For Christmas this year, we decided to trade in the cold and snow for the tropics and set sail on a Carnival Cruise. (Itinerary coming in future post) Since we had a wide range of age groups traveling, we figured a cruise would meet everyone’s needs. Don’t get me wrong, we had a spectacular time–laughs, wonderful memories , quality time together, etc. However, upon reflecting if we’d cruise again during the holidays, or anytime for that matter, this is still left undecided.
For every pro for cruising during the holidays, there is a definite con, so overall our feedback results remain pretty neutral.
Pros and Cons:
- No Holiday Prep: (Who are you kidding?!)
While baking, cooking, wrapping and decorating were eliminated from most of our family’s to-do lists, we still had to shop, pack, hire pet sitters, book hotels, excursions, and shuttles. And Brooke, being only 14, really wanted a tree to decorate, so we still went all out with our decorations here at home. So now, besides unpacking and doing mountains of laundry from the trip, the fun of taking down all of the decorations still awaits. On a positive viewpoint, we got the best of both worlds–a winter and summer Christmas! It’s all in perception, right?
2. Something for everyone–but everyone wanted something a bit different
While the cruise had a plethora of activities every minute of the day, our family was pretty spread out. Everyone has different interests (teen club, contests, sunbathing, shows, water slides, spas–we really didn’t spend that much time together). Besides dinner every night and perhaps the after dinner evening show, we were off in all different directions. Again, perception determines if this is a pro or con.
3. Excursions–Don’t Blink
While it’s great to experience new places, having a limited time to explore is quite stressful. Getting off the boat is somewhat like a herd of cattle, and returning on to the ship on time is a race for the clock. Besides that, you really don’t get a sense of the country or island your visiting. Furthermore, for family members that choose to stay on the ship, you’re losing those days even being together.
4. The Food- Quantity, not quality
While there was certainly an abundance of food, we were disappointed with the cuisine. Most dinners were barely eatable. The descriptions of the meals sounded delightful on the menu, but the reality was a completely different story. Thank goodness for the magician who preformed at our table each night; we only wish he could have magically enhanced the flavor of our meals. If it weren’t for the endless ice cream and midnight pizza to tie us over until the next day, we would have all thought we were on a cleansing cruise. On our last cruise, seven years ago, the food was absolutely delicious. Perhaps it’s hit or miss depending on the ship.
5. A Sandy vs. A Snowy Christmas
Christmas without snow was just weird–Christmas Day we docked in Cozumel and headed to Paradise Beach–a public beach with so much to offer. (Blog to come) Even though it did not feel remotely like Christmas, there were so many activities to keep us occupied, we had a blast. From massages on the beach, to fun inflatables, kayaking, parasailing, and snorkeling, we had a wonderful day. And we all agreed the food was incredible–A Christmas miracle!
So to sum it up, would we cruise again during the holidays? Most likely, not. Do we regret this decision, absolutely not. It was fun family time, a unique experience, we had the opportunity to visit two new countries, (Blogs to come about Belize and Honduras), everyone was happy, and we achieved our ultimate goal–(Read our last blog about why we needed to break Christmas traditions this year).
What will we do next Christmas? Not exactly sure, but we have an entire year to decide. Who knows, maybe in time we will realize this was the perfect decision for our family and do it again. But for now, it’s time to dock that ship and set sail into 2018.
Wishing you all a blessed New Year!
Kristen and Brooke