I have started typing this post about 5 times now. Each time I start typing I end up deleting. Why? Because I’m not really sure what you want to know if anything about our cruise and this blog is supposed to be a fashion/shopping blog. Am I crossing the line and now I’m sounding more like a lifestyle blog? Is that so bad? I’m not sure so I’ll try to tackle this from both perspectives.
We booked our cruise back in the Spring after quite a bit of debate about where to go and what to do for vacation this year. I’ll tell you what, having a child go away to college really changes things, the timing of vacation, Summer courses, etc.! After consulting our travel agent about different types of vacations we decided on a cruise. Since we live so close to Port Canaveral (about 45 minutes) we chose a cruise out of that port because my husband hates driving long distances if not absolutely necessary. We were thrilled to learn the Oasis of the Seas from Royal Caribbean left from Port Canaveral and traveled to Haiti, Jamaica, and Mexico!
Back in March when we booked this baby I started thinking of the clothes I’d bring and the possibility of sharing a packing list with you. And then I snapped back into reality and realized that is so not me. I am a proud overpacker because, why not? I wasn’t flying anywhere and our cabin was large enough for all of my stuff so there was no reason to skimp on choices. I am all about having options because I’m not sure what mood I’ll be in and that dictates my fashion choices. I blame it on my birth sign – Gemini.
Just for organizational purposes I’ll break this post into these sections: where we stayed, where we went and what we did, what I wore, what I bought, and some final thoughts on cruising.
Where We Stayed
Get ready for some photo overload of the ship because it was ENORMOUS and just unbelievable in every sense of the word. The Oasis is divided into different neighborhoods such as Boardwalk, Entertainment, etc.. Our cabin was in Central Park, in fact our balcony had a terrific view of Tiffany & Co. and the Coach store. Central Park was filled with gardens, perfect little places to sit and relax, a cafe, and upscale restaurants, as well as a photo studio and upscale retailers. In the evenings a string quartet played and we could enjoy the music either from our balcony, a park bench, or bistro table.
We had two cabins, one for the boys and for my husband and I. The cabin was a nice size! We had a king sized bed, a sitting area, good size closet, and a decent sized bathroom. I especially liked the fact that there were plenty of drawers and closet space. I unpacked and hung all of my clothes which made it so nice to get dressed each day.
Where We Went and What We Did
We boarded the ship on Sunday, 6/25 but our first stop was not until Tuesday, 6/27 in Labadee, Haiti. That meant we had a good day and a half at sea. We spent most of Sunday figuring out where things were on board and Monday by the pool and at the Flow Rider. My husband and sons enjoyed the Flow Rider. I refused because after watching several people fall hard I was terrified of injury. I was happy to take video of the boys and snap pics! The ship had mini golf, basketball, volleyball, ping pong, and a zip line.
In Haiti we visited Royal Caribbean’s resort, Labadee. We snorkeled and relaxed in the shade. I especially enjoyed the snorkeling, the water was beautiful and we saw all kinds of fish and coral. I had a great time until I accidentally kicked a sea urchin and ended up with a needle stuck in my toe! Luckily my husband was close by and removed it – that hurt! Now if you know me well you are surprised I went snorkeling – but I did and my kids were so proud of me. Just a little aside, I am by no means a swimmer, I’m more of a lounger, so this was a big deal for me.
On Wednesday we stopped in Falmouth, Jamaica. We booked a lazy river excursion. I should add that my husband and I let the boys decide on the excursions. Collin (our youngest) wanted no part of visiting museums or anything historical he wanted fun, plain and simple so that was the theme. I could not have cared less what we did as long as we were together! Falmouth, Jamaica was pretty much our favorite stop. Our tour guide was wonderful and informative. The trip to the river took almost an hour so we were able to hear a lot about Jamaica and their culture. We saw some fabulous sites! The lazy river was cool and refreshing and afterwards we stopped for Jamaican beef patties. They were delicious! We made another stop to sample Jamaican rum and buy coffee. It was a fabulous day!
Thursday was another at sea day followed by our Friday visit to Cozumel, Mexico. The excursion the boys chose that day was Playa Mia Beach Resort. Playa Mia did not disappoint! The beach was GORGEOUS! The sand was like sugar and the water crystal clear. The boys (including my husband) enjoyed an inflatable obstacle course while I floated around on a sea mat (best invention ever) and made some friends from Kentucky. We chatted away while floating around and it was heaven! Afterwards we snorkeled, had lunch and then headed back to the ship. I went into a few shops and ended up buying a dress for myself and one for the cutest little 15 month old girl in my life (my great niece).
Saturday was our final at sea day and then Sunday morning we disembarked. When we weren’t on an excursion were either by the pool (sitting in the shade of course), playing cards, reading (me), going to the Broadway Show Cats, checking out the comedians (hysterical), in the nightclubs, the casino, shopping, eating, relaxing. There was never a dull moment!
What I Wore
I packed mostly dresses, swim suits and cover ups. I wore all but one of the dresses I packed because the last night on board I skipped dinner while my husband and the boys went, I was just too full and too tired. There were two formal nights; on one I wore a dress and the other I wore my black jumpsuit. I don’t like getting too dressed up for formal nights I prefer an understated look. A cruise ship is like living in Florida, anywhere you go you’ll find some people dressed to the hilt while others are in jeans or shorts. I’m not ready to don sequins or gowns but I’d never be comfortable in jeans or shorts either so I’m somewhere in the middle. There’s no shortage of photographers on board waiting to snap your every move which is great for family photos.
I packed several pair of shorts and tops but I only wore one pair. Partially because near the end of the cruise I felt so bloated the thought of having anything on that involved a button or zipper made my skin crawl! I indulged in delicious food, cocktails, and wine so that was the price I paid. This was one of the first cruises I’ve ever taken where I did not work out even once. I brought work out clothes but never put them on which seemed like a good idea at the time but now not so much, lol!
What I Bought
Surprisingly, I really bought very little on this trip. Although I mentioned earlier the Coach and Tiffany shops the ship also had a Michael Kors shop and a Kate Spade shop. The Michael Kors shop had a sale one morning and I waited in line for a few minutes to go in (they only let in 15 shoppers at a time). I left empty handed because I wasn’t in the market for anything but there were other shoppers buying multiple bags. I went in because I was nosy, lol and I enjoyed chatting with the other women in line.
In Jamaica I bought coffee, rum, and jerk seasoning and in Mexico the only purchases I made were on the two dresses I mentioned earlier. We also purchased snorkeling gear for the 4 of us and my younger son picked out a pair of expensive sunglasses. It’s nice now that the boys are older and are no longer asking for souvenirs! I snapped some pics of my purchases since this is a shopping blog – hahaha!!!!
Some Final Thoughts on Cruising
While I’m no packing expert one thing I recommend for any kind of travel is to save all the sample size beauty and perfume products you receive throughout the year and bring them instead of full sized products. I’m constantly receiving samples from Nordstrom, Ulta, and Sephora. I brought several perfume samples with me as well as skin care samples, and It Cosmetics CC Cream (it has an spf of 50 and it’s what I wear when I’m going to be at the beach or by the pool). The samples take up less space in my toiletries bag and I don’t have to worry about bottle breaking.
Wearing comfortable shoes is key. I wore Vionics pretty much the entire time (except when we were in Jamaica and Mexico) and my feet never hurt. The ship was so big and I’m sure we walked miles each day.
If you’re unsure about a cruise I say go for it! With a cruise you can have whatever kind of vacation you’d like. Our ship had almost 10,000 people on board (including the crew) but you’d never have known that because there is something for everyone. Some people enjoy the casinos, dancing and staying up until the wee hours of the morning. Others (okay me) are usually in bed before midnight and rise and shine early the next day. Some are sun worshippers others enjoy the shade and a good book (okay, me again). The food and the service with Royal Caribbean has always been top notch for us as well as the entertainment.
If you have read all the way to this point, thank you. I hope you enjoyed it. Actually once I started typing it was nice to get this all down and record my thoughts on our trip. Let me know if you have any specific questions and I’ll be happy to answer!