Is a cruise holiday for you?

140326 cruise hero

I went on a wee cruise holiday over the weekend. I know, lucky me! I joined the Digital Parents blogging conference, which was not only mind-blowingly educational, but also the most fun I’ve had in ages.

I gleefully dumped reluctantly left the children with my fabulous Husby (who struggled to find time to shower, bless him, but now he knows what it feels like) and jetted off to Sydney where I boarded the Carnival cruise ship on the “Cruise to Nowhere”.

140326 me on cruise

I don’t know about you, but I’ve always wondered if a cruise holiday might be a good option some day, so I saw this three day adventure was a great way to find out. Rather than boring you with a full account of my holiday (which would be just as tedious and annoying as turning up to Aunty Estelle’s slide night of her driving holiday to the Adelaide Hills), I’m just going to give you the pros and cons of a cruise holiday, as I see it.


  • Great value for money, with most food and activities included (alcohol and wifi – my two favourite things in the world – are extra though)
  • Delicious food, promptly served, and so much of it!
  • All but one staff member I encountered were excellent at pretending they were super excited to be on a cruise, even though they’d all done it seventy billion times before.
  • My balcony room was pretty spacious and had bath robes! (I’m a big fan of a robe – it’s the mark of true relaxation.)
  • Towels shaped like cute animals.

140326 pros collage


  • Crowds – I was lucky enough to be in a private room all day during the conference. But when I ventured out, I noticed a huge lack of personal space. Big crowds, everywhere. And if you wouldn’t choose to invite every single one of these strangers on your family holiday, it can get rather – ahem – confronting. We were seated at a big table of strangers for breakfast. (Small talk before coffee? Did I wake up in Guantanamo Bay?) And I did not leave my children at home just so I could go swimming in the urine of other people’s children.
  • Noise – again, I was lucky because my room was quiet, but others had rooms right below where the band was playing until the wee hours of the morning, or right next to a loud hens party or crying baby.
  • Wifi – if you have a wifi addiction like me, you might want to think about going cold turkey on a cruise. Lucky for me wifi was included in my conference ticket, otherwise I would have been wishing I’d brought my children to auction off. Did I say pricey? Yep, seriously pricey.
  • Running – I was excited to find out the ship had a running track. Great, I thought, I don’t have to ease off my half marathon training just because I’m out at sea…Until I got to the track and found out it was a 110-metre circle. I shit you not, I got dizzy after about 20 laps and had to change direction. I gave up after 3km. But that’s okay – I know that problem may be specific to me and just a handful of other freaks. And, man, it was pretty up there – GREAT way to start the day.
Tiny, but still incredibly pretty!

Tiny, but still incredibly pretty!

The verdict

Would I go on a cruise again? Hmmmmm, probably not. I’m really glad I went – it was an experience I will never forget. But I think that was largely due to the fantastic conference I was at, and the large group of like-minded gorgeous individuals I got to hang with most of the time.

For a regular holiday, I highly value my personal space and ‘me time’, so I will probably give it a swerve. The best way I can sum up the feel of the ship is like Willy Wonka vomited on a Sizzler (or other buffet family restaurant, depending on your location), and shoved it out to sea. High on novelty value, but it’s a once in a lifetime for me.

Have you been on a cruise holiday? Did you love it? Would you like to go?




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Carolyn is the managing editor of Champagne Cartel. She is a freelance writer, blogger and social media strategist for businesses. In her spare time she is an obsessive runner and amateur wine and dark chocolate taster.

Carolyn is the managing editor of Champagne Cartel. She is a freelance writer, blogger and social media strategist for businesses. In her spare time she is an obsessive runner and amateur wine and dark chocolate taster.


  • Carolyn, these were very close to my pros and cons, with the big one being personal space (oh and I was in the room with the band overhead. ..not fun). I’m glad I experienced it though and it was great meeting you too!

  • Reply March 26, 2014

    Katie (@mumabytes)

    Good on you for giving it a crack, Carolyn. To be honest, cruises are bottom of my list, there’s nothing about them that appeals to me, plus the horror stories I’ve read haven’t helped. Give me palm trees, relaxation, peace and a kick-ass hotel room on land any day. xoxo

  • Reply March 26, 2014

    Lisa lybliss

    Loved the summary and you nailed the Pro’s and the Con’s, My other Con ran hand in hand with a Pro – So much food turned out to be Too Much Food. I found the amount of food and the gorging by some cruisers to be really confronting.
    I would do it again, but only for a small trip like this one, I think several weeks at sea would be enough to send me to the nut-house.
    PS You have to admit the folded towel puppy dog was special

    • Lol, you know I the eggs benedict wasn’t compulsory, don’t you? 😉 Other pro I forgot to mention was that I lucked out in the room mate department. Big time!

  • Reply March 26, 2014

    Sam Stone

    I am not sure about a cruise. Crowds scare the bejesus out of me! Looks like you guys a great time at the conference.

    • I’m with you, Sam – not really a fan of crowds or closed spaces. But those great ladies made me forget about that for a while.

  • Reply March 26, 2014

    Kate - QTQF

    I was bummed I couldn’t go on the conference mainly cause I wanted to meet y’all but also because of the novelty factor of a ‘cruise’. Not quite so excited to try one now though, especially after reading your summary – classic! That run sounds like one in a million, bet you won’t forget that in a hurry but it may be just what you need to spur you on when you are at the 20K mark in the GC Marathon :-)

    • I’m really glad I went, Kate. And I had such a great time but I can’t imagine taking my family on a trip like that. We would drive each other crazy! I would love to meet you sometime – Are you going to Problogger?

  • Reply March 28, 2014


    Sounds like you had a brilliant time, wondering now if I can get our next work conference on a cruise! We went on our first ever cruise with two other couples in January – six days to ‘test the water’ (boom boom) after being told how great they are. Overall we had a great time, but I think that was as much about the people we went with as the actual cruise. You are right about the food, it was almost as though we developed an eating obsession as we vacuumed up all the food in sight. We also managed to consume a mortgage payments worth of alcohol. The pros were: only unpacking once; complete hotel service; not having to plan meals; meandering time with a lovely group of friends. Cons: sharing a vacation with strangers; the contrived nature of many of the activities; any longer and it would have been boring; making small talk with strangers; feeling at times we were on a floating retirement home; the confines of the ship.
    I would probably do another cruise, but only with a group of friends. The times when we were alone as a couple we felt a little like we had strayed from the herd and were fair game for other couples desperate for someone to new to talk to.

  • Reply March 29, 2014

    Zanni Louise

    I don’t think I am desperate to go on a cruise any time soon. Of course, if someone offered me a free ticket to something I was interested in going to, on a cruise, I would say yes for the experience. But I think I like my holidays minus sea sickness. Hope you enjoyed the conference! x

    • Yeah, I was really worried about sea sickness, Zanni, but luckily I was fine. The conference was fantastic – hope to see you at one soon! x

  • Reply March 30, 2014

    Kelly Long Burstow

    I had to laugh at the running track mention. I was excited about it…but I only managed about 5 laps before feeling like a hamster on a wheel. haha. I finished the work out at the gym. Now, cruise…you’ve nailed the pros and cons. I wanted to find a quiet spot for reading, but no…although, I do think the type of cruise we were on wasn’t geared for quiet relaxation as much as partying. I too, was glad for the experience, but I probably won’t be looking at going on a cruise again for a while.

    Lovely to meet you Carolyn.

  • […] I recently had the pleasure of speaking at the Digital Parents Conference on the Carnival Spirit Cruise Ship. Now that was an experience! I had never been on a cruise ship before and I was interested to see if it’s the kind of holiday we could do as a family.  My initial experience was no: I don’t think it’s something we would particularly enjoy as a family (we would prefer the freedom of a road trip) but I know of many families who adore the cruise ship experience.  For us, it would be a fun one-off holiday, and I do think I would like to take the kids on a cruise ship one day because it is a cool experinece and all the food is extraordinary!  I met the stylish Carolyn from Champagne Cartel at the conference and she summarised essentially my own pros and cons of a cruise ship experience in her post here: Is a Cruise Holiday for You?. […]

  • Reply July 18, 2014

    Megan Blandford

    I know I’m super late to this post but you’ve nailed exactly how I felt about it too. Meeting you was a highlight too :)

  • We are considering a cruise holiday with the kids next year. Might just go to Thailand instead. 😉

    • I like Thailand! It all depends on what you’re into, of course. The cruise had activities for the kids so you would get some peace – that’s a bonus!

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