It’s been nearly three years since my last cruise. I thought about how relaxing it is to gently be rocked to sleep for seven consecutive nights. And who better to spend such a monumental occasion than with my best friend. Tamika and I set sail from Puerto Rico April 22nd on the Royal Caribbean Adventure of the Seas. But nothing is without a little drama, right?
I called Tamika two nights before we were set to leave. In the midst of discussing her hotel, we discovered that she’d booked her flight to Miami….the cruise was leaving from Puerto Rico. After her moderate to severe panic, and the fact that she has friends who work at the airlines, she was able to change her flight to Puerto Rico. Whew!
We arrived in Puerto Rico and made our way to the ship. While standing in line, we couldn’t help but notice 3 voluptuous black women with G-strings and see through cover-ups. I don’t think I’d ever have the nerve to have my butt cheeks hanging out. But more power to them! It takes a level of confidence that I don’t have for that!
At any rate, the ship was lovely as to be expected and the crew was fabulous. Keisha, our room attendant from the island of Nevis, made our trip fantastic. She kept up laughing and laughed at us plenty.
So, let me tell you what I’ve noticed about cruising since my last one in 2014. It’s so expensive! I remember when I could get a cruise for less than $1,000 and then spend a couple hundred on board for miscellaneous items. Now they charge for everything!
- Speciality dining rooms: $25 + per person per meal. The food on this ship was mediocre. I wanted to check out the dining room to see if I should spend the extra money on the speciality dining. It was so poor, I didn’t want to risk spending more money.
- Formal Night: In the past, formal night was when you’d get steak and lobster!. If you wanted 2 meals you could get two meals. Now, you can have steak but if you want lobster, it’ll cost you $29.95. SMH
- Drink Packages: You could pay $55 per day for an ultimate drink package. That will get you unlimited drinks including alcoholic beverages. $55 x 7 night x 2 people —You do the math. However, if you’re a heavy drinker, it’s worth it because the drinks are $8-$15 each. No more $5 drinks.
- Phone calls: This has always been expensive but I’m not sure it’s always been $7.95 per minute from your stateroom. Yes, you read that right, $7.95 per minute!
- Internet: I’m sure they caught onto this early on in the world of wi-fi…people just can’t live without wi-fi. So they will offer you packages: $12.99 per day for email and surfing for $17.99 per day if you want to stream anything. $12.99 per day x 7 days; and they don’t let you buy just one day. You’ll have to buy 7 days.
- Shore Excursions: The biggest cruise rip off of all times is the excursions. I learned this many years ago though. They try to scare you into booking with them by saying if you’re late, we’ll wait for you if you book with us. If you book on your own and you’re late, you’re screwed. There are plenty of reputable sites that you can book an excursion/tour through. Check out TripAdvisor. They will list tour companies for the ports you visit. There are also Facebook Groups that will provide such information.
- Airport Transfers: As an example, the cruise ship offered airport transfers at $18 per person. In Puerto Rico, you can pay $23 for a taxi from the cruise terminal to the airport that will hold 7 people. That’s $23 total!
Don’t get me wrong, I had a good time. Cruising is just more expensive than it use to be. Anyway – I don’t want to bore you. I’ll just give you a quick recap of the ports and quick suggestions.
- #PuertoRico – Eat at Raices. One of the locals says it’s the best place to eat. I didn’t make it there so if you go, let me know what you think!
- #SaintMaarten – Eat at Pirates in Paradise. You must have the BBQ ribs and the rice. So good! Ask for #Steve. There’s a little shop attached that sells souvenirs and cigars. Ask for Patrick. If you just want beer, keep walking past there (away from the water taxi) and make the first right turn. There’s a little restaurant that sells beer for $1.50.
- #St.Kitts – We went to Carambola Beach Club. It was okay. If you go, ask for Shavon. He’s one of the beach guys. Friendly dude. DO NOT eat their ribs. Pretty gross. Bring extra liquor to add to your cocktails. Stop in the Life is Good store. Sagar and Suresh are a delight.
- #St. Lucia – This was the worst stop. Not well organized, people violating your personal space while panhandling, they won’t give you US currency back as change and don’t tell you that until your transaction is complete. There’s confusion taking the very cheap $2.50 water taxi. It’s worth paying the $5 in a regular taxi. If there’s a port to skip, it’s this one.
- #Barbados – Carlisle Beach was okay. There’s a tiny shack with food and alcohol near Carlisle Bay. They have excellent chicken stew and peas & rice.
We met some amazing people people on the cruise including some new Houston connections. I think I’ll try an all inclusive in the near future.
Living life & it’s good!