My First Cruise Vacation Experience: A New Look at Family and Traditions

My mom says it’s never too late to create new traditions. I was never quite fond of saying until a couple of years ago. Hate towards the idea of a 7-day cruise with my parents and sister was substituted with joy and warm memories. This is a story of how a simple family Caribbean Cruise trip changed my view of the word “family” and gave me a new passion — ships.

So, it’s a summer day, I’m off school having the time of my life. I’m out all day when the vacation comes, but I’m always home for dinner. One day, my parents meet me all excited and say we are going on a cruise. It’s a 7-day Caribbean Cruise, and spending several days on a ship sounded like the Hell to me back then. So, unfortunately, I get irritated and say I’m not a fan of new things. That’s when my mom says, for a million of time: “It’s never too late to create new traditions”.

Feeling guilty, I disappointed her, I go to my room and decide I just try to make the most out of it. So I get online and look up some info on cruise ships. I end up reading all night, fascinated by the history of liners and how people never stop conquering new frontiers.

It turns out, cruise ships weren’t as cool, big, and well-equipped as they are now. The first cruise liner for regular passengers was introduced in 1818. And it wasn’t for vacations, obviously. The Black Ball Line who offered the trips stated the passengers’ comfort was emphasized, but thinking of 1818, the first association I get isn’t “convenience”. So I thank God we aren’t going on a cruise in the 19th century, and continue reading. The next day I anticipate going on a trip with my family and see a real cruise ship for the first time.

The one we embark on isn’t quite like Queen Mary, but it turns out to be one of the 12 best Caribbean cruise lines. It turns out my parents know how to choose their vacations. We have three stops in the Eastern part of the Caribbean:

  • Nassau – the capital of the Bahamas that has 70% of the whole country population;
  • St. Thomas – the US part of the cruise; one of the four Virgin Islands;
  • Sint Maarten – the Dutch part of the Saint Martin island (the other one is the French Saint-Martin).

All three places are like small paradises. I’ve never seen such beauty, and having my family by my side to experience all of it together is priceless. I realize maybe we should introduce a new tradition: traveling together once a year. But it’s not a happy end yet.

While aboard, I understand two things. The first one: the cruise ships are like floating cities and are amazing. The second one: I can’t stand being closer than 5 feet to my sister. She’s younger, and something always isn’t right for her. As if there aren’t about 5,000 more people on the ship. But I promised to make the most out of the trip, so while mom calms down my sister, dad and I look around with excitement.

The next day I realize the thing with cruises is that you spend most of the time on your way to the destination. It seems annoying at first, but everyday family meals, funny stories, beautiful ocean views, and our small family rituals make it much better.

One day, I even come to terms with my little sister. The weather gets stormy from time to time, and no matter how large the ship is, it’s rocking back and forth. My parents are attending cruise activities to make the trip well for everyone, including themselves. I make a couple of friends in the crew and bombard them with cruise ship questions.

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Emilia (my tiny sister) follows me everywhere, asking annoying questions. I pray that she stops when the ship seems to start rocking creepily hard. The tiny one starts crying and asking whether we’re going to get hurt (I may have been teasing her a bit before on the topic). I hug her, being scared myself that something’s not right, and suddenly I feel so good that I’m here for her, able to calm her down. The moment ends when mom and dad find us asking if we’re alright. But the feeling of love and wish to protect my Emilia has never left me since.

As the trip ends, we have the last dinner on a cruise ship. I’m completely in love with my new hobby, and I feel wholesome being on a trip with my family. The word itself brings warm feelings, and my mom repeats her favorite phrase about traditions, to which we all agree. And that’s how a seemingly disastrous first cruise experience turned out to be a lesson of a lifetime and a revelation. I have still learned about ships, and every year my family and I go on a cruise.

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