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Cruising to the Bahamas
Bangkok (Thailand), December 12th 2009

The parents of Edwin celebrated their 40 years wedding anniversary this year and wanted to celebrate this occasion in a special way. They wanted to treat their children with their spouses and the grandchildren to a holiday in Florida. The ambitions were high, as they wanted it to be a holiday that nobody of us had ever done before. First, we stayed in Orlando to explore its surrounding attractions. After a few days, we travelled through the Everglades to reach Miami. In Miami we will board The Majesty of the Seas for a five day cruise through the Caribbean. We find it difficult to imagine what a cruise will be like. We constantly have the stereotype image in mind that can be described as a large ship full with old gentlemen and ladies. The ladies would wear shining pearls around their necks and the old gentlemen would be surrounded with a lot of heavy aftershave. This image has never allured us to book a cruise, but we can’t wait to see if our visions are correct. Because we really don’t know what to expect, we really look forward to board the Majesty of the Seas.

When boarding the ship in Miami, we are impressed by the size of the ship. A luxurious atmosphere is created by things like the golden coloured railings; the thick carpet and the live band that welcomes us. The ship can be compared with an enormous floating four star hotel. We have heard that there are even ships that have six stars instead of four, but we can’t imagine what people would like to have more than what this ship has aboard. There are 11 decks filled with fun and luxury. There are several restaurants, gyms, spas, a big theatre, a climbing wall, a basketball field and a swimming pool. To satisfy the sun lovers who want to work on their tan, the pool is placed on the eleventh deck. This way, every sunbeam can be collected. From the first moment onwards, the sun beds are well used. Completely against our expectations, we are seeing a lot of fashionable young girls and muscular young men. It doesn’t look anything like a floating old people’s home. Cruising in the Caribbean is definitely for all ages.

Edwin and Ivonne on the sun deck of the cruise ship

Perhaps the most important activity aboard is eating till you drop. During almost every hour of the day, you can enjoy the delicious food that is on offer. The variety is outstanding. All the food is included in the price, so there nothing to stop you from trying everything. A large buffet is set up for every meal, but during dinnertime you can also opt for a luxurious a-la-carte dining experience. The choice is yours.

When putting out to sea, we have splendid views on the skyline of Miami and the famous Miami Beach. The sun sets and we are getting ready for diner. This won’t take long to get used to: dining comfortably with the eight of us while the ship takes us to our new destination. We can surely understand that this is a main reason for people to choose for a cruise holiday. While enjoying yourself aboard, you get to a next destination without having to worry about a thing. The next morning, we wake up in the harbour of Nassau. Nassau is the capital of the Bahamas, which we explore on foot. After exploring the other parts of the island by taxi, we can completely understand why people are calling this a tropical paradise. When we have seen enough of the island, we get back on board. All the sightseeing has made us hungry, so we go immediately to a nice buffet to eat. The delicious food aboard is almost enough reason to book a cruise!

The next day, we go ashore at Coco Cay. This is an island that is leased by the shipping company and that serves as a private tropical holiday island for all their cruise guests. Sun, sea and beach activities are the major ingredients for this day; but obviously there is also great food on offer. When we get back at our staterooms to take a shower, a surprise awaits us. Everyday, our stateroom attendant makes beautiful animals from our towels. While everybody likes that little extra effort, four year old Tuur and eight year old Sam really appreciate it. During these days aboard, our towels transform for instance into elephants, swans and gibbons that hang on the curtain rod. The employees really put in every effort to make the cruise a memorable one for everyone. Certainly, they hope to get a higher tip in the end but when going on a cruise this is something to keep in mind. Tips are expected and are mostly not included in the price. The employees with higher functions are mostly westerners, but the other employees are without exception from lower wage countries. It is a pleasure to be surrounded by such a divers group of people. Indians, Bangladeshis, Peruvians, Bolivians and Colombians are all putting there best foot forward to make the guests comfortable. The wages that they are paid are very low, but the tips make it worthwhile for them to opt for this kind of job. They send the money back to their families at home; families that they only see once a year.

The swimming pool on deck 11 of the Majesty of the Seas
After diner, we head to the eleventh deck to gaze at the stars. The dancing floor is in full use and the reggae band is playing non-stop. At the end of the second full day of this cruise, the ship sets course for Key West where we spend the next day. We explore the artistic village filled with eccentrics that lies on the southernmost island of Florida. Body painters, travesties and people in their most beautiful Halloween costumes are filling the streets. When going back aboard, the last night of the cruise is already there. The food is marvellous as ever and we spend a big part of the evening playing basketball. After eating all that delicious food we certainly need the exercise. After watching a show in the large theatre, also this evening comes to an end. We say goodbye to our stateroom attendant, in case we don’t see him next morning. Sam is getting a bit emotional from the fact that this holiday is almost coming to an end and breaks into tears. Nobody likes to leave. We have had an incredible time together and everybody would like to extent it if it was possible.

The next morning we go ashore in Miami. We have experienced something completely new. Cruising is definitely not only for people of old age. Perhaps it is because we opted for a four star instead of a six star cruise, but the guests on our ship were of all ages. We can certainly imagine going on a cruise ship again, if we ever might get tired of backpacking. Cruising is a very relaxing way to see different places and to enjoy a lot of luxury and very good food. Moreover, it is a very nice way to go on a holiday with a group of people. Aboard there is something to do for everyone and this makes the holiday a success for all.

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