That is the question!
There are pros and cons, I’ll tell you! (More pics to follow thoughts!)
I was NOT looking forward to our cruise, other than having two weeks of Mr. Tattered to myself. But he was really excited to see the Panama Canal, and there really isn’t a better way to do it, so we went.
My biggest objection to cruising is the focus on food. Having such terrible issues with my weight, I HATE putting myself in the position to have so much available whenever the urge strikes. ESPECIALLY when it is so good. But, I was remarkably good. I didn’t deprive myself (see peanut butter pie post!) but I didn’t over do on the quantities.
We avoided the buffet as much as we could, and when we did go, I was pretty selective in my choices. Being a vegetarian helped because it’s a pretty meat intensive place, so my options were often limited. Even in the dining room where we were encouraged to try more than one dish in each course, I was good, often just taking a few bites of each, rarely cleaning my plate. My poor waiter was concerned they weren’t satisfying my needs. My outsides look like I rarely miss a meal, so I couldn’t blame him. Anyway, the point is, I wasn’t too bad, so the food issue can be dealt with.
My other main concern going in was “formal nights.” Mr Tattered wanted to go, I didn’t. But then he looks great in dress-up clothes. I look like a cow. Dressing up. BUT, at the last minute I was able to put together a few outfits I felt good about, and it was actually fun. I hadn’t worn high heels since I broke my ankle a couple of years ago, and I thought those days were over. But, I hadn’t disposed of them, so I tried on my favorites (ones I bought just a week before I broke my ankle and had NEVER worn) and I could walk in them! Slowly, carefully, but I could do it! YAY! So, objection number two resolved.
Then there were the plusses. We really don’t like living out of suitcases or packing and unpacking to go from place to place. That limits options. With cruising you pack once, unpack on the ship, then your room goes with you from location to location. I LOVED it. Plus, “on the water” is my happy place and we spent a lot of time there! There were eight sea days on this trip, so I spent a fair amount of time hanging over the rail looking for sea critters and generally enjoying the wind in my hair. We also walked around the deck every day, and even in the humidity, most days the wind made it comfortable. Even more time was spent on deck lounges reading away (thus the photo of toes with ocean in the background!) With an iced coffee close by. There are worse ways to spend days.
Our cabin steward was friendly and so very helpful. He brought me a bucket of ice every morning and evening, made the beds, brought fresh towels, anticipated our need for beach towels on shore days. Except that I had to dress myself, (thank goodness!) I felt a little like “Lady Mary.” Spoiled rotten!
But the best part is that sleeping onboard makes it possible to see places that normally we wouldn’t feel safe going. Take Columbia, for instance. The chances of EVER going there by plane and fending for ourselves were slim and none. This way, the cruise line vets the tour company, and if there is an indication there is unrest at the port stop, they change the itinerary. It isn’t perfect, but it adds a degree of safety that made us feel more comfortable.
This has opened up the potential for going places that I know we NEVER would have gone otherwise. Well, we’re actually in negotiations, but at least I’m not getting a flat out “NO!”
The minor issues are the focus on shopping, and paying for entertainment we aren’t interested in. So. Just because they are encouraging you to spend money hand over fist, doesn’t mean you need to do it. I bought a cute sun hat onboard. I had brought my REI ball cap for tours, but it looked kinda hokey on the ship, and the one I found was VERY reasonably priced and travel friendly. Good purchase. I ignored the gold and jewels and all the other stuff they try to tempt you with, even when they funneled us through the cruise-line-owned shops on shore. I bought a few souvenirs and gifts, but I tried to go with the locals, and spent very little.
And the entertainment? Well, we just did an attitude adjustment on that. We were paying for stuff we didn’t want or need, but so what? We had a great time. And, we heard that the comedian onboard was quite good, so we went to two of his shows and really enjoyed them. I can see a show or two in our future.
Hahaha! Our future! Yeah, I think we’ll be cruising again! Oh, yeah. I almost forgot, duh…we prebooked another yet-to-be-named one – guess we will! I’m thinking the 28 day cruise to Hawaii, Tahiti and Bora Bora. I know. I’m very spoiled. I know it, and I appreciate it. But, once again, it’s all a product of having lived frugally for the majority of our lives. I find myself very glad that we drove cars ’till they died, didn’t try to keep up with the Jones’, never wore designer clothes, and bought our bedroom furniture at a garage sale, then kept it for 20 years. This is the pay off (assuming we both stay healthy. If we don’t, I might be a little unhappy!)
So, how about a few more pics for the road? These will be the last for this trip!
Cemetery – Aruba
California Lighthouse – Aruba
Street Signs – Cartagena, Columbia
Me and Me. Tattered – Cartagena, Columbia
Travelers -Panama Canal
Lake Gatun – Panama
Another Ocean Sunset
Suspension Bridge – Costa Rica
Steps – Costa Rica
Blue Heron – Costa Rica
Ginger – Costa Rica
Old Capuchin – Costa Rica
And that will do it! Next trip, Lake Tahoe this summer. I’m sure my tattered lens will be out and going crazy again! Thanks again for sticking with me for all this!