1. OCEAN BREEZE
It’ll wake you up the second you set foot on the ship. For the long-haired gals and guys out there, you’ll end up wearing a ponytail more often than not, but there’s nothing like the spray of the sea on a warm winter’s day.
2. FREE ICE CREAM
Do I even need to explain? I basically lived at Swirl on the Lido Deck of the Regal Princess. Especially since they solve the decision of chocolate versus vanilla for you with the crowd-pleasing, combination swirl cone.
3. PEOPLE WATCHING
One thing I was looking forward to seeing on my first cruise? Cruisers. The people who cruise like it’s their job. We met people from all over the world who have literally gone on ten cruises and more, from Australia to the Panama Canal to the Grecian coastline. They know what they’re doing and they know what they like—even Cruise Ship Santa, a guy we saw around every single day that looked exactly like he sounds. #santaonvacay
4. LOUNGE CHAIRS
There’s nothing more relaxing than the sight of a row of empty lounge chairs, just waiting for you to lie back and slow down.
5. FREE ROOM SERVICE
My mom and I ended up ordering breakfast in more than we ventured out. The continental breakfast reminded me of what I’ve had abroad with croissants and delicious yogurts and honestly? The best butter I’ve ever had in my life. Princess, where u get dat butter?
6. CUTE CREW BOYS
Another one I don’t really need to explain. #uniforms
7. WHALE WATCHING
It doesn’t happen often, but my mom and I got lucky. Halfway through our voyage, we were turning around to go back inside when a VASTLY GIGANTIC TAIL slid slowly back into the water. We watched him swim a few strokes away before he was gone. One of the more satisfying and humbling moments of my twenty-four year old life.
Who doesn’t want an excuse to buy summer clothes in winter? The shops were just releasing their resort collections when Mom and I were shopping for our cruise ship wardrobes, and I have to say, I’ve never understood the point of resort collections until I went on a cruise. They’re the perfect vibes for both daytime and nighttime events on board.
9. MID-WINTER TAN
We’ve all felt that pang of jealousy when a coworker or friend makes an appearance in mid-February with that perfect, sunkissed glow…which you can get when you sail for a week through the Virgin Islands. Make sure you wear sunscreen though! Do! Not! Forget!
I took a college astronomy class during my last two years of high school and fell in love. With a boy in class, yes, but also with the sky. I’ve felt such a connection to the stars since then, but living in the city, I rarely get to see them. Out in the middle of nowhere on the only ship around for miles? I got to reintroduce myself to some of my favorite constellations.
11. MULTIPLE DESTINATIONS AT ONCE
My goal in life is to hit as many towns and countries as I can, and thanks to Princess Cruises, I can check four off of my list, (Ft. Lauderdale, St. Thomas, St. Maarten, and Princess Cays) not to mention cruising the eastern Caribbean Atlantic Ocean, all in a week’s time.
12. CRUISE SHIP LINGO
Port. Stateroom. Bridge. Lido. Starboard. Ahoy. Berth. Aboard. Ashore. Tender. The Loveboat. Come on, when else do you get to surround yourself with things you never get to say?
13. WORLD-CLASS DESSERTS
If you follow me on Twitter, you’ll have heard everything about this already. From casual dinners to formal nights to the pièce de résistance, the Chef’s Table Lumiere, you’ll never have chocolate like you have aboard the Regal Princess. Even if you’re not a chocolate fan, there’s plenty to choose from between the fresh sorbets, crème brulet, hazelnut bars, fruit tarts, cheesecakes, and more…
There are a ton of different activities on board (seriously, I can’t even name them all), but one thing I’ve always been interested in and never got around to doing is wine tasting. I’ve just started getting into wine over the last year, and it was awesome to learn more about reds (I’m currently not a fan, but I’m developing a taste!), alongside some tapas before dinner. I’m still daydreaming about the cabernet blend!
15. THE VOICE OF THE OCEAN
This one is Princess specific, but if you’ve ever watched The Voice, prepare to have your mind blown attending this show on board. They hold passenger auditions early on the ship and pull together three judges to participate in the finale show on the last night of your voyage. It was absolutely adorable hearing the maître d'hotel, a ship performer, and comedian giving thoughtful and sometimes hilarious commentary to the contestants. If you’re into a lot of laughs and some fun, redone classic tunes, you’ll probably laugh and cheer as much as my mom and I did.
16. A GOOD NIGHT’S SLEEP
The number one thing I miss after coming back to the mainland is the constant and calming rock of the boat. Although a little strong for my taste once in awhile, the movement was quite effective in lulling me back to sleep. The first night back in my own bed, I could still feel it even though I was back on solid ground!
17. ZUMBA LIKE NO ONE’S WATCHING
I’ll be honest, I didn’t get to participate in any of the exercise classes (our time was pretty full of pre-scheduled blogger events and spa appointments), but I thought of this later…you’re never going to see these cruise people again, so let loose! There are a ton of fun fitness activities on the top deck of the ship, besides just gym equipment, so take advantage…even if you’re like me and feel a little sheepish shaking your thing in front of strangers.
18. BETTER THAN AN ALL-INCLUSIVE
Sailing with Princess, you get the convenience of an all-inclusive resort with the benefit of exciting sea life! Seriously it adds a whole new element to the experience. I’ll never tire of waking up anchored in the port of a new island every day.
19. EMBARKATION DAY EXCITEMENT
There’s nothing like it. You have to see it to believe it. The ship’s horn is blaring, music is playing, everyone is cheering and waving from both the shore and the ship…Mom and I were so moved by the ordeal that we got a little choked up pulling away from Florida into the open sea.
20. SOME OF THE BEST FOOD YOU’LL EVER EAT
And that is no exaggeration. I still remember the espresso brûlée and the manicotti I had on the first night, to the Chef’s Table Lumiere eggplant main dish and chocolate dessert concoction. The galley staff (the entire crew, really!) takes so much pride in their work and it’s clear when it hits the table.
21. THE WAKE
There were a lot of great moments on board the Regal Princess during my 7-day Caribbean cruise, but none really moved my soul like standing at the aft (the back) of the ship and staring at the waves the ship left behind as we glided through the waters. It’s quiet back there, protected from the wind, and you just can’t believe the blue of the sea and the sky unless you’re standing there staring at it. And I promise you will be, because it’s impossible to make yourself look anywhere else.
Thanks a million to Princess Cruises for sponsoring this post!