This is how it all began… my obsession with cruising. It started back in 1996 on Carnival Cruise Line’s MS Holiday. Our very first cruise… and that was 42 cruises ago!
Here’s my wife, Kellyn, and our two kids, on that very first cruise. The kids didn’t like it as much as we did… So, we left them at home for most of the rest of our cruises! This is a horrible picture of me on that first cruise.
I prefer to think of myself this way… Oh, hi there! This is Jim Zim on assignment in Acapulco, Mexico. Yeah! Having fun, in 80 degree water in Acapulco! That’s how I roll! I certainly am very much at home on a cruise ship. Kellyn is as relaxed as I ever see her when she’s on a cruise. although she does miss our dog, and her sewing room. This video is about our cruises with four of the big cruise lines… Princess, Carnival, Norwegian, and Royal Caribbean. And in this video, I’ll tell you about the best cruise that I’ve had with each of those four cruise lines… Starting with Royal Caribbean. I’m just going to come out and say it right now…
I think Royal Caribbean’s “Anthem Of The Seas” is the best cruise ship in the world. We had a fantastic cruise on Anthem Of The Seas. This was about as close to the perfect cruise as we’ve experienced. There was so much about this ship that the designers had really gotten right. My favorite part was the adults-only indoor pool enclosed in a glass cocoon… Called the Solarium. I spent a LOT of time in the Solarium! It was a great place to relax… Either on one of the day beds, or in a Jacuzzi… or on a warm day… in one of the cascading pools. Another venue that was such a great idea… And I’ve never seen anything like it on any other cruise ship… was the high-tech theater known as Two70.
What they did here was SO creative… designing a theater unlike anything you’ve ever seen before. There’s all sorts of stuff on Anthem Of The Seas that you just won’t find on the other cruise lines, like… An aerial viewing pod A skydiving simulator A surf simulator A roller skating rink Even flying trapeze lessons And they don’t nickel and dime you…
Most of that stuff is free. Plus, forgetting all the crazy cutting edge stuff, and just focusing on the basics of cruise ship life… They got all that stuff right, too, like… A really great buffet An excellent selection of swimming pools and Jacuzzis A great venue for music Some wonderful entertainment And some really nice design choices in the cabins… Like building a night light in to the bathroom Putting a power outlet next to the bed (Which I’ve never seen before on any other cruise ship) And putting a combination lock on the refrigerator in case you don’t want your kids getting in to the booze in the minibar. I could go on an on about things that impressed me on Anthem Of The Seas.
Let me just say that maybe this shouldn’t be the first cruise ship you ever go on… Because after this, everything else is going to seem like a step down! Now let’s talk about Carnival… We’ve done 27 cruises on Carnival, so I know them VERY well… And there’s really a lot I like about Carnival. If you have a limited vacation fund and you need to keep the budget reasonable… You really can get an awful lot for your vacation dollar with Carnival.
One of their biggest strengths is that they’ve spent a ton of money developing some of their own Caribbean destinations… Like the Mahogany Bay resort on Isla Roatan… Which beats the heck out of where the other cruise lines stop in Roatan. Carnival also has their own little resort on Grand Turk… Which they developed in conjunction with Jimmy Buffet and which features an amazing Margaritaville. And Carnival has access to the private resort on Half Moon Cay which is a fantastic place to spend a day. All these places are way better than the destinations that the other cruise lines visit. Another thing that Carnival is good at… and they’re really good at a LOT of things… is knowing good talent. The best Cruise Director we ever sailed with was on Carnival. The best cruise ship band we’ve ever heard was on Carnival.
And the best comedians we’ve ever seen on cruise ships… Maybe even the ten best comedians we’ve ever seen on cruise ships… we’re all on Carnival. It’s the most popular cruise line in the world for some very good reasons! Anyway, about my favorite Carnival ship… There are seven classes of Carnival ships, and I’ve had great cruises on all seven classes… But the one ship that I really think tops them all is the Carnival Vista. Not all the ships in the Carnival fleet have all of Carnival’s latest features…
But the Vista is very nicely equipped with almost all of the cool stuff that Carnival has developed in recent years… Including what I think is one of the greatest things about Carnival: Guy’s Burger Joint Developed by celebrity chef Guy Fieri. Those Guy Fieri burgers are amazing! The Carnival Vista is also the first Carnival ship to feature an un-crowded adults-only area at the back of the ship… Known as the Havana Pool area. The Carnival Vista carries 4600 passengers… But only 130 passengers, who are willing to pay a little more for a un-crowded premium experience… have access to the Havana pool area. I loved it, and it was definitely my favorite experience out of all my Carnival cruises. We’ve sailed with Norwegian Cruise line five times now And I definitely plan on cruising with Norwegian again. Three of our NCL cruises were among the best cruises we’ve ever been on! And it’s no surprise those three were so good…
Because we were staying within “The Haven” for all three of those cruises. The Haven is a VIP experience that Norwegian offers which is unlike anything I’ve found on the other cruise lines. You pay for that VIP experience: It costs at least twice as much as a regular cruise. But if you can swing the cost, it’s an amazing experience.
Everything about The Haven is an upgraded experience from a regular cruise. The Haven has its own pool, Jacuzzis, restaurant, bar, sauna, and sun deck. Not only do you have a stateroom steward, but also a butler and a concierge. If you like all the entertainment and dining choices of a huge mega cruise ship… But you want an un-crowded and pampered experience… The Haven is for you. For our cruises on the Norwegian Getaway and the Norwegian Escape… We stayed in a very unique type of stateroom… Known as a Haven Spa Suite. There’s a bit of a quirk about these cabins that, for me, makes them irresistible. Not only are they the least expensive cabins within The Haven… But when you stay in a Haven Spa Suite… You also have full access to one of the most amazing cruise ship amenities I’ve ever seen: What you see here is known as The Thermal Suite within the spa.
And it’s basically a very warm indoor swimming pool… Plus a Jacuzzi right next to it… Plus saunas and steam rooms just around the corner… Plus a very comfortable collection of loungers, with an amazing view out huge picture windows. None of the more expensive Haven staterooms have free access to this thermal suite. But the Haven Spa Suites do. That’s the quirk! Plus, every Haven Spa Suite has a private Jacuzzi right in the cabin.
The Jacuzzi’s big enough for two to share, and so is the shower. So, these Haven Spa Suites are fantastic for a romantic couple. If you’re fortunate enough to have a BIG budget for a cruise… Check out the Deluxe Owner’s Suite on the Norwegian Pearl, or her sister, the Norwegian Gem. The suite itself is huge, as is the balcony. My favorite feature was actually the private Jacuzzi out on the balcony. Our 5 day cruise in the Owner’s Suite of the Norwegian Pearl was the #1 best cruise experience we’ve ever had… And that’s saying a LOT! Even if you don’t pay the big bucks to stay within The Haven…
Norwegian’s newest ships have a LOT to offer. They have some fantastic specialty restaurants onboard. And also the best selection of waterslides I’ve seen on any cruise ship. And they always have some of their best ships sailing out of one of the greatest cruise ports in the world: The port of Miami If you haven’t ever cruised out of Miami, you really need to put that on your bucket list! I can’t really recommend Norwegian’s oldest ships… The worst cruise we ever had was on one of those. But if you sail on one of their newer ships, I think you’ll be really impressed.
I totally loved the Norwegian Getaway… The Norwegian Escape… The Norwegian Pearl… And even a short booze cruise we did on the Norwegian Sky. I suspect that it won’t be long before I cruise with NCL again! This may look like a normal cruise ship swimming pool… A normal cruise ship cabin… A normal sun deck… But it was FAR from a normal cruise! This was definitely our best Princess cruise. This was Coral Princess, in Alaska! And all around us, it was BEAUTIFUL! Snow capped mountains… Whales… Glaciers… And as if that wasn’t enough… There were even PUPPIES! This was unlike any cruise we had ever done before. Normally, on a Caribbean cruise, there isn’t much to look at unless the ship is heading in or out of port. But on our Alaska cruise, I literally didn’t want to leave my balcony to go to dinner… Because I didn’t want to miss a minute of the incredible views floating by.
The best thing I can do right now to help you see how beautiful this cruise was… Is for me to be quiet for the next three minutes… And let the beauty of Alaska’s Glacier Bay do the talking! As you can see, our Alaska cruise on Coral Princess was an amazing experience… And I haven’t even shown you any of the 5-day land portion of our vacation that we did after the cruise! I’ll save that for some other day.
I’m Jim Zim. Looking forward to many more cruises in the years ahead! Thank you for watching!.
As found on Youtube