Update: I know I haven’t been posting regularly as of late, but I promise there is a good reason! If you follow my blog you know that I was living in South Korea for 2 years and was coming home for the summer. Well, I’ve been home for about a month now and that means that my traveling has unfortunately been put on the back burner in order to spend time with family. I have done a few short trips and I will write about those coming up, but I just wanted my readers to know that I will pick up steam soon enough. August is my tentative “leaving the USA again” timeframe, in which case you all can look out for posts from Europe!
Coming home cruise!
As I stated above, I am home! Well, home for me these days is where ever my backpack is, so I guess I mean I’m in my hometown of Clearwater Florida. My grandparents, who I missed the most over the past 2 years, surprised me with a free cruise to the Bahamas! I have only ever been on one cruise, and it was when I was 11 to the Bahamas. Even though I would have much rather chosen Mexico, I didn’t complain about having a free cruise. Everything was so last-minute, but we managed to book a 4 day cruise on the Carnival Liberty. Before I get started I’ll go ahead and warn my readers that this post will be long, as it’s journal style for all 4 days. ALSO I’ll tell you all who don’t feel like reading all of the following, that I would not recommend a Carnival cruise from my personal experience.
Warning- This is going to be a LONG post!
While I’m no stranger to traveling by water, I am not what you would consider a “luxury” traveler. Because my family doesn’t have money I always backpack and bum my way across countries. So that’s why I was super excited to see what it was like to travel on a huge cruise ship with everything included and not have to worry about where I was sleeping or where my next meal came from.
After driving 2 hours we arrived a Cape Canaveral. I am quite lucky that I live in Florida and have several ports to embark from, even though as I’ve mentioned earlier I never cruise anywhere. It’s good to know that in times like these I can book a last-minute cruise I have at least 4 to choose from. We drove up to the guys collecting the baggage, handed them our things and made our way up to this enormous vessel. It took us about 30 minutes to get through all the customs, and up all the ramps to the entrance of the ship. Had my grandfather not been using a walker, I think we would have had to wait at least an hour in those lines.
First thing on the agenda was to find our rooms. We were on the back-end of the ship just below the buffet, totally planned it that way. The room was pretty small with 2 single beds and towels made into stuffed animals.
The next order of business was to find some lunch before the ship left port. I left my grandparents and aunt below eating lunch and wandered around the ship. Since I was close to the top deck I decided to check out the pool first. I was surprised to see this huge water slide and about 300 blue chairs that would soon fill with people tanning and enjoying the sun. I then walked around to the front of the ship where the casino and night club is located. This is the only area of the ship where they are allowed to smoke inside. The small space filled with smoke was enough to deter me from coming back to the front of the ship again.
Overall the ships size seemed quite large from the outside, but after having walked around it, it’s as big as a small shopping mall.
I found my grandparents again and we spent the first day just relaxing and looking over the schedule to plan our few days at sea.
Today was the big day! The day we dock at Nassau, Bahamas for the day! I was up early and I tried to get the rest of my crew up as well. Since I’m primarily a solo traveler, I won’t lie and say it was easy to wait for my grandparents to do everything. IF it weren’t for no cell service on the ship, I could have probably gone and had more solo time to do what I want. But alas, we had to stick together at almost all times or fear losing each other on the ship. This meant we had to wait for my grandmother to get ready, EVERY DAMN TIME. My grandmother has OCD and takes about 1-2 hours to get ready and is ALWAYS late. No matter how hard I pushed, all she did was piss off my grandpa and aunt to no end. They both hoped that my grandmother would stay on the ship when we docked. Spoiler alert she didn’t.
Getting off the ship was a bit of a nightmare, everyone was all pushing to get off and out of the ship and my grandpa has trouble walking so it was even more difficult for us to get off. When we finally made it off, there were about 7 “photo zones” from Carnival where you would stop and pose for pictures with pirates, dancers, and other painted props. Ew. I am the kind of traveler that HATES tourist traps, which is what this ENTIRE area was! When we made it through the mess it opened to a small area where you could buy souvenirs and braid your hair. PEople yelling left and right for you to buy their goods or take their taxi. Again something I really freakin’ hate.
We dodged all the people and made our way o the exit gate. My warning senses were tingling like crazy and I felt like we were about to get thrown into the shark tank. Usually when I’m about to go somewhere that is considered “risky” I ALWAYS google safety tips and traveler tips on how to not get scammed or killed. Guess who slacked this trip and had no WiFi on the ship to do it last-minute? Me. So my anxiety kicked in hard freaking core. No one made a decision and had my grandpa been able to walk more, I would have suggested walking around the area. This wasn’t a good idea because, and I hate to say this, my grandparents are white and look like tourists. This means they can be easily scammed. I usually get lucky and have my ways to hustle in places like this, but I couldn’t this time. We were approached a skinny man who offered us a private tour in his van. Again everything in my body was like “no, don’t get into his creepy van!”, but my grandpa really could not continue walking.
The tour guide drove us around Nassau showing us all the beautiful beaches, the landmarks, and the residential areas all while laughing and talking about how life is in Bahamas. I found myself enjoying the tour very much, and the guide was very fun and knowledgeable.
Towards the end we started heading towards the “poor” areas and he started yelling about god and salvation and for the remainder of the tour I was paranoid and kept looking for an emergency exit plans. My head was filled with “what if he’s going to drop us off over here and expect us to find another way back?” or “what if he’s planning on dropping us off at a remote place where people will steal our things?” I didn’t feel that way until he started talking about “saving ourselves”. I kept asking about why we hadn’t arrived back at the port, as it seemed we kept going farther and farther away. No one else was worried, which again made me even more paranoid. If you all know the kind of shit that I’ve been through while in Europe and South America, you would understand why I was so scared. In the end, he did drop us off at the port, but he came from the back, which is why I didn’t realise we had gone in a circle. I was just happy to be back around familiarity and safety.
When we arrived my grandparents had to run to the bathroom, and neither of them made it in time. This is when guilt set in. They clearly only came out here for me, and spent 70$ for a tour just so I could see the city, and I was complaining at the end of it. I also felt guilty that they had aged so much while I was in Korea. I don’t know what I would do without them in my lives and it was a wake-up call that they are getting old. My wandering lifestyle isn’t perfect in many ways, and I’ve never been too close to family, but it’s something I’ll need to improve on in the future.
ANYWAY! Getting back to the ship….
My grandmother, with shit-stained pants from the accident in Nassau, went directly the casino. Gross, right? My grandmother has a bit of a gambling problem, and for most of the cruise she could be found there. We forgot to tell her that the Casino is closed during port, so she eventually joined us back in the room. Tonight was the captains dinner, which is always the highlight for my grandfather. He had bought clothes just for the occasion, and so did we, and we spent an hour getting cleaned up and beautiful for the evening. Even my grandmother was on time! I have to say that these dinners are also my favorite, mainly because I can get one of everything on the menu without feeling guilty.
After dinner, we went to the photo backdrops to take official cruise pictures to take home since we all looked so damn beautiful. Grandma went to the casino, and I waited patiently for a free glass of champagne from the night club. My observation about Cruise ships in general is that the demographic is mainly:
- Bachelorette parties
- Bachelor parties
- Old people
There really is no where for people like me to make new friends. The one time someone talked to me on my own, it was a man trying to invite me to his house in Georgia. No thanks. This made my experience even worse! I kept trying to remind myself that I was came on the cruise to be with my grandparents.
After getting my free drink, I went to the comedy show on my own and sat there laughing and having a drink while I waited for my grandpa and aunt to join me.
I ended my night up on the deck waiting for the “massive deck party” Aka drunk people doing the electric slide with Donkey, the MC.
Day 3, Day at Sea and Day 4 back home
After the long day I had yesterday, all I wanted to do was kick back and relax. I grabbed the schedule to plan my activities for our day at sea. But before I did any of those things, I wanted to hop in the pool. I put on my suit and went by the pool with my aunt and we chatted and people watched. A couple of young military guys swam close by me and my aunt saw them and left me in the pool with them, hoping I would try to make conversation with them. Nope, they were only interested in the blonde group of bachelorettes, so I went back to my recliner to tan a bit.
The rest of the day went by rather peacefully with Harry Potter trivia, Bingo, and more shows. Grandma gambled the day away and missed dinner, not a big shock there, and then I was left alone for the evening to do whatever I wanted. I wanted to sleep, I’d given up on meeting new people, and because it was my last night I just wanted to be back home. I woke up the next morning to a huge fight over the luggage, and created some dissonance between my aunt and me.
I can say that overall, I would rate the cruise ship and my experience a 6/10. The food on the ship wasn’t great, the shows were also mediocre, and the day at port made me feel like a “money machine”. I don’t think I would go on another cruise with Carnival, or another cruise at all unless it was the cruise to Alaska, which I’ve heard is the best.