So as I said yesterday, sweetheart and I just got back from a cruise. Since our last cruise was a complete bust due to storms, I was determined to put my feet into the waters of the Caribbean. We made sure we were stopping in 3 ports just to be sure we wouldn’t get rained out again! Before we left, sweetheart said that if I didn’t get to go get in the water, we were taking the next flight to any island with sun and sand. Thankfully we didn’t have to do that!
We drove from Louisiana to Tallahassee Florida where we had arranged to leave the beast. There was no sense hauling it down to Fort Lauderdale where the cruise port was. We stayed in a wonderful KOA right off of I-10 which also offered dry storage for the 10 days we were gone. Because it wasn’t busy we were also able to leave the beast in a site with power so the refrigerator stayed plugged in. Such a blessing that we didn’t have to try to figure out where to put all the food.
The next morning we drove to Fort Lauderdale where we stayed at the Courtyard Marriott Cruise hotel. They had a free shuttle to the port which was a great relief. We were able to leave our truck there for free because we stayed there before cruising. We actually went a day early and spent some wonderful time with sweetheart’s family watching the playoff game which the Patriots won, making almost everyone happy.
We were cruising on Royal Caribbean’s Allure Of The Seas. It is the largest cruise ship in the world….by 2 inches. The reason we chose a ship of this size was because yours truly gets sea sick. Not just a little queasy but pillow over the head, medicated up, and praying over the porcelain sick. What is bizarre about my new found seasickness is it didn’t start until I turned 40. One day I could water ski or enjoy boat rides and the next thing you know…a simple ferry ride had me hanging over the side.
Everyone assured us that this boat was so big, I would barely know I was on the water. They were right. There was only one night that I felt faintly queasy and that was when we were going across the gulf and it was a little stormy. A quick dose of their on board seasick pills (free) and I was right as rain. I don’t know what they use. It’s not Dramamine. Whatever it was….it works.
This ship was enormous. Truly I felt like we were cruising on a mall. We didn’t get to see the entire ship and it wasn’t for lack of trying. Pretty much every minute of every day there is something free to do. This ship had a Broadway musical (Chicago), an ice skating rink with nightly ice shows, an aqua theater with a diving show and water acrobats, 2 rock climbing walls, 2 surfing pools, a zip line, a comedy club, a jazz club, 2 dance clubs, a theater showing first run movies, a casino, 21 pools, over 20 places to eat, a spa, daily fitness classes, dance classes, yoga, a Cirque De Soleil type show, a central park down the middle with grass and trees, and a boardwalk complete with a merry go round, a build a bear type store and free hot dogs! It also has everything Dreamworks so there were daily parades and meet/greets.
To give you a sense about the size of the ship, the running track goes around the outside edge of one of the decks. If you run around it 2.4 times…..you have run a mile. And the running track doesn’t go all the way to the front of the ship!
I worried about it being too crowded but that was not the case. Because there was so much going on in so many different venues, we never had to wait to eat, shop or see a show. The food was amazing once we figured out the best places to go. They have several health food cafes and they even offer gluten free options. As per my post yesterday, they offer food 24/7 and that was our downfall. Latte’s and cookies before bed every night sure didn’t help our waistline.
I used to think that cruising was out of the price range for most people. But I have learned a few tricks from some pro cruisers. Two people can cruise for about 300 dollars each on many cruise lines if you don’t care what kind of room you stay in. Because Mark is claustrophobic and I have the whole seasick issue, we make the choice to save for a balcony room. But even then we have been able to find cruises for reasonable prices by cruising off season, watching the sales, and being smart about the shore excursions. While there are extra things on the ship you can spend money on, you don’t have to. Every meal is free and there is always free water, tea, lemonade, and coffee. And dessert. Lots and lots of free dessert. You don’t have to do the shore excursions that the ship sells. Many times you can find better prices by using www.shoretrips.com or using Trip Advisor.
I have to say it was heaven to have no internet, no phone, no facebook, and no technology for those 10 days. (You can buy internet time but the point was to get away from it, not spend our time using it) It was the perfect getaway for two exhausted people who just needed a time out. Over the next week I will share the places we visited along with some pictures and more travel tips.
Thanks for sharing the journey,