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5 Reasons Why Royal Caribbean Rocks Girlfriend Cruises

 Story by Carly Milne 

My friend Sandra and I have been pals for roughly 3 years now, and we can never seem to hang out together in each other's hometowns. Instead, we've cultivated our friendship the modern way: instant messenger. But that tends to get old after a while, so we started meeting up somewhere hot and sunny once a year and disconnecting from the online universe. The first time it was Vegas, but the second time we achieved gal pal vacation nirvana: a Caribbean cruise with Royal Caribbean.

Girlfriends on Royal CaribbeanGirlfriends on Royal CaribbeanI have to admit I was skeptical about taking a cruise. You know what they say - newlywed or nearly dead, right? Not so much on our trip. Which isn't to say that we were skulking for dudes, but even so - nobody wants to go on a vacation when they feel like they're going to be bombarded with blissful couples or cheek-pinching types. But I'd have to say that by the end of the trip, Sandra and I were blissfully un-stressed and sad to see it over with. Why was it so great?

1. It's (Mostly) All Inclusive
One flat fee covers off your room and buffet grazing for the entire trip (ours was a 7-day jaunt.) Bear in mind that if you want alcohol, duty free goodies or anything from the mall-esque kiosks like Ben and Jerry's, you're going to have to shell out more. But if you're on a budget and just want a fairly straightforward trip, a cruise isn't a shabby way to do it. We were snagged a sea-view stateroom and ate heartily at the buffet for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and it was all very reasonably priced - especially because we went during off season.

2. You Don't Feel Guilty about Doing Nothing
Seriously, you don't. Do you ever go on a vacation where all you want to do is lay in the sun, but you feel obligated to run around and see everything so you don't have lame photos when you get back? The great thing about a cruise is you spend most of your time onRoyal CaribbeanRoyal Caribbean the boat going from port to port, so unless you get a bee in your bonnet and decide to take a golf clinic or go rock climbing, you can easily lay on the sun deck all day and tan those guilt pangs right out of you. This gives you ample time to catch up on all the gossip that's been going on in each other's lives (and Brangelina's, of course.)

3. You Get a Quick Taste of Several Different Stops
Then again, after a while you get a little cabin fever. And that tends to set in right around the time that you dock somewhere - a case of perfect timing! Our cruise took us on an Eastern Caribbean jaunt that stopped us in Puerto Rico, St. Maarten and Haiti. We wandered the streets in Puerto Rico, getting our shop on. In St. Maarten we decided it best to do an excursion (more on that below.) And in Haiti, we lazed about in the water and enjoyed the benefits of Royal Caribbean's private area of the island. It was a nice cross-section of experiences to break up all the hard laying-in-the-sun work we were doing.

4. You Can Go Adventuring
If you book your trip on one of RC's larger ships, like Liberty of the Seas, there's tons to do on board. For example, there's indoor ice skating, on-board surf simulators, a rock-climbing wall, a golf clinic, karaoke, game rooms... the list is endless. And when you're off-board, the options are even better. Sandra and I decided to do a mountain biking tour of St. Maarten. Not only did we get some much-needed exercise and a great trip through the island, we had the opportunity to take pictures of one another feeling silly in our helmets. Later on when we stopped in Haiti, we tested each other's mettle by signing up to do the longest zipline over water.

5. You Can Have Deep, Meaningful Conversations With a Gorgeous Ocean Backdrop
Whether it's in the restaurant with a window seat (where Sandra recounted tales of a past love), or on the balcony of your state room (where I came to terms with my obsessive vacation scheduling, where it comes from, and how to let it all go), or walking the track (where we both discussed our self-sabotaging ways), something about that azure sea makes it all better... like a form of therapy! (Almost.)

No matter what Sandra and I plan for this year's excursion, it's going to be hard to top this one.
Got a question for Carly Milne? Email us and she'll answer them and likely throw in a few freebie tips as well.

Read more of Carly's articles on GoGirlfriend:

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