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Posted by on Mar 24, 2011 in Bermuda, Travel | 0 comments

Cruisin and Boozin

Cruise season is almost upon us! While I have only been on one cruise, and am not boasting expertise, I am more than happy to share any tips I gained along the way and my trip last spring! Cruising can be a good idea if you are craving some island sun time, but don’t really have the funds for a resort vacation.

When my boyfriend expressed interest in cruising last May, of course I was down! If it will take me to somewhere new, I’m there! We chose Bermuda, because we did not want to fly to a port in Miami, and neither of us have ever been to Bermuda. Beware when looking to book cruise deals on websites like Travelocity, because most of those crazy I-can’t-believe-it deals are cruises leaving out of Miami, and they aren’t factoring in a plane ticket there, that is for sure!

Bermuda is the closest island to New Jersey, and there is actually a cruise port in NJ, Cape Liberty! We went for a four day cruise in May, and I only have great things to say about it! April/May is the low season for cruising to Bermuda, June-August is the High Season, which had it’s up and downs. The upside is, it was not noticeably crowded, however it definitely could have been warmer. We got a pretty good deal for cruising in the low season though, and four days was just the right amount of time to usher us in to our first cruise!

My boyfriend and I sailed on the Royal Caribbean, which we heard was the best. When we were docked in the port at Bermuda with all the other cruise ships, a man sailing on the Norwegian cruise line said that we on the Royal Caribbean were ‘living like Kings’! So I guess we made the right choice!

I thought the first few minutes on the ship were the most exciting. They open everything up because they know you just want to run around and explore! You can get a drink the moment that you step on the boat, and there are servers and Cruise workers waiting to greet you at every turn! The middle of the ship is gigantic and wide open, I never felt claustrophobic. On the ship there are bars, piano bars, champagne bars, a nightclub, sports bar,spa, an ice rink, and a casino! There is two different restaurants, a Johnny Rockets, and a huge ballroom for dinner. Everything is included on the boat except Johnny Rockets and alcohol.

Every night there is a big three course meal in the ballroom, and one of the nights is ‘Formal Night’. Ahead of time you select which time you would like to be seated in the ballroom, at 6pm or 8pm, we selected 8pm, because we didn’t want to be busy doing something fun during the day and have to leave early! At dinner in the ballroom, you are seated at a big table, and smaller groups of people are paired together, based on age and common interest. For example, we were paired with two other young couples who both lived in New York, and we all had a lot to talk about! Of course, if you aren’t comfortable with the ballroom formal dining, you can decline and eat at one of the many other restaurants on board!

There is so much to do on the boat! Our ship, the Explorer of the Seas, had a mini golf course, ping pong tables, two pools, six hot tubs, a rock wall, and much more!

Everyday, you are given an activity sheet, so if everything that the boat already offers isn’t enough, you can go to an organized event! Make sure you check these flyers out every morning and decide what you want to see, because it fills up surprisingly fast! Throughout your room the cruise workers leave your towels twisted up into different animal shapes, and just for fun we thought we would go see  a towel-folding demonstration, that we thought would be sparsely attended. We never even got close, it was so crowded! One night there is a big party on the top deck with a DJ and a buffet, another night is a 70s theme party and parade. There is so much to do if you want to be busy, and so many places to relax if you just want to hang out!

The true secret that we learned was the drink of the day! If you are there to have a little bit of fun, alcoholic drinks can get pricey. However, everyday there is a ‘drink of the day’ that is half off all day! We had Rum Swizzles, Mai Tais, and often the Drink of the Day was better than any other drink off the menu! Get your party on for cheap!

We only had one night on the ship that was slightly turbulent, but it didn’t bother me any! Our room had a balcony, and if you are ever feeling slightly nauseous the trick is to look at the Horizon, a fixed point. I am not sure that I could stay in a room that only had a port hole to look out in, but perhaps maybe some day!

Was it the MOST relaxing beach destination you could possibly go on? Maybe not. Once you reach the island, you are usually at a port, and have to stand in line to find public transportation get to the beach you want to see, it took us some time to get to Horseshoe Bay Beach by ferry, and the following day we tried the bus. However, if your looking for a slightly less pricey vacation this summer, and a short few days of fun, I really recommend it! One day I would love to get a bunch of my friends on the same ship to party for a few days, and certainly there are tons of things for families and children to do. A resort on an island may be more relaxing, but it might also be more expensive, plus the cost of the plane ticket, etc. To sail right out of your town, well that is just awesome!

A cruise to Bermuda is a viable option if your looking for a tropical vacation this summer that isn’t over the top expensive! I had a great time!

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