Our First Cruise

Facebook and Google photos were both kind enough to remind us last week of the fact that this time last year we were sailing around the Mediterranean on Celebrity Constellation. Since we can’t be there now, we thought we’d take the chance to tell you about our experience on our first cruise.

We first got into the idea of going on a cruise around 3 years ago. Brianna’s parents are big fan of cruising, and the four of us would spend hours talking about their past adventures and experiences on board. After a few years of chats, watching travel vlogs on cruises, and scouring cruise ship websites, we decided to take the plunge and book our own cruise. We decided to go with Celebrity, as they had been highly recommended. We browsed the website, found the itinerary for us and booked our 9 night adventure aboard the Celebrity Constellation. The only thing left to do was begin the countdown.

We were setting sail from Venice, and opted to fly out to Italy the day before. We preferred to arrive a day early, as it meant we weren’t rushing around airports the day of sailing. We arrived to Venice quite late in the evening, so we chose to stay at an airport hotel, rather than paying for one in Venice itself, as we only needed somewhere to put our heads and grab a shower.

The excitement in our room the next morning was palpable – neither one of us are morning people, but we had no problem getting out of bed that morning! We got dressed, jumped in a taxi and made our way to the cruise terminal. There’s nothing like that moment when you first see your ship sitting waiting for you to board. We couldn’t wait to get through security and start our adventure. So much so that we had a major hiccup that ended up putting us boarding back a few hours, and caused a good amount of panic between the two of us.

One of the requirements for security is to have your passport ready as a form of identification. A simple enough requirement. The only problem was that Iain had 2 passports with him, and Brianna had one, and all three are burgundy in colour. That morning when we were getting ready to leave we foolishly threw 2 into a backpack, and the third into a suitcase, without thinking to check them. Fast forward to the terminal and we were eagerly handing our cases over to the staff so we could go check in. But then disaster hit when we were asked for our passports. The realisation hit as soon as we pulled them out of the backpack that something was wrong. Both passports belonged to Iain! We quickly explained our predicament to the member of staff at check-in and took off to where our cases had been dropped off. It was too late though – they had been placed on a conveyor belt and were now probably in a room full of thousands of suitcases.

The realisation quickly dawned on us that Brianna wouldn’t be able to board the ship without a passport, and our stomachs plummeted to the floor. A few members of staff obviously noticed our visible distress, and set about trying to find a way around the problem. Eventually they tracked down someone who could retrieve our suitcases. It was a long, anxious wait, made worse by watching people happily check in and head for the ship, but eventually we saw him enter with our cases – we can’t remember the last time we were so happy to see someone with luggage. Needless to say we couldn’t thank him enough. Finally we were able to check in. After a quick wait, we were through the security and walking towards the ship, passes in hand.

Greeted by a glass of cold fizz, we were buzzing with excitement and relief as we stood in awe in the foyer. How could this be a ship? It was more like a building, like the reception of a grand hotel. As we sipped our champagne we took it all in, unable to believe this was our home for the next 9 nights. Now the adventure could really begin.

Drinks onboard

The next 9 nights were without a doubt the best holiday we’ve ever experienced, both together and separately. By the end of the first night we were sitting at the Sunset Bar on the phone to Brianna’s parents exclaiming that we were already planning our next cruise. Everything about it was amazing. The food, both in the buffet and the main restaurant were among the best we’ve had. Celebrity are supposedly known for good food, and it didn’t disappoint. Night after night the dinners had our mouths watering, and exercising self-control at the lunch time buffet was pretty much impossible. And the drinks! We’d opted for an alcoholic drinks package. Let’s just say that once you get to know the bar staff you’re never long without one.

And that brings us on to the next thing – the staff. Easily the best staff we’ve ever met. They couldn’t do enough for everyone, constantly bending over backwards to make sure every passenger on board was enjoying themselves, and smiling the whole time. We honestly don’t know how they did it. There were staff we’d see working on the buffet during the day, and then waiting tables in the evening. They just didn’t seem to stop.

We found the entertainment on board to be better than we were expecting. We went to the show nearly every night, and always had a great time. There was a Motown night which was so good we ended up seeing it twice, and a hypnotist who had the entire audience doubled over in laughter as he made members of the audience unknowingly make fools of themselves. We also went to an Abba night, and best of all a silent disco. If you’ve never been to one, we highly recommend it. Hours of fun, both with headphones and without.

Finally, the stops. We were on cruise sailing from Venice into Barcelona. We stopped in Croatia, first in Zadar and then in Dubrovnik. It was our first time in Croatia, and we’ll definitely be going back one day. Next it was on to Sicily, then Malta. Round to Majorca, up to Valencia, before finally arriving in Barcelona, wrapped up with 2 days at sea. We chose to do our own thing in each spot, rather than book excursions. We tended to spend the mornings exploring the destinations, and then take the afternoon to enjoy the ship. In the end, even though we loved all our stops, it was our time on the ship that we enjoyed the most. We loved chilling out on our balcony, or standing at the aft of the ship watching the water churn up. And nothing beats a sunset at sea.

Sunrise in Valletta

When the time arrived for us to disembark in Barcelona we were filled with a bittersweet feeling. The past week and half had been amazing. We did end up booking another cruise while we were on board. Sadly though it’s been cancelled due to Covid. So, the only thing to do now is to start planning another one!

If you’re on the fence about booking a cruise – do it! They’re 100% worth the money. Where else can you have unlimited food and drink, great entertainment, first class service and wake up somewhere new every day? We can’t wait until we’re back on board.

views from The Sunset Bar

Until then, stay safe and keep planning the next adventure!

Brianna and Iain


Dream Vacations

For many of us, vacations we had been planning for months, maybe years, have been cancelled or postponed due to COVID-19. It’s been easy to begin feeling down about the situation – we know there’s been days where we’ve felt frustrated and trapped because it all. And while travel restrictions are slowly beginning to lift, we think we’ve a while to go before we can start to move freely again.

So, with that in mind, we decided it would be fun to make today’s blog post about a few of the dream vacations we want to go on one day in the future, to help us escape everyday life and start looking forward to the days when we can travel again.

So here it is – our top 6 places we’d jet off to immediately if given the chance (in no particular order):  

A Dream vacation for us!

Tahiti/Bora Bora –because we’ve had our sights set on staying in an over water bungalow in the Polynesian Islands for quite some time now.

South Africa – because we love the idea of going on a safari and seeing wildlife in their own habitat

Antarctica – again because we’d love to get the chance to see some incredible wildlife, and we feel like it would be a truly unique trip.

West Coast of America – because driving along the Pacific Coast Highway looks incredible, plus Iain’s never had the chance to try In N Out.

Japan – because it looks like such an incredibly unique place to visit – unlike anywhere we’ve ever been.

New  Zealand – because the scenery looks so beautiful, and because we’re both Lord of the Rings fans.

We hope it’s not too long before we get the chance to start visiting some of these incredible places.

Until then, stay safe and keep planning the next adventure!

Brianna & Iain