boats and hoes
( just had to throw that in there)
The wonderful world of cruises, where all you can eat means challenge accepted. Who doesn’t like sailing the high seas with hundreds of random people, ticking off 8 countries in 3 days. Sounds amazing right?
Up until this point, I had never been on a cruise longer than 3 days…my liver just could NOT handle it, and before, I wasn’t so obsessed with traveling as I was
drinking in exotic locations. Cruises never seemed like my go-to way of travel which is weird because, as a broke college student with little time off, you would think I’d be on one every week!
My first cruise ever was in college for Spring Break; pretty sure we went to the Bahamas but honestly, that weekend was a
I went on a couple after college, and alas, worked my way up to a 7 day Carnival Cruise. Now I say Carnival because all other cruises I went on were Royal Caribbean; had to switch that shit up, see what all the hype was about. Here’s the run down of my Carnival cruise.
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Day 1: Miami
We flew into Miami (one of my favorite cities in the US) and headed to the boat, somehow getting all of our secret stash of liquor on, let the birthday bash begin! After check in, my boyfriend, bless his heart, hates acting like a cheap adult and said we should opt in for the drink package! Is he DRUNK already? We just got all of our shit through…no drink package for me! He insisted we go look and this is what we found…
Carnival rule #1: Each adult assigned to the same state room MUST purchase the program.
UM EW. I didn’t want the package yet he did, but in order for him to get it I had to too? $50 per person/per day. What a rip off. I ended up giving in since I wasn’t footing the bill, but drawn out, the package cost more than the cruise itself! Whatever, the deed was done…time to party.
After meeting new friends, swimming in drinks and winning almost $200 our first night, we decided to save our luck so we could be well rested for the next day. (Ha, just kidding, it’s my birthday for Christ’s sake…we were out getting plastered and winning money until about 4 am) 🙂 duh. Thought I went soft on you for a minute huh?
Day 2: Half Moon Cay
Arrive: 9 am || Depart: 5pm
The next morning, we arrived in the clear blue waters of Half Moon Cay…a little tired but ready to have some fun! As soon as our feet touched the sand, we booked it to the nearest bar, Captain Morgan’s Bar shaped just like a beached pirate ship. Nothing special though, overpriced, weak drinks with a decent view.
We headed back down to the water for some relaxation, after all, I wanted this vacation to be an escape from all the bustle.
Ended up renting a float (about $10) for the day and hung out in the water. Playing with the GoPro, frolicking with the fish and getting a damn tan…my ass in November is whiter than a middle aged dad wearing jorts and New Balances. Since all other destinations seemed more adventurous, we decided not to book any excursions and save our money for the real fun shit.
After a long day of baking in the sun, Sina and I went upstairs to get ready for dinner. Since it was my birthday and my rules, I wanted to sit with other people instead of just us. I love talking (obviously) and LOVE LOVE LOVE meeting new people. Luckily, we got sat with the perfect older couple! Had the best time with them…so good in fact that we begged to sit with them for the rest of the trip!
Once again, we stayed out late, gathered up our first night’s crew and hit the casino…not as much luck but just as much fun. A little late night pizza and ice cream session rounded out the 2nd night.
Day 3: At Sea
Days like this are perfect for sleeping in and seeing everything the ship has to offer…did you know their are fun things to do BESIDES the casino? Yeah me either.
Sina scored us a spot by the pool, we lounged for most of the afternoon, laughing at all the kids acting crazy and that inevitable Belly Flop Competition by hairy men. Went down the water slide, back flipped into the salt water pool, played some mini golf on the top deck. Day was going great, and it only got better.
I’m not sure why but boats always bring out my gambler side even more than usual, but instead of trying my luck at the casino, I wanted to play BINGO! $20 a card, we each got 3…and sat in this big auditorium. By the 3rd and final round, guess who won???? 🙂 🙂 No not me, SINA! And guess what he blurted out for all the old people to hear??
BINGO MOTHER FUCKERS!!
ha, oh my it was hilarious. He won a gold “plated” bracelet and his cruise fame for being the guy who yelled a cuss word. After that we explored the shopping area, did some very heavy eating at multiple restaurants and enjoyed our off day.
Met up with those same people, but got a surprise…since the next day was my actual birthday, that meant celebration at 12 am! When we got to dinner, our beloved dinner table couple had bought me a really nice bottle of champagne and insisted we start celebrating!
After two bottles and many laughs later, we ditched the boring stuff and invited them to a piano bar. All of us, including our much older couple friends were HAMMERED. All I remember is trying to get on stage and help the guy play the piano, and then waking up the next morning in a bed full of gummy bears. The funniest part about it was the morning after when we went down to eat breakfast, everyone seemed to know us.
You were the girl last night who tried to play piano!? That was hilarious, said a group of friends. Then the photographer from dinner saw us and was like OH SHIT IT’S YOU TWO. He hurriedly took us up to the after dinner photos and we immediately started busting out laughing! I’m beating myself up right now that I didn’t just buy or snap a picture of it, but it was the older woman straddled over me, then Sina and her husband were bending over, spanking us.
Let’s just say that made the start of my birthday pretty awesome.
Day 4: Grand Turk
Arrive: 11 am || Depart: 5:30 pm
Birthday timeeeeee! I was so excited to get off the ship and explore since Grand Turk was always spoken highly of! Surprisingly enough, I wasn’t hungover (partially to the fact we drank another bottle of champagne at breakfast) but whose counting. I desperately wanted to rent scooters to drive around the island, it wasn’t that big and I HATE any guided tours.
We found a sketchy scooter rental place on the side of the road and paid only $50 for the whole day…off we go!
Once we started riding, I noticed that this place was not as beautiful as I hoped. Trash and debris everywhere…really run down houses and schools. Stray animals everywhere including dogs, and donkeys.
What we found out later was that Grand Turk had been hit by a category 3 hurricane just a few years prior and was struggling to recover. So sad to see a place so beautiful be torn down in a matter of days by Mother Nature herself. I always say, she can be a real bitch sometimes.
We drove to the East side of the island where we found a beautiful beach, too rocky to relax on but amazing to climb over.
After a couple hours of riding around, we headed back towards the boat where we sipped margaritas at a small bar and drank the day away. That night after dinner, I decided that we were going to see what else the ship had to offer. I planned the whole night, to go to a show, then to another late night show, and then to the club.
The show was cool, the late night comedy act wasn’t the funniest and the club ended up being a bunch of older people
grinding on each other. We went to bed fairly early (2 am was early at this point) so we could be ready for a day full of adventure.
Day 5: Puerto Rico
Arrive: 10 am || Depart: 8 pm
This was by far the best and longest day of the trip, perfect for some off the beaten path activities. Although we docked in San Juan, I researched beforehand and did NOT want to spend the day there. Too many tourists and no “activities” besides eating and shopping. I had read about the Rain forest, El Yunque, but it was an hour from the ship, I was determined to get us there.
I found a man who was giving small group tours, and jewed him down to $120 pp for a round trip ride and private tour to the rain forest. I requested that we go alone, but ended up allowing two other couples to join in. It was great because he stopped so we could get beer, and was very knowledgeable about everything we passed.
He lead us to the rain forest where we hiked up and swam in multiple waterfalls. Then he took us to Yokahu Observation Point which I highly recommend since the views are just amazing!!
A long adventurous day didn’t stop there. On the way back he stopped at this cemetery overlooking the ocean near Old San Juan. I had never seen such a thing! It was so beautiful though imagining that the people buried there have the serene sound of the ocean waves as they rest in peace.
Close by, the guide took us to these old military barracks, Ballaja Barracks, that seemed to dance in the night. Red and green lights shown over them as he explained the history.
(blurry but this was our group!)
As much as I didn’t want this day to end, we realized our dinner time was over on the ship so we hurriedly got some authentic Puerto Rican food from a restaurant and made our way back.
That night we wanted to take it easy so we tried to see more shows and games around the ship. Not sure why but everything that was playing or being played seemed to bore the shit out of us. That lead to us getting roped back into the black hole, better known as the casino and we gambled until we were all out of money.
Day 6: St. Thomas
Arrive: 8 am || Depart: 3:30 pm
Somehow we slept in way too long this morning. I guess all the drinking and partying was catching up to us. We don’t get off the boat until 11:30 so we made a game plan. Instead of trying to do too much since we didn’t have a lot of time, we would try to find a jet ski tour that took us around the island. Sucks because I would have loved to explore more, but vacation doesn’t always work out the way you want. We take a taxi to a nearby hotel that has jet ski rentals and from here we toured the whole island by water (about an hour 1/2). Definitely worth the money $150 pp because we both wanted our own jet ski.
We decide to head back and do a little shopping, I had been eyeing a item online, this beautiful black diamond Movado watch (during this time I was obsessed with watches). My wonderful boyfriend suggested we go look at some stuff in this watch store, and surprised me with THE MOVADO! It was a win win for him because he got major brownie points AND didn’t have to pay taxes! How sweet is he?
I couldn’t stop smiling as we entered the ship for the last time.
We changed for dinner and wanted to give the shows one last go around. The late night adult show mixed with some shots of vodka seemed to do the trick. Can you guess what possibly happened next? Yup, Casino. We couldn’t help it.
Day 7: At Sea
This was the day we realized how sick and tired we were of being on a cruise ship. That morning we hit some pretty strong waves that had the boat rocking and people swaying. I still felt drunk from the night before but not in a good way. At this point, we had exhausted all of our money AND THEN SOME, the weather started getting pretty shitty and hibernated in the room for most of the day. We didn’t want to play another round of bingo, it was too windy to do anything outside on the ship, so what else was there? Karaoke to 80’s songs in the dining hall? No thanks. Definitely no more casino, we almost had to pawn my new watch haha.
The complaining subsided, we went to one last dinner and then rushed to bed so we weren’t tempted to spend even more money. The boat was also rocking way more than before so we started feeling dizzy.
Day 8: Home
FINALLY!!! Back on land and ready to be the fuck off that ship. What crazy and long birthday vacation. I could not WAIT to be home.
What I want you to learn from this post is that, in my eyes, cruising to exotic locations just to check them off your list might sound like the most efficient way of travel, but you miss out on so many other amazing opportunities. Cruises MAKE you stop in tourist traps and only allow little time to explore. I would have loved to adventure around Puerto Rico and St. Thomas more, but time just was not on our side. (Yes, I was hungover too) but that’s besides the point. If you are looking for a short, relaxing weekend getaway, then a cruise is a wonderful idea! But if you are looking to see new places to the best of your ability, this might not be the best route. A 7 day cruise for me was just way to long. 4-5 MAX and I would have been happy. Everyone is surely entitled to their own opinion, just make sure before you book a cruise you take into consideration all the extras that come along with it. ALSO, understand why you are going on vacation in the first place; we wanted the most bang for our buck and ended up spending way more than we should have.
On Board Entertainment: 2.5
Shore Excursions: 3.0 ( Do research and make reservations beforehand so you don’t have to pay boat prices)
Service: 5.0 (Everyone on board gave the best customer service)
Overall Value (without drink package): 3.5 (With the drink package it would have been a 2 out of 5 considering it was upwards of $800 just for that, the cruise only cost around $500)
Total: 3.6 of 5
Carnival or Royal Caribbean? ROYAL CARIBBEAN FOR SURE. The boats were way newer, with much more entertainment, AND only one person has to get the drink package so you aren’t breaking the bank.
Have you been on a cruise before?? How was your experience? Pros and cons?
Lastly, I never planned on being a blogger a couple years ago, so my pictures are definitely not up to par like they should be! Don’t judge me! 😉
How Fun does that look? Puerto Rico photos are amazing! I have never been on a cruise and never thought that I would be interested but after reading you post, I could have my arm twisted! Of course I too, thinks my liver would hate me but oh well there are worse things 🙂
hahah, yes my liver did hate me after this trip. I would definitely go on one if you’ve never been! Opt for a balcony and only spend about 2-4 days rather than 7 like me!
Looks like it was a fun way to spend your birthday…up to a point anyway! I guess it’s the sort of thing that is so full on that you have to break away from it after a while, but casinos, boozing and excursions are all fun while they last! I’m not a cruise person, mostly because they steer you to tourist traps as you say – I like to try and get to see places without feeling as though I’ve only scratched the surface, where possible 🙂
My points exactly! I love drinking, partying and gambling but me and my wallet can only take so much torture haha. I think for a short 3 days would be okay, but even then you are only subjected to do what’s on the ship and at some our populated tourist trap of a port you stop at. I like digging deep into a city or country, not scratching the surface as you said.
Sounds like a great way to spend your birthday! I love spending the day in the warm sun and just taking island life in.
It was great! I wish I had my tan back 🙁
Oh my god, this is looks so much fun! I have never been on a cruise before, your post just makes me plan a holiday exactly like this.What better way to spend your birthday then jet-setting across exotic locations, sipping cocktails and enjoying to your heart’s content.
Miami, Puerto Rico and St Thomas… that’s just an amazing way to spend your birthday! Your photos are so genuine and you’re just enjoying it so much, it shows up! I miss the sun haha, and the island life, is kind of the best btw! I love to get lost in a place, and that’s why Idk if I’m a cruise person! I’m most a wanderer!
I feel the same way! I am totally a wanderer so cruises kind of restrict you from doing that. HOWEVER, I will say that all the places I visited were great and I might not have needed a whole day in Half Moon Cay OR in Grand Turk. I miss the sunny island life too! I guess sipping margaritas at home will have to suffice for now! 🙂
This sounds like a great 7 day experience. The cruise seems to hold the promise of a wonderful experience. Your review is frank and really gives a correct picture of what to expect from the cruise.
Thank you! Yes, it was quite the experience but definitely won’t be doing a 7 day one again anytime soon. It’s just not enough time in each place!
We have often wondered about cruises, but have always opted out for numerous reasons. At least you had one good of exploring, but for us, I fear that wouldn’t be enough. Interesting story for me though, to see a different perspective on traveling.
Its really only good for a weekend getaway. 7 days was just wayyyy too long!
Moon Cay and Puerto Rico is what appealed to me the most. Seems like you had a blast. Loved your pics and suggestion of an itinerary. Cheers
Yes I wish I had way more time in Puerto Rico!!! I was a blast but next time it will be shorter haha. Cheers!
Awesome Blog!! The birthday party was fun, and your picture looks like a princess.
Thanks so much!! I’d like to think of myself like a princess haha