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My First Cruise in 1980

Back in the summer of 1980, I was a fresh faced 23 year old ready to take on the world.  My whole life was in front of me and I was ready to travel and see more of this great big planet we live on.  I was single, in my 20’s, and wanted to explore and visit exotic locales that I had never been to before. So some single girlfriends and I talked about putting together a cruise.  There were 7 of us in all.  I’m still in touch with 2 of them, who are longtime friends of mine, but the other 4, we have lost touch with over the years.  It would be interesting to see where they are all now in life.  We have no idea how our paths in life will take us from journey to journey and all the people we will meet along the way.  Looking back to this time in life, it seems many years ago (and it was!) and I had no idea how many different paths I’d end up on.  They have all been interesting, to say the least.

My first cruise was a Carnival cruise and we were all so excited as we planned the trip and anticipated seeing so many new places.  I had already been to the Bahamas by this time and found that to be such an interesting and beautiful place.  I couldn’t wait to see more of the Caribbean.  My parents weren’t much on traveling to far away places, so going on a fun adventure with girlfriends was the perfect thing to do in my 20’s.


This was 1980, so you’ll get a kick out of all the hair styles and clothing of the decade to come.  These are 2 girls who I’m still friends with, twins Donna and Wanda.  Wanda and I met when we were 21 and have been friends ever since, through thick and thin.  We were ready to take on the world and felt very cosmopolitan going on our first big international trip!


We flew to Miami and headed to the port, where we boarded this big ship, the Festivale. I’m sure back then it was state of the art and top of the line for Carnival.  Oh, how the ships have changed over the years.  I can’t wait to experience the Breeze on my upcoming cruise.


This ship looked like a huge floating island, with so many fun possibilities awaiting us.  We were not disappointed and loved every minute of our cruise experience.


Waking up to a different port every couple of days was fun and exciting.  I remember walking out to the front of the ship to see where we had landed.   Our first stop was Nassau, Bahamas.  I think this might be in St. Thomas, which was also on our itinerary.


The ship had several pools and we took advantage of sun time, soaking up the rays of the Caribbean.  Oh, how young we were!


This sign in Nassau was the perfect place to take a picture.  I thought our photos back then were so great and just look how all that has changed too.  Grainy photos!  Now we have beautiful photos at our fingertips just by using our phones.


Strolling the straw market in Nassau, Bahamas.  It’s fun to pick up souvenirs while on vacation and bring home something from each port of call.


This view was most definitely St. Thomas.


An amazing view of Magens Bay in St. Thomas.  The water is really spectacular there and all over the Caribbean, which makes it a great destination in the middle of winter. This picture doesn’t do it justice however.  I hope to get much better pictures on this upcoming trip to the Southern Caribbean.


I think this was at our stop in San Juan, Puerto Rico, which was a fun place to visit.  We did a Flamenco show on our stop there at night.


We also walked around the old town of San Juan and shopped.


Our cruise ship was docked nearby and you can see how massive it was.


Shopping in Old San Juan.


Cruise ships always take pictures of the guests while the cruise is going on and they took plenty of our group of single girls.  Of course, we had to buy the pictures!  I’m so glad I did now, as their pics are much better than mine.


Caught by the camera at the formal night.  I think we have 2 formal nights on our cruise this year, but I’ve heard that they are not quite as formal as they used to be, so I will probably opt for cocktail dresses.


Another formal night.  Weren’t we all stylish ladies in 1980? The days of big hair and short shorts!

We had such a great time and I remember feeling so sad when we had to leave the ship. They really treated us so nice and we felt like we were the only people who had ever been on the ship. That’s how special we felt.  When we had to pack up and leave the ship, of course I realized that another group of people would be taking our place the following week.  That was a little disappointing, but it made me aware of just how much I enjoyed cruising.  I went on another cruise in 2003 with my niece, Lauren, and this will be my third.

I don’t know why I’ve waited so long in between, but you can bet, this won’t be my last.  I think cruises are such a great value for an exotic vacation, allowing you to see and do so much and just the ship experience itself is wonderful.  The food, oh the food, I can’t even explain how great that part is.  I’ll be reporting back after my cruise on January 16th and let you know all about the new ships of Carnival and how much things have changed.  When I think back to 1980, there were no cell phones, no internet and none of the social media we have today.  This cruise will be an entirely different experience than the first one I took at 23 and I can’t wait to experience it all again, this time as a middle-aged woman! It can’t get here soon enough!


This post was created for Away We Go with Carnival, the destination for getting in the getaway state of mind.