Last week (October 30th, 2013) marks the one year anniversary of quitting my day job at CrowdSavings and pursuing my own startup dreams / running my own company. At the time I had only 3 social networks up and running with around 30k active users (SceneKids making up 99% of that). A year of dedicated focus later I’ve grown the STREET platform (Social Terrestrial Relationship Environment, Enhancing Territories) a ton (too many new features to count), expanded to 18 websites (not counting my other non-social network sites) and not only grown SceneKids to over 85k active users, but the network as a whole to over 100k active users.
This past year has not been without it’s hiccups between a false start on a company / platform with my buddy, the platform was fulled developed, he just opted to not sell it. Lesson learned, I need to be in control of my own destiny when it comes to the sales aspect of my ventures. Albeit a pretty big hiccup, it paled in comparison to the termite problem that was recently resolved and resulted in a mini-vacay to New Orleans. So all in all not too bad.
If you remember correctly, quitting my job last year took place via satellite while in the Atlantic on the Disney Dream cruise ship while attempting to celebrate the wife’s birthday. So, last week I was talking to my most favorite bartender in the history of the world and she mentioned she was going on a cruise for a friend’s wedding during Halloween. WHAT A GREAT IDEA! So on a whim, we decided to hop on the Disney Dream again this year to celebrate my quitaversary.
The point of this post isn’t to point out that working for myself does allow us to pick up and take a vacation whenever we want (which it does) but to address the fact that I had some lessons learned from the last cruise and I wanted to discuss how the second time around went. Full disclosure, you’re about to run into some affiliate links, don’t judge me, monkey. Just before the trip I did go ahead and invested in the World Travel Adapter Kit by Apple. Best 40$ I could have spent before the cruise as I was able to keep my camera (a/k/a my iPhone) charged so I could take a ton of photos. Amazon will save you about 6$ (or one beer on a cruise ;) compared to the Apple store (where I got mine because we were already at the mall).
In regard to the Bahamas we did get off the boat again in Nassau even though we said we wouldn’t. We can thank our daughter for that as she said she didn’t remember it from last year so it was mandatory to expierence it again. This time we ended up walking around and doing some light shopping. I tried my best to avoid the straw market but we ended up in there for a hot minute. Still didn’t make it to Atlantis but was able to grab a local beer while walking around. The city felt a lot less sketchy without Bahemian military personel walking around with rifles like last time.
Even though I said that concierge is worth the cost last year (even though we were upgraded for free), I’m not so sure now that we’ve stayed on the 9th floor without it. We still had an ocean view with a balcony (albeit not as high up) and the room was a bit smaller. We obviously didn’t have access to the concierge lounge but all that really got us was some fancier food (sometimes a man just wants a plate of bacon and eggs and not some fancy place of lox), a couple of free drinks (assuming you get there at the right times) and a concierge-only meet and greet. Concierge level also provides a free wifi package, but that ended up being a minor expense anyway (it was only 40$ for 100 minutes, which I didn’t even use all of).
The most noticable difference with staying in concierge is the fact that the floor is gated so you’re not dealing with the “gen pop” crowd running the halls. That definitely became very apparent but at the end of the day you gotta run into those people anyway unless you plan on spending your entire cruise in your ivory tower. Don’t quote me on this, but I feel like the hall ways on the concierge floor were a bit wider as well, perhaps that’s why the halls didn’t fill up in much the same way.
From a dollars and cents perspective concierge is definitely pricier when booking, but there’s also an additional bit of tipping you have to do for the concierge staff. Don’t get me wrong, they are as fucking magical as humanly possible, but the fact remains that you do receive an additional tip envelope when staying concierge. I’m not saying I wouldn’t go concierge again, in fact the only reason we didn’t this time is because it was booked up, but I am saying that personally, I find the differences somewhat negligible if not timed properly (reads: I’m sure I could have figured out how to gotten some more free booze ;) The wife is still quite adamant that concierge is worth it and the differences are more substantial than I’m letting on.
A few additional notes to point out:
- Don’t ever check your laptop bag as you may see it being tossed and you will have to pick your heart up off the floor (no damage though :)
- Even though you’re only on a cruise for a few days, there’s still benefits to making friends with a bartender and frequenting their post.
- There’s no law that says you have to go to your dinner service, we skipped dinner and went to a show one night. Service could have been better anyway. Our awesome table mates made up for that though.
- If you see someone in a Rubik’s cube costume on the dance floor, you really should take a moment to say hello as they may let you wear the cube!
- The Aquaduck slide has a tendency to be completely dead in the morning, we rode 5 times in a row with no wait one morning after breakfast.
- Unsure if a one-time fluke, but the Ms Pac-Man / Galaga game in the Arrrcade was on free play mode. There was never a line for it because children have no concept of quality.
- The wife told me to keep it a secret, but there’s a photo kiosk on deck 2 of the Dream. There ends up being a mob on deck 4 on the last night to order their photos and the kiosk in deck 2 gets completely neglected.
- OH and as for the steak fries, they were still awesome!