Encounters with an Actual Cruise Junkie

As someone curious about the cruise ship experience but with zero desire ever to board a cruise ship, I was delighted to discover the existence of Emma Le Teace, a 28-year-old from the UK who took her first cruise at the age of 11 and now cruises professionally—as in, has a YouTube channel dedicated to recounting her voyages.

Le Teace, in other words, is an actual Cruise Junkie, a true addict, unlike the Cruise Junkie, Memorial University Professor Ross Klein, who is far more critical of the industry.

The video that introduced me to La Teace was posted in late 2022 and tells of a cruise she took with the Carnival line and guess which Atlantic Canadian port was on the itinerary?

Carnival cruise itinerary

(Source: YouTube)

The theme of this particular video is taking a Carnival cruise and enjoying it despite Carnival’s reputation as a “party” line—a reputation she illustrates with a collection of stories about shipboard brawls.

As for what, precisely, she enjoyed about the cruise, after watching a couple of her videos I’d say what she enjoyed was saving money. I actually suspect she’d do pretty much anything if she could save money doing it. (“I paid $15 for a ticket to a Raptors game and all I had to do was sit behind a pillar in a pool of nacho cheese!”)

She also enjoyed the diet cola. In a related video, in which she takes you on a “tour” of her Carnival Magic cabin (the “smallest and cheapest” available on the vessel) she explains that the water in her windowless room was “always warm” and “tasted absolutely horrible,” but not to worry: she had purchased a “soda package”—she paid $8 per day and waxes lyrical about getting actual cans rather than fountain drinks—which meant that she “mostly just drank Pepsi instead of water.”

For seven days.

(She seems so sensible, though, it takes a while to realize how questionable her decisions are. I blame the British accent.)


Pros & Cons

There were a few things Le Teace didn’t like about the cruise but she couched her criticisms in so many caveats (“I know everyone won’t agree,” “Other people seemed to enjoy it,” “Maybe you like horrible-tasting drinking water and the smell of smoke”) that it was sometimes hard to be sure.

But I think it’s fair to say she didn’t particularly like the atrium on the Carnival Magic which, as one viewer commented, looks like a giant pinball machine:

Atrium on Carnival Magic

Atrium on Carnival Magic cruise ship. (Source: YouTube)

She didn’t particularly enjoy the productions in the onboard theater, which weren’t elaborate enough for her taste, featuring just a “group of people” singing “compilations of songs.” (She said she later found out that there was a problem with the backdrop or the scenery that meant it wasn’t safe for the performers to dance under it and I got distracted for a moment wondering how, exactly, they’d discovered that problem.)

Carnival Magic theater production.

Carnival Magic theater production. (Source: YouTube)

She expressed only the mildest distaste at having to walk through the casino to get to other onboard facilities but her description of the casino gave me heart palpitations: it was expanded during the ship’s most recent refit to extend over two decks, it’s an area where smoking is permitted and it was the busiest casino she’d ever seen on a cruise ship, with every machine and every table seemingly in use at all hours.

Casino on the Carnival Magic

Casino on the Carnival Magic (Source: YouTube)

She wasn’t particularly keen on the mid-meal entertainment that involved waiters donning “brightly colored jackets” and jumping up on plinths to dance:

Waiters dancing on Carnival Magic

Waiters dancing on Carnival Magic (Source: YouTube)

And she wished there were more vegetarian items on the menus of the various restaurants, including this one, which looks a somewhat shinier version of a hospital cafeteria:

Carnival Magic Deli

(Source: YouTube)

Other than these few items—and the lack of windows in her cabin where she woke in pitch darkness every day—she was happy with pretty much all the things, precisely two of which appealed to me: the view of Manhattan as the vessel left the harbor and a quiet corner of a deck lined with chaise-lounges where you could recline and  watch the sea go by (although she seemed equally happy to spend time in a pub that looked like it wouldn’t be out of place in a strip mall on Welton Street).

Le Treace’s big “like,” as noted above, was the price for this cruise, which was $532 for seven nights, with food, gratuities and soft drinks included. She copped to spending exactly $20 beyond the price of her ticket—she played the slots in the casino, won $30 and called it day.

What this meant, of course, was that she didn’t book any of the onshore excursions that are the reason why we here in Sydney are supposed to love the cruise industry so.


All ashore!

That’s not to say she didn’t go ashore, she did, gamely filming an attraction in Saint John, New Brunswick she only later discovered was a pulp and paper mill:

Pulp and paper mill, Saint John, NB

She even disembarked in Halifax and Sydney, despite the lurking presence of Hurricane Ian:

Cape Breton weather forecast


She didn’t spring for a Carnival poncho, which would have cost extra, but she admired those worn by her fellows passengers who looked like “ghosts” heading up the Esplanade:

Sydney, NS.

(Source: YouTube)

She also admired the residential streets she wandered in Saint John and took advantage of spotting a “For Sale” sign to explain that the British term for “realtor” is “estate agent,” but she reserved most of her commentary for the ship itself.

What she didn’t do was spend any money in Downtown Sydney (or Saint John or Halifax).

I watched just enough of her videos (one of which she begins with the cheery announcement that she’s just returned from a cruise and has COVID) to convince myself I really would not enjoy cruising.  But I have to admit to finding the videos (and her) oddly fascinating. She is a classic “belly full, purse closed” type of cruise ship tourist and while she may be an extreme example of the breed, I am pretty sure she’s not alone.