Guest Author - Jim Fortune
My first cruise was an adventure. I had no idea what to expect, except what the travel agent told me; "You'll love it!" We were planning on something special for our twentieth wedding anniversary and we had always wanted to take a cruise. There you have it. That was as much research as we put into the event.
I have to say that when I took my first cruise, it was before the Internet. So other than reading the travel brochures and talking to the travel agent, I really didn't have a lot to go on. None of my family had been on a cruise and none of our friends had ever been, so we were on our own. We heard about our travel agent from a radio ad that played every morning when the alarm went off.
First we decided on a cruise line. I didn't realize it at the time, but this was a major decision we totally left to the travel agent. And then we looked at itineraries where the ships went and looked at our savings account and arrived with a plan in mind. We decided to take a cruise on the Western Caribbean. The itinerary was to start at Miami, spend a day at sea, visit Cozumel, Jamaica, Grand Cayman and Haiti, then spend another day at sea and go back to Miami.
Four countries in one week and we never had to pack and unpack four times. That alone was what attracted me to cruising. Get your stuff onboard, unpack, put everything away, relax and have fun. I have since been on 5 different cruises from short Bahaman cruises, to 7 day Barefoot Cruises, to a 12 night Mediterranean cruise.
Each time it was an adventure. And when you go these days you have the advantage of checking out the Internet for the good and the bad about cruising and cruise lines. We had taken three cruises all without having any Internet to check things out before we left. Luckily, we had the Internet for the 12 night Mediterranean cruise so we could check out where we were going and what there was to see for excursions.
One thing we heard about was the food. I really can't give this subject the attention it deserves in a paragraph or two, but let me tell you the food is terrific. And you can get whatever you want. On our first cruise we shared a table with an Israeli family; a husband, wife and two daughters. Every night the youngest daughter had the same thing for dinner; tuna fish sandwich, with a small leafy green salad, crackers and cheese. By the fourth night, the waiter stopped asking what she wanted. "You're having tuna with salad, crackers and cheese, like last night?" he asked. "Yes. Thank you.", the youngest daughter replied.
The people on board the ship added another dimension to the trip that was unexpected. We did not really know what to expect in the way of ship mates. I guess I thought all of the people going on the cruise were from the United States. Wrong. As I mentioned, we shared a table with a family from Israel. The two tables next to ours had 20 people from Germany. We went to a show the first night at sea and the stage had all of the country flags representing all of the different countries that people on board were from. I didn't count them all but there were a lot of flags. The ship's staff alone had over 20 flags.
Cruising is a great way to see an area of the globe, eat great food and meet interesting people from all over the world. Some of your friendships you make on board during your trip will last after you get back home after the vacation is over. This is a lot easier now with e-mail and the Internet. Look into this method of travel and you might become hooked.
Until next time, let me know what is on your mind, and how you are doing, O.K.?
Jim Fortune - the Bella Budget Travel Guy