First time cruising. I always wanted to try it but wasn’t sure since it’s something you have the hours counted and I gave up my watch about 4 years ago, so depending on a schedule it’s not my thing. But here I go…
The cruise: Carnival Magic
Ports: Aruba, Curaçao and Grand Turk
It was a fun and different trip for me. We got a balcony, Trev was making sure I was going to have a good time and great memories. So yes, I was excited and happy to do this.
I have to say, the crew was very friendly at all times, helpful and smiling. However, the afternoon after Grand Turk was a bit crazy and every other night we either felt the cruise was overbooked or under staff, we had to wait too long for a table.
We left from Port Canaveral to Aruba. Leaving by 4pm and arriving at the ship in the morning gave us time to do the check in and once in the ship, time to go for a walk before getting our cabin.
The thing I learned about the 1st day, to walk around the ship, get to know every corner if possible and enjoy the theaters and other areas empty perfect for photos. Later in the day, it got a bit difficult to find a empty room or to walk freely without many people around.
We didn’t enjoy the pools the 1st day, but we enjoyed the whirlpool by night which it was perfect. Before that, we visited one of the bars where I got to try their own beer.
About our cabin, it was great. I don’t have anything else to compare it to, but I thought it was perfect to have a balcony with the view at all times of the ocean – Pisces/Caribbean girl that never gets tired of the ocean 🙂 – very confortable bed and the best part, our cabin steward was very friendly, super helpful at all times and we were happy to had him.
Another thing I learned with this trip, I kept reading that you shouldn’t leave any clothing (swimsuits or towels) outside to dry, so I brought various and strong clothespin to secure anything outside, that we also used to hold the towels to the pool lounge chairs. You shouldn’t because it might get blown away with the air by night. I grew up (well almost) on a boat back in Venezuela, so I know things like this happens all the time, I made sure everything was secure and hold 100%.
The 2nd night we tried the Italian restaurant that was perfect. Food was delicious and place it’s really nice. Loved the little decor they have.
First stop, was Aruba (you can check out my preview posts about Aruba here). Both of us visited this island before, so our plans were to relax by the beach and that’s it. We went to Palm Beach area. After few hours, we were going back to downtown closer to the ship, just for a stroll around. Since we were going to be there until 11pm, and it was about 4pm, we decided to take advantage of the empty pools and slides. Plus we got to enjoy a beautiful sunset by the pool. After a shower, the ship was still empty, compared to a regular day, we just enjoyed a nice relaxed dinner to visit karaoke for a little while.
Following day we arrived at Curaçao. First time for both of us. This is the part I hate… I love visiting and knowing the city, few days or weeks, not just few hours. The beaches I saw on magazines or videos or photos… looked amazing! Gorgeous beaches, but I also wanted to see the town, those colorful houses, the floating market, so it was one thing or the other. We decided to stay in town since we enjoyed a beach time in Aruba and will do it again in Turks and Caicos. I’m sure we will be visiting again, hopefully soon, but this is the part I don’t like at all about cruising – should be called ‘rushing’ -. (Check out the video about Curaçao)
Willemstad was a nice area to walk around. We started by passing by a small shopping area where we passed by before going back to the ship. On top of that ‘mall’ you get to enjoy a beautiful view of the city. From there we walked to the famous “Queen Emma Bridge” that moves a lot letting boats pass by, on the way back it was moving with us on top of it. The bridge was totally open and it looked like it wasn’t going to be working for a while, so we took a boat to get from Punda to Otrobanda (2 of the quarters of Willemstad). We passed by the colorful famous building in front of the canals (which I think in person doesn’t look as gorgeous as in photos) and then visited the floating market. Here, I was so happy to see this.
By that time, a year passed by without me visiting Venezuela and there, most of the boats (maybe all of them) were from Venezuela. Fishermans, farmers, amazing people from Venezuela trying to earn some money to bring to their families back home. Of course I needed to talk with them, we all smiled and laughed, I got some delicious goodies from Venezuela with them, one of them actually gave me a Venezuelan chocolate as gift.. loved that moment! Not getting political here, but love how my people do whatever it takes to work… something that it’s been difficult at home… by the end of the day, they navigate back to Venezuela. The distance from Curacao to Venezuela is about 688 km.
We also visited the Ronde Markt (New Market) which it’s round. A bit dirty, but fun to browse around. Once again, found a Venezuelan woman selling passion fruit (100% natural) juice. I couldn’t resist, so delicious!
We kept walking around, but we had the minutes counted I felt I couldn’t enjoy 100% the city. I know I could had done much more… but oh well.. another time I’ll get to drink a ‘polar’ (Venezuelan beer) in Curaçao.
This was simply to relax. As soon as I walked outside to the balcony and saw that view I was in love. The color of that water… omg I couldn’t wait to swim in there.
Once out the ship, you’ll find the Cruise Welcome Center. Beautiful beach to relax, lots of stores, monuments and a Margaritaville with a huge pool that we couldn’t enjoy because some underage girl was drunk and puke all over… thanks a lot.
So we were going to walk to a beach outside the Welcome Center, I believe its name is Governor’s Beach, but we took a shuttle that could leave us at the beach… Trev already visited before, so he knew exactly where to go. So happy he took me there. This place was gorgeous! So calm, that water so clear… it was perfect! It was us and maybe 5 other people in that big area. You get to see the cruise from there and a shipwreck next to you (lots of fishes around!).
Seriously… this became one of my favorite beaches in the world. Few of those times I just didn’t care much about walking around downtown or trying some local cuisine, I still would love to go back and try all that, that beach filled me up with energy, felt so peaceful, so calm… it was an incredible moment for me, for us, to visit that place.
And as always, great stuff comes to an end… we needed to go back to the ship to continue the trip. This time we had to walk back to the port, about 10min walk.
Will I take another cruise?
Well… by the time I’m writing this, there are 2 other cruises booked already (Norwegian and then Disney cruise).
Do I like them?
They are different kind of travel. A lot of people prefer this and with the Norwegian one in the mediterranean coming up, I can see why in a way. Not my kind of traveling, but it kind of works out. You get to see different countries and cities, you already paid for lodging (and you can also get a gorgeous ocean view at all time) and food, so something less to worry about. However, I don’t get to know very well the culture, I have little time so I have to hurry on everything instead of enjoying. For the mediterranean cruise, now planing, one of the stops it’s Dubrovnik (Croatia) and I feel I need at least 3 full days there, one to get to walk around the old town, another to take a tour around the islands and enjoy the beach at one of those and 3rd day maybe to see something I missed the 1st day or visit a museum or some other activity.
Overall, it was a new experience, not my favorite thing to do, maybe with a different cruise line and another destinations of course. But I like taking my time to get to know a city, its culture and try various local dishes and drinks.
Another thing that bothers me… area pool… I don’t know if it was that one or if it’s always like that… but I even when they have 2 pools, they are super small for the amount of people… so it felt super crowded of course. The only time I got to enjoy it, while in Aruba when everyone was out at night.
In Curaçao, for example on this trip, I would love to go back again to visit some beaches, enjoy a bit more the colorful downtown and see other parts. But only with few hours, we had to decided what we wanted to do in 6hrs or less. So, do I like them? Only if visiting small towns like Grand Turk or returning to a place I already went like Aruba. To experience a city for the 1st time… no.
Let’s see how the next cruise works out for me…