We chose Royal Caribbean based on friends' recommendations and were not disappointed. I dug out my old point-and-shoot camera from college to document our trip.
|First sighting of our cruise ship at the terminal|
Since this was my first cruise, I had no idea what to expect with check-in. Royal Caribbean did an excellent job of making the entire process smooth. We checked our bags with the porters outside the terminal and went through security. Since we were sailing to The Bahamas, we had to bring passports and go through customs. The entire process was very smooth, much like going through the airport.
On the ship, we used a card called a SeaPass for all security access and payment. The card made everything very efficient. Once we received our SeaPasses, we were able to board the ship. Our stateroom wasn't ready for another hour, so we lugged our carry-ons to the ninth deck for lunch.
|Top: waiting on the bridge to board! Bottom: we found a quiet place to watch the world go by|
|Leaving the channel and out to sea!|
Aboard the Ship
We talked with a lot of passengers on the ship who had cruised on other lines before. One of the best things they ALL had to say about Royal Caribbean is you can make the vacation whatever kind of experience you want. Whether you want to party all the time, relax or do something in between, you have the choice. Jared and I really found that to be true. We really enjoyed the wide variety of activities, including singing a duet of "Summer Nights" from Grease during karaoke and being featured as the newlywed couple (under five years) in the Love and Marriage game show. (Jared and I were minor celebrities aboard after that, haha! It was so embarrassing!).
Our four-day cruise was supposed to stop at Coco Cay, a private island owned by Royal Caribbean, on Tuesday and cruise to Nassau, The Bahamas, on Wednesday. Thursday was supposed to be our sea day on the way back to Port Canaveral. Due to extremely high winds, the ship couldn't anchor at Coco Cay on Tuesday. When the captain tells you this massive ship has been dragging its anchor all over the bottom of the ocean, you know those are some strong winds! So we skipped Coco Cay that day and sailed on for Nassau. Jared and I made the most of our time aboard!
|The Centrum, the social hub of the ship|
|Cupcake decorating class! I tried to decorate mine (far left) with an "M" and "J"...Jared made a Christmas tree!|
|Arrival in Nassau the night of Day 1...with a pina colada!|
The ultimate perk of cruising? Never having to worry where your next meal will come from. Jared and I enjoyed so much delicious food, especially at dinnertime. In fact, a favorite saying around the ship? "You'll walk on as a passenger and we'll roll you off as cargo". Fortunately, we walked off, but you get the idea...so much delicious food! At dinner, the portions were small, so you could try anything which struck your fancy.
|Loved all the towel animals! Jared and I were going through Henry withdrawals, so we called this guy "High Seas Henry"|
Nassau, The Bahamas
With our itinerary change, we arrived in Nassau a day earlier. Jared and I didn't go ashore until Wednesday. We did a glass bottom boat tour of the harbor outside Nassau and got to see some underwater life.
We did go to a local craft brewery and enjoyed a sampler, but after that, we were ready to head back to the ship!
Thursday morning, we swung back around and were able to anchor at Coco Cay. The wind was still pretty strong, but at least we got to go for beach day. Jared and I had booked a snorkeling adventure, which neither of us had ever done before, so we were excited to give it a try.
|Loved snorkeling! Jared and I both saw lots of fish. The waves were high, so it was a little rough, but well worth it|
|Perfect beach day|
Jared and I had an amazing vacation. The best part, of course, was having almost an entire week together with no responsibilities, no chores and no worries except what to pick for dinner that night. Sometimes, you just need a fabulous getaway. I definitely want to write another post of tips I picked up as a first-time cruiser and share a few funny memories!