Do you think that you’ll get bored on a cruise ship? Many cruise virgins think they would as you would be confined to a ship for at least one day. In reality, there are many things to do when all you see is ocean to the horizon. I have been an a 10-day cruise in the Mediterranean, 7-day cruise to the Mexican Riviera and a 13-day cruise around New Zealand. The below highlights my most recent cruise in the South Pacific aboard the Golden Princess but you may do any of them on any cruise line. I assure you, you won’t get bored. In fact, if you are a One Busy Bee like me, you’ll be tired with doing all the ship has to offer.
Aboard the Celebrity Reflection, I gained 10 pounds in the first week. The abundance of food options 24 hours a day will have your taste buds souring like the many birds you’ll see outside every cruise ship window. Be sure to bring loose fitting clothes if you do not plan on hitting the gym on board. On the Golden Princess, there are 10 locations to eat at. You have your buffet serving breakfast, lunch, snacks and dinner. I typically used the Horizon Court for breakfast for ease and its convenience. Plus, their smoked fish, cream cheese, red onions, capers and lemon was my favorite thing to have for breakfast. If pastries are more your style, there’s plenty on a daily basis.
A casual lunch can be picked up at the Prego Pizzeria or Trident Grill. Two pizza options are available plus a daily specialty pizza. I had a slice with vegetables and sardines. The Filipino in me loves salt and vinegar. On the Golden Princess, they added it to pizza. Selecting this was a no brainer for me.
Go to the counter on the opposite side of the neighboring bar called The Mermaid’s Tail to find the Trident Grill. There you can get a hot dog, hamburger and French fries. A perfect and close spot to get food while you watch Ryan Gosling in the First Man as you watch a movie under the stars. It was pretty amazing to watch a movie about landing on the moon and seeing the moon above us.
Are you more interested in a three-course fantastic dinner? Dine in one of the formal dining rooms and tell the hostess whether you would like to wait for a private table or join a table with other cruise guests. Unless you like to eat a certain time every day and possibly with your group, I would select what they call “Anytime Dining.” With the many activities available on the cruise ship and the plethora of tempting consumables, a commitment to a eating time will be challenging to keep. The menu changes nightly and there is something for everyone, even if you are participating in Meatless Monday like me. Start with options such as the Tempura Vegetable Sushi with rum-wasabi, emulsion, Korean kimchi. For your main course, get Grandma’s Coq Au Vin with burgundy wine simmered chicken, bacon crisps, pearl onions, croutons and forked potatoes. Don’t be surprised if your crouton is heart-shaped. For dessert, try a Chocolate Journeys selection: Chocolate Hazelnut Bar with Citrus Cream. The ‘finest hazelnuts from Piedmont, Italy and freshest citrus flavors of Florida.” It was to die for. And an Instagram
If you’re on a 10-plus day cruise, you might want a change in scenery or dine on your own at a private table. On the Golden Princess, I would highly recommend the Crown Grill. For $35 per person, you can select a 3-course dinner. For $10 more, you may select two mains. I went with the Surf n Turf for an additional $12. It came with an 8-ounce filet mignon and TWO lobster tails. I was only expecting one. It is a great deal. Besides the main, the table is presented with sides of cream of spinach, sautéed mushrooms and asparagus. Try the salt selections as well – Hawaiian Black Salt, Smoked Applewood Salt and Himalayan Mountain Pink Salt. I enjoyed the smoked salt from Yakima. Save $6 off the base price and make a reservation at Sabatini’s Italian Trattoria for $29 per person. This is another option if you prefer cibo di Italiano.
Should you survive a food coma, work off the calories and dance the night away.
If you can’t find me, I’ll be on the dance floor…attempting to dance off the Fruit Tartlets and bottles of prosecco. It’s common to be mistaken as a crew member. My Cugino and I were at the night club almost every night aboard the Reflection while in Europe. My video of him dancing Gangam Style is a popular one. We had no problem recruiting people to the dancefloor as they were just watching. They looked like they wanted to have fun too! Dancing the night away at the jazz club and near the pool on New Year’s Eve are unforgettable memories on the Oosterdam on the Mexican Riviera. On the Golden Princess, find the Skywalker’s Lounge on the 17th floor and located at the very end and top of the ship. The décor is unlike I’ve see on a ship and is very different from the rest of the ship. From the elevator, jump on the belt to take you up just below the dance floor. Look up and see stars, bronze couches and chairs. On the dance floor, get your Billie Jean on with lights flashing below you. DJ Nick will have themed evenings. I particularly enjoyed the Elvis Presley night. I knew 99% of songs. It was such a good time. Torch those calories!
Before dark, get tempted to dance with First in Charge live band throughout the cruise. If you have great Cruise Directors/MCs like we had with Alex and Tavo on the Golden Princess, you will be invited to the dance floor several times. It’s their job to encourage other people to dance and help you gain confidence and have some fun. Don’t worry about who’s watching. Just live in the moment.
I was fortunate to see how Princess Cruises prepares for a holiday. Holland America had the band propped up over the pool for the dance party to ring in 2018. The Golden Princess did a good job in decorating for St. Patrick’s Day. The cruise ship was decorated with green and white balloons, flags and bottles of Irish whiskey and Guinness on bar tops. The day was filled with Irish themed activities including a dance party and a sing-a-long hosted by our favorite Irish entertainer, Laura Callaghan.
Follow along if you still need to be convinced out of your cruising boredom.
All aboard, there is constant entertainment on several decks. Besides the dance club and opportunities for dancing, you will find music everywhere. As you board the cruise ship, you usually enter at the grand piazza, which is typically the center of the ship where you can see three levels. You are greeted with smiles and music and the excitement of other passengers. Aboard the Reflection, I loved string quartlet. On the Oosterdam, I loved the dueling pianos. They even fulfilled a request for The Little Mermaid’s ‘Part of Your World.’ Then on the waters to New Zealand, I discovered Laura. She’s a young beauty with dark curly hair with an Irish accent. From her first song, I was a fan. My travel buddy, Kim, and I were officially called her groupies as we came to support her every day. Since day one, I have requested my favorite Disney tune. She’s much younger than me and she has never seen the movie. We will see if she will learn it for me!
A pianist is available, as mentioned the band, First in Charge, plays and there are shows on the Princess Theater that has rows of seats. The Reflection also had their theater. I vividly remember a beautiful blonde contortionist taking the stage. At the theater on the Oosterdam, a lady comedian even pointed me out because I laughed the hardest. I got a shot glass out of it. On the Golden Princess, there have been Buddy Holly and Dolly Parton shows. I enjoyed the ‘Born to Dance’ show. The piece showcased a medley of Broadway choreography while dancers of the past would speak on their experiences. I was captivated by a blonde dancer, Tori Edwards. She had that fire. Another show was with a Comedian and Magician, Sam McCool. If you don’t try to figure out his tricks and allow yourself to laugh, you’ll enjoy the show a bit more.
The Crew will have host trivia on various topics including music time periods and TV show tunes. You can participate in comedic games and of course karaoke. Kim and I got up several times and even competed for the onboard version of The Voice of the Ocean. We didn’t make it to the finals but it was fun and something we both have never done before.
Not interested in embarrassing yourself or conquering a fear, relax.
Get every part of your body massaged at The Louts Spa. Located on the 15thdeck, choose from a variety of treatments to Come Back New. The busiest days at the spa are sea days. They usually have a daily special and have a Medi Spa doctor on board for serious anti-aging procedures. I visited with the doctor from Mexico and was quoted $300 – $3,000 for treatments for my personal concerns. I opted out but have purchased many of the Elemis products. I enjoyed four treatments – the Elemis Aroma Spa Seaweed Massage, Ionthermie Cellulite Reduction Program, the Biotec Firm-a-Lift Facial and Keratese Fusio-Dose Hair Treatment. All of the treatments were incredibly relaxing. The staff, Charlotte, Josie, Courtney, Elizabeth and Teresa were fantastic.
Continue relaxing in one of the many hot tubs with a book you brought or one you’ve borrowed from the library. Grab a couch or chair by the windows and watch the ocean go by. I finished “Where’d You Go, Bernadette”? by Maria Semple. It was a bit of an annoying book as I wanted to escape and not read emails or back and forth correspondence. However, the characters also go on an adventure on a boat, see penguins, sing to the Beatles and escape! I donated my book to the library and added my name to the inside cover. Did you pick it up?
Reading makes me sleepy. I slept quite a bit on this ship and allowed myself a nap every so often if not every day. Port days could be tiring and a nap is always a good idea. I found myself napping on the rides to and from destinations during excursions. Sometimes you have to meet just before 8 AM. With time changes, there is no real sleeping schedule. If you have a busy life at home with work, school, kids, family and all of your ambitions, take advantage of the wonderfully comfortable beds Princess provides. I have slept well every night. I have dreamt very vivid dreams every single night. No, it’s not because of the drink package I purchased.
Would you prefer to lay under the sky and recline on deck chair with provided blankets? Watch a Movie Under the Stars. Be sure to grab a bag of popcorn at the Sundaes stand. The sound system in great and there are a selection of movies like The Green Book, Grease, First Man, Mamma Mia and concerts. Depending on the weather, it may drizzle a bit or be windy. Double up your blankets or find a snuggle buddy. Sit back, relax and escape to the days of the mafia, summer love and the moon, wherever the movie takes you.
When you feel antsy, there are many ways to get moving. The easiest way to get fit is to visit the gym. Watch the waters go by while on a cardio machine or feel the waves rock the boat and keep your balance a bit as you pump some iron. Sign up for TRX training or health seminars. There is tai chi, Zumba and line dancing. A few laps around the upper decks and promenade are also good options. Instead of waiting for the elevators between decks, take the many staircases. I promise you it’ll save you time and burn a few more calories.
Whether you do one, two or none of the above, it is guaranteed that you will meet people from all of the world and possibly life-long new friends, especially on sea days.