Being a single mom I was stumped about what to do for spring break vacation with my 2 teenage sons and preteen daughter. We had been to Florida multiple times and although Disney and universal are fun you can only do them so many times. After asking on fb for advice the same answer came up multiple times. Go on a cruise. I was beyond hesitant. Going out of the country with just myself and my children, and next being on a boat and having to the on a time limit when we port. Ultimately I decided on a cruise. I figured if we hated it no big deal there will be plenty of other vacations. Let me just say this we loved it!
1. Research! Critics cruise is a good site, of course Pinterest, and nothing happens without Google!
2. Ask people that have been on cruises for advice! A lot of things you won’t think of they will.
3. Yes you can cruise with birth certificates instead of passports as long as you are leaving and coming back to the same USA port. However make sure the destinations you are going to allow it. I will say this passports are much easier, and a lot quicker to get through customs when debarking (well get to this process a bit later) keep in mind most passports have to be valid for it least 6 months
4. How to choose a room, and the ship. It really all depends on your needs. I googled best cruise ships for teens and the carnival vista was in the top 5. I read a ton of reviews and figured this was the ship we’d try. Plus where I’m located I’m 3 1/2 hours to Galveston TX and 3 1/2 hours to New Orleans LA. I choose the middle of the ship deck 6 not to low not to high. The lower the deck middle ship the less rocking. Do you want a balcony, ocean view or interior room? I get claustrophobic easily, I also love everything about the ocean so choosing a balcony was a no brainer for me.
5. Room size I was completely paranoid about fitting 4 of us in one balcony room. I had called after reading reviews we’d be cramped, about getting another adjoining room. Because the only rooms available were about 20 cabins down I wasn’t able to add another balcony room, if the second room has children and no one over 18 the room can only be separated by no more than 5 cabins. Well shit there goes that idea. So then I asked about the family harbor cabin, it was middle ship deck 2 and had more space, I called carnival and asked about the upgrade and they told me an extra $3,000 yes that right not $300 but $3,000. I told them I’d call them back tomorrow to see if the room was still available. In the mist of that 24 hours I was talking to one of my associates who cruises often. She was like “why would you pay an extra $3,000 for just a bit more space you will hardly ever be on your room. Save that money for shopping.” She has caught my attention with the words “more money to shop.” If you know me you know I’m a minimalist, however I like quality and authenticity which the majority of the time equates to a higher price tag.
4. The balcony room was more than enough space for us. Keep in mind both my teenagers are males and my preteen is 12 and she doesn’t live in the bathroom just yet. Idk if I would have chosen this room if the genders had been reversed. The couch turned into a twin bed, there was a twin bed that dropped from the ceiling that my daughter slept on and two other twin beds. So we all had our own beds to sleep on. My sons kept their clothing in their luggage and it fit under the bed. They both have 28 inch suitcases. My daughter has her hard shell 24 inch luggage and I packed my hard shell 24 and 28 inch luggage. My daughter kept the majority of her clothing in her luggage and we got her luggage upright under the counter desk in the room. I unpacked both of my luggage and hung them in them in the 3 closets and used the drawers. Then put my empty luggage in the two hanging closets.
5. Yes I will go into what to pack in my next blog. Kind of a little backwards I know but hey…my blog is called imperfect-me for a reason.