While recently thinking about all of that pre-cruise research, I did wonder: what exactly am I looking for? The answer is... my favorite cruise things!
I am always happy to see creme brulee on a menu, but even more so if it is available on an everyday menu like Celebrity, or in different flavors like pistachio, maple, banana etc. I know that creme brulee is not specifically a "cruise food" like Baked Alaska, but it is one of those different desserts that I just don't come across much in my everyday life. It isn't at Applebee's or Chili's, so I usually only get it when I am on vacation. On my last Celebrity cruise, I couldn't bring myself to order anything else for dessert EVERY SINGLE NIGHT.
Okay, I enjoy participating in the many trivia contests anyway, but not as much as my husband. His broad base of knowledge in history, geography, literature etc. really makes him a trivia force to be reckoned with. My strengths have always been more artistic in nature, specifically music, and so my favorite trivia contests are "name that song" types of trivia. At the top of that heap is Broadway music for me. I have a deep love for all things Broadway, and these contests are the only place in the world where I can show off my knowledge a little. I never get to win trivia contests, so I am sorry, this one is mine. I may be a nerd for being able to name a Miss Saigon song with only a couple of notes played, but at least all those long hours of listening to soundtracks has amounted to something. (And cruise lines, please include at least one per cruise!)
We have a daughter and we don't live in a real "happening" area, so we never go out and do anything adult at night unless we are hitting up the local touring Broadway show once in a blue moon. In fact, I had never been to a comedy show at all before I went on a cruise. I really enjoy watching the Marriage Game, the Liars Club and the Quest. Surprisingly, Disney does a particularly great job at providing great things for adults to do at night with nightly cabarets, comedy shows and more. Sorry, but I am looking for more than a DJ and a themed deck party when I peruse those cruise papers.
I absolutely love a piano bar. The talent of these guys astounds me, and they always play music that I personally love. It isn't so loud that you can't talk to your friends, and everyone seems more relaxed in a piano bar. People sing along and request songs, and just have fun. By the way, combining a piano bar with music trivia is a one-two punch for me.
5. Good Deck Food (with long hours)
One of my favorite things about being on a cruise ship is the ability to just go get some food when I am hungry. I love to snack, and what better place to snack than on a cruise ship? But sometimes cruise lines seem to spend all their time and energy on the restaurant food, leaving the deck food worse than fast food. Trust me, I eat a lot of this type of food and I know that it isn't that difficult to make it good. Just cook it fresh! This stuff is cheap, so it isn't going to increase your food cost bottom line, and there is almost always a line of kids (and me). It shouldn't be that hard to keep it fresh. Some of my favorite memories are of sitting on the pool deck, watching something on the big screen and eating chicken fingers and cheese fries in the middle of the afternoon. What can I say? I am easy to please. Just make it worth the calories, please!!!
My list could go on, but so could yours. Let's face it: we all have our idiosyncrasies and favorites that maybe everyone else doesn't understand, but if you look across the cruise lines, you will probably find your niche. That is one of my favorite things about cruising: even on the same line, ship and itinerary two different people can have such drastically different experiences, and still have their own special vacations.
What are those "favorites" that you look for on a cruise?