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30 Years Of Cruisin’

#TravelThursday continues, and in this edition we visit the Western Caribbean via cruise ship. Exactly 30 years ago this morning – August 19TH 1991 – I awoke on a cruise ship at sea for the first time ever.

My Mom and Dad asked me if I wanted to go on a cruise with them and my little brother earlier in 1991, and (not knowing much about cruise ships at the time) – I said “YES !”.

They all flew down to Miami from the Washington D.C. area, and I drove up from 30 miles away. (I live in South Florida.) We embarked on the Norwegian Seaward – a fairly-new 3-year-old ship at the time. I believe there were 4 ports-of-call on the itinerary in the Bahamas, Grand Cayman Island, Ocho Rios Jamaica, and Cozumel Mexico (don’t remember the exact order). It was a 7-day cruise, and I pretty much fell in love with cruising during that week.

Ocho Rios stands out the most from that cruise. I remember doing a shore excursion with my family on a boat or a raft from the top of a hill, and we sailed slowly down a lazy river back to sea level as our host / guide sang to us. I always thought that it was Dunn’s River Falls, but you can only walk up and down those steeper falls – you can’t be on a boat or a raft on it. That trip down a river was likely part of a larger full-day coach tour of the island. Of course this was 30 years ago, so I don’t remember everything about it.

Ocho Rios also stands out in that I haven’t been back since on any other cruise or otherwise. I’ve been to the Bahamas, Grand Cayman Island, and Cozumel Mexico many times since that first cruise. I’ve been to Cozumel more than any other cruise ship port (by far).

My first 3 cruises were on Norwegian Cruise Line from 1991 to 1995. I then went on my first of 14 Carnival cruises in 1999. I’ve also been on Royal Caribbean and Disney.

I wrote about my 10TH Anniversary Carnival Imagination cruise in September 2009. Read it here.

I’ve got my 15TH Carnival cruise booked, and it’ll be my 23RD cruise overall. I’ll be visiting the “ABC Islands” – Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao.

I had two back-to-back poor cruising experiences on Norwegian in January 2013 and Carnival in May 2014. After those two cruises – I kind of decided that it would be the end of the cruising era of my life. They were my 19TH and 20TH cruises, and I thought that perhaps I’d “retire” after 20 and rediscover Florida and America rather than the Caribbean.

I actually lost my desire to cruise for a few years after that. But that didn’t last long. My brother and sister-in-law invited me to be a part of a short 4-day family cruise on Disney out of Miami, and I said “YES !”.

It was my first cruise in nearly 4 years, and my 21ST cruise overall. It was also a fantastic cruise that greatly exceeded my expectations for a Disney cruise. The food was outstanding, and the entertainment was a lot of fun. I also relived my youth (OK – 30s) out on the dancefloor on that cruise !

9 months later – I was on my 22ND cruise – back on Carnival. I booked it 2½ weeks after I returned home from that Disney cruise. Unlike my previous Carnival cruise nearly 5 years earlier this one was a fantastic one.

So now I have my 23RD cruise booked – also on Carnival. I actually booked it 11 months in advance about a month before COVID swept the world, and it was ultimately canceled, so I rebooked it. I’m so looking forward to visiting the “ABC Islands”. I’ve been to Aruba and Curaçao before (on a Carnival cruise in October 2012), but I’ve never been to Bonaire.

I still plan to continue to rediscover Florida and America in the years to come – particularly post-retirement, but I won’t rule-out cruising. I’d like to take another TransAtlantic cruise in the future. My cruise from Rome Italy to Miami Florida in 2007 (on Carnival) remains as the greatest of all of the cruises I’ve experienced.

Join me next #TravelThursday as we visit another location on the face of this earth.

They keep you safe on your way, and your feet will not stumble. You can go to bed without fear. You will lie down and sleep soundly. You need not be afraid of sudden disaster or the destruction that comes upon the wicked, for the LORD is your security. He will keep your foot from being caught in a trap. (Proverbs 3:23-26 NLT)

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