Hey y’all, so if you didn’t know I turned 31 on October 15th. Last year for my birthday, I had a champagne dinner party, karaoke, and an after party game night . This year I didn’t want to do the whole party thing, instead I just wanted to do something I’d never experienced before.
So.. Bear and I went on a cruise. That’s right! I’ve never been on a cruise before. Mind you my kid has been on about five or six cruises during his nine years of life, SMH. Plus, he went on a cruise the weekend before my scheduled cruise! This guy is just out here experiencing his best life….without me LOL.
Anyways, it seemed only right to celebrate the completion of the FIRST year of my 30’s, with my FIRST cruise. Everyone I know, who has been on a cruise – kept telling me how much fun I would have. I just didn’t think I would have THIS much fun.
Just in case, there is anyone else out there who hasn’t been on a cruise or just didn’t have the best experience the first time around – I’m here to share with you some of the things that just really made this a memorable cruise experience for me.
I didn’t know what to expect, so I did some research on the different cruise lines and what they had to offer. I ended up booking with Royal Caribbean International on the Enchantment of the Seas. I highly recommend them, I literally don’t have one bad thing to say about Royal Caribbean.
First Time Cruisers
I wanted to do a 4-day cruise because I didn’t know how I would react to be on the water for the first time. I’m glad I followed my first instincts because I did experience some dizziness and light headedness due to the ship motion. However, it was only when I was sitting down on the cruise – as long as I was moving around, I was fine. Dramamine is recommended for motion sickness, or you can try to stick it out like I did.
The Booking Experience.
Simple and to the point – and super convenient. There was a minimum deposit (typically ranging from $200-500 depending on when you book) to book the overall trip, then I had the option to make payments or pay the full remaining balance by a certain date.
- Dining Package – unlimited dining in the main dining room, or you can stick to the complimentary dining options.
- Beverage Package – highly recommended, the cost of drinks will definitely add up. They have different package options – we opt’d for the Ultimate Beverage Package – which included cocktails, wine, coffee, and soft drinks.
- Activities/Excursions – activities and other add-ons depend on which cruise you book. We pretty much had something to do almost everyday of the cruise. Whether it was complimentary or something we added. If you want to go on an excursion, I recommend waiting until you get to your destination for the best deals, instead of booking through the cruise line. (ex. Excursion via Royal Caribbean online booking our excursion would have been $300+ dollars. Our excursion via Royal Caribbean onboard booking was $150. Had we gone through the excursion company directly on the island, is would have cost about $80-90) I’m often skeptical about booking things through 3rd parties (I don’t Uber Eats, Post Mates, etc) However, in this instance the cruise line is the 3rd party, so now I know to just book through the local attraction companies directly for the best deals.
The Customer Service
You guys!!! hands down best customer service ever! Everyone was so hands on, and WILLING to help with whatever we needed, to accommodate us and make us feel so comfortable. Whenever we needed something changed or updated, Royal Caribbean staff took care of it with no questions asked.
From the welcoming committee when we first boarded, to our room attendant (Warren) who ALWAYS called us my our name and spoke to us EVERY time he saw us. Warren even folded different towel art every time he cleaned our room. It was the sweetest and funniest thing to see every time we walked in the room. Did I mention they clean the rooms twice a day – TWICE A DAY! So freakin refreshing.
On To The Fun Stuff…
Day One – Boarding Day
We boarded the ship around noon, walked around for a bit, had a welcome aboard cocktail – then went to our suite. (I highly recommend getting a room with a balcony – so you don’t feel so closed in on the ship)
After we settled in our suite and took a quick nap, it was time to start the evening. We grabbed a bite to eat then got ready to hit the scene. Who knew there were clubs on board?!
Day Two – MY BIRTHDAY
Officially 31!! I had nothing planned for this day but to relax all day then have dinner with Bear. Apparently, the second night of most cruises is the “formal night” or “captains dinner” – so my dramatic birthday outfit was perfect for the occasion.
We had dinner at Chops Grill, which is the fine dining restaurant on the ship.
Day Three – Cozumel
This is the day we get off the ship to explore the island of Cozumel. Some people stayed onboard, others indulged in shopping and/or relaxing on the beaches of Cozumel. Then, there are the excursions – i.e. the excitement.
We opted for an excursion – and had a freakin’ blast! We rode ATVs through the jungle, over muddy terrains to Jade Cavern. Which is this beautiful cenote covered in tropical greenery and stalactites housing over 100 bats. It was such an amazing thing to see, photos literally do it no justice.
After our adventurous excursion, we explored the local shops and spoke with a few of the natives. Followed by lunch at Al Chile Mexican Kitchen. The waiter literally met us in the street to seat us as diners – we were so intrigued by his zeal that we just went along with it. That same gusto, landed us with a massive $52 Mango Margarita. SMH Nonetheless, it was definitely worth it – the food and the people were equally enjoyable.
We shopped around for a bit after lunch, then headed back. To avoid the crazy crowd returning to the ship, we made sure we boarded a few hours before the re-boarding time. Plus, we had to get ready for the “Chefs Table” Dinner we booked.
cont’d Day Three – Chef’s Table
This was the best dinner hands down. A six course dinner paired with wine accompanied by great people. The food alone was just amazing from start to finish, cudos to Chef Imah for her mix wonderful flavors and entertaining personality. And thank you to everyone we met during the chef’s table dinner for participating in my birthday celebration with us.
Course one was a scallop carpaccio that was to die for completed with a decadent chocolate dessert paired with a salted caramel espresso martini. Sooo good!! I can’t even explain how good this food actually was – and to top it all off our sommelier, Johvin, (not sure if I spelled is name correctly) was on point with EVERY. SINGLE. GLASS. of wine he paired with each course.
They were a great team and both soooo eager to share their knowledge with everyone at the table.
Day Four – Sushi Making Class + Alvin Williams Jr. Comedy Show
Last day of the cruise. We had a pretty busy day with all that was planned on our calendar. We woke up for breakfast, hung out for a bit, then headed to a Sushi Making Class just in time for lunch. The Sushi Making Class was fun, I had only made sushi once (which was back in culinary school). So I was happy to have a fun cooking date with Bear while on our cruise – especially if that meant introducing him to something different.
After the sushi class, a quick nap, and some prayer time. We went on a private tour of the ships kitchen to see the behind the scenes and meet some of the other chefs on board. Y’ALL KNOW I WAS GEEKED RIGHT?! I was so in awe of the massiveness of that kitchen, I didn’t want to leave. But most good things have to come to an end, I guess.
Shortly, we had to pack up our bags and get ready for our departure in the morning. *insert sad face* We then enjoyed a delicious steak dinner, in the Main Dining Room, before heading to the Orpheum Theater to see Alvin Williams Jr for a hilarious comedy show.
Day Five – Back home!
Oh what fun we had! By the time we woke up, we were back in Galveston. We made our way down for breakfast, chilled out for a bit, then rejoined reality.
Overall, I had a blast. The convenience of a cruise is everything I look for in a traveling. Don’t get me wrong I love flying, however when it comes to flying somewhere, booking a hotel, then having to find stuff to do – I typically end up just eating and staying in the hotel. I lose patience in trying to “find stuff to do” in other cities. If it isn’t already planned – most likely I won’t end up doing it. When is comes to cruising, travel + room are already included. You don;t have to worry about finding stuff to do – because it’s literally all mapped out for you and so easy to add to your itinerary, that making plans is effortless. I’m sure as Bear and I begin to travel more, we won’t be able to cruise everywhere – but as of now, its definitely our preferred way of travel.
Hope you enjoy the tips and experiences.
Happy Birthday to me!