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To cruise or not to cruise

Fat Mum Slim /

If you’ve been reading this blog over the past few months you might know that I gave up a night with Oprah for a trip away. I bloody love Oprah almost as much as I love cake, so this was a big deal. Actually MORE than I love cake {either my love for cake is dwindling or my Oprah-adoration is strong}.

So I gave up Oprah. For a trip away. When I’d run into people they’d ask me where I was going, and that it must have been some amazing trip that I would give up Oprah for. I think they were thinking New York or Paris or the Maldives. But, I gave up Oprah for a cruise.

When I told people this, I got mixed responses… some people were like, “Really? A cruise? I’m not sure you’re making the right decision” and others were all, “Awesome! A cruise! Great decision!”

To be honest, my motivation was the kids. I knew they would love the cruise. I knew it in my bones. I also knew that there was no long, arduous plane ride to get to the location so they were going to be happy… and I was going to be thrilled that I wasn’t going to have to entertain them on that plane flight.

My other motivation was my Ma. At the grand old age {she’s young, I kid!} of 55, Ma had never been overseas… not even once. So I knew that the cruise was going to be great for her too. Time away for me, was just a side bonus.

Anyway, since returning I’ve had countless messages and emails from friends and readers asking about cruising. Most were along the lines of, “Was it really good? Would I actually like it?” So here’s my honest thoughts.

While I was cruising I was regularly thinking about who in my life {friends and family} would enjoy the cruise. I think I actually had it down to a fine art. There are people that suit cruising and those that just won’t. Like my younger sister and her family, they’d LOVE cruising. I reckon they’d be hooked after their first trip. My older sister, she would not like it. She would probably abort the mission at some point. It’s kinda like Bali {or any other popular holiday destination}, people love it or hate it.

I wasn’t sure I’d love it, personally. Ten days felt like it was going to be a long time in the one place, and I was worried I would get cabin-fever or just completely over it. I actually enjoyed it. Like, enjoyed it so much I cried that it was going to be over on the last night. I would do it again as a family trip. It’s not something I’d probably choose for just my husband and I, but that’s because I have dreams for us when we can travel as a solo duo.

For families, it was awesome. Lacey said it was her favourite trip that we’ve done. Lacey’s favourite thing is making friends and swimming, so she had that in spades with the trip.

So what did I love about it? I was really relaxed. I don’t know how long it’s been since I felt that sense of relaxation. The trip had two days out at sea, and then four days at ports {islands} and then another three days at sea for the journey home. I loved that the trip was book-ended with days of doing nothing much at all, and then the port days were jam-packed with adventures.

The ship had a kids club that could be used for kids over two. Lulu hasn’t been in daycare, and she didn’t cope well… and Lacey just wanted to hang with us. The idea of kids club was dreamy to me, but the truth is I was happy to spend time with my little people and for the 30 minutes they were in kids club I felt free and awesome for 17 of them and then the other 13 I started to miss them. I’m weird.

I loved that either way {with kids club, or without} there was so much to do for kids. Each day there’s a newsletter for everything that’s happening on the day, so you can plan the day. The musical shows were early enough for the kids to watch them, and short enough that they didn’t get bored. Lulu would tell you she liked the shows best. She also still talks about bingo too. Lacey loved the Hasbro Games show. They have things like Connect 4 which you play with a basketball and other cool interactive games.

The food was actually really beautiful, which always surprises me on cruises {how do they keep everything so fresh over the 10 days?}. We ate mostly in the restaurant, and they also had a sushi restaurant on board {it cost extra} that made the best miso soup and edamame that I’ve ever tasted. That was a treat for me, and my Japanese-loving kids.

And call me weird, but I loved that it was clean. I may make a creative-type mess, but I need things to be clean and sanitary. I’m weird about it. And the ship was clean. I didn’t have any germ-o-phobe moments. Yay for me. Again, weird.

The port days were really good, and I loved having those adventures to look forward to. The cruise is all about fun, and it really felt that way. The staff were so lovely and happy, and there was beautiful, magical moments throughout the trip – like when it snowed one night, and we sang carols in the atrium.

One of the best bits, was the beautiful friendships I made on the trip. I think it would be great to travel on a cruise with friends, because you could meet up for meals and adventures together. I went with a media group, and I loved meeting up with the other families for dinner and I’ve definitely made life-long friends with some of the people on our trip.

As with any trip, there were things I didn’t love. We had a balcony cabin which was great. I loved the natural light, and the extra space. Last cruise I had a porthole room, and I couldn’t have lived with that for 10 days happily, so I recommend upgrading if you can. We had a port-a-cot in our room which took up the living space, so the lack of room drove me a little bit nuts each day. It’s easily fixed with being tidy and putting things away, and if we didn’t have that cot {which we wouldn’t need for future trips, I’m sure!} we wouldn’t have that issue.

I know loads of people are worried about swells and the movement of the ship. The last cruise I went on had 10m swells, and we really felt it. Hubby got really sea sick. This ship was so much bigger and had more stabilisers and no swell that big, so it wasn’t an issue. I actually think Shane would have been fine, and I’m definitely dragging him on the next cruise we do. I loved sleeping to the slight movement of the ship, and when we were moving around during the day, you couldn’t even notice the moving.

So that’s it. I’m not mad that I gave up Oprah for the cruise. I’m not. I think I made the right decision for me, and my family.

Have you cruised? Got any tips to share?

Or if you have any questions about cruising, feel free to ask – cos I’m happy to give you honest answers in the comments below.

I traveled as a guest of Carnival Cruises {aboard the Carnival Spirit}. All thoughts are my own.