When I told my husband I would be cruising without him come October, he was less than enthused. We have enjoyed seven previous journeys at sea together, one being with Carnival, another on Norwegian, and the rest with Princess. I was itching to try another line, not because I disliked the other three, but simply because I want to say that I’ve sailed every major cruise line, at least once.
David and I discovered cruising fairly late in life, at age 47. Why we waited so long to sail away on a ship at sea remains a mystery, but embarking on our first cruise for our 25th anniversary got us completely hooked. I spent countless hours over a 14-month span preparing for that first cruise - and the same is true for each one that followed.
Has the excitement and anticipation dimmed over the years with each new booking? Not in the least. The only thing that has changed is the number of bookings I have in the pipeline. What was once the excitement and joy of booking one new cruise immediately after disembarking the last has now become booking three or four. My family says I'm obsessed, but I don't see it that way. I just love to be on the ocean and see it as an opportunity to try new experiences - new ships and new itineraries. No longer am I content to restrict my vacation time to the same week every summer to in order to work around a spouse’s school schedule.
To quench my unending thirst for new cruises and to reaffirm my status as a cruise “junkie”, I began researching some other options and liked what I found. For instance, just up the road in Boston, Royal Caribbean's Brilliance of the Seas would be doing fall foliage runs up the coast through New England and Canada. I was super excited - it would be a new itinerary for me. Despite living in the Northeast my entire life, I had never been to any of the places on the schedule - Portland, Bar Harbor, Halifax and Saint John.
Neither had I yet sailed Royal Caribbean, a line I've always wanted to try, but my husband always vetoed because "it's just not Princess." Well, I thought to myself, David will be busy with school when this cruise is set to sail, so here is my big chance to stray. Yeah, he'll object and otherwise put up a fuss over my going without him, but hey, he'll get over it.
Next, I needed to find someone to join me. I don’t fancy the idea of traveling solo, and even if I did, I am not prepared to pay an obscene single supplement. So I started going through my meager list of family and friends and soon discovered it wasn’t easy to find someone with money to spare who wasn’t committed to work or babies. There was only one logical choice: our daughter, Jenn, who still had some vacation time coming. She jumped at the chance to take a week off from her hectic job in tech support, and I knew she would be a great travel companion, too - easy going, quiet and she doesn’t whine!
I immediately blocked off a week from work and booked the cruise. Even better, as luck would have it, I qualified for a senior discount - another first for me. On one hand, I was dismayed that I would ever be considered "old", but on the other hand, I was grateful for the savings.
Not willing to stop there, I continued my search for another cruise in the not-too-distant future. I had been badgering my husband for years about cruising during school break, but he would always protest, preferring to be home catching up on reading, TV watching or - more often than not - school work. What kind of vacation is that, I ask!
Lo and behold, my email reveals that Princess, for the first time ever, will be sailing short 4 and 5 day cruises out of Fort Lauderdale, and wouldn't you know - one of them falls during April break! Surely, he will come around this time. After all, it's Princess, his favorite cruise line. Well, I was right. Not that it didn't take a little convincing, but he was on board with the idea pretty quickly. Before he had a chance to change his mind, I went immediately to the computer and booked our 5-day Caribbean cruise on the Ruby Princess scheduled to sail during April break.
For what has become our annual summer cruise, my search for the new and different in 2014 resumed. We’ve been talking about the Mediterranean for a number of years, but when it came time to book, we’d always end up somewhere else on the map. Finally, it’s settled. Next August, we are jumping the Princess ship and climbing aboard yet another – this time, Celebrity. Once again, for David, it was not an easy sell to choose Celebrity over Princess, but the price was right, the promo was one we couldn't refuse, and both were really enraptured with the brochure depicting all the fun we would have aboard the very beautiful Celebrity Reflection visiting Italy and Greece.
I can't wait to see what new cruise adventures await us in our retirement years ... some day. Maybe a transatlantic cruise? A repositioning cruise? A dirt-cheap last minute cruise only someone with a flexible schedule could possibly consider?
The possibilities are endless, so stay tuned!