights I just sat in the quiet reading and/or listening to music. Under the amazing night sky in the middle of the ocean. This usually happened after my mom went to bed (around 9pm). I really loved it.
K.O. on the white boad.
I took a couple white boards for my brother's room and ours so we could leave notes for each other about stuff. We ended up getting the internet package so it wasn't actually necessary, but it was fun! A few strangers wrote notes randomly but the best was our mystery cruise friend K.O., who wrote notes and signed them every day. K.O. was on their second week of a back to back and having an amazing time. I loved getting to our door and seeing what they had to say that day! I will definitely take a white board on any cruise I take in the future.
My brother has the karaoke down. He's done it a hundred times, and did it almost every night of our cruise. I had never done it before and only did it our first night. I sang Sarah Smile, which is not a fun or crazy karaoke song, but it was simple and I've sang it 497million times. I would have loved to do it more, and especially to watch my brother every night, but it was late and my mom was waking me up early every morning. I hope I take another cruise sometime with other crazy people and try it a few more times.
That bed was amazing.
I had read a lot a people in forums miserable about how bad the new beds were and how they could barely sleep on them. I even heard one lady on the ship say they nap she got on a solarium chair was the best sleep she had gotten so far. I LOVED that bed! I will say we had a topper and maybe that made the difference, but I loved it. It was supportive, but definitely soft enough to feel like i was snuggling up. In addition to that their duvet was perfect, the pillows were squishy and the sheets were smooth and cool every night.
Thinking about my next cruise.
Danny and I had decided that if I liked the cruise, and thought he'd like it, I'd stop by the NextCruise office and make a reservation for us. I liked it and wanted to try it again, and I'm pretty sure Danny will really love it, so in the middle of the week I stopped in to make our reservation. I had not done enough homework, and listened to one source that I thought wouldn't steer me wrong, so I paid little attention to what cruise I was booking believing I could change it later. Well I could, but I'd loose the sweet deals I'd gotten. So Danny and I will be on the Oasis of the seas next March, sailing to Nassau, St Thomas and St Marten. I think I'd rather be visiting more ports, in warmer weather, and maybe on a smaller ship, but I'm certainly not going to complain. We have a balcony room. We also have a handicap accessible room (because Danny needs one) and dang! I had no idea that meant it was going to be so much bigger. But it is, so that will be a fun adventure and a whole different experience in itself. I made a list on this cruise of all the things I'd do differently on a next cruise (#1 was get a balcony!). Maybe I'll talk about them later. I'm super excited though, and already wondering what the countdown calendar is!