There is an entire world happening out on the blue seas; one that finds massive ships like Carnival Cruise Line’s Conquest cruising around the world. At 110,000 gross tonnes, 1,150 crew members and a capacity for 2,980 guests aboard, the Conquest is a veritable small town on the sea. Within these sea-faring vessels there is so much to do and so many personal connections to be made. Cruising isn’t just about the memories and sights for us, it’s about the people we have the opportunity to meet!
The Conquest truly has something for everyone; the pools, hot tubs, spa, dance lessons, the casino, nightly shows, comedy club, fabulous dining and tasty Mocktails are a few of my favourites. I will be writing about them all but today I want to talk about the connections which we always make on cruises. This was the first time we cruised without our daughters and the first time we were with friends. This was to be a new kind of travelling experience and we were very excited to get things started!
Brad and I were recently invited onto the Conquest to enjoy an 8 day cruise throughout the Southern Caribbean with stops in Grand Turk, Dominican Republic, Curacao and Aruba. When our cruise day came, we met up with Stacey of This Lil Piglet, Tammilee of Tammilee Tips and their husbands to get aboard! What a treat it was to be sailing with fellow writers whom we had the chance to get to know better. We had met Stacey, her husband and Tammilee before but this was our first chance to hang out with Tammilee’s husband John and what a fine way to get to know someone!
The six of us began our cruise with couples massages at the spa, frankly this isn’t something Brad and I would splurge on but with the other couples doing it we jumped in on the fun. Oh man what an experience! We chose a bamboo massage that left us ohhing and ahhing about how good we felt. This was well worth the the price, Brad and I really enjoyed having the massage together and were completely relaxed as our cruise began. TIP: If you’re considering having a spa treatment on a Carnival cruise, I suggest going on the 1st day as there are some lovely discounts to be had.
We had a few days at sea where the couples broke off to do their own thing during the daytime and we met at the dining room in the evenings. This is a fun way to cruise with other couples, it allows everyone to check out what they want to, have alone time and then we all shared our experiences in the evenings.
Thanks to the fabulous new wifi aboard the Conquest, we were all able to keep our Facebook messenger open to shout out to each other throughout the day. If you’ve ever crusied before, you’ll understand when I say how grateful I am for the internet improvements…I was even able to Skype my children in the evenings and check emails here and there.
Each day on the cruise, Brad and I made new connections. In the dining room we chose to sit at a table with people we didn’t know over breakfast. You’re given this option on a cruise in the dining rooms and it’s a fab way to meet new people. This found us meeting two fascinating ladies from Germany, a man from Kentucky and a man from New York who loved to pull my leg. During conversation at the Black Jack table (oh I adore me some Black Jack!) I ended up in conversation with a chap who is also in recovery from alcoholism and then spent time with his group of friends on the cruise.
These are just a few examples of connections which happened naturally with other cruisers; there were also some fantastic crew members who really went out of their way and their personalities shone through. Wee Jimmy the Cruise Director was a hoot! He could get everyone in the mood to join in on the fun and went out of his way to make each person feel valued. Wee Jimmy even managed to get our group dancing in the DJ booth on the Lido deck one evening during the late night party!
Brad and I stayed in a balcony room which found us enjoying coffee together while watching for dolphins, which by the way eluded me the entire trip. This sounds like bliss right? Well after 13 years of marriage, we had rarely had such time alone together and frankly at first it was a bit off-putting. There was no noise from the girls, no demands from the household, business or outside world. We suddenly had oodles of time to just BE together and it took a bit of getting used to.
That may not sounds romantic but it’s the truth, we hadn’t realized how we’d become so used to a high-paced daily living until we were able to slow down. We ended up talking…really, really talking about our relationship. The strengths and the weaknesses and over the course of this cruise we were able to connect again in a way that was different to us. It wasn’t a showy connection but one which is rooted in our foundation of partnership.
It’s difficult to describe but so important to recognize. We had no idea that we’d been neglecting our relationship as we were focusing on every other relationship in our lives. Ultimately during the cruise we acknowledged that we’d been doing this and set a tone which we’ve brought back home with us.
Crusing with friends was an awesome experience, one we will definitely repeat. We will also probably leave the kids at home again one day…because our relationship deserves it!
Disclosure: We were on a press trip with Carnival Cruise Line; all opinions are our own.