A to Z of Cruising – B is for…

Next up on my A to Z of cruising is the letter B.  Why not sit on a beautiful beach with a book before heading to the bars and buffet and leaving the captain to look after the bridge?

Beaches

Where do I start? Beaches are in abundance on island cruises and so wherever you visit, you are never very far from a beach.  Some people like the beach and others not so much, usually because in general, sand gets everywhere!  But if you can get over the sand it’s well worth a day relaxing on a beach.

The Caribbean is the ideal destination to cruise to if you are a beach lover.  There are over a thousand islands that make up the Caribbean so there is sure to be a beach out there for you.  On my most recent cruise to the Caribbean, I visited Magen’s Bay on St Thomas, voted one of the best beaches in the world.  Read about my visit to Magens Bay here.

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The journey from the cruise port to Magens Bay was very hilly so it’s definitely not walkable, I’d suggest a taxi or shuttle bus but be ready for a something not far off a white-knuckle ride if you decide to take the shuttle bus – and watch out, there are no doors!  When you arrive at Magens Bay, you pay a $5 entry fee per person.  My top tip when visiting Magens Bay is to head to the far end of the beach from where the car park is situated.  When we were dropped off by our taxi we found a spot on the end nearest car park – which appeared to be what everyone else had also done.  When we took a walk along the shore line we realised that the other end was far less busy and more like the Caribbean beaches you see in photos.

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If you have time on your sea days in between all the eating, drinking and activities that are on offer, it’s good to take yourself away to a sun lounger with a good book.  I’ve recently read Ruth Ware’s The Woman in Cabin 10, which I’d highly recommend (read my review here).  Alternatively, here are my five recommended reads for summer 2017.

Bars

There is no shortage of bars on cruise ships and no doubt after a few days on board you will gravitate to your favourite ones. On my last cruise we talked about doing a bar crawl to visit every one on the ship but we are yet to accomplish this feat! One of my favourite cocktails on board is a margarita.  This was my first drink for the sail away on my last cruise!

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Buffet

I cannot write this blog post without mentioning the buffet!  It seems that it is such a big part of cruising and likely to be one of the first places that many cruisers head once they get on board.  Each cruise line calls their buffet something different, on Princess Cruises it’s the Horizon Court, on Royal Caribbean it’s called the Windjammer and The Garden Cafe on NCL.  Whatever it is called, the buffets on cruise ships share one thing in common: there’s a whole lot of food!

The selections on the buffet will change throughout the day from breakfast, to lunch, to dinner seamlessly so that whatever time of day you decide to visit the buffet, there will be an array of delicious options to choose from.  The good thing about the buffet is that it allows you to try new things without having to commit to a whole plate of it.

Here are three common mistakes I’ve made at the buffet:

  1. Loading my plate as I go.  Sometimes this means that by the time I’ve made it around the buffet some of my selections are cold.  Try looking around first to scout out the selection before loading your plate.
  2. Sitting down to eat to find that someone else who I’m with has found something really nice to eat that I never spotted. See above.
  3. Sitting down to eat and looking at my plate to find it’s an absolute is a miss-match of different cuisines.  Don’t try and fit everything on one plate, go back to the buffet a few times so that you don’t have to fit comfort food and sushi on the same plate!

I could write a whole blog post on the buffet (note to self) so look out for one coming soon.

Bridge

This is where the captain and officers run the ship.  It’s not open to passengers but can be accessed on some ship tours.  If you’re interested in going on a tour of your cruise ship, stop by passenger services at the beginning of your cruise to find out more.

You can also take a look at where cruise ships are sailing by visiting bridge cam website, Cruisin.

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I hope you enjoyed reading this selection on cruising ‘B’s.  If you have any suggestions to add to this post I would be really interested to hear from you, this is by no means an exhausted list and will be updated when more topics are recommended.

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