Our best friends are getting married in less than two weeks now! We are especially overjoyed for them because this has been a long time coming. Jess and Phil started dating in high school, got engaged in the year after we graduated from college, and remained engaged from start to finish while Jess (or should I say Dr. soon-to-be Norman…) kicked butt at vet school. After all that time, it’s hard to even believe the wedding is finally here! We. Can’t. Stinkin’. Wait.
A very long engagement meant that I had quite the amount of time to ponder over what we’d do for Jess’ bachelorette party. I always knew that it would be somewhere with a beach! That’s her (our) happy place. More than a year ago I sat down and planned out a hypothetical weekend in Charleston as well as a cruise to the Bahamas. Charleston is up there for one of my favorite places to visit but holy guacamole Batman, that weekend would’ve been really expensive! Jess didn’t have a preference so I proposed the two options to all eleven of Jess’ bridesmaids and asked if they’d prefer to go to Charleston for a beach weekend or go on a cruise. It was pretty close but the majority voted to go on the cruise. I was really excited about that for a few reasons: cost, convenience (aka no cooking and cleaning), and I knew that no matter what, Jess would always have something fun to do (she likes to stay busy, that one!). With the decision made, I started planning.
My family really enjoys cruises because we’ve always had a blast and the amount of food we can eat is alone worth the dollar amount of all our tickets combined. HA! I think we also went on them because my mom just loved the idea of not having to clean up after us or make dinner for us like she would’ve had to if they rented a beach house, for example. I don’t blame her! She is the host of all hosts so when you put her in a setting to serve others, she will always be “ON”. We also all love having the excuse that our phones won’t have service. It might be an inconvenience to a lot of people but we love that about cruises.
We’ve gone with a couple of different cruise lines but we typically preferred Carnival because we were always so impressed with their service, food, entertainment, and of course, price. I have heard a fair share of people knocking on Carnival but every time we’ve tried someone else, we’ve still ranked Carnival at the top. It’s important for me to note that this is just our family’s preference, of course! Someday we’ll all go on a Disney cruise together and I have a feeling the rankings might change…
Who We Sailed With
When it came time to decide on which cruise line to sail with, I compared the sail destinations in our timeframe and prices. It came down to Carnival and Royal Caribbean. Royal Caribbean was more expensive. However, it wasn’t a substantial amount and one of the destinations looked way too much fun to pass up – Perfect Day at Cococay. It had Jess’ name written all over it.
I reached out to Royal Caribbean and started working with an agent, Tom, to get everything set up for our large party. Tom was an angel! Dealing with a party this large with cancellations, room changes, guest replacements, etc. and all of my questions for the past year I’m sure was not the easiest task at times but he handled it so gracefully. I also really appreciated that he was so timely to respond to me via email or phone. If you want Tom’s contact information, email me at email@example.com and I’ll make sure to forward it on to you! Seriously, he’s great.
Where We Went
The three day cruise was the perfect amount of time for a bachelorette party! This one in particular started in Port Canaveral (Orlando), sailed to Nassau, Bahamas, to Cococay in the Bahamas, and then back to Orlando. We loved that we were able to go to the beach for an entire day in Nassau and then were able to spend the next day going down as many slides as we possibly could in Cococay. It was a great itinerary!
What We Did
On day 1, everyone arrived sporadically throughout the morning. All of the bridesmaids live in different parts of the country so they flew into the Orlando airport and then took THIS SHUTTLE to get to the ship. It was much cheaper than taking an Uber or Lyft! The Royal Caribbean check-in process was the easiest I’ve ever experienced. It took us less than 10 minutes from getting off the bus to getting on the ship! Within no time, our bathing suits were on and we were taking advantage of everything the ship had to offer.
About a month before we set sail I set each room’s dinner reservations on their Royal Caribbean cruise planner to be at the same time and then once on the ship, I was able to ask the host prior to dinner if they could seat us all at the same table every night. Since we needed to seat 11, this made it super easy for us to be seated every night and we didn’t ever have to wait. Other than that, we didn’t have any specific plans for what to do each day. It worked out nicely this way because everyone was able to do what they wished (most of the time that was just whatever Jess wanted to do).
In Nassau, as soon as you get off the ship you’ll be bombarded with people trying to sell excursions and things to you. We’ve done them before and they’ve been a lot of fun but this time around we decided to just start walking towards the beach (the more money we could save, the better!). The best way I can describe the directions is this – once you get to the place where all of the taxis are, people selling things, etc. basically as soon as you get off the pier, turn right. Pretty quickly you’ll spot one of the Fat Tuesday’s, grab yourself a drink, and then continue walking in the same direction. Then you’ll come up to Señor Frogs. Stop there if you wish and then continue walking in the same direction. When you get to a little fork in the road by the McDonalds, go right (which is closer to the water…) and keep walking. Eventually you’ll end up on a free beach! Or you can do yourself a favor and just ask the man at the information desk and he’ll give you a map and much better directions…. It only takes about 10-15 minutes to walk there though depending on how many Fat Tuesday’s slushies deep you are… Save that taxi money for better things!
We spent a large portion of the day there before heading back for dinner. It was a lot of fun!
On Saturday night after dinner we went to this game show called Crazy Quest. Oh my goodness we laughed SO HARD that night. I think pretty much everyone would agree it was definitely the best “entertainment” we experienced on the trip.
Jess had the most fun when we went to Cococay, “Perfect Day at Cococay” as they call it. It’s essentially an island in the Bahamas that Royal Caribbean transformed into a massive waterpark with crazy slides, a beach, wave pool, obstacle courses, zip lining, you name it. It was SO MUCH FUN! When we were walking back to the ship at the end of the day we were all agreeing that there is so much to do there that the ship could’ve just gone there for two days and there would’ve been enough to do. One day could be spent on the beach and going to the waterpark while another one is spent taking advantage of everything the waterpark portion of the island has to offer. It’s also really nice because all of the food on the island is included and if you purchased a drink package, that works on the island as well. If we could’ve spent more time there we would’ve!
What We Wore
Remember how I mentioned that I don’t have my cell phone anywhere near me on cruises? That was also the case with this one so I don’t have loads of pictures from the outfits I wore. I do want to share where you can get THIS bathing suit from though! I love it so much… It might be my favorite suit that I’ve ever owned and the price was great. I’m typically a size 4-6 in pants/dresses and I sized up to a medium. It fit me perfectly. I loved pairing it with THIS hat on the beach. I’ve been looking for another excuse to wear it. I also ordered THIS swimsuit and wore it on Friday. The bottoms were so flattering and I loved the ruffle on the top. I also sized up to a medium in that one.
As for what I wore to dinner, I’m trying not to buy a lot of clothes this year so I pretty much wore what I had in my capsule. However, I did get THIS jumpsuit a few weeks prior because I knew that it would fit perfectly in my capsule anyway. I paired it with a pair of cognac heels for dinner similar to THESE (an amazing capsule piece that I’ve worn many times in the past two years!) but it’s so versatile that I have worn it multiple times since the cruise and paired it with many different types of shoes.
I purchased Jess’ booty veil from HERE. It was super cute and highly customizable!
I thought for a really long time about what to buy/make for everyone as favors. I really wanted it to be special but I also knew that I would have to stick to a tight budget simply because of the number of gifts I needed to make. As I’ve become more and more “essentialist” I’m personally not a huge fan of shirts that say things like “bridesmaids” or anything specific to a bachelorette party that is worn once and then never worn again. It’s such a waste! Jess agreed and really had no preference at all. I continued to think on it and eventually decided on making a tote bag for each person so that they could use it after the cruise. I added THIS MONOGRAM so that it felt a little bit more special and personalized instead of saying “bridesmaid”. In the tote bag I included a Turkish towel that I found at a little store about an hour from here. They were only $5 each! The bridesmaids couldn’t stop talking about how great they were. I’m so glad they loved them! I found a really similar options HERE (the pink is so darling!) and HERE. I also made a roller bottle for each bag – half of the people received a “hangover blend” roller bottle while the other half received a “unicorn” roller bottle. Lastly, I made a lash serum to help them naturally boost their lashes before the big day! I put two little cards in each bag, one to explain how to use the roller bottles and lash serum and the other to say thank you. You can download the graphic for the gifts to make your own by joining our community HERE! I was able to make each gift for less than $15 a person which I was really pleased with. I was so happy they loved them!
Lash Boosting Serum
- Organic pure Castor oil
- Empty clear mascara tube
- 6 drops Lavender essential oil
- 6 drops Cedarwood essential oil
- 2 drops Rosemary essential oil
In an empty mascara tube, fill approximately 3/4 of it full with Castor oil.
Add the essential oils to the tube.
To apply, wipe off any excess serum on the wand and apply the serum to makeup-free lashes. Best used before bed.
Hangover Roller Bottle
- 10 drops Peppermint essential oil
- 10 drops Lavender essential oil
- 10 drops Copaiba essential oil
- Jojoba oil
- 10 ml Glass roller bottle
Fill a glass roller bottle with the essential oils.
Fill the remainder of the bottle with jojoba oil (won't clog pores!).
Rub this blend on temples, neck, or behind ears to relieve hangover symptoms, motion sickness, and even cravings!
- 10 drops Valor essential oil
- 10 drops Frankincense essential oil
- 10 drops Bergamot essential oil
- 10 drops Stress Away essential oil
- Jojoba oil
- 10 ml Glass roller bottle
Add the essential oils to a glass roller bottle.
Fill the remainder of the bottle with jojoba oil.
Apply this blend on the wrists, back of neck, under the nose (really anywhere!) to support all emotions especially nervous feelings, stress, and frustration.
What I Would’ve Done Differently
We purchased the full day pass to Cococay waterpark. However, Jess and I were talking about it and considering how much there is to do on the island without the pass, we would suggest getting the half day pass. It will be plenty enough time to get in as many slides as you can handle.
This one I have gone back and forth on whether or not I should even share it but again, Jess and I talked about it and both agreed that it was true! We had a blast on this trip, don’t get me wrong. The best part about it was Cococay. However, based on the service, food, and entertainment, and our experience on other cruise lines, if I could go back and make any changes, I would’ve booked the cruise with Carnival.
Either way, it was such a good time and Jess enjoyed herself which was the most important part. We can’t wait to stand by your side on the big day, Jess and Phil, this time Jess will be the one in white. 😉 We love you guys so much.
I hope this helps if you’re planning a bachelorette cruise! If you have any specific questions that aren’t answered in the post please feel free to reach out to me on Instagram or on email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you all for stopping by here today!
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