- 3 years ago
- Wedding: January 2014
Oh boy, I think the last time I checked the Weddingbee was a month ago.
I needed some break from wedding related stuff, because for days and days and weeks and weeks, I was stressing out soooo much thinking about “I should’ve done this” or “I could’ve done that” or “why the heck did/didn’t I do that”. I never knew I would care so much about tiny tiny details, because I always like to focus on the big picture – but wow, did I find a new anal+perfectionist side to myself.
Anyways, I know many Bees requested that I write a honeymoon cruise review since they will be going on one themselves – so here it is. I hope I’m not too late.
DH and I went on the 10-day Carnival Splendor Bahamas trip leaving from NYC the day after our wedding.
Note: It’s a bad idea to leave the day after.
Being very organized and well-prepared people we are, DH and I thought we could pull it off – but it was waaaay too stressful and tiring. We were packing the night before the wedding and packing the night after. It was extremely stressful and tiring. If you can, please give yourself at least a day or two….
Getting to NYC wasn’t too difficult for us. We took the train to the Grand Central station (~45 mins/$10 per person) and then took a cab from there to the port (~15 mins/$17 with tip).
We went to the port around 1:30PM, though technically they said the boarding starts around 4PM. Quite honestly, get there early so you can be in the front of the line – they start boarding waaay sooner. You drop off your big luggages outside (make sure to put the provided Carnival luggage tags on them) and get on line with your carry-on’s.
Boarding process was nice and short – the line moved quite quickly. They make you take a picture in front of a wall-drop before you board the ship. (Note: They take LOTS and LOTS of photos throughout the trip. Be prepared to be a model every now and then out of nowhere.)
My first impression of the ship was that it’s:
3. Did I mention, huge?
We took the stairs to go to our 7th floor (Empress level I believe) back balcony suite. (Note: Don’t bother taking the elevators on the first day unless you really have to. You’ll wait in front of it forever.) We dropped off our carry-on’s and went straight to the Lido deck dinning area. (Note: Go to the second floor of the dinning area on the first day. Main floor will be extremly crowded! Second floor also has a small island of buffet that you can enjoy. You’ll have plenty of chances to try the main buffet area throughout the trip.) Oh, and after you are done with your food, you just leave your dirty dishes and utensils and whatnots on the table and walk away. We didn’t know this, so we actually asked a staff member. Haha (n00bs we were). After feeding ourselves (food was delicious), we went outside on the deck to see us sail away from NYC. And then we walked around the entire ship for hours, just exploring. (Note: You don’t need to do this. DH wanted to, so I followed around, but omg I was tired. Haha. You’ll explore the ship plenty during your crusing days.) Then we returned to our room to relax a bit before dinner.
Every night, your steward will leave you a pamphlet of the next day’s schedule on your bed. It will be filled with informtion regarding all the events that will happen the next day on the ship, from bingo to comedy show. (Note: Do bringa highlighter. We thought this advice was stupid until we found ourselves highlighting the pamphlet every night.)
As for dinner dining, you have the choice of going to any of the independent buffet dining (e.g. Lido Deck) or going to your designated dining hall (e.g. Golden Pearl). It’s really upto you, at your convenience – if you want to eat in your room while watching TV, by all means, go get yourself food from the buffet and take everything to your room. (Note: You leave your dirty dishes outside your door in the hallway, and staffs will take them away for you. Oh, and the room service is 24hrs.)
DH and I personally enjoyed the dining hall experience, so we went to the Golden Pearl every night except for maybe one night. You are served by three designated staff members every night (head waiter, waiter, assistant) and you’ll be amazed at how quickly they pick up your names. Ever since the first night, we were greeted by the three staff members by our names without fail.
When you are at the dining hall, do expect the service to be slow. We on average spent 1.5hrs at the dining hall every night. But you can order multiple dishes (we didn’t know this till later on), and it was nice to be served instead of us trying to grab food off of buffet table.
Note: Be sure to check out their special menu of the day. They serve one unusual dish per night – and if you are adventurous, try them! DH tried frog legs and a gentleman next to us tried croccodile meat. They both enjoyed their dishes quite a lot.
Anyways, there’s always endless amount of food everywhere. DH and I definitely miss the 24hr ice cream machine most of all. *sigh*
As for the excursions, DH and I booked oen excursion per stop through Carnival.
Note: Unless you are absolutely in dire need for a specific excursion, do book through Carnival even if it’s a bit pricier.
One of our excursions at Bahamas was running extremely late – but the ship waited for us because it was through Carnival and they couldn’t leave 30 or so people behind at Freeport. But we did hear from others that cruise ships general DO NOT wait for you, especially if you are coming late from an independent excursion. One horror story we heard from a couple from Alaska, was that a man was 2-5mins late for boarding and all he could do was watch the ship move away from the dock at the port. My worst nightmare.
Note: When your excursion ticket says “Meet at the pier”, it basically means “Meet in front of the ship”.
DH and I, and a couple of people, were scolded by the tour guide for waiting at the other end of the pier. How were we supposed to know??? D: We all realized later on that the first thing you should do when you get off the ship for an excursion is to look for a large sign with your excursion name on it – and just stay put near it.
Note: Do leave the ship early and explore even if your excursion starts at a later hour.
This doesn’t apply to all port stops (e.g. Port Canaveral didn’t have anything to do at the port), but at least at Bahamas, it was great. There were many little shops at the port that we could check out before leaving for our excursions. We were sooo glad that we did this, because we definitely didn’t have the time to look or shop around after our excursions (we were keeping the ship from sailing!).
Other details and advices:
1. Do bring a really fancy dress/suit
– DH whined about having to bring his nice suit, but boy was he glad he did. There’s something called “Elegant Night”, where you dress up all fancy and take many many (many many many) formal photos. Yes, you have to purchase the pictures and they are ridiculously overpriced, but they do turn out quite nice – and you don’t have to buy everything, you can pick and choose. So take as many photos as you can and buy the best ones (DH and I took well over 200 photos and we ended up purchasing 3).
2. Do bring motion sickness medication
– Some sea days will be rougher than others. We had one morning where we couldn’t even walk down the hallway properly without getting slammed to the wall. Drawers in our room were opening and closing. DH was fine, but I was knocked out – and I had to take the medication. The ship was pretty empty that morning, because a lot of people were having motion sickness. Bah.
3. Do tip your head waiter & your steward
– A veteran cruiser gave us a hint at our first dininer night. He told that if we tip our head waiter and our steward the first night ($20-50), we’ll be set for the entire trip. So we tipped them $20 each the first night, and we didn’t have to look for small bills every day for tipping. However, we did tip again for room services.
4. Don’t forget your sneakers
– I did. And how sad I was. I couldn’t enjoy the nice gym the cruise ship had! *sob* But beside from the gym usage, you will be walking a lot whether you are on an excursion or on the ship – so do bring a pair of comfortable sneakers.
5. Go to the Spectacular showtimes and the Comedy shows
– Best events on the ship, in my opinion. DH and I went to pretty much every single one of them, and enjoyed all. But do arriave at the theater at least 30 mins earlier than the starting time, since it does fill up really quickly. If you go too late, they won’t let you in!!
I think that’s all I have. Everyting else (e.g. not forgetting to bring your swim suit and sunscreen lotion, etc) can be found online. I’ll post more if I remember other fun facts.
Overall, DH and I definitely recommend crusing for honeymoon. It was fun and relaxing, and best of all, we didn’t have to plan our daily schedules – all we had to do was look at a list of events and choose what we wanted to do/see. We were well fed (definitely well fed) throughout the trip, and excursions were fun and exciting. Staffs were amazing too (we were so sad when we arrived back in NYC and our cab driver wasn’t as friendly as cruise staffs. Haha.) However, 10 day crusing was a bit too long for us, so we are thinking that for our next cruising trip, we’ll do a 5 or 7 day trip with an overnight stay at a port (I personally didn’t like port hopping because it didn’t give us enough time to enjoy and explore the area).
Hope this helps!