I took my first cruise in 2017 and it was a great experience. I wanted to share my perspective from a first time cruiser. I’ve always stayed at resorts at different countries but wanted to experience what the hype was all about. I’d have to say, it was one the best vacation experiences I’ve ever had. We got a room with a balcony since it’s our first time and we wanted to have access to the ocean view. We had a lovely view of the ocean and it was peaceful hearing the waves while sleeping. I wanted to share a first timer’s experience on going on a cruise. Also provide tips and tricks on how to get the most out of your time on and off the boat.  For an in depth review of my experience with the Carnival cruise line, (read my review here).

Carnival Cruise Ship
Our Carnival Cruise Ship

Staying at a resort is also fun because it’s usually all inclusive and there are tons of amenities at these establishments. There’s spas, beach access, and the option to take excursions at any given day. On a cruise, the ship has a schedule and stops at different countries depending on the package you purchased. During the week, there’s sea days where the boat is at sea in between each destination. There’s plenty of things to do on the boat so you won’t be bored.

On top of the ship
Sea Day

For our first cruise, we chose to go on the Carnival cruise line which stopped at Nassau, Bahamas, Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic, and Grand Turks, Turks and Caicos. Each stop is usually eight hours long so you have plenty of time to do an excursion. Here are a list of things to do when there’s a sea day or if you’re not into exploring the destination. You could take advantage of the following activities while everybody is out on land and it’s not as busy on the boat:

  • Casino
  • Pool & hot tub
  • Spa
  • Movie night
  • Comedy shows
  • Onboard activities
  • Bars
  • Club
  • Food counters
  • Gym

At our first destination, Nassau, Bahamas, we got off to explore the island. There were plenty of shops and restaurants. We walked quite a ways away from town until we finally found a bus stop to take the city bus. It was a little scary because we didn’t know where we were going. The bus took us back into town thankfully. We stopped at a restaurant there and had a couple of cocktails overlooking the beach.

Welcome to Nassau

The next destination was Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic, which is a little port designed for cruise ships. We got out and there were tons of gift shops. We decided to walk a little further into the street and there were a dozen of cabs waiting and charging half the price. We wanted to explore the famous 27 Waterfalls AKA Damajagua Falls. It was interesting seeing the hills and the natives of the country as we drove through. Once we got to the waterfalls, they were so beautiful. If you’re not a strong swimmer, I suggest letting your tour guide know. It was very scary especially when the water pressure of the waterfalls was pushing me down under. The tour guide kept a close eye on me and helped me swim; it was difficult even with a life jacket. We jumped down waterfalls and it was exhilarating but scary! I honestly would not do it again since it was that spine-chilling.

Amber Cove Dominican Republic
Amber Cove, Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic

Our final stop was Grand Turks, Turks & Caicos. This was definitely one of my favorite islands during this trip! It’s a desolate and peaceful country to explore. We rented a moped right outside of the port and drove around the island for a couple of hours. We stopped at a beach, had a picnic, stopped at some gift shops, and ate at a little restaurant that served the best conch fritters!

Grand Turks

Turks and Caicos
Grand Turks Beach
Conch Fritters
Conch Fritters in Turks & Caicos (I took a bite already)

I’m actually planning my next cruise now and I am so excited thinking about it. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll still take vacations at resorts but if you’re on a budget, cruising is where it’s at.

Here is my comparison between cruises and resorts:

Cruise VS Resort























Hope this helps you choose your next vacation; it’s a quick comparison between the two. I still plan on going to resorts and cruises as long as my budget allows it! Luckily, I live in south Florida which is the cruise hub. That might determine my future vacations because I don’t have to worry about airfare expenses. If you have a layover or have some time before your cruise in Florida, read about; My 2017 Top 10 Favorite Places in Florida

Our First Cruise
My husband and I on our first cruise!

Thanks for reading,

Kimbodian Speaks


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