One of my best friends got married this year and I had the opportunity to be her Matron of Honor. The best part of this, of course, was planning the bachelorette party! Since we had all been working for a number of years the time was right for a 3 night cruise to the Bahamas!
We chose Royal Caribbean because we’d all done a Carnival cruise in college and felt that the low price was too in line with the quality of the experience. Royal Caribbean had a slightly better reputation but was still very affordable, especially since we put 6 people in 2 interior staterooms.
Our cruise left Miami on a Friday in April and we disembarked early Monday morning. One of the things I went back and forth about the most while planning was how best to organize 6 people arriving on 5 flights spread out of 2 airports. Ultimately I sprung for a limo which was the priciest option but well worth it. The limo meant that each individual could be picked up at the door, we didn’t have to worry about lugging our stuff around when we stopped for breakfast or a last-minute Target run, and we got to kick off the weekend in style! Since the bride-to-be was the first to arrive I was a little worried about her getting connected with the driver, but everything went off without a hitch!
The cruise itself was very nice. There were pools, plenty of beach chairs, a rock climbing wall, and various nightlife options. The other girls checked out some of the latter, but I was always the first one in bed! For destinations we had one day on CoCo Cay (Royal Caribbean’s private island) and one day in Nassau.
CoCo Cay was a lot more fun then I was expecting. My first thoughts on a private island were that they would be too vanilla and we would really miss having some local culture. Although I’m still a big supporter of local culture, it was definitely nice to have a totally no pressure day on the beach. Chairs and hammocks were provided and a BBQ was laid out at lunch. My favorite part of the day was exploring off-the-beaten path and walking around the island. We were able to find parts of the island where we could walk way out to sea and still be only knee high. The water was crystal clear everywhere and you could see little fish nipping at your toes.
I didn’t participate in any excursions in Nassau, and that turned out to be a mistake. We walked around shopping and sight seeing in the main town and that was just kind of OK. If I go there again, I will definitely join a tour. The town itself was nice and colorful, but not very exciting without any context for what we were seeing.
So with out further ado, below are my tops tips for planning a wonderful bachelorette party cruise!
- Plan in advance! The more notice the better. This should help you get a good deal with the cruise line and give everyone enough notice to clear their calendars and set aside the money.
- Start a reservation online and then wait for a travel representative to contact you. We were able to get free welcome gifts by booking through the travel representative. We had champagne and chocolate covered strawberries waiting in our room.
- Be very upfront about the costs. I tried to estimate the cost to fly from each of the origin points and cleared the flight + cruise cost estimate with the key players before booking. Be clear what the plan is for the bride’s share as well. (In our case the bride paid her own airfare and we all split her cruise fare.)
- Arrange transportation from the airport to the cruise terminal. Reserving a limo was a great way to make sure the weekend got off on the right foot. Leaving the cruise terminal to return to the airport it was much less critical, we all took separate Ubers.
- Err on the side of structure! Not enough structure can lead to stress from group decision making. If you have a plan in place, you can always choose to abandon it, but formulating a plan on the fly can be tough and stressful. You should especially plan downtime, its generally easier to go find something fun to do on a cruise then it is to explain to your friends that you want to miss a planned activity because you need a nap!
- Arrange some swag! I did custom bags which I stuffed with a few goodies: coordinating towels for group pictures, sunscreen, lip balm, etc. This wasn’t a necessity by any means, but it was fun to put together and I love the pictures of us with our towels!
- Have fun and go with the flow! I’ve known the bride since college as well as several of the other girls and some of our fondest memories are of just sitting around talking or goofing off. We got to do a lot of that this weekend and really enjoyed.
What am I missing?