Expectations are a funny thing, especially when it comes to vacation. Between crazy work schedules, vacation policies, and accounting for other people’s budgets and travel preferences, trying to schedule a trip between multiple people can be extremely challenging. It is for these very reasons that sometimes finding myself booking/planning trips1-2 years in advance.
With time being very valuable, it really stings when things don’t go according to plan, especially when your expectations aren’t met and you feel as if you would have been better off staying at home for a Staycation. Unfortunately, my cruise to Bermuda was just that, a disappointment. Honestly my expectations weren’t set that high. All I really wanted and need was a break from work to relax and enjoy some sun.
The start of the trip was surprisingly the smoothest and most relaxing part of the trip. With my mom as travel partner in crime, we somehow manged to luck out on our flight into Newark. We managed to land relatively early, even with an extremely short connection on a stormy day that seemed to blanket the Midwest. With time to spare, we were able to catch a bus into NYC to enjoy the beatify day and walk around and grab a bit to eat at Trattoria Trecolori (side note, they have really good gluten free pasta!). After a peaceful rest at the Newark Liberty Marriott, the next morning we collected our things and took a short Uber ride to the Bayonne Port and unfortunately, it was pretty much down here from there.
I primarily cruise with Celebrity for two main reasons:
- They are one of the best cruise lines when it comes to handling food allergies. As a celiac with a casein and palm oil allergy to make things even more fun and complicated, the ability to be able to eat a meal with not only specific ingredients, but the handling of cross contamination is very important. Celebrity excels in this area.
- I love the Celebrity brand and experience. Having cruised with them over 5 times prior at this point of time, I knew what to expect in terms of the ships and service.
The Celebrity Summit, one of their smaller ships that primary does shorter one week trips in Alaska, Bermuda, and the Caribbean, was home for the week. Having been on the Summit prior, I knew what it should have looked like; however, this ship had seen better days at this point (**Important note, the Summit is expected to be dry docked and “revitalized” this coming January 2019**). Shit was literately falling apart, my cabin floor was always wet due to some sort of drainage issue, there were folding chairs and tables in the Ocean View Cafe, …. I’m mean the list could go on. I would have been pissed if I had paid any more than what we did (**We got a really cheap rate on an inside cabin on the lower deck**).
One thing that really is out of anyone’s control is the weather; however, the never ending rain just added to the darkened mood of the trip. Usually, it’s a pretty safe gamble when heading into the start of hurricane season that Bermuda rarely experiences a direct hit. Yes, you might get a storm or two; however, thanks to leftovers from tropical storm Alberto and other activity, rain was a pretty much a guarantee for the whole trip, with the exception of the final sea day on our way back into port. Sadly, one of the main points of the trip was to enjoy the Habor Nights street festival in Hamilton, ended up getting canceled due to the evening storm that ended up canceling a handful of ferries around the island that night as well.
Thankfully all was not lost on the trip, we were able to take in a few of the sights:
- A rainy morning exploring the Crystal Cave
- A 3 hour tour on an on/off day of rain driving around the island’s different parishes, including brief stops at Elbow Beach, Gibbs Hill Lighthouse, St. George, Hamilton, and Port Royal Golf Course for a photo opp. to see the view new hole 9
Wandering Royal Naval Dockyard (there are free Wifi spots if you feel the need to reconnect to the interwebs!) and stopping by Calico Jack’s (a former ferry ship turned into a pirate ship) for a Grog, which is an extremely strong local drink that is a mixture of Gosling’s Rum and fruit juices
- A morning snorkel excursion to a few of the shipwrecks off of the reefs before the weather turned south again
Random facts that I learned during our trip:
- There is a shocking number of people who believe that Bermuda is apart of the Caribbean Islands. It’s not.
- Only an extremely small percentage of the island has water that comes from a utility provider. In fact, almost all Bermudian homes water is collected from the rain that hits their roofs. The limestone roofs purify the water and the water is stored in tanks.
- Almost everything is imported to Bermuda, so goods are not cheap. Also, it is a bit perplexing that some fellow cruisers spent their time shopping for goods that they could have purchased back home.
- Their public bus system was cost effective, reliable, and budget friendly. While you can rent scooters, I opted to err on the side of caution due to how clumsy I am. Plus, it was in the matter of safety to other people on the road. Scooters and I are a disaster waiting to happen.
- One should carefully monitor their consumption of Rum Swizzliers. You can easily drink them quickly and not realize the amount of sugar and alcohol that you have ingested in such a short amount of time. The affects sneak up on you if you are not careful.
- The US dollar is widely accepted at a $1 for $1 conversion rate.
- Bermuda is conservative to the attire you wear. Unless you’re at the beach, bikinis and no tops are frowned upon.
The trip conclude with what could only be a typical experience for myself when departing from LaGuardia, a string of delays due to aircraft maintenance (damn you regional jets!), weather, and air traffic control due to airspace congestion. The only saving grace was arriving early enough at the airport to catch a flight that should have gotten back to Indy at 1 PM and arriving a little after 7 PM. If we would haven’t been able to change, the later night flights were getting canceled and reschedule to the next day, and I didn’t want to overnight in LGA and have a repeat of previous experiences.
- Scheduling holidays in advance is always important to help maximize limited time away from work; however, make sure to step back and take look at the whole picture and timeline. Having neglected to take this into account, I managed to not schedule a day off of work (with the exception of recognized legal holidays, which was 3 during the period of no vacations) for over 9 months. This left me burnt out and extremely stressed prior to my time off even starting.
- Don’t forget to factor in additional time after you are supposed to return, if you can and are able to afford it, to account for catching up from your vacation to account for potential travel delays(LGA and I will never be on good terms considering I am to the point of accepting that if my delay is under 3.5 hours, it’s a good travel) ; catching up on life (hello laundry and restocking the fridge); and catching up prior to work ( how can one receive so many emails in such a short period of time, especially with a holiday weekend)
- Pay the extra money for better state room, because sometime the cheap deal isn’t worth it.