Can an independent traveler find vacation bliss on a cruise ship?
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I approached my first-ever cruise with conflicting feelings. On the one hand, my vision of what big-ship cruising was all about -- endless amounts of food, group activities every minute of the day and theme bars galore -- was sort of enticing. You must understand how hard that is for me to admit. I am a self-proclaimed independent traveler -- in my mind, the antithesis of the stereotypical cruiser.
But here's the conundrum: What intrigued me about cruising was exactly what scared me a little too. What would I have in common with my fellow cruisers?
I have never played bingo in my life and to tell you the
truth, buffets seem overwhelming. I worried that my
stateroom would be so tiny it would feel claustrophobic.
I felt a little angst about being trapped in a theater
forced to watch cheesy Broadway renditions. I imagined
lines, lines everywhere. Add to that the fact that I would be
sailing on a Carnival ship -- the cruise line that has dubbed
its fleet the "Fun Ships."
"We'll just see about that," I thought.
But I promised my husband I'd take a chance on cruising --
and go with an open mind.
The day finally came to board the ship, Carnival Triumph,
which was sailing a four-night cruise to Canada from New York.
I was first struck by the size of the ship -- when my taxi pulled up
to the ship's terminal, all I could see was what looked like miles of
white steel dotted with circular windows (it actually measures over
100,000 tons, has 13 decks, and carries nearly 3,000 passengers
plus more than 1,000 crew members). I would soon find out why
the ship needed to be so big -- it boasts four swimming pools,
seven whirlpools, nine bars, a giant casino, a theater and two
Off to a good start. But in the elevator on the way to my stateroom,
an obviously intoxicated woman looking for the buffet (we hadn't
even left the port yet -- how did she have time to get so drunk?)
was a bit ... startling. And she wasn't the only one. A quick lap
around the main pool revealed several already-sunburnt cruisers
in the same predicament........
--written by Genevieve S. Brown
To read more: http://www.independenttraveler.com/travel-tips/specialty-travel/cruising-for-independent-travelers