The little cruise guide – Part 1
A cruise during the AuPair-year? Recently I have seen many AuPairs asking about cruises and I want to give you some tips and tell you about my experiences. I took three cruises so far: a Nile cruise, the Greek Islands in the Mediterranean, and a cruise in the Caribbean. Here is my little cruise guide – Part 1:
The biggest problem for AuPair-cruising…
Sadly, the biggest problem for AuPairs going on a cruise is their age. Most cruise-lines have age restrictions including the age when you may book a room on your own and when to cruise on your own. Age restrictions vary a bit between cruise-lines and locations. While in Europe and other areas you may book a stateroom when you are 18, many cruises in the US do not allow this until you are 21 (sometimes even 25) or when you are married or military. Here is a website giving an overview of the different cruise-lines and their restrictions http://cruises.affordabletours.com/search/AgeRequirements/ – please check with your preferred cruise-line for updates and changes!
You may get around some of the restrictions if you can travel together with someone who is 21 or 25 years of age, depending on the cruise-line. The older person will have to do the booking and is “responsible” for you.
Why do cruise-lines have these restrictions? Well, a main part is the availability of alcohol on the ships and connected with this the laws in the US and other countries.
I did all my cruises after being married and older than 25 – please tell us your story if you were younger!
Location & Itineraries of my cruises
As said above I did three different types of cruises:
- The Nile was a river cruise, a slow moving body of water, no waves, and very smooth. We where there with a German tour of Berge & Meer and also stayed in Hurghada and Cairo. Our cruise itinerary for the 7 nights was: Luxor, Esna, Edfu, Kom Obo, Assuan, and most of those stops back.
- The cruise in the Mediterranean was along the the Greek Islands to see as many sights as possible. I organized our flights and our pre- and post-nights for us and we used local public transportation. I picked the cruise based upon the idea to do island-hopping, so no days at sea 🙂 and our itinerary was: Stuttgart to Rhodos flight, then 7 nights on the ship from Rhodes to Heraklion, Santorin, Mykonos, Izmir, Samos, Kos, and back to Rhodes.
- The cruise in the Caribbean was more to the west and only 5 nights, we started in Miami and went to Jamaica and the Cayman Island before returning to Miami. It was a bit of a business trip and I organized the flights to Miami, some days in the Florida Keys, and from there to San Juan, Puerto Rico for some family time. So our full itinerary was: Newark, NJ to Miami then to Key West for two days, then the cruise Miami, Ocho Rios, Jamaica, Grand Cayman, Miami. Afterwards from Miami to San Juan, a week there and then back to Newark.
Ships & Rooms on my cruises
- On the Nile we had a so-called Boutique-ship, I do not remember the name but my pictures show the Emilio and the H/S Solaris II. It was mainly chartered by Berge & Meer but other passengers did book without them, too. We had a nice little room, queen size bed, small bathroom, some seats and best of all: a wonderful view through our huge window – and yes, you could open it 🙂
- In the Mediterranean we were on the Costa Mediterrana. A much bigger ship and because it was the first time on this type of ship we opted for a balcony room. It cost a little more but we were able to have some great views the little time we spend in our room. The room was a little bit bigger than on the Nile cruise, we had a couch and some little desk apart from the bed, the balcony, and the bathroom.
- In the Caribbean we toured with Carnival on the Victory and opted for a stateroom with a window. It was a short cruise and we knew by then how a balcony is 😉
Food & Fun on Board of a Cruise
- On the Nile cruise be careful with the water you drink – we used only bottled water, even for brushing our teeth and I stayed away from my beloved salad and many fruits to not be haunted by diarrhea. Others were not so lucky. Because it was a river cruise, the times of breakfast, lunch, snack, and dinner were adjusted to your stops along the river. Food was good and plentiful and served in a buffet-style. Not as big as on the other cruises but something for everyone.
- On the Caribbean and Mediterranean cruise, the bigger cruise ships, you can decide between a buffet and “sit-down”. The buffet-lines varied, some food was good, some not so good – but you were able to decide what you wanted. The sit-down was a menu and the selection was all right. For breakfast and lunch you could come in and they seat you, for dinner you will have an assigned table in one of the two dinner-times. On the Mediterranean cruise we had the early dinner and only made it once as we preferred to spend the time off the ship, on the Caribbean cruise we were with a group and had the early seating, too, but here it worked out because you had to be back on the ship anyways.
- Each ship has it’s own style of fun. Some include: swimming pools, slides, movie theaters, bars, fitness studios, arcades, gambling, theater, beauty areas, and more. The newer and bigger ships even feature climbing areas, wave runners, and other crazy things.
What are your experiences with cruises? What would you recommend to other AuPairs and what not?
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