Thursday, January 05, 2012

Caribbean Cruise Part 4: On the Boat (and final thoughts on crusing)

On our cruise we had three full days at sea, and all of our nights were at sea except our Puerto Rico night.

During the days we spent our time working out, sunning, reading, swimming, playing games, and eating, eating, and more eating.

We also got massages one day and attended a few of the "Celebrity Life" events (cooking show, Bermuda Triangle lecture, etc.) The massage was good but WAY overpriced and the Celebrity Life events were generally mediocre at best.

We did enjoy some of the evening events like the Cirque show and the Christmas show.

I most enjoyed just relaxing during the days at sea. We had a lot of quality time as a family playing Upwords and Hearts together. We had a balcony room and I really liked sitting out the balcony reading and looking at the sea.

(obligatory shot of the daily "towel art" in the room).

I really enjoyed our nightly dinners at the special "Aqua Class" restaurant, Blu.

The food in Blu is supposed to be a little more healthy and gourmet than the regular dining room. I liked the food in Blu a lot, but I thought overall it was A-/B+ food (but that was way better than the buffet lunch food). I think it's really hard to have good food that appeals the masses and can be made in mass quantities, ya know? Maybe I'm a little bit of a food snob. :)

Blu was a gorgeous restaurant with great service. Loved this chandelier.

My parents and us brought a bunch of our favorite wines onto the ship and payed the corkage fees at Blu to drink them with dinner. We had some killer wines (Hope & Grace, Opus, Cakebread, Tantara, Beckman, and an Italian Brunello). Here we are with a bottle of one of our favorite wines, Beckman Estate Syrah.

Note: Email me if you want my cruise booze smuggling tips. :)

It's no secret that I love dressing up, so I really enjoyed the formal nights.

My Mom does too, because she bought The Mr. and my Dad matching tuxedo vests for the first formal night. So fun!

My little family on the second formal night.

The ship was decked out for Christmas. Loved all these lights!

And this gingerbread house was huge and amazing!

Actually the Celebrity Eclipse was a beautiful ship in general. It's brand new and state of the art. It has lots of cool art and great decor in the social spaces. I loved this giant turquoise flower.

Overall I liked cruising a lot, but not sure if I'd do it again soon. I think I'd rather just stay at beautiful resort on an island (like St. Kitt's for example). Here are my pros and cons of our cruise trip...

Pros: Easy vacation for a group with different interests, great way to see multiple places in a short amount of time, effortless traveling, limited planning needed for meals/activities, gorgeous ship, good excuse to dress up every night, more fun than a standard resort hotel, cool amenities like free room service and unlimited ice cream all the time.

Cons: Feels a little like mass-produced "luxury", food is often quantity over quality, night life was pretty much non-existent, on-board activities were hit-or-miss, felt constrained by ship's schedule so sometimes time in port sometimes felt rushed, and Celebrity was constantly trying to "upsell" you on beverage packages, extra events on board, specialty dining, future cruises, etc.

Have you cruised before? Do you agree with my pros and cons?


Jennifer said...

It looks like you have such a great family! Looks like you all have fun together!

I've never been on a cruise, but I'd like to go on one just to test it out. But I am a HUGE fan of all-inclusive resorts. My fav was in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.

Becky said...

I really love to cruise. The upsells can be annoying, but once you get past that, it's not too bad. We sailed Celebrity two years ago and thought they had good food, but I am not even close to a foodie.

Glad you enjoyed your trip!

Jess said...

From your recaps, it sounds like a great Christmas vacation with the family :)

I haven't been on Celebrity, but I've been on Carnival and Royal Caribbean. Despite the general idea that Carnival is "lower class", I *much* preferred that experience to the RC one. They really are "Fun Ships".... the activities are better, the staff is more energetic, and I felt less hassled by up-selling. The room was bigger and felt cleaner. The food (with the exception of dinner appetizers) was actually way better on Carnival, imo.

I definitely agree about the schedule restraints. You really are just getting a glimpse of each port. In theory, I like it, because I can sort of decide which areas I'd like to stay and which areas I'd rather not vacation for an extended period of time.

arsenalfamily said...

I have never been on a cruise before. I've thought about it BUT I think I would just gain weight! Ha, I'd rather just pick somewhere and go and slow down and relax. The balcony evening reads sound fabulous though!

Meghan said...

Sounds like you had a great time! These recaps have been fun to read. I have only been on a cruise once, but it was for a work contest so I had no real complaints. We are on a Carnival ship and I thought the food was surprisingly good. Even though I had fun, I probably would not cruise again and would prefer to go to Hawaii or something. For now, we are having for a trip to Europe.

Betty said...

The hubs and I always talk about wanting to do a cruise! Thanks for the pros and cons for us to consider! It still sounds like so much fun!!

Carrie {Living It Up in U.P.} said...

Sounds like an awesome trip overall! I'm glad you had such a nice time.

I've been on one cruise, a Princess Mexico cruise, and while I had a great time, I prefer going somewhere and staying for a few days and immersing myself in the city I'm visiting.

Have you read Tina Fey's Bossypants? She has a hilarious chapter about her honeymoon cruise.

My husband loved the cruises he went on growing up, so I think I have at least one more in my future.

Rachel @ My Happily Ever After said...

i think you're right on with your general cruising review...we went to europe on a cruise a while back and it was an amazing way to see a lot of different places, but it did feel a bit rushed. i'm glad you had fun! and i love the obligatory towel animal picture lol

{Louisiana.Bride} said...

I totally agree. I hated the upsell they constantly attempted.

Mrs.Olson said...

Looks so fun ! My husband has a fear of drowning and my aunt what on that cruise that cought fire years ago.

But it does look awesome !

How fun to dress up !!

B. Wilson said...

I agree. Only been on one cruise and I would likely never go on another (I'm more of a stranded-on-an-island girl) unless it were with a group or family. With that said, as our family begins to age, I can definitely see us going on cruises with them as you mentioned-- it's effortless and good for masses of people.

It's also fairly safe and infrequent exercise required for the parents/grandparents who aren't as interested in schlepping our way through Europe like we are. :)

Shoshanah said...

I'm not completely sure I'd love a cruise, but I still want to try one someday. I do go the feeling that a lot of cruise come off as cheesy. But I know there are some more upscale one. A few years ago my parents took the Queen Mary 2, which they love. The cruise actually went from NYC to London, so it didn't really have excursions, and was supposed to resembled more of an old-time cruise. They really enjoyed it, and I think that's the type of cruise I'd probably enjoy better, and you probably as well!

Lil' Woman said...

We're going on a cruise this summer, looking forward to it, thanks for the tips!

Chic Runner said...

Cake bread is my favorite wine of all time! :)

I liked when we went for a cruise but felt the same about the food and upsell. We had one AMAZING dinner but it was pretty expensive, since we chose to go to that special restaurant. Glad you had fun and you are looking great in all your pictures!

Crazy Shenanigans-JMO said...

I have never done a cruise but I will definitely email you for booze tips if I go on one!

thedatinghusband said...

My wife and I have thought about going on a cruise, but haven't gone yet. I think my wife would like the formal nights for sure. Thanks for the post, always good to hear someone else's experience before trying something yourself. Anyone have a favorite cruise destination?

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