I’m not quite sure what I expected a cruise to be like but the unknown was incredibly exciting! I had a couple of concerns… Would I feel claustrophobic, not being able to get off the boat for long periods of time? Would I feel seasick? I went with an open mind and tried to push my worries to the back of it. Here are 9 things I didn’t expect from a cruise. There were definitely some surprises…
1. Checked in luggage goes straight to your cabin
It was a nice surprise that as a cruise passenger with TUI on the Marella Celebration, checked in cases are taken off the aeroplane and brought directly to your cabin on the ship. No need to queue at baggage reclaim! The procedure was the same at the end of the vacation. Simply leave your suitcase outside your cabin before you go to sleep and it gets taken to the aeroplane for you. You do not have to check it in. This saved a lot of time and when travelling solo, one thing less to carry is appealing. It did feel quite strange leaving my case unattended outside my cabin though.
2. Drinks packages
I paid for an all inclusive drinks package at the time of booking. What I didn’t realise was this only offered a limited selection of spirits, house wine and soft drinks. To get a larger selection there was a supplement of £50. Therefore, bear in mind that if you are particular about the brands of spirits, mixers and wines you enjoy then it may be best to allow £50 to upgrade to a premium package.
3. Vibrations onboard
I was surprised at how much the boat vibrated at times. Sometimes it was more noticeable than others. I sat in the theatre one evening and when holding a drink, it was impossible to stop my hand from shaking. It wasn’t a problem and the longer I was onboard the less I was aware of it. However, I didn’t expect this from a cruise.
Wifi was not free and as I needed to stay in touch with people it worked out quite costly for me. The packages started from £8 for an hour. With hindsight I would have contacted my mobile network to see if there was an alternative, cheaper, data plan.
5. No window in my cabin
This wasn’t a problem because cabins with windows were quite a lot more expensive. However, I found it amusing that there were a set of drawn curtains where you would expect a window to be. This gives the impression that there is a window there. But when you pull back the curtains, it is a wall. It worked quite well actually and certainly made the room feel less claustrophobic.
6. Extra charges
There are additional charges for certain items even with an all inclusive and premium package. Crisps and nuts are positioned around some of the bar areas but you will need to pay for these. On a very hot afternoon, ice creams were offered around by the pool but these still needed to be paid for. There is also a chargeable mini bar in the cabins with a selection of soft, alcoholic drinks and chocolate.
7. Solo Activities
On arrival, there was a letter in my cabin from a lady named Debbie who was the Social Hostess onboard. She invited me for lunch in one of the restaurants the following day to meet other passengers who were travelling alone. There was also an opportunity to meet for a drink before dinner with other solo travellers in one of the bars one evening. This is a nice touch for those who actively wish to get in touch with other solo travellers while they are on holiday.
TUI were very serious about hygiene. Hand sanitisers were positioned everywhere! Guests and crew were expected to sanitise their hands often to prevent illness while onboard. Members of staff would remind you too if you accidentally walked into a restaurant without having done it.
I felt there was a lack of shaded areas to enjoy the sun loungers. The 3 main sunbathing decks were all in direct sunlight with very limited shade and no parasols. The decks to the sides of the ships were shaded and they did have sun loungers, however, these areas also allowed smoking. Not ideal for the non smokers and those who are sensitive to cigarette smoke. I didn’t expect this on a cruise.
Click on TUI’s website for more information about the Marella Celebration Cruise. You may also find the following posts useful…
Cruise – Detailed information about the cruise and links to day trips while in port
Solo Travel Destinations – other places I recommend for solo travel