What I Learned on Our First Cruise

November 9, 2023

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Thorn Cove Abode Family Cruise
Caribbean Cruisin’

Royal Caribbean Cruise with My Family

We just came back from our first cruise as a family and we had a great time! I’ll be honest and tell you if I had not earned this trip through Modere, I would have NEVER booked a cruise for vacation.

Cruise photos always look fun, but just never appeal to me and I always worried I would get motion sick on the boat. BUT, we had so much fun! I wanted to share about all about the fun we had and lessons learned today on the blog.

Royal Caribbean Cruise

The cruise ship we went on was a five day Royal Caribbean “Harmony of the Seas.” We flew to Texas and sailed out of the Port of Galveston for two days at sea, one day at Cozumel, Mexico and then two more days at sea. My one regret was we flew into Houston and stayed in Houston. If I did it again, I would fly into Houston, but then head to Galveston and stay there overnight before getting on the ship.

Cruise Excursions

Definitely book an excursion before you arrive at your destination! As a first time “cruiser,” I assumed we would port at a beach, but the cruise actually stops right in the middle of a very busy “mall.” The shops were full of “touristy” things and restaurants, which was nice to have just not our “thing.” If I had known this earlier, I would have booked our excursion for much earlier in the day. I assumed we could hang out at a beach and then head to our Dolphin Swim.

As a family, we chose to book a VIP push and pull Dolphin Excursion. It was a truly wonderful experience! The area we were taken to for the swim had a beach, restaurants and shops which were much nicer than the port area.

The kids were so excited about the dolphin swim and it lived up to our expectations! I wish I had photos, but {of course} they wanted $200 for a photo package {something to remember for next time!} I told the kids for that price we would walk away with just our memories! 🤣

Free Family Cruise Vacation

I wouldn’t have picked a cruise, but I earned this trip through Modere. It’s not something I often talk about because of the stigmas attached to these sort of sales companies.

Truthfully, I started using Modere products long before I decided to share them and earn an income. The trips are just an added perk and a blessing I won’t ever feel deserving of. I was praying one night while on the cruise ship just out of thankfulness that my family gets to have these experiences. I felt a little conviction I don’t share this opportunity more often.

We are not blessed just to be blessed but to bless others. I try to remember this in everything I do!

When it came to planning, I didn’t even have to use a travel agent. Modere worked everything out and we had the Dining Package, Drink Package and Wifi package. I highly recommend taking advantage of those packages before you set sail. It actually saves so much money to pre-book everything. The drink package covers any and all drinks {not just alcohol}. The kids received their own special drink cup once they boarded the ship that they could refill with anything of their choice at any time. I don’t even know how many Shirley Temples they had!

Thorn Cove Abode First Cruise
The Smith’s First Family Cruise

Packing for Our First Cruise

You can see we are in sweatshirts in the above photo! I am so glad we brought them because those winds at night are chilly! I planned for us to wear mostly comfy, casual clothing and of course, swimsuits. We did pack one outfit for “nicer dining” nights and I am glad we did. Some people were absolutely decked out in formal attire, but we wore what I call “church clothes.”

All outfits were ok honestly. It all depends on how you want to dine on your trip! You can be casual or have fun with it and go all out for formal night. We saw it all and the wait staff said its all whatever you’re comfortable with. Since we took the kids, we thought one nice night would be plenty. I loved that they got to experience fine dining for the first time too!. They thought they were “highfalutin”, I tell ya. 😂

First Cruise Lessons Learned

Since this was our first time, I didn’t really know what to expect. I learned some key things I want to share in case you are planning a cruise soon!

Swimsuits take an eternity to dry in the cabins and you can’t put them outside to dry or they will fly away. For a 5 day cruise, I would take a minimum of 4 swimsuits. I also brought magnetic metal hooks which were a lifesaver not only to dry for all the towels, suits, but kept the clutter off the floors of our little cabin.

I packed (and recommend) a travel adapter because outlets in the cabins are limited.

Take all medications you THINK you might need. After trying every motion sickness medicine under the sun with me, but found that Non-Drowsy Dramamine did the trick. I would take it 1 hour before boarding and then every 12 hours after that. I got a little “swimmy headed,” but nothing that hindered my time on the ship. According to some crew members we hit some of the roughest seas they’ve seen. We headed out to sea as a cold front was heading in and it made for super strong wind and waves. They even had to close down the pools because they water was slamming out over the sides. It was wild! Thankfully, the cruise ship has so many activities and shows we stayed busy with those when the pools closed.


If you’re fearful you’ll get motion sick and dramamine won’t cut it, this wristband was recommended to me by several people who struggle with motion sickness. When nothing else works, they say this is the one thing that will! I didn’t have to use it, but did purchase just in case. It’s a little bit more of an investment, but worth it if you think you’ll need it and want to enjoy your cruise!

I also took Tylenol, ibuprofen, ivermectin, antibiotics & ear drops because my babies are prone to ear troubles. This may sound overboard, but I’ve heard a Dr. visit on those ships is costly and I wanted to be prepared for any sicknesses. I mean, that’s a lot of folks on those cruise ships! Sevi actually got a bad ear infection our last night of the cruise and I was so thankful I had those drops ready! 

Thorn Cove Abode Family Cruise
Sweet Sevi enjoying the view of the Sea

Pro Tips for Your Cruise

One of the best tips for the kids and parents is: The cruise does provide child care if you’d like a kid free day or evening! We didn’t use this option, but it looked like lots of fun for the kiddos. They keep them busy with fun activities and the age groups were separated appropriately.

We took a case of bottled water with us on the ship, but unnecessary because you could get bottled water anytime with the drink package 🤦‍♀️. Maybe if you do not buy the drink package, this would be a better tip, ha!

On port day, use those metal hooks (if you have a balcony room) to hang all your wet suits outside to finally dry. They take forever to dry inside the cabins!

Buy lanyards for your sea pass cards to keep up with them. You use the Seapass Card for EVERYTHING. Even keeping the lights on in your cabin!

Best and Worst

At the end of the trip we always do what was the best part and what was the worst part!

For me and the kids, the best part was swimming with the dolphins and spending time on the beach in Mexico!

For Mark, the best part was drinking coffee on the balcony surrounded by the beautiful waters of the Gulf every morning!

The worst part for the kids (this actually warmed my heart), was leaving behind our wait staff that we dined with every night. We really got to know them well and saying goodbye for them was the saddest part.

Did you know cruise staff works for 7 months straight on those ships with no days of and very little time off during the day?? Most of them work all day long, morning and afternoon hours for dining, take a small one hour break before evening dining starts and then they are back in the dining rooms for work. They usually get to their cabins at 11pm and then our waiter (and many others) are up and it by 6am the next morning for breakfast. Crazy work hours!!  

The worst part for Mark and I was the kiddos being sick. Sev got sick on the last day and Jack was sick the day before we boarded. Kids will be kids man. 😜

Wonderland Dining Experience

On the Harmony of the Seas in particular they had this incredible Wonderland themed dining experience. The restaurant wasn’t covered by the dining package, but we all agreed it was so worth it.

You actually walk through a rabbit hole into the dining room to be greeted by the Mad Hatter. Once you’re at your table the experiences just continues. The menu is revealed after you paint over it with water! The drinks are all themed and the kids had the disappearing Cheshire drink which they loved. The desserts are out of this world creative! Everything in Wonderland is backwards, so the kids had to eat through cotton candy to get to their entree which was so fun. Highly recommend!!

Royal Caribbean Wonderland Dining
Jack and his Wonderland Dish

Cruisin’ Isn’t So Bad After All

While I wouldn’t have chosen a cruise, I am so very glad we experienced one! The activities and amenities on board were incredible and there were so many we didn’t even scratch the surface. Every one of us had a wonderful time and had so much fun experiencing new things as a family!

Royal Caribbean Family First Cruise
Thanks for the memories Royal Caribbean!
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  1. Julie Curtis says:

    So it sounds like you had a really great!! Do y’all have passports? I’ve heard that you should always take a passport in the event you get sick and have to be hospitalized in Mexico or wherever and fly home.
    I’ve only been on one cruise and it was just 3 days. I would really like to take a 7 day one or longer. One came across my feed that’s 14 days and goes through the Panama Canal!!!

  2. Tammy says:

    Thank you for sharing your experiences. I have been on three cruises, one with my husband and two with my grown daughters. We all love to cruise and can’t wait to go back!