If you saw my last post, you know that I recently turned thirty. To celebrate, my boyfriend and I planned a wonderful Caribbean cruise getaway with one of my best girlfriends and her guy. And what perfect timing, with all this nasty winter weather we’ve been having here in the Midwest! We went back and forth on whether or not we wanted to do a cruise or just find a nice all-inclusive somewhere warm. I have gone on a couple cruises in the past and had a good time, but Shawn had never done it. In the end, we settled on an 8-day Eastern Caribbean cruise aboard the Carnival Magic. The only camera I had was my iPhone 8 plus, but here’s some of my favorite vacation shots and my thoughts on our trip to warm y’all up!
We arrived in Miami to a perfect blue-sky day, the complete opposite of the windy snowstorm we had left. It didn’t take long to figure out the lay of the land once we got on the boat… or to find ourselves a drink. Shawn and I chose not to purchase the all-inclusive drink package because it was an extra $800 for the week. More on that later, but how incredible was this view as we sailed away!?
The first day of our trip was a full day at sea. We spent most of it drinking fruity cocktails and lounging by the pool. It felt like our own little slice of heaven on earth! I would have to say that the best part of cruises is the food. There’s a variety of restaurants and buffets all over the ship, and we made it our mission to try as much as we could. This day at sea gave us ample opportunity to completely ruin all of our diets. For the most part, the food was pretty great. I think we all agree that the highlight of our trip was having dinner in the steakhouse.
Our first port was Amber Cove in the Dominican Republic. Here we decided to book a zip lining excursion, and we had a total blast! I had never been zip lining, and was a little nervous at first because heights aren’t my favorite, but once we got going, it was really fun. The excursion was about an hour drive from the port. This was a bit of a down-side because it really cut into the time we had there, but it was neat to drive through the country and really see the non-touristy parts. We almost missed our shuttle back to the boat, too, so that was exciting…
I think this was my favorite port. There wasn’t anything particularly unique about it, but it was absolutely beautiful. We grabbed a taxi and went to Magen’s Bay. I can definitely see why it’s been called the best beach in St. Thomas!
San Juan, Puerto Rico
Being a total history nerd, I was most excited to visit San Juan. We booked an “Eat, Drink, Walk” excursion here where we got a tour of Old San Juan, as well as the opportunity to try some of the local cuisine. Unfortunately by this day of our trip, I was feeling pretty sick. I had pretty bad indigestion the night before, and was developing a full blown cold. And to top it off, it down-poured while we were on our walking tour. But Puerto Rico was a pretty cool place and I’d love to go back and spend more time there.
This is the original wall that was built to protect the city when Puerto Rico was first settled back in the 1500s. I can barely even wrap my brain around that. Below is a closeup of the blue cobblestone streets, and Starbucks, because well… Starbucks. Ha!
Our last port was Grand Turk. We decided to not do any excursions this day, and instead spent the day on the beach and enjoying Margaritaville.
Our last day was another full day at sea. Overall, we all had a great time. It was wonderful to get away and enjoy the beautiful Caribbean weather with good friends. Shawn and I agree, though, that we aren’t itching to do another cruise any time soon, and here’s why:
We did get a little stir-crazy being stuck on the boat for that long. The cruises I have been on in the past weren’t quite as long and that may have made a difference. After a few days on the boat, you start to run out of new things to do. We spent a lot of time hanging out in bars and in the pool and at the casino because none of the shows really appealed to us. In general, I think the entertainment catered to an older crowd. If we go on another cruise, we would bring some of our own games or a deck of cards with us. One of the bars did have a couple games you could play.
Getting sick didn’t help matters. We learned that if we go on another cruise in the future, we need to bring an entire pharmacy with us. There wasn’t anywhere on the boat to purchase basic necessities, and there was a hefty fee if you needed anything from the ship’s “pharmacy.” Battling constant indigestion and a cold without meds wasn’t fun. We got lucky that we stopped in a US territory where there was a Walgreens and we could stock up on some things, but that might not always be the case.
Drinks are pretty expensive. Shawn and I decided against buying the drink package because we didn’t think we would make the most of it. At $12 per drink (including an automatic gratuity added to each one), though, it doesn’t take long to add up when going a la carte. However, we didn’t drink as much as we might of had we not been sick for the last half of the trip.
Cruise vertigo is real. When we got off the boat, we still had a weird sensation that we were moving.
So tell me, have you ever been on a cruise? What is your favorite vacation getaway destination?!