In March of 2022, Carnival was having an amazing sale, so we booked eight tickets for our teenagers, six-year old, and in-laws. We specifically chose this cruise because of the sale and the destinations. We had yet to see Turks and Caicos or the Dominican Republic. Sadly, there was a health emergency for one of the cruise passengers, and Carnaval had to make an emergency stop in the Bahamas. We didn’t realize a cruise’s destination could change, and we were a bit sad we didn’t go to Turks and Caicos. We had done one cruise before to the Bahamas when the kids were all much younger. While we enjoyed this time at the Bahamas and Dominican Republic, and especially how our teenagers could roam about independently (where were they going to go?), we have decided against booking another cruise in the future. We definitely prefer being in control of our vacation and not being stuck on a boat. Maybe there are better cruises out there, but we have found we are not cruisers 😆
How did we get there?
Given that we booked this trip last minute and plane tickets were extremely high, we decided to make a road trip out of this. We drove from Chicago to Florida, with a stop in Georgia.
Where did we stay?
On our way to Florida, we stopped in Macon, GA, and stayed at the *most awful full priced hotel we have ever booked, the SureStay Plus. The hotel was torn down and had plenty of insects, including cockroaches. It was too late to find another hotel, so we stayed the night on top of the blankets, but we wanted everyone to know to avoid it at all costs. Once in Florida and before boarding the cruise, we stayed at the Holiday Inn Club Vacations. The resort made up for the horrible experience we had in Macon. The Holiday Inn resort had plenty of things for the kiddos to do, and they offer multiple-bedroom condos. Once aboard the cruise, we stayed in the inner cruise rooms, which had no windows to the outside. We regretted this since it made some of us prone to sea sickness. The cruise rooms can accommodate up to 4 people, and although they look small, they have plenty of space.
- Cruises are not for everyone! Make sure you know what you are getting into. We did not 🙃
- The pool gets really crowded, and it becomes almost impossible to use
- Food and drinks are unlimited, which teenagers loved (especially breakfast buffets and made-to-order late night pizza)
- The destinations are not guaranteed, and the off-boat times were kind of weird. We had to leave the boat at 6 am to see DR before it left again at 2 pm. No one wants to day drink before breakfast
- We guess a cruise is partly for the entertainment and the value, not really for the destinations
Cruises are not for us. Our teenagers enjoyed the independence and our youngest loved the Ocean Club and couldn’t get enough. O and I however, are not extraverts, so we found ourselves outside on the patio most nights checking out the stars.
If you like to be outdoors and prefer hiking rather than spending the day sunning on a lounge chair, then a cruise is also not for you. We definitely preferred the time off of the boat, and especially my youngest’s aspirations to become an island boy: