Not Everyone Likes Cruises, But We Do

A year ago around this time, Misty, the kids, and I recreated our wedding and honeymoon by cruising the Caribbean again on Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas. One of the pictures from that journey, shown in the “We're Home!” entry, was sought by the Wall Street Journal this week for an article on cruising. I saw that article posted today. I'm a subscriber so I can read pretty much anything on the site, so I'm not sure if that article is visible to the general public.

I'm a little surprised that Stan Stesser didn't like cruising on Freedom as much as I did. For example,

But to me, the reality of a cruise is quite different. I'm turned off by the emphasis on casinos, liquor, vapid entertainment and the formal dinners where bathing suits in the hallways are suddenly replaced by tuxedos—literally all dressed up with nowhere to go.

I don't know about Stan, but we traveled with family. When you have kids with you, we don't focus on the emphasis on casinos, liquor, and vapid entertainment. The kids loved the ice shows, magic acts, and cruise activities. Heck, how much fun is it to do a Halloween Parade through the largest cruise ship in the world? As for being all dressed up with nowhere to go, I recall that I went to the midnight dessert buffet wearing a bathrobe still wet from the hot tubs under the stars on the upper deck. While they like you to dress up in the dining room it's not some oppressive disaster, it's a chance to get good pictures to remember the cruise by.

Stan did learn some things about cruise life on his tour though.

Can a curmudgeon like me survive a week cruising the Caribbean? The short answer is yes—by making some effort. It turned out the real fun came outside the ship, mostly because I took shore excursions that were more rewarding than shopping for T-shirts on the main street of a tourist-trap town. Thanks to some advance planning on my part, these four days of liberation, combined with some unexpected amenities on board, ended up saving the day.

While it's entirely true that you can get a lot of of excursions, I don't see why he didn't see the tremendous variety of things to do that I did with my family. In his article he complains about not being able to go into Haiti when he visited Labadee (where we sat on the shore, played in the water, and jet-skiied our hearts out), but he did go to the same Tulum Ruins we did and seemed to enjoy it. Still, calling the excursions “liberation” makes the ship seem oppressive, which is outside of my experience.

Another surprise was that Stan didn't like the food! In the main dining hall I never had anything I didn't like. Sure, the Windjammer buffet was a buffet, but in general cruising is a delightful experience leading to significant weight gain.

Still, I can understand how Stan's experience was different than ours. It seemed he traveled alone, in an inside cabin, whereas we traveled with family and friends and made sure we had a balcony.

Beyond our cabin we also had a chance to use Adventure Ocean (a floating classroom for the kids), the Wave Rider, and hundreds of other things we generally enjoyed. If you find something you don't like there's a lot of other things you can try. Stan found something I didn't in the deck chairs with reading lights, so I guess I didn't explore enough!

Stan's article is a good read, and covers his excursions far more than his ship. Go ahead and read his perspective, but keep in mind that Freedom was a heck of a lot bigger and more interesting for my family than it was for him.

Update: I didn't realize it before, but this entry was my 1000th blog posting.

Josh Poulson

Posted Saturday, Nov 3 2007 09:33 AM

Adjacent entries


« Anniversary
I-960 Passes! »



Cruising, Pictures


To track back to this entry, ping this URL:

There are no trackbacks on this entry.

Post a comment

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)



Affiliate advertising

Basecamp project management and collaboration

Backpack: Get Organized and Collaborate