On Tuesday night I returned from my first (ever) cruise experience. Celebrity Cruises invited me to experience a four night/five day cruise through Cartagena, Panama, and Costa Rica (docking in Cozumel) and it was truly a once in a lifetime experience. But if we are being honest, I was a little bit nervous leading up to the trip! I am always one to say yes to a new adventure (I live to travel) but my biggest concerns were that a) I would feel trapped on the boat and b) I would be seasick. I ended up having the most incredible time (neither of these things happened) and would 1,000% take another cruise. In the next week or two I will be sharing a full journal of my trip (so many photos to edit!) but in the meantime I wanted to tell you more about the cruise ship experience in general and why I enjoyed it so much.)
PS – While I have you, Celebrity is running a special offer (ends 12/27/16). If you are thinking about booking a cruise, now is the time to do it!
ONE // You won’t feel trapped. I swear. This was my #1 concern as so many people I chatted with (prior to my trip) expressed this concern. Note that none of them had ever actually taken a cruise! I liken the experience to staying at a beautiful, all-inclusive resort (the Celebrity Equinox is huge) with excursions in between. There are full days at sea in between docking at various ports but on those days at sea you can hang at the pool, go to the gym, visit the spa, the casino, etc. etc. On our one day at sea I was more than happy to spend my day at the pool after going on excursions to Costa Rica and Panama on the days before.
TWO // Unpack once; see ten countries (or see a lot). This is my favorite part. I love globe trotting. I do. But sometimes, when your goal is to see a lot in a short amount of time, it can be a little bit annoying to pack, unpack, repack, and so on and so forth. On my this summer’s trip to Northwest France I stayed in four different hotels over the course of five nights. It was really fun, but it was exhausting! I loved being able to put away all of my clothes, take out my beauty products, unpack my laptop and work stuff at my desk and really get comfortable in my room.
THREE // You (probably) won’t get sea sick. I say “probably” as everyone is different and I legally can’t claim that you won’t but if I didn’t get sick, you probably won’t either. I am extremely sensitive to motion (in cars + smaller boats like ferries). I can’t even read in the car and as someone who’s been really sick on the short ferry ride from Cape Cod to Nantucket, I was very concerned about this. The reality is that the boat is so big that there’s very little shifting. There were times where the waters would be a bit more rocky but I would just sit down and be totally fine. And at night the (very slight) rocking lulled me right to sleep!
FOUR // You can still be healthy. Cruises get a bad reputation for being unhealthy. It can be that way, but the Celebrity Equinox boasted a gym that is nicer than the one I go to at home, and there were lots of healthy eating options. I managed to sneak in a workout every day (running on the treadmill and lifting weights) but they also offer classes (yoga, Pilates, etc.) There is even a track around the top deck if you prefer not to run on the treadmill. And of course there is lots of unhealthy food (I personally recommend the gelato spot on Deck 5) but there is also loads of fresh fruit, produce, a great salad bar, and so on and so forth.
FIVE // It’s the perfect mix of adventure and leisure. I am someone who likes to get out and about and see as much as possible when I’m traveling, but I also love relaxation. This is all sort of “done” for you on a cruise. You plan your excursions ahead of time (I visited a monkey jungle island in Panama and the rainforest in Costa Rica), and then on the days that you are at sea, you can just enjoy the ship (and work on your tan if you choose). There’s a beautiful pool, several relaxation decks, a Canyon Ranch Spa… all perfect ways to unwind.
SIX // It doesn’t feel crowded. This is probably the part that shocked me the most. The ship holds 2,850 people but there is so much to do and see on the cruise that it never felt overly crowded. There was always a seat at whatever bar I went to, none of the restaurants were ever at full capacity, I never waited in line at the cafeteria, and I always managed a seat at the pool area. And this was on a fully booked cruise! The ship really is that big.
SEVEN // It’s like staying at a (traveling) world class resort that has everything you need. I mentioned this a little bit before but I was truly blown away by all of the amenities – the spa, amazing restaurants, the musical performances at night, the pool(s), the fitness center, etc. There is also quite a bit of shopping. I didn’t shop but they have several fantastic boutiques and there is even an Apple store!
EIGHT // The food. Yes, the food. This was a shocker to me as well but the food on our cruise was so good! Every morning I’d get an iced Americano at this cute little coffee shop… for lunch I’d have a big green salad from the cafeteria that I’d eat by the pool, and for each of our four nights on the cruise, we dined at an amazing restaurant. My favorite (by far) was at Murano. I actually felt as though we were on The Titanic… it was that fancy! We had what was one of the most delicious meals I’d had in ages (I’m still dreaming about dessert – a fluffy Grand Marnier soufflé!) complete with wine pairings. It was unreal.
Thank you to Celebrity Cruises for this amazing trip – and for making my first cruise such a memorable one!