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Well hello again! A lot has happened with me over the past few years. I went from blogging full time to barely opening the site! I think a lot has to do with the fact I have not been diy-ing so much any more. We remodeled a home (which God knows I have more pictures and post ideas just from that project alone) and we have been growing a very successful business, all which take most of my time.
I can say since becoming an empty nester we have settled in just fine (you can look back at my first Mother’s Day as an empty nester here). What I thought would kill me has been replaced with not only building a new company (well it’s about 5 years new now) but doing some traveling as well. When I started this blog it was to be about DIY and decorating but I also wanted to throw in some of my everyday lifestyle as well. So I thought why not share some of the things we have been up to and some of the tips I have learned along the way.
I thought I would start two sections here on the blog where I can share some of the things here for you to enjoy. Some you may know and some may help you just unwind a minute and drift out of your world into mine. I am calling these new sections Hotel Snob and Welcome Aboard. The hotel snob is a term of endearment I have given to myself. I do love a great hotel and hence the name. I have also been rating on Trip Advisor since 2012 and you can read some of those hotel reviews there as well. Welcome Aboard will be about the cruise ships we have been on, some tips I have learned and because I love trying different cruise lines I will also share how the cruise lines differ.
For those who know me know Disney runs through my veins. I have been a passholder for many years and have the joy of spending countless hours with my family at the most magical place on earth. When I first became a passholder I would tell my then baby girl each time we passed Disney’s Wedding Pavilion one day she would get married there…….well I can tell you dreams really do come true because this beautiful little girl turned amazing woman is getting married at that very place! (More on that later)
Needless to say I have spent many hours at what I call my true home. I also have a goal to stay in each of the Disney World Resort Hotels. There are 25 wonderful resorts (including the deluxe villas) at the time of this writing (Star Wars Resort is on the way) and I have to tell you I have sadly only stayed at 6 of them. Oh I have stayed at the resort hotels many times, the problem is when I like a resort I keep staying there! (Read about my Favorite Disney Resort) but I do have on my bucket list to stay at each and every one!
The hubby and I have been starting to travel outside of our favorite Orlando getaway and have gone to Vegas and have even started spending more time on the ocean cruising. While taking these trips I have learned a thing or two that I will share with you.
Enough about me already let’s seas the day and cruise right into the first Welcome Aboard post with my top tips for sailing the high seas! (ok enough puns!)
Tip 1: Get the cruise ship app ~ Most, if not all, cruise lines have an app to download to your phone to give you great info about your cruise. I know on my last cruise with my sister aboard the Carnival Liberty I loved the fact I could see what activity was coming up on the ship next on the app! The Carnival Hub App allowed me to see things like the weather, menus and my favorites were seeing my account balance and being able to “favorite” upcoming activities I did not want to miss on the ship! It was nice not to have to carry around the Carnival’s ‘Fun Times’ newsletter. (This newsletter is a paper newsletter left in your cabin each night to give you an overview of the upcoming day’s events, including activity and entertainment options, dining choices, children’s programming and more but now you can get that info on an app! The Disney Cruise Line Navigator app allows you to even have a countdown calendar till you set sail and allows you to communicate to other passengers on the ship for free while on the ship! (More on that in upcoming post)
Tip 2: Get luggage tag protectors ~ I have sailed on Carnival and Royal Caribbean so I can attest to these two ships (Norwegian and Disney are in the works for this year). You will be given luggage tags to download and print from home. These are to be attached to your luggage which you will hand off to the cruise line when you arrive and your luggage will arrive in your cabin later that day. The problem is the cruise line instructs you to fold and staple these printed paper tags to your luggage! What??!!! These may rip off and then where will my luggage be??? Even though the luggage you give them will get on the ship, therefore if yours does not arrive I am sure they will be able to find it, but how long will you have to wait? And do you really want to spend those precious hours worrying about lost luggage? I searched on Amazon for plastic luggage tags which have the metal ring. Know that Carnival and Royal Caribbean have different shaped tags so make sure you get the luggage tag protectors which fit the cruise line you are sailing with. I used these on my last cruise on both Carnival and Royal Caribbean and my luggage arrived in my cabin with the tags still attached even though the plastic on one was bent, yet they were still intact and arrived safely to my room. Had that tag just been stapled on it may have not made it. (Now I have sailed before just by stapling them on my bags and had them arrive to my room but they were torn and mangled, hence the luggage tag protectors. For me a very low cost for a huge peace of mind!)
Tip 3: Order water before you arrive at the ship ~ On most cruise lines you are able to go onto their website and order water and pay for it before you arrive to the ship. Cruise lines have different rules for what drinks you can bring aboard the ship with you so read before you go. The cruise lines I have sailed on do not allow you to bring water on the ships. It is cheaper to buy the larger bottles of water from the cruise line website before you sail and have the water waiting for you in your cabin. Remember when you buy bottled water on the ship, if you are on the drink package, you will also be paying a tip for that water. Cruise lines charge from 12-18% for this service. So get those water bottles delivered to your room before you leave home and do not worry about it later. And if you are drinking a lot of water those individual water bottles add up in cost.
Tip 4: Bring a cup with a lid~ When you bring a cup on board the ship you can fill it up with water (not bottled water), lemonade and tea that comes with the cost of the cruise (Disney cruise line has soda that is included!) So by having a cup you can wash out each night and refill each day you will make sure you are hydrated while cruising!
Tip 5: Use Packing Cubes ~ Oh my goodness how life changed for me when I started using these! I had watched several videos on YouTube about packing cubes and decided to give them a try (amazon has a ton). I love them! They allow me to get more things in my suitcase and they keep my clothes from getting wrinkled! The tip for using packing cubes to keep your clothes wrinkle free is to take the time to neatly roll up your clothes and actually tightly fill, but not too tight, the cube. This keeps the clothes from shifting when being thrown around causing less wrinkles because you took the care to pack neatly and you did not leave space in the cube for the clothes to slide around (and yes your luggage gets thrown around by cruise lines and airlines). When you are ready to go home roll back up the dirty clothes (do not have to be neat lol) and put dirty clothes in cubes and clean clothes in separate cubes to keep the clean clothes from the dirty clothes!
Bonus Tip: Buy clothes made of materials less likely to wrinkle ~ I love clothes made of Polyester Spandex blend. I love Susan Graver Liquid Knit and also Chicos Travelers but you can find clothes made of these and similar materials which travel well almost everywhere! To me those are carefree materials which help me look great when I am on my trip. I also pack some Downy Wrinkle Releaser to spray the clothes when I hang them up when I unpack on the ship. This stops static, allows wrinkles to fall and freshens up the clothes!
Whew that was a long post! I hope I helped you with some of my top 5 cruising tips. There are tons more which I will share on the welcome aboard section here on the blog. So cruise on (pun again I know lol) back and sit a while.
Until next time,
Enjoy your day, your family, and your home ❤