Come sail away: Our 1st cruise

So one of my "40 before 40" items was to go on a cruise. But that wasn't really the reason we decided to go on a cruise for Spring Break.  The reason we went was for our little country-loving Castiél.  He wants to go to different countries, and at this point, a cruise is the easiest and cheapest way to accomplish that goal.  So we picked a cruise that went to two different countries: the Cayman Islands (technically the United Kingdom) and Cozumel, Mexico.

It was our first cruise, and we didn't know what to expect.  I was super anxious (not out of the ordinary), but there was really no reason for me to be.  Everything is taken care of from start to finish.  If you have some cash to tip the porters you don't even have to worry about your checked baggage once you get it out of your car.

We went on the Carnival Paradise, which wasn't a huge ship, but I was kind of glad about that - it wasn't hard to find places and get around.  There was only one ship band - but they were very good.  The nightly entertainment was so/so.  We much preferred listening to the live music.  We were able to dance - and so were the kids!  Castiél even danced with his imaginary friend Dauee (pronounced dow-ee).  Imagine our surprise to find her on the ship!  :)

Camila was too young for the kids activities on the ship, but Castiél loved Camp Carnival.  After we realized he could have dinner there, our formal dinners were much more relaxed!  :)  But his very favorite thing was to stop every single crew member and read their name tag to see where they were from.  Then he would talk to them about the capital of that country and what countries were around it.  It didn't take long for him to become known among the crew.  On the last day, the guest services manager came to our room and brought him a Carnival scrapbook!

Although she couldn't go to the kids activities, Camila still had a good time - her favorite thing was to look out the windows of the ship at the water - she just said "Water!" and "Bye bye water!" over and over!

This being our first cruise we don't have much to compare it to, but it seems to me that the Carnival cruise line is kind of like the Fremont Street of cruises - older, kind of cheesy, but a lot of fun!  I wouldn't mind going on another Carnival cruise, but I'd like to go on a larger ship, whether that is Carnival, Royal Caribbean, or another cruise line.

On our ship, I was kind of surprised that there wasn't really a "pool" - just a small area for the slide to go into.  We actually never even put our bathing suits on during the entire cruise.  My advice for others is to go onto the boat in your swimsuit and hit the pool that first day - on the other days it is much too crowded!!

Our excursions were a lot of fun - on Cayman Island we did the Turtle Farm, where we got to hold sea turtles.  (The only downer was this was where my phone got wet!)  In Cozumel we went to the ruins right there on the island, and we had a phenomenal tour guide!  We also learned that you need to have a lot of cash on hand on your excursions for tips, food, etc. as a lot of places didn't take credit cards.  On future cruises if there isn't a stop at the cruise ship's private island, we may do a beach day for a more relaxed excursion.

All in all, I'm not sure if we are "cruise people" but I'm willing to try it again!  I would love to go on a short cruise as just a couple - I'm pretty sure it would be a completely different experience!  :)


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