IN SEACLUSION: Tips from a Savvy Cruiser, Part VI

Be sure to check out the next chapter of The Love Boat Bachelor:  Write Integrity: Chapter Six Port of Call: Bonaire

You swiped your Sail and Sign card and they let you through security. Remember that feeling when you first walk on board. It’s a keeper! You find your cabin and inspect everything—from

Carnival Funtimesthe Ship Newsletter lying on your bed, the pocket-sized map that will help you find your way, closets, in-room safe, and the bathroom. Be forewarned. It’s tiny, and the shower is even smaller. And yes, the shower curtain will try to become intimate with you! No worries. You’ll tame it.

So, what’s next?

LifeboatTip 1: There will be a mandatory safety drill. All ships have them. No, you can’t get out of it. Your Sail and Sign card will indicate your Muster Station. (That’s where your assigned lifeboat is located.) Don’t worry. Crew members are strategically located to show you where to go. Be patient, and take the stairs. The drill lasts only about 15 minutes.

Tip 2: Your luggage will be delivered to your cabin and left outside the door. I recommend you take the time to unpack completely because, honestly, once you’ve settled in—you’re home! Shove the suitcases under the bed or in the closet where the life vests are stored.

Tip 3: Go exploring. Use the map provided. Find your dining room. Find the theater. Find the casino, pools, bars, spa, gift shops, library, internet café, the kids camp (if you have kids), the Promenade deck where you can walk the length of the ship without detouring, the Information Desk, Shore Excursion Desk, elevators, and anything else that strikes your fancy.Deck Map

Tip 4: Read the daily Ship Newsletters. Your cabin steward will turn your bed down each night, Bedtimeand will leave the newsletter with the next day’s activities (along with the requisite square of chocolate!). Figure out what you want to do for the next day, where and when the activities take place.

Tip 5: There’s as much or as little to do on a ship as you want. The first few cruises my honey and I took we tried to see and do everything. If that’s you—go for it! We’ve settled down over the years, and now we tend to go into “seaclusion” while aboard. That’s the beauty of sailing. You can do or not do, as you wish.

Activities 1Tip 6: If you’re a sun worshiper, there are pools for just about everyone—a fun park that kids love, and adult (serenity area) where under 18s are not allowed, and just about anything in between. Hot tubs abound, as do lounge chairs. You can find a monstrous outdoor movie screen near the main pool area, where they show poolside movies during the day (kid-friendly movies) and night (more suited to adult tastes). There are bars and grills co-located, too.

Tip 7: For the fitness lovers, there’s usually a small gym with a few pieces of equipment, a walking track (you’ll have to make a lot of laps to build distance), and several sporting-type venues (basketball, shuffleboard, etc. Some offer ice skating or wall climbing – each ship offers something different.

Welcome to BarbadosTip 8: The Cruise Director will give a “talk” on what to expect at each port of call. If you are new to cruising or new to a particular port, I highly recommend you attend these sessions. He gives some really good information about the area, shopping, shore excursions, money, do’s and don’ts, etc. The more information you have, the better your experience.

Tip 9: Onboard activities never end. Games, contests, bingo, demonstrations, tastings, lessons, auctions, sales, trivia, karaoke, sing-a-longs, dancing, drinking, swimming, sunning, eating (more about that tomorrow), and other impromptu get-togethers. They even have a library where you can read, check out books and games, or just find a tiny slice of quiet. There’s an internet café where you can use their computers (for a price), get help from a techie, and/or buy internet minutes if you have your own device (for a price). There’s also a chapel. Short worship services are often offered on Sundays and holidays.

CasinoTip 10: For you gamblers, check out your in-room TV for information about the casino. Sometimes they run different lessons for Blackjack, poker, and other table games offered. Casinos will not open while the ship is in port, only once you set sail and pass the 3-mile maritime mark. In addition to the table games offered (complete with dealers), there are a large number of slot machines. You’ll know when you get the casino because of all the ding-ding-ding, whirring, bells, and yells. And smoke. Hard to miss the smoke.

No SmokingTip 11: Speaking of smoking … there is no smoking allowed in most of the common areas of the ship—dining rooms, eateries, the theater, promenade areas, bathrooms. Mostly, it’s okay outside, in a few of the bars, and in the casino. Since fire is a real concern for any ship, you’ll hear over and over: don’t flick cigarettes over the rail!

Bon Voyage!

P.S. Here’s a few more “Shore Excursions” from The Love Boat Bachelor:

Marji Laine’s blog:   E-mail to Roselle: From Bonaire

Fay Lamb’s: Interview with Bonaire Character, Sadie Graham: 


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