This is a continuation of my cruise post you can find here on Petit Elefant.
Our first cruise embarked on Jan 28, 2011, it was a nine-day Mexican Riviera cruise aboard the Carnival Spirit. We loved that ship’s set-up. We booked two cabins. On the Carnival Spirit, on decks five through seven there are six interior cabins that connect to balcony cabins. What that means for those of you that haven’t cruised before, is that you get a phenomenal deal, due to the fact that interior’s are less than balconies. We chose this option so that our girls could sleep in the interior room, and we’d have the balcony, but because the rooms connect, we’d leave the door open and our living space was much more comfortable. For nine days the cost was $67 per person, per night, all inclusive.
Sadly the Carnival Spirit was moved to Australia in 2012 with it’s sister ship the Carnival Legend. However, they have two other sister ships with that sweet set-up, the Carnival Pride which sails on the west coast, and the Carnival Miracle which sails on the east coast.
What does that mean, all inclusive? First of all the food, taken … >> find out more...
I’ve told this story many times, but the other day I realized I’ve never written it. It’s time to put it out there, because it’s unreal. I still don’t know how it happened, but it did. I flew halfway around the world on an airplane without a ticket. This is not fabricated. Honest. Perhaps I should start at the beginning.
It was 2006, the year before we moved to S. Africa, and we were taking lots of short-term teams over to do what we could to help with the orphan crisis that resulted from the AIDS pandemic. S. Africa is a long ways away, about an 18 hour flight from the U.S. East coast. For some reason, my husband and I planned a trip that was only a week long, including travel, with a four-year-old and a two-year-old. The odds were against us before we even began, but we were young and we forged ahead with that “I can do anything” attitude.
When we checked in at JFK airport in New York, something was up. The gentleman at the gate frowned slightly when he ran my boarding pass and told me the same thing the ticket agent said when we … >> find out more...
Okay folks, let’s talk cruising. For those of you that have been on a cruise, I’d love to hear your thoughts too. For those of you new to cruising, curious about cruising, not interested in cruising, or simply are turned off by it, scoot a bit closer. I’m talking to you. Frankly, my dear, I used to be you.
I used to scoff at the bulging bulk of all those ships. I would turn my nose up at the blatant hedonistic buffets, and masses of humanity that would lazily float, nay, sludge through our oceans. I was afraid I would go stir-crazy, and feel trapped on a ship. I was skeptical about how much I would really see at port. Is a cruise really worth it?
Then I went on a cruise with my family, and I was changed.
My husband’s best friend had been trying to get us to cruise with them for years. They’ve been cruising for about half their lifetime, and their boys have been on more cruises than years they’ve been alive. So they are obvious fans.
In 2011, after a lot of research we embarked on our first cruise with our friends. I hope … >> find out more... Dublin! Have you ever been there? I have. For a day. Seriously. We were in Ireland visiting friends, and we had one day as a family to explore. Cliffs or Dublin? We chose Dublin, because the hazy, rainy day would have blocked any beautiful views of the cliffs. I guess we’ll have to go back someday.
First bit of helpful information you will receive today…how to get there. Since we were already in England, we opted to rent a car and take the ferry over to Dublin. It was such a fun experience for my kids! We took the StenaLine which was fantastic. There was plenty to keep the kids entertained.
I found Dublin to be a quaint little city. It lacked that hustle and bustle which was just fine with me. My husband was happy because there were so many people that looked like him…red hair, freckles, and fair skin!
When you only have a day, you have to plan wisely. Of course, we didn’t do everything we wanted (another reason to go back), but I’d say we covered a fair bit to etch a memory. Here’s what we did and my take on the experience.
1. Visited Trinity … >> find out more...
Anyone else dreaming of summer like I am? There is nothing better than spending a day in the hot sun at the pool or the beach. Preferably with a cold beverage in hand. And a good book to read. It all sounds so perfect! I love that packing for a beach weekend means packing light. Just a few essentials and I’m good to go.
Luckily I am headed to Mexico this week for a quick getaway with my husband and some of our friends! I can’t wait! I’ve rounded up a few MUST-HAVE’s for a weekend getaway in the sun! Check these beauties out!
1. Tie Dye Cover Up from Forever 21: Cutest cover up ever! Looks comfy too.
2. Tanning Lotion with SPF 15 from Coppertone: This is my favorite sunscreen when I want a little bit of color but also don’t want to look like a lobster at the end of the day!
3. Embroidered Bag from ASOS: How fab is this bag? Perfect for holding all of your beach needs!
4. Botanical Maxi Dress from ASOS: I love ASOS dresses! They always run true to size and they are adorable!
5. Twist Scarf from Ban.do… >> find out more...
Just the name conjures up mysterious treasure, mythical stories, and mountains of adventure. The Atlantis resort on Paradise Island in the Bahamas offers up all of that intrigue.
My husband and I visited Atlantis in October of 2008. It was a sales incentive trip through his company. It was an amazing trip, but I desperately missed our young daughters, who were just four and two years old at the time. We kept thinking, during that trip, of how lovely it would be to return with our girls, once they were older.
In February of 2013, we were able to do that. We were grateful that it was another sales incentive trip, so we only had to purchase flights for our daughters.I’m not going to sugar coat it, Atlantis for families, is an expensive vacation. Yes, the resort runs deals, and special offers throughout the year, and I do recommend you take advantage of them. Since everything has to be brought to the island, there’s no way around the high prices, even when someone else is footing the lodging bill. However, there are things you can do to try to save your budget.
Since we had been to the … >> find out more...
The end of last year I was homeschooling my kids when an opportunity for our whole family to go to Kenya came up. It was a chance to find education outside of a textbook and to do something for others. It was right, so we went. This is the first time I’ve sat down to write and reflect on the trip and the impact it had on my kids. I don’t know if I will ever fully know how what they witnessed with their eyes, traveled to their hearts, but perhaps telling the story of the day I met one amazing sho sho will help…
First stop…the market. While waiting to buy food parcels, the kids and adults gathered to see the song and dance show that we were performing to entertain the kids gawking at this small army of white skinned weirdos who obviously weren’t from around these parts. We failed miserably at trying to be inconspicuous to avoid mzungu prices. However, if the color of our skin affected the price, I wouldn’t have noticed. Seventy dollars to buy food parcels for 24 elderly families was a steal, and I would have gladly paid more.
By the time we arrived at the … >> find out more...
Frankly, my dears, I am not made for winter. Maybe it’s the low blood pressure, but I am always cold. My nose, my toes, my fingers, and my rear, sweet cheeks, are always a bit chilly. This is why in the winter, even in Northern California, my heart sings arias for tropical climates. Hawaii is hands down, my favorite place to visit when I crave ocean breezes, fresh flavors that make my mouth water, and a laid back, relaxed attitude towards life.
Hawaii is a perfect place to visit, and fantastic with kids, if you’re looking for easy. There aren’t any passports, language barriers, or currency exchanges to worry about. I’ve found that if you go off-season, you can usually find fabulous flight deals from Hawaiian Airlines.
Oahu is great for families, and is a great pick for the first island to visit. It’s the third largest Hawaiian island, and is the most populated of all the eight islands. About two-thirds of Hawaiians live on Oahu. With so much to do, or not to do, you won’t get bored on Oahu. Oahu is also ideal for discovering the flavor of what Hawaii is like, and from there pick the other … >> find out more...
Cape Town is one of the most beautiful cities I’ve ever been to. With picturesque Table Mountain and the beauty of the ocean, it’s not a place that will disappoint. There are many things to do in Cape Town, but if you’re going for a visit, then there’s a few things that MUST be on your list of things to do.
1. Go to the beach! But of course, this would be on the list. Along with beach life comes excitement…whale watching in September (the best) and shark diving (no, thank you, but it’s an option if you dare). Be aware that the Atlantic Ocean surf is cold! That’s why the sharks like them so much.
2. Go up to Signal Hill and watch the sunset over the city. This probably ranks as one of my top things to do in Cape Town. The views are stunning and watching the sunset over the water and the hustle and bustle of the city are nothing short of fabulous. This is a must! And it’s free!
3. Go up Table Mountain. You can pretty much see Table Mountain from anywhere in the city. A trip to the top allows you … >> find out more...