Southern Caribbean Cruise - The Ship

Southern Caribbean Cruise - The Ship

10 nights aboard the Emerald Princess ship in the Southern Caribbean was just what we needed after all the stress lately. It was the perfect amount of time where we felt like we got away without rushing back into every day life. 4 out of the 6 island stops were new to us (all 6 were new for Lil' Miss), and we planned our excursions accordingly. We had never sailed on Princess before, and have been choosing cruises lately based on the itinerary instead of the ship so we were excited to try out a new cruise line and of course explore new islands. 


Itinerary


Ft. Lauderdale

Princess Cays, Bahamas

At Sea

St. Thomas, USVI

Roseau, Dominica

Castries, St. Lucia

Fort de France, Martinique

St. Johns, Antigua

At Sea 

At Sea

Ft. Lauderdale


Today, I'm recapping our experience on board the ship and I'll recap the island stops separately. Stay tuned! 



Ideally, we would sail out of Port Canaveral but when an itinerary pops up with mostly new to us islands we make the drive to Ft. Lauderdale with iced coffee in hand. After dropping off the pup to be boarded, we hit the road to Port Everglades. Once on board, we dropped our stuff off at our room, had lunch, and then got changed for the pool and sail away party. 


Cruising Tip - Always book a balcony room over an inside room. You have a lot more space, and a private outdoor area to enjoy room service breakfast (always free) and watch as the ship pulls into a new port each morning. It's usually not that much more expensive to upgrade, and SO worth it. We also enjoy sitting on the balcony while getting ready for dinner. 



Maxi Dress {only $20} | Fedora Beach Hat | Sandals 


1st smoothie of the trip - too cool for me!







Our first morning we woke up in Princess Cays, Bahamas. Lil' Miss was excited for her annual on board hair cut. Cruising tip - if you're considering any spa services head to the spa on the first day where they include massive discounts when booking on embarkation day. We received half off her chop, and she was loving every second. 




We spent most of the day ashore, and since it was the cruise line's private island the BBQ lunch and beverages were included with our drink package. Cruising tip - when in doubt just get the drink package. We went with the Princess Plus package which included drinks, bottled water, specialty coffee, OceanNow for delivery anywhere onboard, gratuities for the crew, Wi-Fi, 2 fitness classes (I of course chose Pure Barre), 2 premium desserts per day (which I felt was excessive), and 2 a la carte restaurants.

It was so nice not to worry about how much we were spending every time we ordered a drink, or that our bill was racking up each day with the gratuities. Lil' Miss was also able to enjoy her smoothies/mocktails without us paying for each one on their own. Game changer! 




Back on board after Princess Cays, we enjoyed some pool time before getting ready for dinner. After dinner, Lil' Miss begged us to bring her to kids club. She went for a little bit after dinner while we enjoyed a handcrafted cocktail and a comedy show.


Cutout Midi Dress {available in 6 colors}




The next day was a sea day as we sailed toward St. Thomas. We spent the morning as a family, and had lunch before Lil' Miss asked to go to kids club in the afternoon. While she was there, we enjoyed both adults only pools. There was one in the back of the ship and another called The Sanctuary near the gym and the spa at the front of the ship.


We enjoy the family pools in the middle of the ship which is where you'll find live music, fun challenges, and of course all the kiddos. But it's also nice to slip away and enjoy the peace and quiet at the adults only pools too.




The next morning we arrived in St. Thomas, and we enjoyed watching the ship pull into port and dock over our room service breakfast and a cup of coffee. H and I had been there several times already, so we didn't book an excursion and decided to take a cab to the ferry and head over to St. John for the day. It was the perfect idea.




The next day we docked in Dominica which is a BEAUTIFUL island full of lush mountains and waterfalls. We had been there back in 2009 - WOW that was 15 years ago! When we were there before we booked an excursion that took us up into the rainforest where we saw waterfalls and went river tubing down the mountain. However, H felt carsick on the bus ride up the winding mountain so we decided to skip an excursion this time. We walked around the marketplace in the port area before getting back on board, and spending the day by the pool. We definitely made the right decision, because we heard from several other people that did excursions there that either they or someone on their tour felt sick from the bus ride up the mountain. Definitely something to consider if you are prone to motion sickness to avoid an excursion that will take you up into the mountains in Dominica. 




Lil' Miss enjoyed her first premium dessert that was a part of our Princess Plus package. She not only ate the sundae, but was wearing it all over face as well. Too cute! We also donned our matching bathing suits, and kept getting stopped by people around the ship asking where we got them. We were a walking family advertisement for Kenny Flowers, and I loved it! 






Later that afternoon, I cashed in one of my free fitness classes and enjoyed a Pure Barre at sea workout. Climbing stairs the rest of the day was not fun, but burned so good!




We had an incredible room steward named Emmanuel who left towel animals and fun messages on the mirror for Lil' Miss. She shrieked each day walking into the room to find her latest surprise.




We also stopped in St. Lucia, Martinique, and Antigua before enjoying 2 at sea days as we sailed back towards Ft. Lauderdale to end the magnificent trip. More Kenny Flower pieces were worn by the pool, more premium desserts were consumed, another Pure Barre at sea workout, and lots of fun on board.






I was bummed that I didn't find the perfect mimosa until the second to last day. After the gym, I went to the Good Spirits at Sea bar on Deck 5 to grab a mimosa and met Raymond the bartender. He has perfected the art of filling the glass with mostly bubbles and adding splash of juice. I steered others in his direction when the topic of mimosas came up by the pool. 



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Summertime

Summertime

Between all stress (low points) and all the travel (high points) in recent months, we've managed to squeeze in some fun at home too including trips to the beach, ice cream dates (yum!), and trying out new to us recipes at home.



On Father's Day weekend, we headed out to the beach to break in our new beach shade. It only took a few minutes to set up, and it worked with the wind to provide shade and UPF 50+ sun protection. I was sweating while we were setting it up, but perfectly comfortable once I was settled into a chair in the shade and enjoying the sea breeze.






Everyone walking on the beach stopped to check out this poor puffer fish that had washed up onto land. He freaked me out at first, but then I found him fascinating. 




After the beach, we headed over to our favorite post-beach restaurant on the intracoastal for an early dinner and pelican watching in the marina. 






Mid-week ice cream dates with my best girl have also been on deck, and I've been excited to dive back into some brand partnerships after not having the time to focus on them for so long. The beach shade above is a game changer for our beach days, and we've been enjoying some new patio sips over a bottle of The Waterford – CuvĂ©e Koffi.


Next week, I plan on recapping our Southern Caribbean Cruise which you may have seen snippets of on Instagram





How has your summer (unofficial start to summer) been so far?

Spring Break in Savannah

Spring Break in Savannah

Yes, by the title of this post it's apparent I am way behind in recapping well pretty much everything. I had been so overwhelmed at work that I no longer had time to focus on this space. I was working really long hours, and always "on" even during the weekends. Burnout barely scratched the surface. Now that I've been laid off, I've had more time to focus on playing catch up here and on brand partnerships.


Savannah, Georgia - even though it's only about a 5 hour drive away, we had never been. So, a few nights during Lil Miss' spring break back in March were a great idea. We ate our way through the city, and even took the bridge over to South Carolina to have lunch and go shopping in Hilton Head Island. 








Yes, even the pup joined us. Long story short - we had booked her to be boarded while we were away and never received the pre-check in form that we usually fill out prior to dropping her off. Their website also showed they were open until 2:00, so imagine our surprise when we arrived at noon and they were closed. We left several messages (which were never returned...) and called as many other boarding places as we could to no avail with it being spring break everyone was booked. Luckily, it was our first trip in years where we weren't flying or taking a cruise so we were able to load her up in the car and take her with us. Our hotel was doggy friendly (yay!) and simply charged us a $150 pet fee which was cheaper than what we would have paid the boarding place. She loved her walks around the parks in Savannah, and lost her mind when she saw the horses pulling the carriages. And she and Lil' Miss loved this beautiful soaking tub. The cutest! 




We arrived on St. Patrick's Day which is huge in Savannah, and even though we are totally comfortable with Lil' Miss going into pubs or seeing others having adult beverage fun we felt that this holiday was better spent down by the beach just in case there were some people getting out of hand. We headed to Tybee Island where she brought her buckets, and played in the sand before we grabbed dinner at the cutest spot.






We all enjoyed fancy hot dogs and fun drinks (mocktail for Lil' Miss) at Sea Wolf Tybee. Everything was delish, and played corn hole next to the deck. Also loved the festive flair!




The next morning we went for a walk by the river to grab coffee before exploring the city including hunting down the Chippewa Square park with the "Forrest Gump bench" which fun fact is not a bench anymore. The bus stop bench from many scenes was installed for the movie, but we were excited to walk around the park where parts of the movie were filmed. 










Lil' Miss was excited to swim in the hotel pool which was heated. She was super chilly when getting out, but swam her heart out before dinner. 






Rooftop pre-dinner drinks and dinner on the river was on deck before enjoying the fire pit at the hotel. We always talk about enjoying the fire pit at a hotel, and almost never get around to it. We were excited to not only take advantage of the amenity, but we were the only ones using it. 




I have almost no photos from our last day where we drove over the bridge into South Carolina for lunch and shopping. But couldn't resist snapping a photo of Lil' Miss at dinner trying peanut butter and jelly wings. Rather she was wearing the the wings. 




Our final stop of the trip was to treat our sweet tooths at Lulu's Chocolate Bar which a friend had recommended. The sweetest ending to our mini trip. 




Alaska Cruise Recap

Alaska Cruise Recap

I've been back for a few weeks from the work trip on a cruise to Alaska, but so much has happened since then and there is a lot more than my luggage that needs to be unpacked. 


We've had a few medical emergencies in the family and I have since been let go from said job. Yes - the job that I've had for over 6 years (with a brief intermission when I thought the grass was greener elsewhere) that I thrived at has ended just.like.that. No one knows why, and several people were fighting for me the last week as I handed over credentials. All we know is that the past few months have become increasingly toxic, little to no work life balance, and the new owner is making bad decision after bad decision while also treating his staff horribly to put it lightly. I have come to peace with it, because I had been so stressed out and anxiety ridden and I had survived multiple rounds of layoffs. I know it's for the best, but it's still really hard to process.


But let's recap the good stuff shall we? It's always hard to kiss my family goodbye, and leave for a work trip. This time I was at least not traveling internationally or on a long haul flight to the other side of the world which helped significantly. I flew into Seattle the night before we were to set sail on an incentive trip for one of the markets on the Norwegian Encore. I had never been to Seattle or anywhere in Alaska, so I knew it would be a rewarding trip both professionally and personally. I also enjoyed getting to know co-workers from around the world as well as more distributors.



I took my new Radley London tote for a spin, as she was scooped up with the full intention of being my new work travel tote. I ended up with a surprise upgrade to Delta Comfort + in a bulkhead seat so she fit comfortably in the overhead bin with my carryon luggage.






Not much to report from my evening in Seattle since I arrived pretty late, and just showered, scarfed down some Uber Eats, and got some much needed sleep. The next morning I headed over to the cruise port to check in, and get started covering the trip.








This was my first ever cooler weather cruise, but that didn't stop me from packing some dresses. I just threw a jacket over them and voila. I also packed a few bathing suits because hot tubs!




A sail away Aperol Spritz was on deck before heading to the welcome reception, and then to dinner with co-workers. All of the food was of course YUM.






Our first port of call was in Juneau, and we woke up to amazing views of the snow capped mountains. Travel tip - If you're planning an Alaska cruise, try to book near the start of the season because we were the only ship or one of two ships in each port before the busy seasons starts. The locals mentioned that during the height of the cruise season there that they can have 6 ships in port on just one day. Sounds like Nassau! 














Couldn't beat these morning coffee views! I am definitely a warm weather/tropical climate person (hence why I moved from Connecticut to Florida 14 years ago, and never looked back) - however this trip was incredible. I don't mind colder weather if I'm just visiting a place. The views were breathtaking and got more beautiful each day. 



Skagway was our 2nd port of call, and we explored the little town before boarding the White Pass Railroad to go up into the mountains and a brush into British Columbia and Yukon Territory. Again - the views were incredible. I thought Colorado was gorgeous last year, and this blew everything I saw there out of the water. 








No filter needed the entire trip! And the pictures do not do it justice. I cannot wait to head back and enjoy these views again with my family. Back on board - it was time for dinner and a show which is always my fav on cruise ships.






In the evening as we sailed away from Skagway, we were told to look out for the Northern Lights. I was in awe, and it took my breath away. I had to sit down after taking this photo. Again no filter. 




.... and then I woke up to THIS




The next day was an at sea day as we sailed around Glacier Bay National Park. Absolutely breathtaking. Like I said it just got prettier and more impressive each day. 




No makeup. No filter.




After covering some meetings, scheduling content, and a sweat sesh in the gym (where I saw a family of Orcas while on the elliptical) it was time for a quick dip in the hot tub with some co-workers. Spoiler alert - that blue drink was way too sweet and sadly only a few sips were had. 




Our 3rd port of call was in Ketchikan where I had booked my first ever excursion for just me, myself, and I. Everything was beautiful and peaceful, and it didn't even feel like we were out on the water for a few hours. Worth every penny and memory.




This was the day that I packed my water resistant fleece lined joggers for, and they were perfect for this tour. Paired with a lightweight jacket, water proof boots, and gloves I was ready for the early morning wakeup call to meet at the pier at 7:45. 






Back on board before noon, I grabbed a coffee and headed to the gym for an extra sweat sesh before having lunch. I was feeling so tired, and a coffee and a workout did the trick. I felt great the whole rest of the day. Another tip - always take the stairs. It's the best way to squeeze in some extra exercise and avoid the crowded elevators on the ship.






I dined alone for the first time the whole week on the last night before we arrived in Victoria, British Columbia for a short stop from 8:00 - 12:00 p.m. I enjoyed a glass of bubbles on the balcony as I watched our ship pull into port.




A group of us decided to do the rickshaw tour through the city, and it was so much fun! The tour guides are actually running and pulling your cart Flintstone style. Highly recommend.








When we docked back in Seattle I had a few hours before I needed to head to the airport, so I wanted to see all the touristy things. I didn't make it to the Space Needle, but enjoyed some fish throwing at the market, saw the first ever Starbucks, and some extra moments with co-workers that would be heading back to Australia and Japan as I went back to Florida. 







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