It’s not about the size
All the hub-bub about the behemoth Oasis of the Seas…and here I am excited to try a cruise aboard a ship one-sixth the size. No April Fool’s joke, I’m really excited. Aside from not traveling with six thousand of my new best friends, a smaller ship affords the opportunity – almost a privilege – to experience a cruise as in the theme song to Cheers, where everybody knows your name.
If you’ve ever had to drive south on 1-95 to Miami to board a ship, you’ll know what I’m trying to express here. Don’t get me wrong, I love Miami; I went to college in Miami. But it’s that last twenty-five mile stretch from the port exit in Ft. Lauderdale to Miami that, while exhilarating, is also 25 miles of commando driving. Then there’s the anticipated agony of the parking structure. Nevertheless…
As you drive over the bridge to the Port of Miami, it’s an “ahhh” moment as you glance to your left to see a row of gleaming white ships neatly lined up at their respective terminals. Looking to my left, no Journey. But there on my right, behind the Royal Caribbean corporate office, nearly hidden from view except for her funnel and bow, is the diminutive Journey. Docked at a smaller terminal, far from the madding crowd, I drop my suitcase with the attendant, park my car within 10 yards of the terminal doors and am in my beautiful balcony stateroom within 15 minutes. I could get to like this small ship cruising concept very easily.
It certainly wasn’t difficult finding my stateroom. Perfectly mid-ship on deck 7, either bank of elevators would take me to my room. I’m not quite sure how my suitcase arrived there before me, but it did. Quickly, I unpacked and headed upstairs and outside for the sailaway. If there was any Electric Slide or Cuban Shuffle line dancing I missed it. There was the ever-present three piece Caribbean music band but not one wait-person hawking a Miami Vice or a souvenir glass. I really do like this ship!
Embarkation day for me is a topsy-turvy day. Rush to the port, wander around aimlessly (even on a small ship like the Journey), look for familiar faces, chat with strangers at dinner and hurry back to my room to record my experiences. The first full day at sea is so much better. You get into the rhythm of shipboard life gradually; first learning to walk on a moving vessel, second, saying “no” to tempting chocolate-y creations and mentally mapping the path from your stateroom to the most frequented areas of the ship. All in a day’s work.
I’m the editor and creator of CruiseMaven.com, a solo traveler cruising the world on waves and wheels. I hope my articles and photos entertain, advise and inspire you to travel the world without flying. Take a breath… stop for a meal and a glass of wine along the way.