For our five year anniversary, the boyfriend and I took our very first cruise together. It was also our first time visiting Florida, leaving from Fort Lauderdale, with stops in Key West and Nassau, and returning back to Fort Lauderdale after four nights. The ship we were on was the Celebrity Infinity, which is one of their older, smaller ships.
As a first time cruiser, the four nights was long enough to get a taste of cruising. We booked a veranda (balcony) room that had gorgeous views of the Caribbean Sea. We really enjoyed our time on the ship, but we’re not sure we’ll go back anytime soon. I’ve summarized my top pros and cons for anyone who is considering taking a cruise.
1. It’s a fantastic way to see the world from the comforts of a ship
We boarded the ship from Fort Lauderdale, stopped at Key West and Nassau, and came back to Fort Lauderdale. We’ve never been to any of those cities, so for us it was a great way to see all of the cities without being too exhausted. We love the Caribbean, all of our tropical vacations have been to this area because the waters are just so beautiful and turquoise. There are also so many islands in this area that makes it hard to visit all of them without breaking the bank. A cruise ship is a fantastic and easy way to jump on one vessel that will take you to all of these islands. The cruise company basically helps plan your vacations for you via their onshore excursions as well, so everything is easy in one straightforward package.
2. The food and service are amazing
Different from an all-inclusive resort where you might only get 3 non-buffet meals per week of stay, you can actually eat all of your meals at a 3-course, sit down, a la carte restaurant on a cruise (except for the lunches that are stopped at a port). We ate most of our meals in the main dining room, and the food was downright amazing. We basically ate like kings all 4.5 days we were on the ship. Each meal was a 3-course meal with appy, main, and dessert, and each dish was similar to what I’d get if I went to a semi high end restaurant. Some of the menu options included steak, prawns, lobster, scallops, lamb chops, jerk chicken, and more. Each night, half the menu changes with a new rotation of dishes to try. If you’re a purist, there are also menu items that stay the same every night. My boyfriend had steak 3 nights in a row.
The service is also some of the best I’ve ever had. Our server in the main restaurant took such good care of us. I love lobster, and he offered to bring me an extra lobster tail on the night they served lobster. Our drink server at the main restaurant remembered my drink orders every night and would offer to bring it for me the next night. Everything was just so attentive.
There is a lot of entertainment on the ship, and we went to a few shows and club nights. All of the people hosting these events were so lively and full of energy, and seemed to genuinely want people to have a good time.
3. It can be an inexpensive all-inclusive vacation
We love all-inclusive vacations to Mexico. We both work quite a bit so we love just relaxing and lounging and doing nothing when we’re on vacation. We figured cruising is another great way to do that. For a 4 night cruise, we paid around C$700, which is not bad when taking into consideration our room level (veranda, versus inside or just oceanview), and all of the food and amenities on board.
When we booked our cruise, Celebrity was doing a promotion where you can pick two out of four “perks,” to enjoy on board. The options were free pre-paid gratuities; drink and alcohol package; internet package; and $300 on board credit for the cabin. We picked the drink and alcohol package, which means all of our drinks on board were now free (normally they are not), and also the on board credit, which means we were able to book our excursions essentially for free. Even after booking our excursions, we still had money leftover in credits to pay for the gratuities, which means that those were “free” (to us) as well. The only thing we didn’t have was the internet, which is fine because we just unplugged for a few days which was a nice change.
1. The other cruisers aren’t always the most pleasant people
I’m not sure if its just because we left from Florida, but the other guests we encountered on the cruise were some of the most unpleasant people we’ve ever met on vacation. Don’t get me wrong, not everyone was unpleasant, some of them were extremely nice, but there were enough unpleasant encounters to put us off cruising forever.
Some examples of the people we met include people who made the server (who is from Indonesia and has an accent) repeat stuff over and over again because they kept saying they couldn’t understand him. We had the same server and we understood him just fine! Another woman tapped her room card on the counter when the service was slow, and kept sighing loudly. We were in line in front of her so imagine how we felt. The elevators were pretty busy on some nights, and when we were in the elevator one time, it kept stopping at different floors to let people out, and this one lady complained loudly that the elevator was servicing people other than her.
Like I mentioned earlier, the service on the cruise was for the most part very good, way better than the all-inclusive resorts we’ve been to, but the other guests’s entitled and rude attitude really are making us think twice about cruising again.
2. While you are on the water, you’re not close to a beach
One of the things we love doing is being on the beach. While you are on the water, the beach isn’t always super accessible. We thought we would have more opportunities to go to the beach, but we really only had one day where we were at the beach. There is a pool on the ship but it is very small and very busy, so we didn’t use that and mostly opted to sit on our private balcony. We missed being at the beach, and the one day we were able to swim in the beautiful waters of the Caribbean was such a wonderful experience.
I did have a generally positive experience. I would highly recommend splurging a little bit and getting the veranda room. There is nothing compared to waking up in the morning and having breakfast in your robe, sitting on your private balcony, and overlooking the blue waters. Room service is included in your base rate, and we definitely took advantage of this pretty much every morning.
I think next time if we were to do another cruise, we might try the pacific coast, leaving from LA to go down to Mexico. While we do love the Caribbean, at certain times of the year there are no direct flights from Vancouver to Florida, so the transit there was brutal.
We had a great time cruising with Celebrity, and I would definitely cruise with them again (if we do decide to do another one).