Celebrity Cruise from Amsterdam to Rome: 12 Nights at Sea as a Digital Nomad

This is my review and journal of my 12 night cruise onboard the Celebrity Silhouette. This is my first time cruising and it's also my first time without internet as a digital nomad for days at a time. Part of the reason why I went on this cruise is to completely detach from wifi and to take a proper break from work.   I've always liked the idea of being on a giant boat with all inclusive food, activities, things to do and a full gym but we'll see how it actually checks out.

The good news is that for the past couple of months, I've been setting up my online businesses to generate completely passive income so the goal is to still be earning an excess of $500 a day even when i'm offline and not actively at work. In this post i'm going to share tips and tricks I've discovered while cruising, and tell you what I think about the Celebrity and cruising in general and if you should put it on your bucket list of things to do or give the ship, a skip.

Day 1: Amsterdam, Holland

I took a train from Berlin, Germany and stayed at the at Generator Hostel in Amsterdam which was a great spot. The two guys in my dorm were both from New York and we went out for a traditional Dutch dish for dinner called Stamppot which is basically just mashed potatoes smashed together with vegetables, including either  sauerkraut, carrots or spinach. It was served with a meatball, sausage and some gravy and although it's supposed to be nice on a cold winter night, it wasn't anything to write home about. We had it at Moeders which is a traditional restaurant which literally means "Mother's" in Dutch.

It turned out perfect as I just had one night in Amsterdam and wanted to walk around the city, see some sights, and eat some Dutch food. I could have stayed longer but instead I chose to spend more time in Poland and Berlin as everything in Amsterdam is super overpriced including hotels, hostels, and AirBnBs.

Having traditional "Stomput" and Dutch Beer in Amsterdam.

After dinner we walked through the legendary Red Light District, and visited a coffee shop on our way back to the hostel. It's just something you gotta do. The best part about Amsterdam was the bicycle tour I took the next morning which was great as we got to see the entire city center including the parks all in just a few hours. Amsterdam really is the world's best place to ride a bicycle as it's completely set it up for and it's a must do. As for lunch, we went to a place called "La Place" which and recommend it as you can choose whatever you want.

I could have pretty easily had lunch for free on board the ship, but I met some cool people on the tour and figured it would be nice to have one last meal on land before boarding. Only issue was getting to the port as Uber decided to implement a 1.5% surge price which I would have paid if it wasn't for their $30 minimum which was ridiculous for a 10 minute drive, welcome to Amsterdam. Luckily I figured out there was a "Amsterdam Taxi" app which got me there for half the price.

Check in and boarding onto the cruise was super easy I went 45 minutes before the doors closed and there was no line as everyone was already on board and at the buffet. By the way, as a suggestion, don't eat at the buffet the first night of the cruise as everyone seems to head straight there. Go to the restaurant instead as you'll get great service and less of a crowd.

Cruise Tip: Leave your bags at your hotel and go for a day tour instead of waiting in long lines to check in the cruise as soon as it opens.

Bicycles and old buildings. This is Amsterdam

Day 2: Bruges, Belgium

Realized that since I dont' have wifi on the ship I should have looked up the info for Bruges while I was still in Amsterdam. But since I didn't I just followed a group of people to the nearest tram stop and asked how they were getting into town. Instead of paying $22 for a shuttle I took a tram and a train for around $8 round trip into the city center and got to meet some cool people. In general those who take the safe route or signup for package tours are boring compared to the adventurous who wander on their own.

In town we found a free wifi hotspot near a tourist center and found out that we had 2 hours to sample the three best chocolate shops in Bruges before going on a free walking tour at noon that day. The Chocolate Line and Chocolatier Pol Depla were both decent, but Galler was incredible and also a great experience visiting as they were super knowledgeable, friendly and even gave samples. However, if you're looking for the best value, just pop into any supermarket in Belgium and pick up some Cote D'or as it's amazing, especially the Dark Chocolate Pistachio if you can find it.

Prepare to bring home bags of chocolate as gifts.

The walking tour itself in Bruges was convenient as it was from 12noon-2pm which fit my schedule but was just okay. Try to make the 10am with the other tour as it might be better. The B Taste Beer Wall sounds like a great idea with 100 taps and small pours where you can just pay $11 to sample them all! Expect the problem is, having a small taste of beer means you're just getting a bit of foam and it just doesn't work that way. Just go to a real bar instead. My favorietes were La Chouffe, Duvel, and St. Bernardus Abt 12, but go ahead and try them all and find yours.

Watch the video below where I show you a tour of what less than €1 pours gets you.

Cruise Tip: Don't overpay with official cruise excursions, they threaten you with the fear of leaving without you if you don't make it back to port in time. Don't be scared, just venture on your own and make sure you start heading back 2 hours before boarding closes.

With canals everywhere, Bruges is called the Venice of the North.

Day 3: At Sea

Today was the first real day that I got to properly explore the cruise ship as we were at sea at the entire time without a port stop. I can see myself loving short 3 day cruises as it feels like being in a luxury hotel room with a great breakfast buffet and restaurant. However, being a 12 night cruise I'm hoping that there is a lot more to do besides just sleep and eat. My original plan was to crush it at the gym twice a day but since you're always a bit queasy from rocking on the boat, it's actually pretty hard to do anything besides yoga or a light workout.

Also my original plan to eat strict paleo on board hasn't' worked out so well, even though it's easy to order two steak entrees and skip the bread and potatoes, you'll often get suckered into dessert as everyone else at the table orders it since it's all inclusive. The good news is the shows at night have been quite good, so I'd make it a point to schedule your day around them. Last night was a group called "Life" which I thought was amazing. As for Wifi, their package costs $300 which is insanely overpriced especially since friends have told me it's super unreliable and slow. I really think Celebrity and other cruise lines need to step up their internet offerings and make them more reasonable if they want 20-39 year olds to start cruising as right now being disconnected for 12 days or the thought of paying $300 is ridiculous. My plan is to just enjoy my time on board offline and find coffee shops with free wifi whenever I get to port.

With the entire family at the restaurant on board the ship.

So far the food and service on board has been really good, if anything it's been a bit annoying good as there is almost 1 crew member for every 2 guests and you get asked how you're doing or if you need anything every 45 seconds. The expectation was last night which was the first formal night which they now call "Smart Chic." The problem was that everyone decided to go to the main restaurant instead of the buffet as they were dressed up which caused havoc and chaos. The servers were overwhelmed, food took over an hour to arrive and was terrible when it finally did arrive.

At first we thought we had a lot of options on the Silhouette as they advertise that they have "12 dining options" but in reality it's either the restaurant or the buffet.  The other restaurants on board aren't actual restaurants but instead small places that only serve hot dogs and burgers or yogurt. There are also 2 restaurants on board that are only open to "suite class" and people who either cruise a lot or pay for the premium packages and cabins. The other 3 restaurants charge up to $45 per person.

What the cruise line should do on formal nights is either open up the other restaurants, have a third seating time, or turn the buffet into a nice sit down restaurant on those days instead. Overall the food on the ship has been very good with the exception of the first formal night where the food was terrible.

Cruise Tip: Eat at the Buffet during formal nights as the main restaurant is packed.

The group "Life" aboard the Celebrity Cruise.

Day 4: Bilbao, Spain

The nice thing about the port in Bilbao is that they have free wifi as soon as you walk off the boat. Doing a quick google map search, I realized that there isn't public transport into the city so paying $11 for a round trip shuttle from the boat was a great deal. Unfortunately there isn't a ton to see or do here without going an hour and a half to San Sebastian and explore Basque Country. So instead, I figured I'd stay in town, catch up on answering facebook messages, emails and just enjoy the city on my own.

I walked around the city on my own for about an hour before finding a coffee shop to catch up on emails, work, facebook messages and write this blog post. In retrospect I would have just stayed at the port terminal as they had great work spaces, free wifi, and an awesome beach nearby.

Cruise Tip: If you ever go to Bilbao, feel free to skip the city and just spend time on the beach in the port town of Getxo as you won't miss much.

The back of the Celebrity Silhouette cruise ship.

Day 5:  Finding Wifi At Sea

I'm actually starting to like being on board and feeling less trapped. I think it took a few days of getting used to boat life and realizing after being on land in Bilbao that I'm not missing much on shore.

Maybe it's a good thing that wifi is so damn expensive as even with so few people on it, my connection speeds are at a crawl. I had a bunch of friends that went on the Nomad Cruise and they all reported that the internet was unusable 99% of the time when everyone was online and they had to login at 5am when everyone else was sleeping if they wanted to get any work done. At $59 a day or $299 for 12 days the wifi is super overpriced but I'd say if you're a digital nomad and need to get work done while vacationing, it's just something you have to do unless you want to spend your port days in a coffee shop playing catch up.

If you think you can just buy one package and split it amongst friends you'll be surprised when you notice you can't tether while on wifi as the system blocks you. My advice would be to create your online business so it's passive income and automated so you don't have to worry about not having internet while on board. But if you're like me and really enjoy being online regardless, just break it down to what you're paying per day and even though it's still super overpriced compared to internet packages on land, $299 divided over 12 days turns out to be $24.91 which is more bearable if you look at it that way.

The other option would be to cruise with Carnival instead of Celebrity as they are more up to speed with digital nomads and the younger generation. They have a $5 a day package that only allows connection to social media including facebook, instagram and twitter and a $16 a day lite package that allows everything besides Skype and streaming. They even have discounts if you purchase multiple days at a time. I got to test the speeds on someone who purchased the $299 package and even though SpeedTest looks slow it actually streams HD videos on youtube without buffer so it works surprisingly well.

Cruise Tip: If you're going to need Wifi, buy it on the first day as the packages don't get any cheaper later on and don't prorate the unused days.

Not a bad view from my makeshift office of the day aboard the Celebrity Silhouette

Day 6: Lisbon, Portugal

If you remember my trip to Lisbon a few months ago, you'll know that I love this city. So instead of finding a wifispot I decided to show my parents around the city since I knew it quite well. We took a bus to a tram all the way to Cascis which is the beautiful beach town 45 minutes down the coast. Everyone enjoyed the scenic views out the train window and I love the fact that for $5 round trip you can take a train to a gorgeous beach to get out of the city whenever you feel like it.

We pretty much spent the entire day walking around the beach town and on the beach itself, but if you really wanted to see more of the city, I'd recommend stopping by the Belem Towers and having a pastry on the way back or even doing a free walking tour in the city center. Here's my full guide to Lisbon that I wrote during my trip earlier this summer.

Cruise Tip: From the port you can just walk to the left and be in the city center within 10 minutes to explore on your own or meetup the walking tours.

View of Lisbon, Portugal from the balcony on the cruise.

On the beach in Cassis, Portugal

Day 7: Cadiz, Spain

Wow I can't believe it's already been a week on board the ship. To be honest, the first couple of days I wanted off but now that I'm settled into a routine and detoxed a bit from having absolute freedom and wifi 24/7 it's kind of nice to be on a schedule.

I spent a few hours walking around Cádiz was happy to discover that all beaches in Spain are topless. But since it's a workday I actually brought my laptop with me in search for a cafe with wifi. Luckily part of my job duties for the day was to listen to the latest interview of Invest Like a Boss so I can record and intro and outtro for it, which I happily did while laying on the beach! It's really crazy that this was my office of the day and these are my responsibilities.

Cruise Tip: Half way through the cruise, if they haven't reached their user limit, they discount their wifi package from $299 down to $189 which is still a rip off at $31.50 per day.

On the beach in Cadiz, Spain

Listening to a podcast and sunbathing on the beach. This is my job!

Our Stateroom Cabin:

It's been a week since I've been on board but this being my first cruise I had no idea what to expect our room to be like but had heard that they could be tiny. Luckily, since this is a 12 day cruise, the size of our boat and rooms were actually really good. I originally planned on getting my own room but it turns you have to pay for two people's room, food, and entertainment and not just the cost of the room itself even if you're single so I opted instead to split a room with my parents. It was tough decision as the idea of being a in a tiny room with my mom and dad for 12 nights sounded like it could lead to arguments but I figured if it came down to it I could always ask to upgrade to a single while on board, sleep by the pool or if worse comes to worse, simply get off the ship at a port stop.

Luckily, our room turned out to be pretty spacious and since we're hardly in the room aside to sleep always it's been working out fine. We booked a balcony room which has been nice as we've actually been going out on in daily and have been using it to hang up laundry and swim suits. I don't think it's worth paying $1,000 extra for, but it's definitely nice and would recommend a room with at least a window as waking up to natural light helps keep your sleep in sync. We also scored a room with a fold down bed which honestly isn't that necessarily as sleeping on the sofa bed would have been similar. There's also a pull out bed under the sofa meaning this room could technically sleep a total of five, but I wouldn't recommend more than three adults and would only do that if you're traveling with kids.

Cruise Tip: If you're not going to drink the sodas anyways, ask the attendant to empty out the mini bar so you can use the fridge. Bring an empty bottle to refill in your sink, as even the bathroom taps are filtered and drinkable.

Our room on the Celebrity Silhouette Cruise

The Gym on the Ship:

My original plan was to crush it at the gym everyday on board, but it turns out that at least for the first 4-5 days or so, even if the seas are calm, you still feel like a bit queasy on a gently rocking ship and pushing yourself too hard at the gym feels like a bad idea. But I'm happy to say that I've been doing at least a bit of a workout everyday while on board as it's easy to do first thing in the morning or before dinner for a bit.

The gym reminded me of a small 24 Fitness which tons of cardio machines, a bunch of weight machines and a free weight rack going up to 75lbs. They had a pullup bar and a row machine which have been my two go tos. They also have an aerobics room with classes and yoga but at $11 a session I've been skipping it and doing my own thing.

Cruise Advice: Download the "Tabata timer" app on your phone to do HIIT burpee sets from the lawn on the top the ship as an alternative to going to the gym.

The gym aboard the Celebrity Silhouette Cruise Ship

The Food on Board:

It's been a week on the ship and I'm officially tired of eating at the same two restaurants on board the ship everyday. Luckily the food is really good but the "12 Dining Options" on board really just mean the buffet or the restaurant unless you want to be silly enough to pay $45 per person for the "special restaurants" or settle a snack by the pool. They do however have a coffee shop with cakes that are included even though the coffee there isn't, so if you want to have a nice dessert while listening to the bands play feel free to order something there even if you're not paying for a five dollar espresso.

I think the food would have been incredible for a shorter 3-5 day cruise but anything over a week and you'll definitely get tired of eating at the same few places as even though the menus change, the chefs cooking styles, spices and flavors seem to stay the same. Luckily we've been having at least one meal a day in a port town and changing up the dinners by rotating between the buffet and the restaurant every other night. Service on board has been awesome but last night our waiter who has been serving us on board every night pulled me aside and asked me if I would tip him directly instead of through the ship's shared gratuity program which was a bit shady of him. At the time of him asking I thought it seemed fair to give part of it directly to him as he's been a great waiter but after sleeping on it for a night I realize that if everyone on board started doing that, not only would it make the guests uncomfortable but would be unfair to the rest of the staff who also work hard behind the scenes.

Cruise Tip: Don't let servers tempt you into asking guest services to adjust your "hotel service charge" to give it to them directly, it's not fair to the rest of the staff on board.

From the buffet and salad bar on board

At the Grand Cuvee restaurant on board

Day 8: Gibraltar, UK

It was nice breaking up all of the days in Spain by having a random port stop at in what's technically part Britain. We also happened to arrive on their national day where everyone was wearing their national colors of red and white which was a cool sight to see how patriotic everyone is.

The main thing to do in Gibraltar is to go up to the rock so I walked from the cruise port to the cable car in about 25 minutes and was pleasantly surprised that there was no queue. I'm lucky that I arrived before 10am as I heard that by 10:30 the line was over an hour long. Up on top there are gorgeous views of Spain as well as Africa as it's right across the straight!

The funny thing about Gibraltar and a bit of a currency hack is the fact that there are always two prices listed and one is always significantly cheaper than the other. My lunch was 13 British Pounds which is technically €15.35 but since I had to use their exchange rates it was €20.20 which was 25% more if I would have had pounds on me. But often there would be places that would advertise products for £1 or €1 in which case it would be cheaper to use Euros.

Cruise Tip: If you can, have both British Pounds and Euros with you in Gibraltar so you can always take advantage of the lower rate.

Video of the apes of Gibraltar and the street parade

Red and White colors of Gibraltar National Day

Day 9: Cartagena, Spain

I'm really starting to fall into the routine of ship life. I started really enjoying and appreciating the slowing down on time, casual chit chats and having everything presented to me. I realized that most people really enjoy cruising because it allows them to escape their day to day responsibilities of cooking, cleaning, and doing chores both around the house as well as tasks they hate at their job. But since I've designed my life not to have any of those worries or frustrations, I had nothing to escape from in the first place.

This morning I woke up, had a nice breakfast and walked around the old town of Cartagena with Lucinda, a new friend who I met on the first day in Belgium. The city itself looks nice and has an old roman coliseum that is now partially in ruins. I think that if it wasn't for the fact that I'll be in Rome in a few days, I would have paid the entrance fee to visit closer. Today has been pretty casual with just seeing a few nice buildings and trying some Churros and Espresso as well as some Paella. Today I'm just going to catch up on some rest and finish watching a movie that I had downloaded onto my Macbook Air back in my room. At least on Celebrity ship, you can easily unplug the ship's HDMI cable broadcast and replace it with your own.

Cruise Tip: Bring a HDMI or lightning to HDMI cable (for Mac users) so you can watch movies or downloaded TV shows on the flat screen TV in your room.

The ancient Roman coliseum of Cartagena

Spanish Churros and Espresso

Day 10: Palma de Mallorca

Wow. This is the reason that cruising is actually awesome. It gives you a sample of a bunch of places you may never have heard of or gone to on your own and some of them like here in Majorca you end up falling in love with. It turns out that Majorca is super popular with German, British and Swedish travelers but the majority of Americans including myself have never even heard of this autonomous community of the Balearic Islands archipelago which is kind of a part of Spain but not. 

Whatever the case, Majorca, also spelled Mallorca is awesome and the island we were on, Palma is somewhere I definitely want to go back to again. I've already checked and it looks like there are a few different coworking spaces on the island as well, even though their websites are all in Spanish. But the real reason why it's somewhere I want to go back are for the beaches. I've been all around the world from Thailand to to Australia, Bali and the Caribbeans and the beach here on Palma was one of my favorites. It was super clean, had clear crisp water, and just enough infrastructure where you could buy things you wanted but without being bothered by people trying to sell you things. It probably also helped that I was surrounded by topless Europeans. 

Cruise Tip: Skip the city and take the public bus directly to Illetas beach to spend the day, it's only $1.60 and 15 minutes away. 

Chilling out at Illetas beach on Palma, Majorca

Day 11: Last Day At Sea

I'm starting to miss boat life already. It's funny that the first few days I felt trapped and wanted off, but now that the cruise is almost over and I've finally found a routine, I like it here. It took almost 8 days for me to slow down, accept that I was without wifi and that I was limited to the captains schedule and the two restaurants on board, but I'm starting to really like it.

Stepping on a scale I realized I've gained at least 10lbs which is 5kg being on this ship and combined with the 10lbs I've gained from traveling around Europe these past three months, I'm the fattest I've been since I was overweight after college. The only saving grace is that I have a lot more muscle now than I did before and that I know once I get back to my routine of eating my usual diet I'll shed these extra 20lbs within two months or so. I've realized that being on a cruise ship is like a glutton fest that you just can't avoid as your entire day revolves around eating. Here's what I did today which is pretty much what you can expect on a cruise ship day to day: 

Waking up .
Going to the Gym.
Eating at the Breakfast Buffet.
Going borrowed internet to upload facebook photos.
Eating at the Lunch Buffet.
Watching downloaded episodes of "The Profit" and "Shark Tank" on my laptop.
Having some pizza as a snack.
Reading on my Kindle by the pool.
Eating three appetizers and a main at the formal restaurant.
Watching the best show I've seen on board so far; Cosmopolitan. 
Having ice cream.
Going to bed.

That's cruise life in a nutshell. 

Cruise Tip: If you're on a diet or don't want to gain weight, don't go on a cruise even if you think you'll stick to it, you're bound to overeat. 

At the Vegas style Buffet on the Celebrity Silhouette 

Day 12: Pisa/Florence, Italy

Technically we weren't anywhere close to either of those cities but since no one's heard of Livorno and there's nothing to do there we docked and took a bus to Pisa to take the mandatory cheesy leaning tower. I almost didn't want to bother going as I knew it would be just for a touristy photo, but walking around the main drag and finding the best Gelato I've had anywhere in the world made it worth it. Just a few minutes away down the main street is Gelateria Orso Bianco which had the best ice cream I've ever had in my life including the a bunch of other shops and the top two rated places I would later try in Rome. I had the pinenuts and something else with nuts as well and they were both incredible.

Other than that there isn't much else to do, but luckily it was super easy and relatively inexpensive to get to once I found the city shuttle which picks you up from the same drop off point as the cruise shuttle into downtown, drops you off within a 10 minute walk of the tower, gives you two hours to walk around and have ice cream, then drops you back off in town for $16.

Back in town I had more gelato (wasn't as good, but had free wifi) my first italian pizza, and found a sim card through Wind mobile for $22 for 2gb which was their smallest plan. Only downside was it took 3 hours to activate and I had to manually change my APN, which makes me think Italy is super far behind technology and makes it not a good digital nomad hotspot as wifi in cafes are terrible. 

Cruise Tip: Don't waste your money on the excursions or private taxis, look for the shared shuttle bus in the port terminal. 

Best Gelato on my life!

The required cheesy leaning tower of Pisa pic

Meeting Entrepreneurs on Ship

I figured that since I had so much time on board the ship that I would be bound to meet tons of interesting people to interview for the podcast, but I was wrong. Most of the people I met were either retired from normal jobs, or still working them and just taking two weeks vacation. The one guy that seemed like he would be a good fit for the podcast ended up backing out as we were hitting record as he was afraid that his clients would drop him for traveling too much.

Even the people without jobs were afraid of being too open and were downright scared of even just using their first names and talking about what the cruise was like and their favorite ports. Even the people there for the Abraham-Hicks: Law of Attraction cruise were hesitant about stepping outside of their comfort zone. I must have asked at least six different people and they all either said no, backed out, or gave a million reasons why they couldn't. It was completely different from the people I was used to meeting while traveling and living in Chiang Mai. When it came down to it, I really think that people that go on cruises have package tourist mentalities and need the comfort, pre planned itineraries and their hands held.

One of the big themes of the Abraham workshops is being free, letting go of fears and allowing new experiences but it seemed that the people I asked were all dependant on the groups and workshops to keep them motivated and weren't ready to step outside of their own comfort zones. The majority of people in the workshop, immediately signed up for another future seminar so they could have the safety net of knowing they wouldn't be alone.  I'm sure if I asked twenty more people I could have found someone both interesting and willing to talk openly about their experience and I think I eventually did on the last day while on a train into Rome but by then it was too late. It was a reminder of how fearful people back in normal society are compared to the people I meet while living abroad and traveling. People asked why I didn't want to attend the Abraham workshops, and its not because I don't believe in the power of positive thought, the law of attraction and manifesting our own destiny, because I do. I believe in actually doing it.

Cruise Tip: Don't expect to meet ambitious, self-motivated, entrepreneurs on board a cruise ship.

Sit back and be entertained on board.

Day 12: Arriving in Rome

After almost two weeks on board the Celebrity Silhouette and a few awesome port experiences I was almost ready to recommend cruising and even consider doing another one before I turned 50 but disembarkation day was chaotic and I couldn't wait to get off the ship and never return. I'd assume there would be warm feelings and a grand goodbye but it felt like the staff and the cruise line just wanted you off as quickly as possible to get the ship ready for the next group boarding which means checkout time is at a ridiculously early 7am which makes it a madhouse as nearly 3,000 guests are rushing to breakfast with their remaining suitcases in hand.

Getting off the ship itself and collecting your luggage also felt cold and unfriendly as it felt like the cruise line was finished taking your on board spending and wanted you out. Even without trying, my on board bill was $278 as drinks are $9 a piece + 18%, and since there was nothing else to do on board by shop, my mom bought a bunch of crap from the stores. Luckily they removed the $6.48 they tried to charge me for a bottle of water which none of us drank.

And even though 18% gratuities are automatically added to your ticket price and collected upfront, during the last day, you can expect your restaurant servers and everyone else wanting an extra cash tip on the side. Lucky I don't gamble or drink much or buy random crap I don't need as the bill you get for on board services and excursions can quickly end up being just as much as you paid for the cruise itself without you realizing it. I've realized from this journey that cruising is a fun way see a bunch of places in a short amount of time, eat a ton of food, and an easy way to fall into a routine, but its not for me and I don't recommend it for digital nomads or savvy travelers. I think i'll leave cruises for retirees and those less adventurous who want all of their choices made for them. For me it was an easy way to spend a lot of time with my parents, sister and extended family but don't expect to find me on another cruise ship anytime soon.

Cruise Tip: Don't go. Travel slow and follow one of my guides instead. You'll save money, have more fun, and best of all, you'll have freedom.

Saying goodbye to 12 days of my life aboard the Celebrity Silhouette.

Stay tuned for my travel guide to Rome coming up in the next blog post. As for earning passive income during the cruise, subscribe to the email list to be notified when this month's income report comes out, it'll be an interesting one as I think I opened my laptop a total of 4 times during this month so far.  But to get you started, here is last month's passive income report if you're curious.

By the way, if you haven't listened to Episode 129 of the Travel Like a Boss Podcast yet, I go into more detail about the cruise itself as well as places I've visited in Europe.

That's it!

Johnny FD

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  1. Looks like you had a great time! Even through the food and gym issues, you managed to make friends and enjoy yourself. Life is what you make it!

    Juliana and I went on the Norwegian jewel to Alaska last September and had an amazing time. It was a very laid back and casual atmosphere, even in the formal restaurants. Everything about the cruise was fun. Still, it's not something I would do more than once a year. Too much bad food. A lot of procrastination and over-relaxation. Definitely for the retired and honeymooners (which we were at the time). If I were to do another one it would be a 3 day cruise like you mentioned. That would be just as enjoyable but not too much.

    Looking forward to reading more as you write it!

    1. Hey thanks Trevor, I just finished writing up the rest of the post, it's been a long, fun journey!

  2. The no wifi thing would be great for me, getting heaps of writing done without distractions. Well the internet kind anyway. I've never been tempted to go on a cruise but I do like the idea of getting a cabin on a freighter.

    1. Hey Kathryn, what type of off-line work do you do? I guess if I was writing a book or if I knew how to code that would be possible. =)

  3. Hi Johnny, I'm glad you gave cruising a shot. I wanted to give a different perspective to people who are thinking about "traveling like a boss." While I'm not sure I would want to cruise as a passenger on a cruise ship I can definitely recommend working on a cruise ship for young people looking for adventure, as it checks off a lot of the boxes: save money, free accommodations, low cost of travel to really cool places, and really interesting people.

    I worked for NCL for a few years during my twenties and was able to pay off all my student loans because my expenses were ridiculously low. I was an officer (supervisor of the kid's program but it sounds cooler to say officer) Essentially it my job was to run a summer camp on a cruise ship. Great fun.

    I had a free place to sleep and free food. My biggest expenses were grabbing drinks and taxis in exotic locations. I honestly think the crew has more fun than the passengers. There is a whole other world beneath the waterline. Every ship has a crew bar at the bottom of the ship which is the main place to socialize. The parties were insane. Since 60+ nationalities are represented among the crew you could usually count on celebrating independence days and holidays you never heard of a couple times a week. Beer is $1 in the crew bar. There is a separate crew gym. Once a month management would close off a section of the ship for a killer crew party with massive amounts of free drinks.

    In my particular job I was allowed access to all passenger areas and activities. So in my free time me and my friends could hit up the passenger parties and whatnot. Plus crew members get steep discounts on drinks in the passenger areas (the receipts would reflect full price, but they weren't. The company doesn't want the passengers to know that we bought an $8 drink for $2.)

    Anyway, I could go on and on. And of course we worked very hard. It was very much a work hard, play hard type of job. There are no days off but that's "ship life" and people get used to it fast.

    I'd recommend people check out "Seasonal Youth Counselor" positions on the major cruise lines. Cruise companies need extra help for the kids programs during the summer, Christmas break, spring break...whenever the kids are out of school. It's a good gig for college kids as they get to travel the world yet it won't interfere with their studies.

    The luckiest people are the musicians. If I could sing well and play guitar I'd want to work on ships full time. Those people only work about 4 days a week for a couple hours in the evening. Sorry for the long comment, but I just wanted people to be aware of this opportunity, especially if they don't want to be an entrepreneur.

    1. Hey Austin, great advice! Thanks for sharing your experience! I actually hung out with some of the staff (since they were some of the most interesting people on the ship, and weren't 55+) and since I used to work at dive resorts we had a lot in common and they told me all about it.

      I also had a friend who was an acupuncturist on a ship and loved it.

      From what I know, I'd highly recommend anyone who can get an entertainment, officer or specialty position (basically anyone who gets their own room and access to the guest areas) you'll love it.

      However, if you're working in food and beverage or any of the jobs where you're sharing a room, and don't have access to the passenger areas of the ship, I would not recommend it at all as it sounds live being a slave on a ship with limited rights.

      But if you're just out of school (I think you have to be 21) and want to enough some cheap travel, then either way, just do it. I never regretted my 4 years living cheap and working like a slave in dive resorts which I wrote about in my first book 12 Weeks in Thailand.


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