My brother, me, and Morgan in Stripes
I started this journal out because I wanted to write about the great time I had visiting the Mayan ruins at Chichen Itza. I have mentioned in a couple of my entries that I was actually on a cruise when I went there. It occured to me that I really had not said much about the cruise. I cannot think of anyone that has gone on a cruise and told me that they did not enjoy it. With all these glowing recommendations, I figured I should check out the cruise myself. I rounded up my brother and two friends and we set off on a five day cruise out of Galveston to Mexico.
I do not want to be a Negative Nancy, but I did not think the cruise lived up to all its hype. Don't get me wrong, I had alot of fun, but that was because of the people.
Playing quarters in the room and getting hammered before dinner. Wait not quarters... Pence! I didn't have a quarter.
My travel partners and I really cut lose and enjoyed ourselves. We talked to everyone within hearing distance of us, laughed and joked all day, and ended up making a bunch of friends. I still see things that trigger memories from the cruise which make me have to stop and laugh. If you are a single guy and want to meet girls you cannot go wrong on a cruise. All this being said, I could have gone down to a resort, had a nicer room, got the same atmosphere, not been couped up on a ship, and spent alot less. I was going to pay for my younger brother to go with me since it was his spring break. I invited one friend and he immediately booked his own room. The second friend I invited said he was not coming unless he could stay with my brother and me.
Relaxing on deck
I was not excited about triple bunking, but I wanted my best friend to come too. For the three of us to share a room it cost $1700. If you have some one who is borderline ADD, like my friend, with you in a cramped space like that it can really start to wear on your nerves. I had arrived back in the USA the week prior to the trip after spending five months straight in Iraq so I was all about a calm, leisurely trip while my buddy who lives in Texas was looking for an off the wall, life changing event I think.
Here are some recommendations for a pleasant cruise ship experience. First of all, we spent a small fortune on alcohol. My friend that got his own room paid the cost of the room plus an additional thousand for his bar tab.
Tristan and me
I myself had about an $850 bar tab. Mine was only less because I went to bed early the first night where as they went out partying. That brings up another good point: Do not go to sleep early on the first night. Everyone has just arrived on the ship and they are eager to meet their fellow shipmates. Alot of networking is done the first night and you end up making friends that you'll be able to hang out with the whole trip. Luckily my friends were busy networking while I caught up on my sleep so we had a bunch of girls to hang out with during the week. Back to the alcohol though. They specifically tell you that you are not allowed to bring your own booze on the cruise.
You are allowed to bring your own bottle of wine, but you have to pay a corking fee. A word to the wise would be to sneak your own alcohol on board if you want to drink. It will save you a ton of money if you mix yourself drinks in the room before you venture around the ship. Another recommendation would be to research the ship before you book your cruise. I went on the Carnival Ecstasy which is apparently the smallest of the Galveston three ship fleet. I personally did not think there was anything to do on the ship other than drink. If I had attempted to stay sober during the trip I would have been bored out of my mind. On the commercials they show rock climbing walls and cool wave pools where you can try surfing.
We brought Old Greg to the bar with us. He's the little skeleton I got at Chichen Itza
There was none of that happening on the Ecstasy. Finally, spend a little extra money and get a nice room. Opt for one with a window too. Resist the urge to be cheap and get an ocean view. I saved a small amount of money by getting one without the window and I regret it. It would have been nice to be able to look out the window from time to time. I never made it up to the deck to look out when we were pulling into or leaving ports of call. If I had gotten a room with a view I could have still been lazy and seen some of this.
There was only one bar that we enjoyed going to and it was a place called Stripes. We went to Stripes all five nights (well, four for me) and had a great time. Around midnight it would be packed and the dance floor would be full. When I look at my cruise pictures the majority of them are from Stripes which is kind of sad, but we all appear to be having a really great time!