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Monday, June 27, 2016

Cruising--Then and Now

 Thirty-nine years ago, hubby and I went for a cruise on the Oceanic to Nassau in the Bahamas. We were celebrating our first anniversary. The ship could hold 1,600 passengers and 560 crew. We stayed in a small cabin with two narrow beds--separated from each other. There was a very small closet and small bathroom. Of course, we didn't spend much time in our room. There was plenty of entertainment and plenty of food--six meals a day, which included a fancy midnight buffet.  There was gambling, too, but hubby and I don't gamble.

This year, for our fortieth anniversary, we booked a cruise on the Carnival Sunshine to see the town of St. John in New Brunswick, Canada.  The Carnival Sunshine can hold 3,006 passengers and 1,150 crew, making it huge in comparison to the Oceanic.

Our cabin was compact but larger than the one we had on the Oceanic with a lot more storage space along with a bed big enough for the two of us together.

One of my daughter's friends compared it to a floating mall because in addition to lots of entertainment, the ship also has plenty of shops--all with sales, of course.

In the past 39 years, the cruise industry has perfected the art of parting you and your money. The key card used to open the door of your cabin is connected to your credit card. You swipe it for every beverage you drink along with every extra service or purchase you make. I purchased the Wifi for $35, which was the "value" Wifi. If I wanted a faster connection, it would have cost much more. But the value Wifi was all I needed to stay in touch via Facebook Messenger with my daughters.

Since it was an anniversary cruise, we were granted several extra amenities--a free bottle of wine with dinner, a meal at one of the exclusive restaurants, a free photo, and spa services. I didn't use the spa services, but everything else was great. :-)

While the Oceanic boasted six meals a day, the Carnival Sunshine offers twenty-four hours of food. The Sunshine also has more of everything and many, many options. My favorite places on the ship were the quiet places--like the Serenity deck or the Library. The Lido deck was always noisy--though in the evening there were movies on the big screen, which was awesome. Hubby and I enjoyed the Piano Bar where every evening Jimi played popular songs and everyone sang along. However, some nights the Piano Bar was too crowded--so we didn't venture in.

Our trip on the Sunshine was only four nights long--far too short. I think a longer cruise which stopped at a few more ports would have been more interesting. As it was, we were in St. John for a very brief amount of time.

Thirty-nine years ago, on the Oceanic, when we were in our cabin we could hear the engine grinding away all the time. On the Sunshine, we didn't hear the engine in our cabin. However, I did feel the bed chug-chug-chugging along with the movement of the ship. There wasn't much swaying back and forth, but the ocean was fairly calm. I'm sure there would be more swaying if the ocean was rough.

All in all, it was a nice diversion spent in pleasant company and it was over far too soon. It was wonderful to be pampered for a while.

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