January 29, 2012

"I Love It When We're Cruisin' Together"

Bit by the travel bug?  Few things to know before you go!
To know me, is to know that travel is one of my passions.  Independent, group, or with my better half.  Travel anywhere with anyone is what I live for!  I traveled across Canada, Europe, South America and Asia, mostly alone and fearless.  But there’s always the thought of, what would Mom think?  So for women who wants to travel, alone or not, I’m here to give them ideas of how to travel safe, how to travel fun and how to travel in a way that your mom will be comfortable at home knowing that you are off in a different part of the world on your own.

There’s so many trips to chat about but I’ll speak of the most recent.  Two weeks ago, I went on my first cruise with my two besties.  We headed to the Western Caribbean and from the get go I had no idea what to expect or what to pack, so here are some tips for would be future cruisers:

Few important tips:
Not water or Listerine,
just a way to save you money
  • A lot, if not all, cruise lines have a policy of not bringing liquor on the boat.  That you have to buy their bottles of beer, shots of liquor or glasses of wine.  Or they will allow you to bring in a bottle of wine but pay for a corkage fee.  So if you’re just wanting to drink and not have to pay, then empty some bottles (any bottles, I used Listerine but shampoo and conditioner bottles work too … just make sure to rinse them out properly… vodka infused with Dove isn’t the best combination), put your favourite alcohol in it and if needed, use food colouring to match the colour of the original liquid (only if you’re using see-thru bottles).  Also, don’t forget to tighten up the lid and place it in a bag.  But if you must buy something on the ship, the buckets of beer is very reasonable ($25 for 6 bottles) 
  • If you’re really keen on not paying for liquor then when you are on port buy a cheap bottle of whatever you fancy and wrap it in your towel/sweater and place it in your bag.  When you get back to the ship they run your bag in the x-ray machine, but three out of four times they won’t confiscate it (I bought a bottle of tequila in Mexico, and they didn’t take it away)
  • Make friends with your room attendant.  They can give you inside tips of what to do in your ship, where to go during your ports, or they can just make your room an oasis and a home away from home
  • Do go on your excursions!  We went to the Tulum Mayan Ruins in Mexico and climbed the Dunn’s River Falls in Jamaica (only after going on the reggae party boat…soooo fun).  You may not get to visit these places again, so why not make the most of your experiences and time there?
The three of us taking a break from climbing Dunn's River Falls
  • Get our of your comfort zone!  This tip isn’t only for cruising.  It’s for any type of travel.  Are you shy?  Too bad, get out there and talk to people!  How can you experience a culture without chatting with people who live in it?  How can you experience a culture without having eaten the local cuisine?  Get our of your comfort zone and see all the wonderful things that you’ll experience!!
  • The ship has several restaurants, buffets, speciality foods and late night cafes.  The price you pay includes most of the restaurants so remember if you don’t like your food, you can always order another dish.  If you are hungry, you can always go to another restaurant or order seconds or thirds (in which I often did) 
Vegetarian?  NO problem!
  • I’m vegetarian and sometimes vegan, and I found that Norwegian Sun was very accommodating to those who have this lifestyle!  Just tell your maiter-D and they will definitely take care of you!  They may need a day in advance, but trust me, the meal you get is worth it!
  • Get a balcony!!!  You don’t need it but it sure makes the trip!  You not only get to see the scenery, but you also get the fresh air when you don’t want to go on the top deck that might be riddled with children
  • Research research research!  Like everything in your life, a little preparation goes a long way!  Research weather (bring clothes to reflect this, plus clothes that don’t … you can always count on the weather man being wrong …. And you don’t want to be the one in the sun dress while hurricane Abi comes by)
  • No English?  No problem!  Sometimes the best experiences are the ones you don’t understand.  Just immerse yourself in the culture and enjoy!
  • Don’t over pack!  Use things you can re-use.  You don’t have to MacGyver to show how innovative you are!  That shawl you’re wearing on the plane can act as a blanket, a head cover when it rains or when it‘s extremely hot and it can even become a dress at times (trust me! … just bring a belt!), face wipes can act as sanitary wipes...there are so many uses for so many different items!
What to pack on a cruise:
  • I wont get into the normal list of things like Passport, money, etc. what I will tell you is items you should bring that I found helpful:
  • Forget the sunglasses (you don’t really want to look like a racoon when you get back do you?) and bring the hat
  • It gets pretty chilly when the sun is not out, so bring a shawl.  This also acts as a blanket when you’re on the plane or a pillow if you needed one in your state room.  The pillows in mine weren’t the best so I used my shawl for the duration of my trip
  • Don’t forget the incognito booze!
  • No cell phone.  If you reallllllllllly need to keep in contact with your family/friends, they have a computer lab, but do you really want to pay an arm and a leg while waiting for a satellite to connect  while at sea?  You can be spending that time better…like on the pool deck catching some rays
That`s all for now, but I`m sure I will be back with more travel stories and travel tips!

January 2, 2012

Resolutions and Executions

I'm not usually one to make New Years resolutions.  I feel that if you want to change something in your life, if you want to try something new, or quit an old habit, then any day is a good day to do so.  However, as 2011 came rolling to an end, and since I noticed my bucket list is almost complete, I thought of some new things I want to do for the upcoming year! 

Among the list, 2012 will be a year to express myself creatively!  In anyway and every way possible...with this blog, with food, fashion, relationships, with everything!  As a self-proclaimed "not creative" person, 2012 will challenge me to at least try to be one!  And as you will soon find out, I'm up for all challenges!

Happy New Year!!! 
2012 is going to be MY year!