I haven’t been to a lot of other countries. That might surprise you, since I’m such a cosmopolitan and learned gentleman. But it’s true! Before last month the only foreign country I had ever been to was Canada. And, if we’re being honest (we are!), that doesn’t really count.
However, I was recently able to up my total of foreign countries visited to two! I mean, that’s not great, but there are people in America who have never been on a plane. So I guess it could be worse. Anyway, I took a cruise to the Bahamas (one of the most American ways possible to go about seeing another country), and these are my observations.
5. It Seems Like a Bargain…BUT
The initial reason a cruise seemed attractive was the price tag. I majored in journalism (good choice past Burk!), which means my bank account is less than robust. A cruise seemed like a good way to see a different part of the world for relatively cheap.
And it is! Kinda! See, the initial price per person isn’t that staggering at face value. I think when my girlfriend and I booked the trip it was between $250-$300 per person for an interior room–a room without a view, so to speak. Cruise lines conveniently forget to remind you that there are fees and taxes associated with that price, though. We actually ended up paying a little more than $400 per person.
Still, that doesn’t seem too bad for a room and all of your meals. Be prepared to get absolutely gouged on everything else, though.
The booze is really where they get you. Alcohol is marked up to airport bar and stadium concession stand prices. I want to drink a cold beer on my vacation as much as the next guy, but I also don’t want to pay $5 for a Bud Light. The mark up on the medicine in the little shop was even worse. Also, the cruise line will tack on a fee for gratuity, which can run you about $100.
4. The Staff is Incredibly Diverse
Our cruise left from Charleston, so I guess I assumed the majority of the crew would be American. I couldn’t have been more wrong. There were a few Americans (mostly people running the activities throughout the day), but, just on the first day alone, we encountered people from South Africa, Australia, England, Bulgaria, Mexico and a number of Asian countries.
Also, our cruise director was named Jacques and had an accent I was never able to place. During the first announcement, I briefly thought he might have been Jean Claude Van Damme fallen on hard times. That proved to be false when I failed to notice any significant splits doing or throat punching throughout the week.
Our ethnically ambiguous director aside, it was amazing that a crew that diverse was able to communicate and keep things running smoothly with little to no issue.