Monday, November 6, 2023


Let’s be real. Life can be stressful. No matter who you are, from whichever walk of life you come from, or whatever season of life you’re currently in, life just has stress.

We face stress from work, relationships, tasks and projects at home, finances, health concerns, and so much more. We know that stress is hard on us physically and mentally, but what can we do to truly limit stress?

A few ways to eliminate stress


Sometimes we need to just take a deep breath. Have you ever been sitting there working and realize you’re practically holding your breath? I have! Take a deep breath in, hold it for a few seconds, then slowly release. It feels so good.

Be okay with saying no.

Sometimes we simply need to say no. We constantly fill up our schedules until there is no blank space left. That’s not healthy for us. We need down time, we were even created to have down time. It’s okay to say no to tasks or events from time to time.

Have something to look forward to.

Life can often feel mundane. We do the same thing day in and day out. We need to have something to look forward to. Whether it’s a good book and favorite dessert at the end of the day, a coffee date out with a friend once a week, or dinner party once a month. Always have something on the calendar that you enjoy and can look forward to, something to unwind and breathe.

Get fresh air and sunshine.

There is something so healing and so peaceful about fresh air and sunshine. We breathe easier. Our shoulders drop (we hold so much stress in our shoulders!). We just feel better when we can enjoy some time outside. So whether you plan a five minute walk each day or pack up the RV for a weekend away, get fresh air and sunshine.

What would you add to help you to eliminate stress? 

Tuesday, October 17, 2023


You gift your kids toys for Christmas and after a few weeks, the toys have made their way to the bottom of the toy box forgotten forever. You gift your teen a video game that they conquer in a matter of days and never play again. You gift cash that is spent on needless things. So what do you give your family for Christmas?!

Looking for a Christmas gift for the whole fam?

What about an experience! What about a CRUISE!

A cruise makes a wonderful Christmas gift for the family. You give them something to look forward to leading up to their cruise, you give them a fun filled week of laughter and entertainment, and you give them a lifetime of memories.

If you want tangible things for your kids to open on Christmas morning, you can get a luggage set like this one. It comes with a rolling suitcase, backpack, lunch box, neck pillow, and luggage tag. Available in 10 different prints. This option is a great one for teens!

When booking a cruise you typically pay a deposit of $200 per cabin, then you can make payments leading up to your cruise. Depending on when you book your cruise and how many cabins you book, this could help spread the debt of Christmas out a little!

We highly recommend Royal Caribbean or Carnival. Both have great kid's clubs and loads to do aboard the ships.

A cruise a wonderful gift experience for the whole family so book your cruise now!

Tuesday, October 3, 2023


When we were preparing for our first cruise, we heard and read some words we were unfamiliar with. The more research we did, and after getting our first cruise under our belt of course, we learned a lot of cruise lingo.

Here is some cruise lingo so you will talk cruise like a pro!

Cruise Lingo #cruise #cruisetravel #cruisevacation #cruiselingo

Ship: Okay, so yes, a cruise ship is technically a boat, but I promise you, you do not want to call it a boat!

Forward: Forward is the front section of the ship.

Bow: The very front of the ship.

Mid-ship: Just as it's name says, is the middle of the ship.

Aft: Aft is the back section of the ship.

Stern: The very back of the ship.

Captain: The person in ultimate command of the ship, he/she is responsible for everyone aboard.

Cruise Director: The cruise director is in charge of all activities and entertainment onboard.

Interior Cabin/Stateroom: This is a cabin on the inside of the ship, there will not be any balcony or window.

Oceanview Cabin: This is a cabin on the outside of the ship, you will have a small window or porthole.

Balcony Cabin: This is another cabin on the outside of the ship, you will have a balcony.

Deck Plan: The Deck Plan is a map of your ship.

Cabin or Stateroom: The room you will stay in is not called a room, it is called a cabin or a stateroom.

Deck: Deck refers to floors. Every floor is actually a deck, not just the outside part of the ship. You don't go to the 4th floor, you go to the 4th deck.

Bridge: This is the navigational part of the ship. This is where you will find the Captain navigating the boat.

Port of Departure: This is the place where you will board your ship.

Cruise Terminal: The Cruise Terminal is at the Port of Departure. This is where you go through the check in process.

Embarkation: This is the first day of your cruise.

Sailaway or Set Sail: This is when your ship actually takes off! While you may board your ship in the morning, it will typically not leave the Port of Departure until early evening.

Muster Drill: Muster is a mandatory safety drill prior to setting sail. This will be your very first stop when you board your ship. It doesn't matter how many times you've sailed, it is still mandatory. The ship cannot set sail until every single passenger has done their muster drill.

Muster Station: Your muster drill will happen at the muster station. This is also the place you will go to in the event of an emergency.

Sea Day: Sea days are days when you are out to sea all day long. There will be no Port of Call stops.

Port of Calls: Port of Call is where your ship will stop for a day. If you choose, you can get off the ship and explore. Many will do excursions at this time.

Excursion: This is an activity you pay for (not included in your cruise package). Some excursions include swimming with dolphins, snorkeling, etc.

Tender: Many Port of Calls have a dock where your ship will anchor down and stay for the day. However, in some Port of Calls ships are not able to get close enough to land for various reason. So your ship would anchor out a few miles from the Port of Call and a Tender, smaller shuttle boat, will come and taxi you to the docks.

Atrium or Promenade: This area is grand! It acts as a ship's hub of activity. You'll find shopping, food, music, and more.

Lido Deck: Lido Deck is the main pool area. There will be lounge chairs, pool(s), a hot tub, water games, slides, bars, and often music or movies playing.

Gangway: The Gangway is the walkway where you will board your ship.

Cruise Card or Sea Pass: Gone are the days of actual keys. When your cabin is ready for you, there will be a Cruise Card at your door. This is your cabin key, but it is also how you will purchase drinks, etc.

Lanyard: Since everything is your cruise card or sea pass, you don't have a key nor do you need a wallet. But who wants to keep track of their cruise card in the pocket!? Lanyard are the perfect option. You can wear it around your neck all day and night and when you need to get into your cabin or purchase a drink, it's right there. We love THESE lanyards.

Cabin Steward: Your cabin steward is your attendant. they will clean your room (On Royal Caribbean they cleaned your room twice a day and on Carnival they cleaned it once a day). Your steward will also help you if you need things like ice, extra towels, etc.

Formal or Elegant Night: Typically one night of your cruise will be formal or elegant night. This means everyone dresses up a bit nicer than the rest of the time.  You'll find some wear evening gowns and tuxedos!

Main Dining: Your ship will have a main dining room. There is always a dress code for the MDR in the evening, such as no flip flops, shorts, etc.

Specialty Restaurants: The buffet and MDR are a part of your cruise package, however the specialty restaurants are not and you will be charged to eat there.

Disembarkation: Your cruise has come to an end. Disembarkation is when your cruise has come back to the Port of Departure and your vacation is over.

Tuesday, September 26, 2023


We have gone on two cruises; once with Royal Caribbean and once with Carnival. Both times porting from Galveston, Texas. Today we want to share our comparison of these two cruise lines, from booking to disembarkation.

Royal Caribbean vs Carnival #cruise #cruisevacation #RoyalCaribbean #Carnival

Both lines made booking easy. Their websites are easily navigated and when calling customer service, they have wonderful people who were helpful and able to answer questions. Both lines offer apps that give you all the details of your booking and a fun countdown to your cruise. The apps are very important while you are on the ships as they help you keep ship time (this is vital, we'll share more another time), let you chat with people in your party, tell you want is going on that day, and more.

Both lines offer great payment options. You make your down payment, generally $200 a cabin, and then you have time to make payments leading up to your cruise. After booking you get to add extras like your drink packages, Wi-Fi packages, and excursions. This is where we started to see differences. For one, the drink packages are quite different, we talked about that HERE. Another difference is the Wi-Fi- packages, which we talked about HERE. On these two issues, we preferred Royal Caribbean.

When it came time for our cruises, embarkation was similar. Our cruise with Royal Caribbean was our first and we were unfamiliar with the process, but it went very smoothly. When sailing Carnival, we were familiar and felt the process was good, but not quite as smooth as Royal Caribbean. It just felt a little more hectic. Both lines, you will have lots of walking for your embarkation (the process of checking in and actually boarding the ship) and there will be a time of sitting and waiting. So wear comfy shoes and don't expect to get on ship immediately!

Once on the ship, we honestly felt like everything was very comparable! Food on both lines was so good and there is so much variety. You can read more about food HERE. There are multiple bars throughout the ships for all your drinks, this includes mocktails, sodas, teas, and water.

Both cruise lines offer multiple pools, hot tubs, water slides, and water games for kids and kids at heart. You'll find trivias and games during the days so you and your party can enjoy some competition. Royal Caribbean offered a napkin folding class, while Carnival offered a towel folding class. Both lines had mini golf, an arcade, and other games. Carnival had the Sky Bike which was so much fun. You get in the bike and ride through the air around the deck of the ship. We had so much fun with this. Royal Caribbean had the Flow Rider. This is a surfing simulator and was such a blast!

Royal Caribbean and Carnival both have kids clubs which offer lots of fun for kids. They are completely safe for kids with their check in and check out systems. Dad and Mom can have a little kid-free fun while the kiddos enjoy some major fun!

Both lines have live music playing all throughout the ships so you can sit down and enjoy or get up and dance to different genres of music. And the casino is always hopping!

Then there's the night life! On both cruise lines you'll find some fabulous shows in the evening. While Carnival's shows were good, we did prefer the shows on Royal Caribbean. Royal's shows were a bit more family friendly and had more variety. One night we had a great comedy show, one night was an acappella group, and the others were great song and dance shows. Carnival's shows were more of rock concerts and one night there wasn't a show. However, both ended our cruise time with a wonderful show showcasing all the countries represented by their line's staff members.

The cleanliness of both lines was great! We never had any issues. Instead, we continually saw people cleaning windows, handrails, chairs, floors, and more! And housekeeping kept up on our rooms each and every day. The friendliness of both lines was also great. Everyone makes you feel like family and do whatever it takes to make your cruise a good experience.

And finally you had the disembarkation. Both went smoothly, but again you will be walking a lot so wear comfy shoes!

All in all, both Carnival and Royal Caribbean are very comparable and we truly enjoyed both experiences. If we had to choose one cruise line to stick with, we think we would stay "Loyal to Royal!"

Tuesday, September 19, 2023


Do you really need internet on a cruise ship? That depends. Before departure, you will need to put your phone and other devices that use data (iPad, etc) on airplane mode. If you fail to do this, your next bill will be outrageous! You are going into international waters and the rates are crazy high. To avoid complete shock when your phone bill arrives, put your phone on airplane mode and do not take it off until your cruise comes to an end!

DO I REALLY NEED A WI-FI PACKAGE? #cruise #cruiseship #cruisevacation #vacation #travel

If you want to stay connected to family and friends at home, you need a Wi-Fi package. If you want to keep up with social media or post anything, you need a Wi-Fi package. If you need to keep up on your bank account, favorite websites, sports scores, etc, you need a Wi-Fi package. During our cruises, my husband put his phone on airplane mode and shut it off. I, however, purchased Wi-Fi packages to stay connected to our kids and grandbabies back home.

We have sailed with Royal Caribbean and Carnival and their Wi-Fi packages are different. Let's take a look at what they offer and what the differences are.

Royal Caribbean offers two Wi-Fi options. VOOM Surf Voyage allows you to browse the web, send and receive emails, and chat on messenger apps (Facebook Messenger, Whatsapp, etc). VOOM Surf Voyage runs $12.99-$15.99 per device, per day.

Then you have the VOOM Surf + Stream Voyage allows you to browse the web, send and receive emails, chat on messenger apps (Facebook Messenger, Whatsapp, etc), video chat live, post on social media, and stream movies, music, videos, and TV shows. VOOM Surf + Stream Voyage runs $17.99-$19.99 per device, per day. With VOOM Surf + Stream Voyage, I had full access to everything on my phone; FaceTime, texting, internet, and all of my apps. The only thing I didn't do was make regular calls. It was fast internet and I never had any problems!

Through the Royal app, you can chat for free with those in your party. So my husband could have kept his phone on -while on airplane mode- and chatted with me through the Royal app for no charge.

Carnival offers three different internet packages. Social Wi-Fi gives access to social media apps like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. The cost is $12.75 per device, per day. The Value Wi-Fi plan gives access to social media apps plus email, banking, weather, sports, and news sites. Value Wi-Fi is $17.00 per device, per day. Then you have the Premium Wi-Fi plan. This offers all of the above plus video calling like Zoom, Skype, and Teams. The cost runs $18.75 per device, per day. My daughter had the Value plan and was not able to get on TikTok or Spotify. I had the Premium plan and could get TikTok, but I never tried Spotify. Both plans kept having issues of losing connection and needing to re-sign in. It was quite a headache.

Carnival also has a chat feature on the Carnival Hub app. However, it costs $5 per person/device. You can do this whether you have a Wi-Fi package or  not.

Being on vacation is wonderful. Sometimes you just want to completely unplug. Yet, sometimes you need to be reachable. So actually needing a Wi-Fi package depends on you.

Both cruise lines do have an emergency number in case your family needs to contact you for an emergency while you are onboard. Whether you get a Wi-Fi package or not, it is wise to make sure your family has the emergency number. But please know, it could take a little time for the cruise line to get in touch with you.

Tuesday, September 12, 2023


Drink packages is one of the biggest differences we have noticed between Royal Caribbean and Carnival. And when it comes to drink packages, I am team Royal Caribbean all the way.

Let's Talk Drink Packages #cruise #cruiselife #cruiseship #cruiseaddict

First, let's look at soda. Royal Caribbean does something awesome with their soda packages: they give you a cup. When you first get on ship, there will be little stations where you can give them your information, they confirm you have a soda package, then they give you a souvenir cup and lid. This cup has a scan code at the bottom. You simply take your cup to one of the Coca-Cola drink kiosks, place it under the spicket, choose your soda of choice, and viola! With your soda package, you can refill your cup as often as you want throughout the day. The soda package is $13 per person, per day, plus 18% gratuities.

Carnival does not offer you a cup. Instead you go to one of the bars, give them your Sail & Sign card, they confirm your soda package and give you a can of soda. You can get ice from the bar or go to the water stations for a cup of ice. Carnival is Pepsi products (this is a plus as I am a Pepsi lover!). The soda package is $10 per person, per day, plus 18% gratuities.

With your soda package, you can also get a soda with your dinner at the main dining hall. There is unlimited water, unsweetened tea, lemonade, and black coffee throughout the ship on both cruise lines even without a soda package.

Next, let's talk mocktails. I love a good virgin strawberry daiquiri! Mocktails are another big difference between Royal Caribbean and Carnival.

Royal Caribbean has two drink packages, in addition to soda: Refreshment and Deluxe. Both include the soda so if you get one of these packages, you don't need to purchase the soda package too. The Refreshment package offers soda, premium coffees and teas, fresh squeezed juices, bottled and sparkling water, non-alcoholic cocktails, and milkshakes at Johnny Rockets. The Refreshment package is $29 per person, per day, plus 18% gratuities. The Deluxe package offers all of the above plus cocktails, spirits, beer, and wines by the glass. The Deluxe package is $55-$95 per person, per day, plus 18% gratuities.

Carnival has only one package besides their soda package: Cheers. The Cheers package incudes sodas, juices, specialty coffees and teas, milkshakes, energy drinks, bottled water, mocktails, cocktails, cognacs, whiskies, beer, and wine and champagne by the glass. Because it includes alcoholic beverages, it costs double the Refreshment package for Royal Caribbean. Even if you do not drink, but you want the mocktails, you have to pay for it as though you were drinking the alcohol. The Cheers package is $60 per person, per day, plus 18% gratuities.

Another thing is everyone in your stateroom over the age of 21 must pay for this package. This is where we had issue. I love mocktails. My husband absolutely does not. But if I were to get the Cheers package for my virgin strawberry or peach daquiris, he had to get the package too, even with zero intention of using it. Because of this rule and the high cost of the package (it would have been over $1000!), we opted to not get Cheers. Instead, I purchased a couple mocktails "a` le carte." They were just under $10 each.

Royal Caribbean does not have any limits to their drink packages while Carnival has a limit of fifteen drinks a day. **Either way, if you choose to drink, please do so responsibly!**

Both Royal Caribbean and Carnival allow you to bring a case of water or soda on board with you. Royal Caribbean allows one case (no more than 12 bottles/cans) per stateroom. Carnival allows one case (no more than 12 bottles/cans) per person.

We have decided with the allowance of a case of soda per person, if we sail with Carnival, we will not be purchasing any drink packages. However, if we sail with Royal Caribbean, we will get one soda and one Refreshment package.

So there you have it! So many options for your beverages when you set sail!

Tuesday, September 5, 2023


Do you like food? Then you will love a cruise!

All. The. Food. #cruise #cruiselife #cruiseaddict #ship #travel #vacation

There is so much food - and it is all delicious! We've cruised with Royal Caribbean and Carnival and I would have to say the food on both cruise lines is comparable.

Royal Caribbean has Windjammer Buffet and Carnival has the Marketplace Buffet. Both the Windjammer and the Marketplace offer a wide variety of foods to satisfy all your cravings. During breakfast you'll find cold and hot cereals, donuts, muffins, fruits, eggs, bacon, sausage, omelets, French toast, pancakes, and even more. For the lunch hours you will find salads, fruits, burgers, sides, and so much more. And for dinner time, you will again find salads and fruits, along with a wide variety of dinner foods.

Both buffets have variety from day to day and you can find sections for special dietary needs (i.e. gluten free, dairy free, etc).  Both Windjammer and Marketplace open early in the morning and stay open until late into the night. If you go hungry on a cruise ship, it is completely your own fault!

All. The. Food. #cruise #cruiselife #cruiseaddict #ship #travel #vacation

And we didn't even mention the desserts! Windjammer and Marketplace both have a delicious variety of desserts that you will love. Cakes, cookies, pies, it's all there! Plus, ice cream machines that are open all day long!

In both the Windjammer and Marketplace, the dress code is laid back. Want to dress up? Go ahead. Want to grab a burger in your swim trunks? Sure.

In addition to massive buffets open all day long, there are restaurants throughout the cruise ships. We didn't eat any of the restaurants on Royal Caribbean, but we heard great reviews about the food. On Carnival, we did eat Guy's Burger Joint and and Guy's Pig and Anchor. Yes, Guy Fieri's restaurants are on Carnival! There were others as well, we just didn't try those.

Then you have the main dining hall. The main dining is more of an elegant dining experience and there is a dress code. You can dress up nice or go just a little more casual, but no swim attire, flip flops, etc.

In the main dining hall of both cruise lines, food becomes a whole experience! You are treated like royalty as you presented with bread followed by your choice of appetizers, main courses, and desserts. Two appetizers catch your eye? Order both! The cheesecake and carrot cake sound delicious? Order both! Each night the menu offers a few standard dishes and new dishes.

Jeremy and our daughter both tried some pretty unique dishes like frog legs and duck, while I (Jenifer) stuck with more "normal" dishes like baked chicken or chicken parmesan. Whether you are more adventurous or prefer to stick to what you know you love, you will come away from the main dining all satisfied.

And the best part: it is all included in your cruise! Windjammer buffet, Marketplace buffet, and the main dining halls are all a part of your cruise package. No need to carrying your wallet or worry about the bill. It was taken care of the day you booked your cruise. Some of the extra restaurants on both Royal Caribbean and Carnival are not included and do cost, but the buffets and main dining, and Guy Fieri's restaurants on Carnival, are a part of your cruise so enjoy!

If you love food, you will definitely love a cruise!