July 7th, 2018, Travis and I boarded the Carnival Splendor Cruise Boat in Miami, FL. Back in July 2017 the planning for this trip began. Not on my part though. In fact, I had no clue about the trip until a few months ago. Travis wasn’t even going to tell me, but I got it out of him some how just shy of Thanksgiving. He did all the arrangements. From taking off work, getting his sister Tracy to travel from NC to stay with the boys, to arranging leaders at church to take over his shoes while away. He booked the flights, prepped all the extras that go with booking a cruise and so forth. I was proud of him. Travis has never planned a trip like this. So I imagine it was a lot to take on and organize for him. Especially with 4 boys coming into play and a job that requires him to be around often.
Thankful it all worked out though and we were able to get away by ourselves on our 1st real vacation like this since our honeymoon back in 2003. 15 years in the making… Prior to this trip we’ve honestly never been able to afford anything. So I do not post to show off in any way or brag about our trip… simply to share. Cause I know my mom for one would love to see photos & video. :)
Our cruise was 7 days. We left from Miami and made our way to Cozumel Mexico. From there we went to Belize, Honduras & the final stop was Grand Cayman. We spent 2.5 full days on sea. So all in all, a long trip.
We learned a lot on this trip about cruising. So I figured for those who may plan a cruise in the future, Id share a few things we learned with our trip. May as well keep with the theme of my last post and list 15 things, since this was our 15 year Anniversary Trip. :)
1. Don’t expect good Wifi. The Wifi is expensive… even just basic wifi, like creeping, slower than dial up… barely good enough to check facebook & impossible to make phone calls with using the “WhatsAPP” app. Texting with WhatsAPP did work though and I was glad to have that. It literally would take several minutes to post a single photo on instagram though. So slow.
2. Bring DVDS or download Netflix/Amazon videos/tv shows before leaving port. Once you go out of the USA, you cannot stream netflix or amazon, hulu, etc… Prior to boarding I downloaded 6 episodes of Land Girls on Netflix (I have enjoyed that show btw). Travis and I also bought the 3rd season of Poldark prior to leaving & just brought a laptop to watch it with. You have A LOT of downtime on the cruise & the selection of movies showing on the TV is slim to none. So preparing ahead some favorite shows/movies is def. worth doing.
3. Bring an extension cord with several outlets. SO glad people recommended we do this. Our room literally had 1 outlet. 1. Not even a 2nd in the bathroom. So you can imagine with devices, sound machine, blow dry, etc… that one outlet would have been frustrating to share.
4.Bring a sound machine. We use THIS ONE. Its great and while it is costly, we’ve had it for years and its 10x better than any other sound machine we’ve ever owned. At home we use box fans, but clearly a box fan wasnt fitting in our carry on. :) *I also brought ear plugs, but im a light sleeper.*
5. Bring your own pillow. While the pillows werent bad…. I am glad I brought my own. You always sleep better with your own pillow. Also if you have room bring a soft throw blanket too… your cabin wont have one and you’ll want one.
6. Pack less. We didnt wear half of what we brought. Less is more. Always. :)
7. Plan to take the excursions. Honestly, a cruise would be dull, if you didn’t. WE LOVED both excusions we took. We took one in Mexico to see the Mayan ruins. It also came with canoeing, cliff diving and an authentic Mexican Meal. Worth every penny. BOOKED THEM THROUGH THE CRUISE SHIP. We were told prior to book them through websites to save some money… but with possible bus breakdowns and things that could go wrong on excursions, the fear of the boat leaving us was not worth that saved money. YES THE BOAT WILL LEAVE YOU. In fact our cruise left 6 people in Belize…. who didn’t make it back on time. Crazy huh? However, if you book through the Carnival Cruise ship, they would not leave you if your excursion ran late. They are in constant contact with the tour guides through their excursions… so if your group is late, they will wait.
We also took the Snuba Diving Excursion in the Grand Cayman. That was probably my favorite. Very neat! Our Snuba Diver guy Alex was great. He had the best London Accent too. (maybe I’m the only one who just loves listening to Europeans talk.)
8. Take SODA & dont get the Bubble Plan. We aren’t huge Soda drinkers… but occasionally like a Soda. The Bubble Plan was like $65.00 for the week. Some may drink $65 worth of soda, we however do not. Instead we brought a 12 pack with us onto the boat (yes they’ll let you) and put the cans in our mini fridge. Lasted us all week. :)
9. If you don’t drink, gamble or dance, you may get bored. There was A LOT of this on the boat… a little to much IMO. We don’t drink (Althogh I love Sangria’s but I wasn’t paying $10 for one, I’m to frugal haha) and we most def. do not gamble… neither one of us likes to dance either, man we sound boring… Sooooooo yea. We had a lot of down time. I think the next cruise we take would have to be a more family friendly cruise and or a cruise with some good preaching & worship LOL! We clearly are not the norm. :) I love me some Bruno Mars but I grew tired of hearing his songs on repeat during the cruise. :)
10. You will get home sick if you have kids. One thing I realized while on this trip was how much of a home body I am. While I love seeing new places… Man did I miss home. I miss routine. I missed my boys… I missed just being a home maker. Weird as that may sound… I did miss that. So to help with that home sickness, if and when we take another trip, we will keep it shorter.
If you aren’t rolling in the dough, a 4 day cruise is long enough. TWO stops is plenty. We aren’t rolling in it so doing excursions on 4 different stops, financially wasn’t going to happen. So 2 stops for us would have been just fine.
11. Bring your own Toilet Paper. The toilet paper on the cruise is the cheapest known to man. Your butt will not be happy.
12. The Comedy Shows say PG but they should be rated PG-13 easily. While we loved the comedian Percy Cruz 2 on the boat. There was this one older comedian on there (I forget his name), he was awful. He used to much language and he picked on a 9 year old boy in the audience. He was trying to be funny but the mama bear in me was getting upset at how badly he was messing with this little boy. Not cool man, not cool. So if you take kids with you and plan to go to the comedy shows, be aware they do contain language and some times insensitive comedians. Percy Cruz though, you were funny. :)
13. Bring a reusable water bottle. You can use it while on the boat & off the boat.
14. DO NOT TAKE A TAXI. Download the Uber App on your phone. Worth using. A taxi drive from the airport to the port was $40!! We took the Taxi because we had to make a pit stop at a gas station on the way to grab something we forgot… I had no idea it cost that much… ugh… took Uber back when we got back off the cruise. $12.95. Same distance. UBER all the way. Our Uber Driver was much nicer and more helpful unloading as well. Cleaner car too.
15. Try to get a state room towards the FRONT of the boat, not the back. The back of the boat is louder when coming into ports. The front is much more quiet. So we hear. We were in the back and boy, coming into port would without a doubt wake us up… :-\ The good thing was, we could always ap later.
Thats about it. Some may find that helpful, hopefully.
All in all, great experience. Thankful to have been able to go… and for the memories we got to make.
I did video using a GoPro our Snuba Diving experience… it is a bit choppy… and I am far from a videographer… plus this GoPro was really old and had no screen… so you basically BLIND SHOT the entire video… but figured some may enjoy seeing what it was like.
THIS is the SHORT version btw. For those who want to follow my on youtube, I’ll upload the LONG full version later on this week. (It literally will be 20 minutes long haha… )
A few more photos can be seen HERE on my Flickr. *I didn’t take a ton sadly, didn’t want to worry with carrying a lot of camera gear, so I left my professional camera at home…*
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