Of all the luck! As I was making preparations to commandeer the ship and take to the high seas as a pirate last night, I learned that the Dawn Princess is going into dry-dock for several weeks once we reach port. Apparently, she's needing to have some work done. There goes my big plans for a career change.
Today was supposed to be a stop at Princess Cays, an exclusive resort island owned by the cruise line. Unfortunately, the island was destroyed by the hurricanes, so it's going to be another day at sea. It's really too bad, because a last port-of-call before the cruise ends would have been pretty sweet. As it is now, I'm definitely ready to get off the ship.
Anyway, I have no idea if other cruise lines are as spectacular as Princess, but here's my pros and cons of cruising after taking this first trip:
- PRO: The crew onboard is dedicated to making your vacation a complete success, and work very hard to make sure everything is perfect. Everybody here is exceedingly nice, friendly, and helpful... everybody.
- CON: The crew at the embarkation dock was disorganized, rude, and very nearly ruined my vacation before it even began. What a shame that my very first impression of cruising had to be these @ss#oles.
- PRO: The food is amazing and you'll never get bored with the variety of cuisine you have available.
- CON: The food is so amazing that gaining ten pounds over the ten days is all too easy.
- PRO: Cruising is surprisingly economical because it's inclusive. After you pay for your ticket, the only mandatory charge is a $10 per day gratuity fee per person (and it is well earned, trust me). Any excursions, souvenirs, or beverages are extra, but it's all optional.
- CON: Since all optional charges are cashless (i.e., they are billed to your room), you can quickly lose track of how much money you are spending if you're not careful.
- PRO: This is hands-down the best way I've found to get away from it all, and one of the most relaxing vacations I've ever taken. The "real world" seems a million miles away.
- CON: The real world actually IS a million miles away because Internet access is very poor and prohibitively expensive. In this day and age, this has really got to change.
- PRO: Cruising is an easy way to hit a lot of different interesting places without all that mucking about in airports and security lines. Getting on and off the ship at each port is quick and easy.
- CON: Unfortunately, your itinerary will probably change. I had two ports canceled, which sucks ass... but it's a hurricane, so what can you do? Also, it sure would be nice to get at least 8 hours per port minimum. Anything less is barely worth it. Jamaica is a complete blur, as I don't think we got more than 4 hours ashore.
So, now that it's over, would I cruise again? Absolutely. And I would definitely recommend Princess Cruise Lines which was exceptional in all respects (except getting on the ship). Next time it will probably be a cruise to Alaska for me, because Princess seems to have some amazing excursions there.