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!

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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!!

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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

That Little Forum Called Cruise Critic…

Before I get too deep into the cruise, let me tell you about a little site I happened upon one day while I was researching cruise information. I don’t wanna say that you are not an avid cruiser if you’ve never visited this site, but any cruiser worth their salt has been there at least once.

I found the site right after Carnival so graciously blessed me with a free cabin. I was in shock and disbelief for quite a few days. Any who, We chose the Carnival Breeze 8 day to the Southern Caribbean. Excited was an understatement.

So, I’m an avid reader. I like to read everything I can find on a subject that I am newly interested in and for this time period, it was the Carnival Breeze. A quick Google search brought up the site. Luckily (or really unluckily) I had a lot of free time on my hands since I was home with Pneumonia. And you really need a lot of time to take full advantage of everything that’s available. Whatever you want to know about cruises of any kind on any line is available there from people who have been on the ships. They have roll calls for future sailings where they set up meet & greets, cabin crawls and slot pulls.

Find out which cabins are noisy, where the best bartenders are and what lounge singers put on the best shows. Did they change the menu in the main dining room? Go to cruise critic. Which cruise director will you have? Go to cruise critic. First time cruiser and need tips for packing? Go to cruise critic. It’s like the library of congress for cruising.

Now, having said all that, these are human beings sharing their thoughts and opinions. As you can imagine, some people have bad days and can be not-so-nice sometimes. My philosophy is take what you need and leave the rest.

The link is below. If you are planning to cruise in the next 2 years, I would highly recommend visiting the site for information on the cruise line, ship and ports of call. It’s all there.

Have fun!

Cruise Critic Community
Cruise Critic Community

Until next time…

Your Cruise Girl

Worst Blogger. EVER!!

Yep, that’s me. I try to get on a schedule, but life happens. I’m sure it’s happening to other bloggers out there, but they are just able to get it done. I don’t know…is blogging for me? I feel like I have a lot to share, but if I don’t share it, what’s the point, right?

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I’m gonna do a little self-encouragement and start again. I still owe you my Hawaii trip. I haven’t forgotten, I just get caught up in other things. Well, this is my new resolution to re-commit my self.

You still love me? 🙏

Your Cruise Girl

Carnival Early Saver

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Have you ever booked with Carnival’s Early Saver rate? If you haven’t and you are a planner like myself, you probably should give it a look-see.

With Early Saver, you can book over a year in advance. If the price drops, Carnival will adjust your fare up until the final payment date. If the price drops after your final payment date, they will give you onboard credit. There are a few restrictions. I’ll give you the major ones. Click here to see all the terms and conditions.

The price drop only applies to your cruise fare. That means it does not include your taxes and port fees, insurance (if you purchase – and you should ALWAYS purchase), transfers, or prepaid gratuities.

The price drop is based on your cabin category. Cabin categories can be a little tricky and complicated, so let’s just say inside to inside, ocean view to ocean view and balcony to balcony. There are exceptions of course. But we’ll tackle that in-depth on another post.

You can’t downgrade.

It’s only available for bookings made in USD.

It does not apply to group rates, membership programs, charters, select promotional fares, travel agent rebates, or other travel agent promotions not offered by Carnival to the general public.

I book with Early Saver all the time, and usually only get a few bucks back. The good news about that is that I’ve usually gotten a really great rate on my cruise fare. You may even feel cheated by the fact that you don’t see any price drops, but that just means that you’ve paid the lowest fare. It’s a win-win in most cases.

Now, I’ve said all that to say, Carnival is having a sale with a reduced deposit! You can book Early Saver with just a $99 ($49.50 per person) deposit. Let me tell you what deposits normally are:

Cruise-To-Nowhere – $50 USD (non-refundable)
2 & 3 day – $100 USD
4 day – $150 USD
5 day – $200 USD
6 & 7 days – $250 USD
8 & 9 day – $300 USD
Alaska – $350 USD
10 Day or longer – $400 USD
Panama Canal cruises – $500 USD

Those are per person rates. So, if you were looking to cruise and just didn’t have that kinda cash to drop down for a deposit, today (and through January 31st) is your lucky day!

Click here for the sale!

Happy Cruising!! Maybe I’ll see you on the ship! 😄

Your Cruise Girl

Back to School – Sort of…

Blogging U.

Yep, I signed up for Blogging 101. I’m not just doing it for me, but for you too. I plan to put everything I learn to work here so that this is a blog you’ll want to continue to read.

Having said that, there are assignments that I will have to do and there may be posts that are not congruent with the overall theme of the blog. But, stick with me! I know I owe you part 2 of Long Beach, and it’s coming! I promise!

I just wanted to give you all a heads up in case you started wondering why I’m writing about how beautiful the red apple on the table looks (or some other strange topic). LOL

Until next time!

Your Cruise Girl

What’s on Your Bucket List?

It’s almost 2015. 2014 has been quite interesting for me. The last trip I took, which was to honor my Grandmother’s life, actually inspired me to live more. By her example, she encouraged me to experience new things with the people I love. And so, that is what I’ve decided to do. There are a million places I want to go, but the following 5 are on my immediate to-do list:

1. Cruise to Alaska
After making the trip to the left coast and struggling to acclimate to the time change for about a week, I’ve decided that the experience was worth it. There is nothing stopping me from doing it again to see Alaska. While I’m a hardcore Carnival girl, the Alaska trip is going to have to be on Royal Caribbean because they have the Alaska Cruisetours which include the wondrous glass-domed Wilderness Express!

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2. The Napa Valley Wine Train
Yes, another trip to the left coast. But who doesn’t want to take a trip whose focus is drinking wine? Olivia Pope would heartily approve!

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3. New England/Canadian Cruise
So, umm, yeah, I’m originally from the northeast, but I haven’t had an opportunity to visit places like Boston and Portland. An itinerary like this:

Day 1 New York, NY
Day 2 Fun Day At Sea —
Day 3 Boston, MA
Day 4 Portland, ME
Day 5 Saint John, NB, Canada
Day 6 Halifax, NS, Canada
Day 7 Fun Day At Sea
Day 8 New York, NY

4. Hawaii (Again)
I missed my luau due to an itinerary change (more on that later). Who goes to Hawaii and doesn’t do a luau? Apparently, I do. But there is already a plan in place to rectify this. I also didn’t see any whales on my trip and I’d like to do an excursion just for that.

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5. A Solo Cruise
While I absolutely love traveling with my friends and family, I want to do a cruise by myself and experience travel all on my terms. I can stay in the room all day or be out all night without having to consult or notify anybody. No compromises while on vacation!

What’s on your bucket list?