What I’m Reading…

As always, I take several books with me when I cruise.  I don’t really have the time and energy to read at home, but on vacation, I’m a voracious reader.  Sometimes I read them all and have to read some of my Mom’s books. I’m taking 4 books for an 8-day cruise.  Here goes…

Cold-Hearted Rake by Lisa Kleypas

Cold-Hearted Rake by Lisa Kleypas

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Match for Marcus Cynster by Stephanie Laurens

Image result for a match for marcus cynster 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dangerous Passions by Kat Martin


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nemesis by Catherine Coulter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The only author that could make this list better is Johanna Lindsey…🤔

Next up – movies and TV shows.

Until next time…

Your Cruise Girl

 

When Your Friends and Family Just Don’t Get It

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Is there something you do or are passionate about that some people just don’t understand?  That’s me and cruising.  I literally work to cruise.

I was recently reminded of this in a cruising Facebook group I belong to.  One of the members posted that her Facebook friends were really negative towards her cruise countdown posts.  As a group of people who also love to cruise, we whole-heartedly welcomed her countdown – she’s under 100 days.

It’s an interesting phenomena how people don’t like what they don’t understand.  My Dad, for years, talked about cruising like it was a dirty word.  He said he didn’t need to go on a cruise because he’d been all the places cruises go.  The food wasn’t that great (although he wouldn’t know because he’d never been).  The countries they visit are poor and depressed.  Cruising just isn’t that great.  Until he went on one last year.  When he got back, he was so over-the-top excited to share his experiences.  The same experiences that I’d already had and had tried to convince him he should try because cruising IS great!

It would be my dream to convert everyone into serial cruisers.  It’s taking me some time, but they are coming along.  This upcoming cruise there are 7 of us.  And we ordered shirts!  It’s gonna be fun!  Some of the very people that didn’t understand why I cruised so much are the same people who are already dreading being kicked off the ship on the last day.

So what does it all mean?  You just keep doing you and enjoying life.  People will either get on board or watch you sail by.  I’m sailing!  How about you?

 

Until next time,

Your Cruise Girl

The Countdown Begins!

As you know, a cruise countdown is a perpetual thing for me. I’ve decided to dedicate a good portion of my life to cruising.  I literally work to cruise.  So here’s my latest.

66 Days to go!

We are ready!

We ended up getting flights to Ft. Lauderdale for $377. Still a little higher than I wanted, but not that ridiculous $480. Here’s where we stand:

  • Flights ✔️
  • Hotel ✔️
  • Ground transportation ✔️
  • Excursions ✔️

Here’s what’s left to do:

  • Shopping – I need new sneakers and sandals.  I’m trying to graduate from flip flops, but they’re so comfortable and easy!  I could also use a few new maxi dresses and maybe a new bathing suit.  The bathing suit depends on whether or not I can successfully bring sexy back. 😜
  • Packing – I just got the packing cubes I ordered from eBags. We’ll see if it actually works and keeps my suitcase organized.

  • Choose my entertainment – I always take several books and load my iPad up with movies.  It’s only an 8-day cruise, but vacation is when I do most of my reading and watching movies.  I’ll do a separate post to let you know what I picked out.
  • Prepare the house – I always like to come back to a clean house.  Coming home from vacation is depressing enough without having to look at a mess when you get home.
  • Prepare a meal – After 8 days of pampering and having every meal served, I know I don’t want to cook on my first couple of nights back.  So, I prepare and freeze a meal (or two) so that I only have to reheat when I get home.  I’m still gonna be looking for the MDR (Main Dining Room) for a while. 😂

There are other little odds and ends I have to take care of, but those are the major ones.  Now, if I could just fast forward time… ⏱

Until next time,

Your Cruise Girl

About These Flights…

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So, we paid off our cruise and now we’re ready to go! Time to book hotels and airfare, right?  Wrong!  I’m looking for round-trip, non-stop airfare from Charlotte to Miami.  Should be easy right?  Should be relatively affordable one would think.  I mean, Charlotte is a hub for American Airlines and Miami is a major international airport.

But, before I get too deep into my whining, let me come clean. I’m discerning.  Some might call that picky LOL.  I want specific flights on specific dates and times.  Is that wrong?  Call me decisive. I see what I want and I focus on that goal.  That’s a good thing, right? So here’s what I want:

Non-stop Charlotte outbound on Friday morning between 9am – 11am

Non-stop Miami outbound on Sunday afternoon between 12pm – 2pm

These flights exist, but at an exorbitant price. Are you ready? *drumroll please*

$480

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Yeah, you’re probably thinking the same thing I am: WTF? On what planet does it cost $480 to fly anywhere for 2 hours?  What kinda fuel are they using? Sigh…

So, now it’s just the waiting game. But can my nerves take it if the price goes up more?  Will my thrifty self be able to actually purchase a $500 ticket to Miami?  I don’t know.  But I’m gonna stop looking at these prices for a moment so that my head doesn’t explode.

 

Until next time,

Your Cruise Girl

Planning the Family Cruise

After an unplanned hiatus where I didn’t come back and tell you about Christmas in Pigeon Forge, I am excited to tell you about my upcoming cruise this summer with the family.

We will be on Carnival’s newest ship, the Vista this July.  It’ll be me, Mom, my brother, niece, sister and her husband.  It’s my sister’s first cruise and she is a type-a planner like myself, so she wanted to have a meeting to go over everything.  At first, I was hesitant, but as we got closer, I got excited about planning for the meeting.  I’m an administrative professional, so organizing things is what I’m good at.  I pulled together a packet of information for each of us.

Family Cruise Meeting Packet
Family Cruise Meeting Packet

I was very proud of myself.

We talked about how the 6 of us planned to get to port.  My sister, being the type-a planner that she is, had already purchased her airline tickets.  My brother doesn’t like to fly, so he was hoping we could “rent a van and sing songs.” Well, not the sing songs part, but he was disappointed that she was flying.  Mom and I were already leaning toward flying since it would be about a 12 hour drive.  I don’t want to spend all day trying to get to my destination (unless of course I’m cruising there.  That’s different 😜). I want to get there and be able to enjoy the beginning part of my vacation. My pre-vacation vacation, if you will.  Under peer pressure, my brother decided to fly.  He’s a little thrifty, so he immediately started hawking airfare prices.  They’re a little high now, even for my blood.  But, we’ll probably book soon just to get it out of the way.

We talked about transportation to and from the port, choices in hotel (I’m a Hilton girl) and even looked at excursions (we’ll have a BBQ at my sister’s house after final payment to choose excursions).

I walked away with homework:

  1. Look for some adventure-type excursions (my niece insists)
  2. Look for possible 2018 cruises (I already have some ideas)
  3. Look for cruises to Hawaii for 2019

And now, not only am I excited for the cruise, I’m excited for these pre-cruise planning meetings.  Planning the details of the cruise is almost as exciting as the cruise itself!

Does planning get you excited for your trip? Do you have any cruise planning rituals? 

Until next time,

Your Cruise Girl

Christmas in Tennessee 

As always, I’m hit or miss with writing.  But, if you’ve been following me at all, you already know this.  I’m gonna try and write this weekend since Mom and I decided to go to Pigeon Forge for Christmas.

What had happened was…

She got a call from our timeshare for an owner update.  We wanted to go somewhere for the holiday, but Myrtle Beach and Charleston didn’t have the availability.  But, then they called with Pigeon Forge.  We had never been, so we thought, “Why not?”  Well, the why might be the fires they recently had in Gatlinburg which is not that far away.  But I went online and their visitors bureau encouraged folks to come – “We’re open!” the site said. 

So, here we are, safely ensconced in our hotel room, with a full belly from our time spent at Bubba Gumps.  Hopefully, I’ll write tomorrow.  But for now, I’ll leave you with a photo of the sunrise from my ride to work this morning.

Sunrise on the way to work
Until next time,

Your Cruise Girl

I Need A Fix…

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A cruise fix that is.

The number of days left until my next cruise is unacceptable.  And on top of that, I have 2 co-workers going on cruises in the next 60 days.  It’s really hard not to hate them right now, but I also want to live through them vicariously.

I keep looking for a great cruise sale, but the reality is, I just started a new job and I really can’t take the time off.

But the devil on my shoulder says: You have a 25% discount from Carnival that you have to use by January 2017 and you have enough airline miles for a free flight…

This is the real Decision 2016 LOL!

decision2016-vert-640x640

I’ll keep you posted on what happens.

 

Your Cruise Girl

 

Planning Excursions

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My brother told me a funny yesterday, but let me give you some background.

My mom and I have always cruised together.  I believe our first cruise was in 2001?  We go with or without those who SAY they want to go.  Anywho,  my sister had been saying for a few years that the family should cruise together.  I really didn’t do anything about it for a while because my family is one of those families that has a lot of excitement when you present the idea, but has absolutely no follow-through.  I saw myself going through the trouble of getting all this information together and it still end up being just me & Mom.

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And that’s exactly what happened.  In 2010, I planned a family trip based on the dates my sister could go.  She did not go.  But, my brother and his son did.  And we had a great time!  My brother had never cruised before and that trip made him an addict.  For the next 6 years, we would go on family cruises and my sister would never go.  But this year, she finally put a deposit down.  So, we are super excited to add to our cruising family circle!

Now back to the funny.  Apparently, my sister was out on the web looking at excursions.  If you’ve ever planned a cruise, you know that there are PAGES and PAGES of excursions for each port.  But my sister only stopped on page one of port one.  So she thought there wouldn’t be anything to do on the cruise.  She was ready to cancel everything!  My brother started laughing, but he went out to the site with her and showed her the plethora of excursions available.  They’ve got something for everyone.  My sister relaxed a little, but to help her even more, we plan to go grab a meal and sit down and go through what’s available.

My advice:  Know what kind of tourist you are. 

If you love the beach, be sure to check out the beach escapes.  If your ship stops at a private island, get a cabana so that you can maximize your enjoyment.

If you love adventure, be sure to look for excursions like zip lining, kayaking, or an ATV adventure.

And of course there’s always historical tours and shopping trips!  If you don’t want to do anything organized, most ports have a nice area right off the ship that have a few shops and maybe even a little entertainment.

So never worry that there won’t be anything for you to do.  Even if you decide not to get off the ship, the cruise line has some activities planned just for someone like you!  And there’s always those wonderful in-port spa specials…

Until next time,

Your Cruise Girl

 

 

 

The Struggle is Real!!

real

 

So, I embarked on a journey to share my travels with you and I haven’t been doing a really good job of that.  I’m normally such an organized and productive person, but the reality is I just haven’t made writing a priority.  😦

My last post was about embarkation day on a cruise I took in December of 2014.  Here we are almost two years later! Since my December cruise of 2014, I’ve cruised the following:

  • Carnival Fantasy – March 2015
  • Carnival Valor – July 2015
  • Carnival Sunshine – April 2016

And my next cruise is already booked for July 2017 on the new Carnival Vista!  As you can see, I’ve got a lot to share.  I just have to make it a priority to share it.  I have a little more free time now, so maybe I can do better.  I will definitely try! 🙂

 

Your Cruise Girl