To be, or not to be cruise people; that is the question.

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I’ve taken ferries, and love them. But a cruise? Photo by Charish Badzinski.

BackpackMr and I are planning on taking a cruise for the first time ever.

We’ve always thought of ourselves as intrepid travelers, the kind who wander off the all-too-well-beaten path. The type who seek out authentic, immersive experiences. The type who for the most part eschew the coddled settings of all-inclusives and four-star hotels and guided tours in favor of ramshackle food carts and humble, family-run lodging.

The type who actually don’t like set dinner times, awkward small talk with strangers and being herded.

Yet we’ve heard you: cruises can be fun.

On the flip side of our inclination to think of ourselves as something other than cruise people is our secret, guilty pleasure of binge watching back episodes of The Love Boat. Singing the theme song in a variety of voices, cheering for Charo, coo-chee, coo-chee, coo, and celebrating the parade actors and personalities of the 80s. Swooning with couples cuddling up on the Lido deck. Following the escapades of Julie and Doc Bricker and Gopher and Isaac and Captain Stubing. Partying with the people in the ACLO…the Acapulco Lounge. And of course, booing Vicky, the forth horseman of the apocalyptic show conclusion, the final time they set sail on the Pacific Princess.

I read too late that there was, in fact, a Love Boat themed cruise a year or two back. I was profoundly saddened to have missed it.

Come to think of it, I did enjoy the luxurious overnight ferry from Helsinki to Stockholm. I liked it, a lot.

The overnight ferry from Helsinki to Stockholm is the closest I’ve gotten to a cruise. Champagne brunch? Don’t mind if I do! Photo by Charish Badzinski.

So, this is our chance to find out if we are cruise people, aboard a Holland America cruise to the Western Caribbean in March.

Rest assured, we’re paying out of pocket, so I’ll give you an honest review! I also hope to document some of our experiences along the way, or shortly thereafter, via this blog, Twitter and Instagram.

We’ll have stops in the Bahamas, Jamaica, Grand Cayman and Mexico. We do love great food and dressing up for occasions and seeing the world. So with that in mind, let the shenanigans on the sea begin.

What do you think makes travelers “cruise people?”

Do you have any tips for our first cruise? What should we pack? What secrets should we know beforehand? 


Charish Badzinski is an explorer and award-winning features, food and travel writer. When she isn’t working to build her blog: Rollerbag Goddess Rolls the World, she applies her worldview to her small business, Rollerbag Goddess Global Communications, providing powerful storytelling to her clients.

Posts on the Rollerbag Goddess Rolls the World travel blog are never sponsored and have no affiliate links, so you know you will get an honest review, every time.

Find Charish on Twitter: @rollrbaggoddess and on Instagram at @rollerbaggoddess. You can also read more about Charish Badzinski’s professional experience in marketing, public relations and writing.

Rollerbag Goddess Rolls the World by Charish Badzinski is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.



2 thoughts on “To be, or not to be cruise people; that is the question.

  1. We’ve taken two cruises, got married on the first one in St. Thomas. I’m sorta like you, feel like my travels should be more authentic, but we had an absolute blast on both our trips. Our second cruise was this a similar route on a different cruise line. A few things I advise you on: 1) Don’t take the cruise tours. They are expensive and crowded and less authentic. We found one thing we wanted to do at every stop and navigated on our own and it was fabulous. 2) Stay away from Carlos n Charlies unless you want to come close to missing your ship (nuf said). 3) If you want to snorkel, go as early in the day as you can. By midday there are too many tourists and the water is far too churned up. Or better yet, skip it, drink a mai tai on the beach instead and leave our precious tropical reefs and fishies alone. 4) If you’re on the island, don’t tell the shop owners that you’re on the cruise. We found out when we stayed on St. Thomas sans cruise that many stores upcharge cruise passengers because they know it’s one day and out.


    Liked by 1 person

    1. This is amazing advice, Cathy! Thank you so much. I truly appreciate the tip on authenticity and excursions! Also, ages ago we went to a Carlos and Charlies, so we know the tomfoolery that one can get trapped into there! I also had never thought about the sand getting churned up, but that makes total sense. Great advice too on treatment by the shopkeepers! We aren’t much for shopping, but you never know when something might catch your eye. I appreciate the help!


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