How I Spent My Seven Day Cruise Vacation

By Nomadic Matt | Published July 2nd, 2012

Last week, I took a vacation. I was burnt out and needed some time to myself. I decided to do something nomadic backpackers don’t normally do…ever: I went on a cruise. After all, a cruise is the quintessential vacation, right? What better way to relax than to go on one! The cruise was actually a lot more fun than I thought it would be, but I’ll save the blogs about the cruise for later. For now, let’s talk about my vacation:

Day 1 – Fort Lauderdale
It was cloudy and rainy in Florida, so I grabbed a Starbucks (yes, the Oasis of the Seas has an onboard Starbucks) and explored the ship.

Day 2 – At Sea

Day 3 – Labadee, Haiti
At the beach:

Looking at the ship:

Day 4 – Falmouth, Jamaica

Day 5 – At Sea

Day 6 – Cozumel, Mexico
Jason, my cruise buddy, and I being cheesy tourists:

How could we skip the famous Señor Frogs?

They even made me a hat:

Day 7 – At Sea

And that is how I spent seven-day cruise vacation.

Editor’s Note: Royal Caribbean provided my cruise for free. I’ll be reviewing the actual experience next week.

comments 59 Comments

Tee hee. Love it. I’ve always thought that I would DISLIKE a cruise. Would you go again?


Yes, I would.

You didn’t get much browner over 7 days of tanning.


SPF 50

Adrienne Morton

What sunscreen do you recommend, Matt? I’m going on my 1st cruise to the Caribbean in 2 weeks…
Love this post!!


I wear spf40 and I never got around the cheap posts. It’s still sitting as a draft on my computer. I’ll get around to it eventually.

Thanks for making me laugh on this gray and rainy day :-) Curious to read the real review now as this (above) is exactly how I imagine cruises to be :-)

A Starbucks on board… Nice!


Glad that you had some rest. But, I would ask the same question, if you had to pay for it, would you go on this cruise?


Cruises are normally not my type of holiday, but I went on my first one in March (after 30 years of travel). Loved it. Very relaxing to just chill out for 9 days. I looked forward to the days at sea more than on land. Looking forward to your full review.

I am thinking that from just above your knees to your waist line there are hilarious white bits that could be entered into the “most silly suntan marks” competition!! 😉

If you’re reviewing the cruise, it wasn’t much of a vacation.


It was my first cruise as a tourist and I walked away with too many thoughts not to write about it.


How can you say that you are just a tourist when Royal C gave you the trip for free?


RC had no control over what I did during the week or offered anything beyond the free stateroom. I did exactly what other people did.


Now that’s a Vacation!

I can’t believe there was a Starbucks on there!

that NEON drink has me sold.

Hahaha I love all of the tanning photos. I feel like the satirical nature of this photo post gives me a good sense of what the rest of your cruise blog posts will be about.

I’ve never been on a cruise but I hear it involves a lot of eating, drinking and relaxing. Sounds like a dream come true, but I think the lack of culture and the fact that it’s one of the most touristy things a person can do would ruin it for me. Not to mention the amount of gas wasted to do something on a boat that people could just do at a resort.

But I won’t lie; if I got free or heavily discounted cruise tickets I’d go.


Not everything has to be so serious! I wanted a funny post!

P.S. – There is an upcoming post on how to get very cheap cruises!

Adrienne Morton

Where’s the very cheap cruises post, Matt??
You definitely should write more funny posts, Matt- you’ve got the gift.

I used to be anti-cruise, too–until I started working for a cruise line. Now I’ve been on three in the past year, having spent five of the past seven months on a ship. And I love it. And am also looking at taking my annual “vacation” with Scott on a ship–not sure which one yet–this fall.


Well, you’re going to love my upcoming cruise related blog posts then!

Looks like you got the hang of cruising. And yes, even when your work is travel, a vacation is important too!

Hard dog’s life, eh. 😉 Now I really want to go on a cruise!

Haha, it’s always good to do something different. Proper vacations are a nice treat! Now, I’m off to the beach for a week – woot!




lucky You!) I wish I could have some rest now…

Looks like you were very productive while at sea 😛 did you put a towel down to claim that exact chair every day?


I got up early. It was right in the middle of the deck so perfect angle for sunning.

Imagine being at sea without any Starbucks! haha. Love the hat :)


The horror!

Hi Matt,

Well, one thing I have learnt from travel blogging is that we travel nuts will do all kinds of thing we never thought we’d do when offered a famil.

While out of character for your usual travel style this cruise looks like just what the doctor ordered in terms of R&R. I hope wriitng it up isn’t too much hard work;)

Happy travels!


It was a perfect trip. I actually miss it!

Haha I love the series of photos. Perfect. I also love that you have accepted that just because you are a backpacker doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a little touristy fun vacation. I just did a trip where I went from a Caribbean cruise with my family straight to a backpacking trip through Central America–and it doesn’t make me any less of a traveler! It was a perfect combination of relaxing, gluttonous luxury and an adventurous cultural experience. Cheers!


I love good gluttony!

Ha ha, looks like you had plenty of time topping up your tan! I’m going on a cruise for the first time ever in February for my dad’s 60th. I’m looking forward to trying a different type of travel… and also visiting the Caribbean for the first time aswell!

Don’t you just hate the paparazzi stalking you on the beach like that? 😀

Great write up. Looking forward to your review. Hit me up if you want to review it on the show. I’m in BOS this wknd and we can tape.

Awesome! I think travel is about experiencing all different styles from backpacking to luxury, cheesy touristy sights to cultural immersion, and it looks like you totally gave yourself over to the culture a cruise ship provides! I haven’t been on one yet, but would I? Abso-f*#king-lutely :)

You went on the Oasis! Can’t wait for your posts on the cruise. :)

Good job, Matt. Sometimes we need to just chill out when we travel, KWIM? I have to admit that I am surprised that ships are going to Haiti still. Was there any acknowledgement of Haiti’s continuing (albeit very slow) recovery? Are the cruise companies helping at all?

Having Starbucks on board is a total heaven for cruise vacation. What’s that cool looking fat Tuesday drink? Looks refreshing..


Pina Colada!

Adrienne Morton

YUM! Ive had the piña colodda in the sun in the Caribbean more than once ( & the Daquiris, & don’t forget the Bushwacker) many times & it really is the epitome of luxury & fabulosity.

Honestly, after four months travelling around Australia, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore, laying out in the sun on a cruise with no child to disturb me looks like absolute heaven!


Now that looks relaxing! Nice hat, btw 😀



I’m a big fan of cruises because I’m a big fan of vacations. Way to take a break!


I’m always amazed at how many travel writers love cruises! We seem to really use it as our vacation!

I’ve never wanted to take a cruise… okay that’s not true – I have, but the eco-unfriendliness has always kept me at bay. After looking at this article though, I might have to check out that Solstice or Lindblad:

Keep up the great work!

I really enjoyed cruising last year in the Caribbean Island. The experience is totally different from any other holidays I have had. Its amazing. I really enjoyed myself because I had no idea what cruising was all about. Basically a small city on a sea. lol. Everything was on the ship. From Ice cream to football field. These nice photos have brought back good memories of that day.

Looks like a blast man! Its refreshing to see a travelblogger actually enjoying a classic cruise and not being too stuck up to go!

Nice images Matt. So popular now and so many big ships still being built. Royal Caribbean have a couple of ships which hold 5400 passengers!

Getting a bit too big if you ask me, what do you think?


Yeah, the boat was pretty overwhelming. When I go again, I’ll go on a smaller ship. The Oasis is nice but too big for me.

Adrienne Morton

Funny, great stuff here Matt- YES , not everything has to be so serious! Go gluttony. I’m going on My 1st cruise on Dec 14- (Royal C’s Vision of the Seas)…and these pics are totally what I want to get out of it. F#cking relaxation.
Can’t wait to read more about your cruise on the blog now. You’re so lucky to have the job you do!!

One picture a day tells the whole story and a thousand words. Funny stuff!

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