We thought we’d put together a list of #cruisehack tips for fellow travelers under the age of 40, and also those that have never cruised before. Since most of the cruise passengers are 60+, there are not many survival guides written for the younger generation. This one is brought to you courtesy of Brendan and CJ. And just for the record and in case our advice below reads as snarky or unappreciative, we actually really enjoyed our cruising experience on Celebrity. Leave at least 2 days in advance if you have to fly to ensure that you don’t miss your cruise. Yes, it may mean you have to spend a couple extra days in a city like Fort Lauderdale which you may not care about, but it’s the cost of doing business. See our horror story for proof that this is important. Bring a water bottle, don’t buy the water beverage plan. It’s irritating to have to use separate glasses to fill your bottle, but it will save you $25/day for two people. Unless you are going to drink more than 7 drinks a day per person, don’t buy any beverage packages, in fact. Drinks are between $6-15 depending on….
The last two days were our final at sea days on the Celebrity Silhouette and very much reflected the routine described in our previous blog. We continued scheduling our evenings around the shows – a PG rated comedian who was hit or miss, and the finale “Life”, a music and dance mashup performed by the Celebrity cast and special performers. The aerial acrobatics and dancers once again stole the show, earning a standing ovation. Our days consisted of reading, laying out by the pool, and going to the gym. Our last two dinners were memorable, however – the penultimate night we tried Tuscan Grill, one of the specialty restaurants. At $45 per person, it was one of more expensive dining options on the ship, but it didn’t disappoint. For starters we had salads and a white flatbread (plus delicious regular bread). For mains, Brendan ordered a filet mignon and lobster linguine alfredo, and I ordered vegetarian gnocchi and a side of eggplant parmigiana. I again broke the waiter with a menu substitution – chicken parmigiana was one of the entrees, and I really just wanted eggplant ptarmigan, which was unfortunately listed as a “side” on the menu. This of course….
Our final port of call on our wonderful cruise was St. Kitts and Nevis, two islands, one country, birthplace of Alexander Hamilton, former British colonial influence. This was our earliest morning yet, compounded by the fact the ship changed the timing to leave even earlier. We noticed this happened to us a few times, and never in the favor of those who don’t enjoy morning activities. However, we decided not to cancel because we wanted to make the most of our final shore day. We did a quick and light room service breakfast, and then headed to the Silhouette theater for a 745AM meet up point and an 8AM tour departure. Completely circumventing the busier Basseterre, St. Kitts, the capital of the islands, we headed instead to the sleepy younger sister island, Nevis. The journey took about an hour on an open-air ferry, which fortunately was much more pleasant than our St. Bart’s indoor ferry. The water was also quite calm, and we got a great view of the long expanse of the undulating St. Kitts shoreline and hills. The ferry operators were very nice and tried to provide narration, but we couldn’t hear much over the noise of the….
We docked in Roseau, Dominica at 8AM, did rooms service breakfast, and were in the Silhouette Theater at 915AM to catch our 930AM tour. Debarking the ship, we were vectored to the end of the pier and on to the welcome area where a nice steel drum band was performing. We were divided into smaller groups, and were paired with a tour guide named Kamini, who we believe was part Kalinago (the original tribe on the island prior to the colonists). Pretty soon we were on our way around Dominica (pronounced DOM-in-eek-a). This was a bit of an adventure tour, with two main stops – first up was Titou Gorge, an icy waterfall flowing through a gorge that you must swim up to in order to witness; the second stop was a natural hot spring. The stops were just OK, but we really enjoyed driving around Dominica because of the natural beauty and emphasis on ecotourism. The infrastructure was still rough (bad roads, accommodations not yet catering to more upscale needs of hipsters etc.) however the natural beauty and the government investment in natural parks and trail systems in second to none in the Caribbean, making Dominica an island on….
Sunday was a great day for a sail/beach day since nothing was open in Barbados. We docked in Bridgetown, Barbados at 8AM, but there was an issue that Celebrity didn’t disclose, and we were only allowed out at 830AM. This was making it a little tight for us to meet our outside tour operator, Tiami, at 845AM, especially because there was an unanticipated 15 minute walk from the ship to the cruise port. Upon getting to the terminal, we saw no one waiting there for us. We started to ask around about Tiami, and where we might find them. Other tour operators were very helpful, but nobody was sure where we should go. We ran in to someone who previously worked for Tiami, and he went out of his way to call the Tiami office, where they said to look for a person named Kayann. We looked, to no avail. 845AM came and went, and pretty soon we decided to latch on to a recommendation to try walking all the way to the entry of the Bridgetown, Barbados cruise port where there was a security check point for vehicles, another 5 minutes away. Once on the other side of that….