We just got off a seven day Caribbean cruise aboard Royal Caribbean’s Rhapsody of the Seas. Of course we had a fabulous time, even though the weather wasn’t that great. It’s hard to have a bad time on a cruise! This one left out of Tampa and stopped in Roatan, Honduras, Belize City, Belize, Cozumel and Costa Maya, Mexico. Although the Rhapsody is one of Royal Caribbean’s smaller ships, there is still plenty to do. This was also one of the best crews we have ever experienced on a cruise. They were all so nice and helpful. The first two days aboard were a bit chilly and rainy. We used this time to do more of the ship activities because it was not good pool weather. We actually ended up having a great first day aboard going to trivia, games, and different seminars throughout the ship. (We also spent a lot of time at the Schooner Bar.)
A popular stop on a Caribbean or Bahamas cruise is Nassau. Nassau is famous for Paradise Island which is home to the Atlantis Resort. Paradise Island is a three mile stretch of land that protects Nassau’s harbor. Nassau is the capital city of The Bahamas, and there are lots of really fun and interesting things to do here even if you are only here for the day.
Nassau was contested by the English, French, and Spanish, so there are lots of different cultural influences around the area. There are several museums that showcase the different parts of Nassau’s history, including historic villages that were settled by liberated slaves in the 1800s. Perhaps the most intriguing part of their history, though, has to do with pirates. Blackbeard himself resided in Nassau and you can learn more about Nassau’s history with pirates at the Pirates of Nassau museum, which is a must-see. There is also Pirate Republic Brewery, which is the only craft brewery in The Bahamas, where you can grab a beer after taking on the pirates.
Port Canaveral, FL – CocoCay, Bahamas – Nassau, Bahamas – Sea Day
We just got back from a great cruise aboard Royal Caribbean’s Majesty of the Seas! This was just a 4 night cruise that stopped in CocoCay and Nassau. It was a lot of fun and we really lucked out with the weather. This time of year is good to go because the prices are usually very low, however you run more of a risk of hitting bad weather because it is hurricane season. The crew was wonderful and the food and drinks were great! While the Majesty of the Seas is one of the smaller Royal Caribbean ships, there was still lots to do.
While the bigger ships are of course very nice with all the new features, we don’t really need all of that stuff to have a good time. This cruise we spent a lot of time at the pool, playing ping pong and shuffleboard, and doing a lot of the onboard trivia. (The Harry Potter trivia at the Schooner Bar was crazy!) The ports were also great. CocoCay is one of Royal Caribbean’s private islands. It is small, but super fun. You can do different shore excursions but we opted to walk around and hang out at the beach. They also do lunch service out on the island which had a lot of barbecue that was so yummy! Of course there are plenty of beach bars, as well as a floating bar that was quite the party. There is also a nature trail which we highly recommend checking out. (There is a shore excursion where you can go with a guide, or you can just go on your own.) In Nassau we decided to walk around on our own as well. There were maps available when you got off the ship that gave you a good idea of where to go. We checked out the Pirate Museum, Straw Market, and the Bahamas only craft brewery which is pirate themed. We then spent the rest of the afternoon at the pool onboard the ship which was a lot of fun.
We are definitely loyal to Royal Caribbean. We have been sailing with them since long before we started this blog. Our main reason for this is because they have an amazing loyalty program. They really make it worthwhile to return again and again. We also enjoy the familiarity of the Royal Caribbean ships. We love going to the Windjammer Café, enjoying a drink at Viking Crown Lounge, and listening to music in the Schooner Bar. Each ship has something different to offer, but they each have the feel of a Royal Caribbean ship. It might be strange, but we love it! You can learn more about the Crown & Anchor program here.
Do you have a favorite cruise line or a favorite ship? Let us know in the comments!
River Cruising Along the Mekong in Vietnam & Cambodia
A few years ago, we went on land/river cruise trip throughVietnamandCambodia. We had an amazing time seeing these two countries. There is so much history and culture. Some of the history is hard to take in, especially visiting sites like The Killing Fields and the “Hotel Hanoi” where American POW’s were held during the Vietnam War. Seeing these places in person though is an eye-opening experience. It was sad because so much of the Cambodian history is unknown to many people. But meeting the amazing, resilient people who can always find a reason to smile was so amazing. We also enjoyed seeing the hustle and bustle in Hanoi and Phnom Penh.
This was our first time ever in Asia, and we definitely cannot wait to go back! Our trip was with Viking River Cruises and we had the best guides ever who made the trip even more enjoyable. Here is everything we did and saw during our two weeks in Vietnam & Cambodia. Enjoy!
Off We Go…
First we did a lot of flying. A lot. Sarasota to Chicago. Chicago O’Hare to Seoul, South Korea. Seoul to Saigon/Ho Chi Minh (HCM) City, Vietnam. It was about 20 hours of flying. Luckily Korean Air is spectacular and it reminded us again of how terrible it is to fly domestic! We just love the feeling of getting on a plane and then being halfway around the world. Anyone who has traveled internationally understands that amazing feeling.
Healthy eating is probably not the first thing that comes to mind when you think of a cruise. You might instead be thinking of the 24 hour buffet. However it is possible to eat healthy. We do it every time we cruise without sacrificing the enjoyment of eating! It all starts with a positive mindset, some willpower (okay maybe a lot of willpower), and a little creativity.
The Basics of Eating Well on a Cruise
The Buffet – Often times the buffet gets a bad rap, but it can be your best friend when trying to eat well. Start by perusing every option available and then put together the best choices. Of course, salads are usually the best option, but don’t just stick to the salad bar. There are often great choices to add to a salad at the burger condiment bar or the taco salad bar. You can also take a simple baked potato or plain rice and add to it for a healthy and tasty lunch.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask – While eating at the buffet, get to know the chefs that are walking around. Ask questions and don’t be afraid to make special requests. Everyone is usually very accommodating. We tell the head waiter on the first night of dinner about our various diet restrictions. The waiters appreciate this because then for the rest of the cruise they know what to suggest and what needs to be adapted. The last cruise the kitchen created a special and delicious entrée adapted from the regular menu each night. The chef even came out to comment on how he enjoyed the challenge of creating something different for a change.
Sail Away to the Caribbean on a Cruise! Every year our family goes on a Caribbean cruise out of Tampa with Royal Caribbean. It is a great way to relax and have fun in the warm tropical weather. This year’s cruise was 5 nights and stopped in Cozumel and Grand Cayman. It was especially nice… Read More
Royal Caribbean: The Finer Things In the world of cruising, family and budget friendly usually come to mind when thinking of Royal Caribbean cruises, not the finer things. I want to share with you two experiences I recently had on the Vision of the Seas that were quite grand events and elevated my perception of… Read More
Top 10 Tips For First Time Cruisers! Post by Carol 10. Fly in the night before to be on the safe side. It will give you more of a cushion in case of weather delays, lost luggage, etc. 9. If traveling abroad, look into an international call package before leaving (contact your cell provider for… Read More