What About Me?

Read the story of one of the bloggers, Rocky

So you’ve had a chance to read the story from this website’s founder, Mark (if you haven’t checked it out yet, it’s a great read). I decided to follow in his footsteps and share my journey. Though not nearly as colorful as his experiences, I hope you’ll enjoy reading this and, if nothing else, it inspires you to book your next cruise!

I was late to the game of cruising. In 2017, I was given the chance to join a couple of my good friends for their wedding which was scheduled to take place on a cruise ship. Up until this point, I had explored the Queen Mary in Long Beach, California, and I only heard about present-day cruise ships via what I read in the news (petri dishes for the Noro Virus, or the sinking of the Costa Concordia of course), versus what I learned about them from Mark. It’s a good thing I had Mark’s expertise to guide me through my journey.

Picture quality may not be great, but you can see how excited and overwhelmed I was.

So back to that first experience onboard a cruise ship: it was in the aftermath of Hurricanes Irma and Maria. Our cruise ended up changing its route just one day prior to our departure in September of 2017. The Carnival Splendor was set to be the first moving cruise ship I would ever set foot on and boy was I in for a surprise! Stately from the outside, but once I walked through the doors into the atrium, my breath was completely taken away. Who knew that cruise ships looked so grand on the inside?

Believe it or not, as fate would have it, I would end up sailing on the ship that was known to the wedding party as the pink-polka-dot-zebra-print-with-black-tiles-and-lime-green-grout-ship two more times! The Carnival Splendor is not a ship that someone easily forgets. The layout was easy to understand and the décor was unforgettable! My second cruise was a short 2 months after my first sailing in December of 2017. You could say I was hooked!

By the time I sailed my second time, I acted as if I was a pro! In the time between the two sailings, Mark and I would regularly read up on cruise ships in Carnival’s fleet. I was able to differentiate between the 6 existing classes of ships without hesitation. It wasn’t just about the exterior appearance of the ship, we would also study Deck Plans for the individual ships and compare the layouts from deck to deck. In those early days, we really discovered that when Carnival debuted the Destiny-class, they stopped making major modifications to their future designs for the next 20+ years, with the exception of lengthening their ships and making them taller. That is, until Mardi Gras came along… but that’s a story for another day.

My interest in cruise ships became more of a passion than vacation. I regularly log into PTZ TV to watch cruise ships sailing to popular ports! In fact, by the time I was sailing in December of 2017, I was able to easily identify most of the ships that were in each port with us, even before I could distinctly read the ship’s name.

During our first cruise together, Mark and I would often find ourselves exploring the many decks of the Splendor attempting to get lost or discover some new “exclusive” spot onboard. And we haven’t stopped hunting for those spots since – whether it be via deck plan reviews or ship exploration.

A very private area in the front of the ship that we usually enjoy by ourselves.

I finally branched out and tried a new ship for my third sailing, the Carnival Conquest. I felt completely at home onboard this ship! I knew where everything was, and the only major differences were the tall and skinny funnel, the sky dome over the aft pool instead of mid pool, and, most importantly, the interior designs.

Over the next several years, I would go on a total of 6 cruises. I made the decision early on that I would try to avoid going on repeat itineraries for as long as I could to ensure I was able to experience more. For me, going on a cruise is more than just laying out on the beach and listening to the waves crash in the background – don’t get me wrong, I absolutely enjoy those things. I managed to visit the Western Caribbean, far Eastern Caribbean, Southern Caribbean, Mexican Riviera, and Alaska by the end of my fifth cruise! My sixth cruise was scheduled to be a repeat Western Caribbean itinerary, but by this point I was happy with my progress so why not.

Little did I know that the cruise industry would come to a screeching halt just months after my 2019 Western Caribbean cruise. As weeks turned into months, and eventually years, our interest and drive in the cruise industry didn’t waiver. If anything, the passion Mark and I felt for this “hobby” grew into an obsession. We created this amazing website, began to search for a social media presence through Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and we also continued to make new bookings in hopes that the CDC would lessen its restrictions and give us time back out at sea. Our passion to stay connected has remained strong as well through our new YouTube channel.

Goodness, once sailing resumed, there’s been a whirlwind of activity! Mark reached Diamond status in Carnival’s VIFP (Very Important Fun Person) Loyalty Program. We’ve sailed the newest and largest ship in the Carnival fleet. Explored our first non-Carnival ship (here’s looking at you Royal Caribbean Harmony of the Seas!) and are planning our first back-to-back cruise together to celebrate Carnival’s 50th birthday during the Sailabration.

So, that’s my cruise story… up until now anyway! I look forward to sharing more pictures, videos (the time lapses are taken by me), and experiences with you in the future. Until then, be sure to click subscribe and follow to keep up-to-date.

2 thoughts on “What About Me?”

  1. Just saw my first YouTube of your Virgin Voyage. Really loved the way you guys did it. I’m thinking of doing a cruise on Virgin. But I don’t know if I’m a fit for this cruise. I’m single, gay and 70…..
    What are your recommendations? Thanks

    1. I’ll tell you the same thing we tell most people: a cruise is what you make of it. Regardless of whether you’re looking for a relaxing experience or a party atmosphere, you can find it on a cruise ship! We saw people on board of all age ranges and I have yet to hear from a person who absolutely hated their experience. The nice thing about Virgin Voyages is there’s tons of flexibility! You can eat when you want instead of being tied down to dining time windows. If you want to go to the shows, most of them are hosted several times across the voyage allowing you to custom-build your schedule. We’ve found a few great places where you can curl up with a good book, both indoors and outdoors. As for the solo aspect, they have several events over the sailing which cater to the solo travelers in an attempt to get them to meet other solo sailors. And lastly, the brand itself attracts a larger number of LGBTQIO+ customers so you’re bound to find several people who you’ll get along with. When you’re ready to book, please head over to our travel page and I would be happy to further assist you through the process: https://thiscruiselife.com/travel

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