Last month my family and I went on a five-day cruise on the Superstar Virgo. Since none of us had been on a cruise before, it was a new experience we all were eager to try. If you’ve been keeping up with my posts and my Instagram account, you know that my family loves to travel. We like to visit old and new places, and we’re an adventurous bunch.
The cruise itinerary included two stops, Miyako-jima, Japan, and Keelung, Taiwan. We decided to book tours so that we could maximize our time as soon as we disembarked the ship.
In Miyako-jima, we passed by the beach and visited a botanical garden. Of course, all gardens and parks in Japan are beautiful. But the beach, well, that took me by surprise. I didn’t know Japan had beautiful beaches, too. It was way too cold for a dip but I could imagine how satisfying it would have been to lie in the sand on a fine summer day.
My last trip to Taiwan in 2017 was a fun one, so I was happy to be back, even for just a short while. We revisited the scenic Shifen waterfalls and released a lantern along the rails at Pingxi. We also made sure to have some milk tea and eat street food–a must in Taiwan.
The other two days during the trip were spent at sea. We took the time to explore the ship and its facilities, and try some of the activities. We also squeezed in a workout in the gym.
Cruising is fun in its own way, but personally, I prefer flying in to destinations. I would have liked to spend more time in Japan and Taiwan, frankly speaking. Though for families with kids, or for people who really just want to relax and take it easy, perhaps cruising is more enjoyable because there are lots of activities on board to fill the day with. I’m the type who wants to go out and explore, so spending more time on land is the choice for me. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not closing the idea to cruising again entirely. Perhaps, it’s just not a priority choice of travel, for now.
For those who are planning to go on a cruise for the first time, here are some tips:
- Get ready to line up a lot. Since a lot of people are on board, getting in and out of the ship during the stopovers takes a while. The lines are quite long but manageable.
- Book tours for the destination stops because passengers with tours have priority when it comes to disembarking. We got to leave the ship ahead of those who chose the fee and easy option in Japan and Taiwan. Given that there’s only a limited amount of time to dock, getting off as soon as possible is important if you want to maximize the time.
- Change money beforehand. Of course, the exchange rate on board is more expensive and they easily run out of currencies since everyone is having their money changed.
- Always, always have medicine at hand because you never know when the waves will hit. We had a calm first few days, but after, the waves got rough so having pill to pop as needed is vital to combatting motion sickness.
- Strategically plan when you will eat. The dining areas can get full during mealtime (with very long lines as well). We’d go a little later than opening time, or right before closing time, so that we don’t need to wait in line too long and it’s not too crowded.
These tips might not apply in other cruises but at least based on my experience with this one, these are my main takeaways.
Adios for now! Let’s see what the next family adventure will be. Fin.