What's the story of YOUR first cruise?

I've been a Camper/RV-er all my life. I had ZERO interest in taking a cruise, whatsoever. I was an Adirondack 46'er before my 18th birthday, and I had also backpacked parts of the Great Smokies, Cumberland Gap, and the Rockies. Then, my wife came home 1 day in June 2011, and told me her parents were taking us, and her brother and his girlfriend on Allure of the Seas the following May. I was not pleased. I tried my damnedest to fight it. Finally, by Christmas, i succumbed and agreed to go.

Finally May 12, 2012 rolled around, and we left Buffalo for Ft Lauderdale. Being my wife's first time on a plane, I had to push her through the door, where she stopped like a cat trying to not go into the bathtub. Still not amused with the fact I was missing the 2nd week of Spring Turkey season, We arrived in Ft Lauderdale, and took a taxi to the Lago Mar resort, where they had screwed up our reservations. I was certain this was a sign that this family of 6 vacation was going to be a NIGHTMARE. We had dinner at Bubba Gump's, and returned to our hotel, dreading the next 7 days.

We awoke early, about 430am to all fight for a shower, and get dressed for boarding day. I brought my best Magnum PI Hawaiian Shirt, Detroit Tigers hat, and grew a beautiful salty mustache to try to make the best of it. Standing on the ocean facing balcony I looked out to sea, and I saw it in all of it's Mammoth glory, pulling into port - Allure of the Seas. At the time, it was the largest Cruise Ship in the world, as Harmony of the Seas would not be laid down for another almost 2 years. Just her Physical presence in the early morning hours pulling into the port impressed me.

We gathered our baggage in the lobby at around 830am. My mother-in-law had be told the hotel had a shuttle...which was an outright lie. Standing in the lobby of the resort, i was the only one who didnt lose their temper, with the picture of my mind of the massive ship pulling into the port. This was the first point I had started to turn around. I pulled out my Blackberry Curve(that'll take ya back a few years) and furiously started scouring the internet for a transportation company in the area, when an elderly gentleman tapped me on the shoulder, and asked if we'd like to share the Hummer(H1) limo he had booked for he and his wife, to go to the port. After a quick conference with the family, and a symphony of thanks, we agreed.

Having been the only one to see the Allure, and in the dark at that, we began our short trek to the port, IN A FREAKING H1 LIMO! As we came to the crest of the A1A Drawbridge, the ship came into view...it absolutely DWARFED all of the other ships in the port, INCLUDING THE CONTAINER SHIPS! Everyone in the limo was glued to the windows as we crossed the bridge, and made the left into Port Everglades.

We pulled up to Pier 18, and the Limo driver assisted us removing our bags, we bid farewell to our new friends who shared their limo with us(they were taking a different ship, whose name escapes me, for their 60th wedding anniversary) All 6 of us stood infront of the porters, eyes skyward at the mammoth ship, towering over the building

Check-in was fairly simple, as my in-laws were experienced cruisers, and we made our way to the gold boarding lounge, where we had about an hours wait. We waited our turn to board, which was fairly fast, since we had arrived so early. Unable to see the ship, as there are no windows in the Terminal 18 boarding lounge, we talked about what we had already seen. Finally, it was our turn.


We walked through the door, and all we could see through the windows was the side of the ship, and the ground crew working in high gear to load provisions and luggage. We made our way up the gangway, and finally stepped on board, in the middle of the Promenade deck. We swiftly made our way to the Aft elevators, which we took to Deck 16 and the Windjammer. we stepped off, and into the Windammer to the sound of no less than 6 RCI employes exclaiming "WASHY WASHY" We proceeded into the 'Jammer, after washy washy-ing, and I began to fall in love. the vistas from the windjammer were absolutely amazing. As I hadnt eaten yet, the food was outstanding.

After eating (a little too much) we ventured down to Deck 11, where we had an interior room, which was available by 1200! we dumped our bags off, and decided to explore a bit. At this point, RCI had not converted the rear balconies of decks 11 and 12 to 1 bedroom Aquatheater suites, so they were actually PUBLIC smoking balconies! once we realized this, we explored a bit more, until it was time for the dreaded Muster Drill.

Again, never having been on a cruise ship, our muster station in the Amber Theater was an absolute shock! The sheer size, and complexity absolutely dumbfounded me. After the Muster Drill, we proceeded to the bar, and obtained drinks, and proceeded to the deck 11 Aquatheater balcony to watch the sail-away show.

Dinner in the MDR was the final straw. Just being on the bottom deck of the MDR, and looking up, and then the food! it was at this point that I finally conceded. I was in love with cruising. We were barely 3 hours clear of the port, and I was already trying to plan our next cruise!

Meanwhile, we are still major RV-ers, having purchased a 24' Travel Trailer in 2017, but 1 time per year, for 5 days or more, we live the wonderful cruise life

What is everyone else's story? I'd love to hear!

Tags: RCI RoyalCaribbean AllureOTS First-Time-Cruiser Newbie

23 Answers

Ah I love your story! If I had never been on a cruise before, just your account of your first cruise would be enough to make me even more excited for it! Mine seems much less glamorous, my boyfriend (at the time) also has a cruising website, and he had been on dozens and dozens (and dozens) of cruises all throughout his life. I had been revering cruising from afar, having never even seen a cruise ship in real life up until probably that year (2015). I was also working with him a bit on his site and it was high time I finally get on a ship and see what it was really like. So he booked a little 3-night Majesty of the Seas cruise out of Miami.

Anyone who loves the industry knows that Majesty is one of Royal's smallest and oldest ships right now so it wasn't much compared to brand-new, massive ships I've sailed since then, but at the time it was still wonderful. I think I remember being struck by how friendly the crew was, because you don't usually find that level of friendliness at shoreside places. It was my introduction to a form of travel that I'd been dying to try since high school. That cruise stopped at Nassau and CocoCay, which was a really fun beach/snorkeling day for us.

I've now taken eight cruises on five cruise lines, most of which have been for work either with him or here at Cruiseline.com but it never gets old! I'm hoping to hit double digits this year, but we'll see!

(Also, going on an Oasis class ship was SUCH a great choice on your family's part for your first cruise! I have sailed Symphony and I can't believe how beautiful and well designed that ship is.)

Our first cruise was a sort of delayed honeymoon. We had decided in October of 2006 that we wanted to get married and had agreed on Dec 24. Shortly after, my wife to be who had been on a few previous cruises suggested that we book one as a honeymoon since we did not have one planned. My parents were avid cruisers and 30 years earlier I had considered going on a cruise but things had not worked out so the idea thrilled me. We started looking at various lines and itineraries and finally set on NCL and because money was tight at the time used an online cruise TA and on Black Friday booked an outside cabin for a 10 day southern Caribbean from Manhattan on the NCL Spirit. A few weeks later we were offered an upgrade. The initial amount was a bit higher than we were good with but after a time on hold the agent came back and for $35 each they would upgrade us to a balcony which we were able to pick while on the phone with the TA. Ended up with a midship deck 11 balcony which is why we are so hooked on those now. The cruise was embarked on January 23 2007. We left home at 5 AM on Jan 22 and headed for NY. Stopped in Parsippany NJ for the night and drove into the pier the next morning. First sight of the ship totally blew me away. Boarding was quick and smooth and all I could do when I got on board was stare and gawk at everything. Everything about the cruise was awesome and I was hooked. As soon as we got back I started planning to go again. I wanted to do the same itinerary for our 10th anniversary but some health issues came up and things changed. However in 6 weeks we are once again sailing from NY on the Gem on a very similar itinerary and I am sooo looking forward to this.

For many years I had wanted to try cruising but my husband imagined a cruise being like the Humphrey Bogart movie African Queen. Sitting on a deck with a lap robe watching shuffle board was not his idea of fun. So his answer was no and stop asking. Then in 1998 I won a cruise through our local grocery store and an oldies radio station. When I called him at work he was dubious, but agreed to go (I assured him I was going with or without him ... possibly taking my Mother as my traveling companion). It was a 4 day cruise on the Carnival Holiday out of LA with air fare included. There were 12 winners with their companions 8 representatives of the radio station and grocery store and 8 listeners to the radio station in our group. We flew from Denver to LA, caught the shuttle bus to the ship and had an easy and quick boarding. We had an interior cabin and it was filled with more surprises. We had a bottle of "champagne", radio station memorabilia, t-shirts and an itinerary of special events. While the ship was small ( we of course didn't know the difference) it was impressive and large enough to explore for the afternoon. My husband was still waiting for the "time share" talk, when it looked again at the cruise itinerary. It said: Carnival holiday sets sail at 4:00PM and arrive at Catalina Island 8:00AM. He could see Catalina Island and finally asked a crew member why it would take all night to get there. The crew member smiled and explained that the shops and casino couldn't open until we were 3 miles from shore so we would be doing "donuts" in the ocean all night. We shared the bottle of "champagne" as we set sail with streamers and confetti flying everywhere (yeas they were still doing that then). We had early dining with part of the group and got to know the radio hosts very well. There was a special event with the Coasters (the original group) and the Marveletts (most of the original), which included a costume contest. We found sitting up on the open decks in the late evening delightful and the food abundant. Needless to say we were "hooked" and have just completed our 41st cruise.

P.S. Now we book a balcony rather than relying on the open deck and we still have "champagne" as we set sail.

Since my wife and I have been married we have talked about doing a cruise but having kids early on cruising with them was beyond our budget and a week long vacation without them was something we did not want to do so we always picked less expensive vacations closer to home. The Christmas before our 25th anniversary I opened up a box with a shirt and a Bermuda book while facetiming with our son and DIL. I was having trouble understanding why we were doing that for a shirt and a book about Bermuda but when I opened up the book our itinerary for the cruise was in there. Needless to say I was very excited. Later in the day I asked her if we could really afford this and I was told now that the kids have for the most part moved out and we have cut our grocery bill down to about 25% of what it used to be added to other expenses being less we were able to save almost all of the money throughout the year and only had a little more to go. She had also told the kids to not get anything for us for Christmas but instead put money towards our cruise if they wanted to.

Less than 5 months later we boarded the NCL Dawn (which at the time I thought was huge) in Boston to go to Bermuda. I was on the boat for less than 10 minutes before I told my wife that I felt that it would not be our last cruise. After the 7 days of cruising the first day back I was on the computer looking for our next cruise.

We were late starters(50 years old) to the vacationing outside of our home province. We had 3 kids whose interests and sporting activities took all our time, energy and money. Time went on and our kids were heading off to post secondary and we were experiencing the empty nest syndrome.

My wife suggested then we go on a cruise. Well, I was not a fan of water and I also have a terrible fear of heights and cruising did nothing to appease that anxiety. She persisted and I buckled under and gave it a shot.

My first steps into the atrium of our first cruise ship was a gob smacker. The decor, the shine,the food, the atmosphere had me enthralled. Over the first few days I got to experience the food, drinks, entertainment, etc and was hooked. We have 11 cruises completed and 2 more booked for this May.

My fear of heights has not gotten any better but my love of cruising has grown and I manage to work it out.

I was pretty much raised on cruise ships! Been going on them since I was 5 years old and I'm now in my 30's.

My first ship was the S.S Meridian on Celebrity. Now the ship has sunk. Originally, it was an ocean liner. I even remember having to step over the threshholds to get in and out of the cabin and restrooms!

When I first saw the ship, my eyes got as big as saucers and all I could think was "you....want me....to get on THAT?!?!?!" At the time, the Meridian was the biggest thing I've ever seen in my life!

In 2017, almost 25 years to the day, we decided to repeat the itinerary of that first cruise, but on Celebrity Summit. It went from NY to Bermuda, just like the Meridian.

Now, here I am, 19 cruises later preparing my niece (who's 7) for her first cruise at the end of the month! I can't wait to show her everything I loved when I was her age on the ship!

Planned and planned it more years ago than Im willing to admit, and we had no idea what we were doing either.....2 weeks before departure, she got bad news from a routine mammo. well, depending on your point of view, it was good news in a way. caught it so early, and so small, they figured a lumpectomy would work, but full course of radiation and chemo after. Oncologist said it was ok to go on our cruise, but surgery etc scheduled ASA we got back...needless to say, our hearts and minds weren't on the cruise. Happened to be on the Norwegian Spirit. Well, we went, and she went thru the journey ASA we got back. So I get this brilliant idea. I called NCL, booked the same ship same cabin AGAIN. a DO-OVER! Your ever try to book a cruise on the QT? including paying for it etc etc? well, that second cruise was, shall we say, memorable. So now we're up to #23, on a dozen+ different ships, and 3 different lines, but the SPIRIT remains my favorite ship for all time, and she's still cancer free.

We too have a soft spot for the Spirit as it too was our first

The first cruise, for those of us with the addition, always has a special place in our heart!

Great Stories!

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