Cruising

Our Five Year Cruise-aversary with Carnival!

It’s no secret that we love cruising. In fact, this is officially our fifth cruise together - and we haven’t even been married for five years!! People ask us all the time why we cruise so often, and what keeps us coming back to cruising with Carnival… oftentimes twice in one year! We’re going to use this blog post to break down why we can’t get enough of cruising, and why Carnival is still our FAVORITE. 

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OUR FAVORITE ROOMS

Once aboard the ship, we become slightly obsessed with our room. We fully unpack our suitcases and utilize all of the closets and the drawers (there’s surprisingly a lot of storage space!), get to know our friendly steward, and pop a bottle of champagne on our balcony. It becomes our little home-away-from-home, and especially on the longer cruises, it REALLY feels like home towards the end! We love how cozy the Carnival cabins are, and the beds are better than some five star hotels we’ve stayed at. Not lying - they’re AMAZING.

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OUR FAVORITE PIZZA

We’re big fans of pizza. It’s hands-down our favorite food, and a staple of our diet wherever we’re traveling. Lucky for us, the Carnival Fun Ships have a 24-hour pizza spot called the “Pizza Pirate” and boy… is it good!! They custom-make your pizza right there for you, and it’s just the perfect combination of thin, crispy, and super-cheesy. Alli loves the margherita pizza (sometimes she’ll have them throw a little arugula on top, just to be healthy) ;) and Bobby loves the pepperoni and the quattro formaggi and the prosciutto… he likes everything. We oftentimes joke that we book a cruise just to go to the Pizza Pirate. It really is THAT delicious.  

 

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OUR FAVORITE SING-ALONG BAR

One of our nightly rituals is a stop at the Piano Bar, usually conveniently located next to where the Punchliner Comedy Shows are hosted. We’re always blown away by the talented guys behind the piano, that will host a sing-along to almost ANY song you request! Along with their ability to tickle the ivories, they have a great sense of humor and will have your stomach hurting from all the laughter between sing-alongs. We sometimes spend our whole evening in this lively and hilarious bar, as it’s a perfect way to learn some new tunes and make new friends.

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OUR FAVORITE COCKTAIL SPOT

If you’ve cruised with Carnival before, you know how amazing and extensive their drink list is. From margaritas to mojitos to “Bahama Mamas”, we love trying all of their fun and festive cocktails! Our absolute favorite spot for a drink onboard has to be the Alchemy Bar. It looks like an old-fashioned pharmacy, with the bartenders wearing white lab coats while they mix herbs, infused spirits, and fresh juices. We often gauge a bar by the way they make their simple, classic cocktails (Old Fashioned, Manhattan, Martini, etc.)… and the Carnival Liberty did not disappoint. We asked Titus (the bartender) to make us his best Caribbean Manhattan, sparing us any extra sweetness. We were a little nervous considering the Caribbean is known for their sweet, colorful rum drinks. However, Titus knocked it out of the park. A smooth Manhattan with a hint of tropical flavors… find him and order one for yourself!

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A FEW OF OUR FAVORITE ROUTINES

We get so excited for sea days. They allow us to fully explore our ship, and fill our day with some of our favorite activities and events. We typically order breakfast in bed, followed by a massage in the spa… (what better way to start your day then that?!). We then take some time reviewing our “Fun Times” and plan out what we want to do. Just a few of our favorite activities are:

  • BINGO (obviously!)

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  • The Love and Marriage Game Show (we haven’t made it on stage… yet.) ;)
  • The Chocolate Extravaganza (chocolate fountains… need we say more?!)
  • Trivia (they have everything from Harry Potter Trivia to Movie Trivia!)

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  • Sushi (the tempura roll is our FAVORITE!)

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  • The Very Hairy Chest competition (Bobby has won twice… HA!)

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We could go on and on about our favorite meals in the dining room (make sure you try the “Rare Finds”), our favorite spot to get a sweet treat (Cherry on Top!), our favorite dance classes and our favorite spots to watch the sunset, but you get the idea. 

 

A big reason why we have become obsessed with the Carnival brand is the consistency they have throughout all of their ships. We know regardless of the ship or the destination, Carnival will deliver the same quality. We know we’ll be eating too much Pizza Pirate, loving our Caribbean Manhattans, singing till we lose our voices, and spending a little too much time cozy-d up in our room. Trust us… take a trip on a “Fun Ship” and you’ll be having withdrawals the moment you’re back on solid ground. 

 

Five cruises down, and we’re already planning our next one. ;)

 

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This post was created for Away We Go with Carnival, the destination for getting in the getaway state of mind.

Our Rockin' Night with Nick Jonas

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We recently had a bucket list moment. Well if we’re honest, it actually wasn’t something that was even on our bucket list. It was something SO AMAZING we could not have even dreamt it up! Three of our favorite things combined to make up one amazing experience, and a night we will never forget.

 

First thing: We saw Nick Jonas in concert. Second thing: The concert was on a Carnival cruise. Third thing: The cruise was heading to The Bahamas. So we got to rock out, on a ship, en route to a tropical paradise. Ya, it was pretty freaking cool. While the night was one crazy-fun blur, we’ll do our best recount some of our highlights.

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If you’ve ever cruised with Carnival before, you know their performances are top-notch. Whether you’re at a comedy show or a Broadway-style production, they’re meticulously executed and the performers are always incredibly talented. This concert was no exception. Experiencing a Carnival LIVE concert made us never want to go to a “normal concert” again. All of the stress that comes with finding parking at a venue, waiting in line to get your seat, waiting again to get drinks, and finding your far-away nosebleed seats… It’s a lot for anyone to handle. Amazingly enough, Carnival LIVE shows don’t have ANY of that. You can take your time getting to the show - after all, it’s only a few decks away from where you’re staying! The venue is intimate - there isn’t a bad seat in the house, and servers are constantly taking care of you, making sure you’re never without a drink. And not to mention you and everyone else at the concert are cruising together… it creates a bond in the audience that’s really, really fun. You’re all there to have a great time, sing along, and enjoy your vacation. The joy in the room is undeniable!

 

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There’s no denying that Nick ROCKED the boat. (Get it!?) He sounded incredible, and the acoustics onboard were insane. We rocked out to “Close”, sang along to “Jealous”, and swayed back and forth to an acoustic version of “Lovebug”. The lights, the ambiance, the music… it was all so good. We even made friends with the people sitting next to us, and by the end of the show we were all dancing and singing together like we had known each other for years. Everything about the night was so much fun. We kept having to pinch ourselves that this was real!  

 

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And then as if it couldn’t get any better… at the end of the night we were lucky enough to meet Nick and take a picture with him. Say what?! We had the VIP package, which is SO WORTH the extra cost. You get great seats, and then at the end of the night you get to meet the artist. So yeah, we got to meet Nick Jonas, and we were freaking out. He was so cool, we were so awkward (what’s new), and just like that it was over. We walked out of the theater, up to the Pizza Pirate (because that’s where every night should end), and tried to wrap our minds around what had just happened. We just saw (and met!) an incredible artist on a Carnival Cruise ship. It all felt like a dream!! 

 

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So, moral of the story. If you like good music, good friends, and incredible vacations… Go to a Carnival LIVE show. Take a look at future Carnival LIVE performers, and if you see somebody you love (2017 included Carrie Underwood, Tim McGraw, Jay Leno, and more!), remember that you will be SO CLOSE to them, and may have the opportunity to meet them at the end of the night! And you can go to bed and wake up in tropical paradise! Please book a Carnival LIVE cruise and thank us! And take us with you. Please.

 

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This post was created for Away We Go with Carnival, the destination for getting in the getaway state of mind.

Fun Never Gets Old - Why Cruising is the BEST

Okay, so if you've known us for more than a few weeks, you probably are aware that we are absolutely OBSESSED with cruising. It’s one of our favorite ways to vacation. The lifestyle, the people, the adventure, the food… We could really go on and on. In our humble opinion, cruise life is the best life. We've become fans of American Tourister's slogan that "Fun Never Gets Old" when thinking of cruising, because the fun you have while cruising will keep you young! And you may act just a little childish from time to time...  

 

People oftentimes don’t understand our love for cruising. We get asked all the time why we cruise so often, and our answers are pretty much always the same. Here are a few of the things that keep us consistently cruising, and a few top reasons for why you should get on a cruise today.

 

Planning

Let's start with before you go: Planning. Planning a cruise is an absolute breeze, because you buy your cruise package and flights and you're all set. The details and logistics are all very simple - especially if you live close to a port! Checking in and getting on the boat is quick and easy, and before you know it you’re sitting on your balcony, on a luxurious boat, sailing to a new tropical destination. And you can spend your days HOWEVER you want! That chaise lounge and margarita really never gets old, and some days you may just want to relax by the pool. Regardless, the optional activities are so organized and easy to book that you can do it months in advance or day of. Super easy. 

Packing

Okay this may be one of our favorites. Packing for a cruise can be whatever you want it to be: light and easy because you're living in bathing suits and tank tops OR you can go the bulky route with all of your formal night attire all of the extra room you’ll need for souvenirs. On this cruise we were planning for the heavier packing, so we made a great decision and upgraded our luggage. We got some sleek, smooth-rolling Moonlight Spinners from American Tourister. We got matching 24" bags in Marble and then a 21" bag in Rose Gold (for the extra souvenirs). These bags were super affordable, durable, and really easy to pack. (Not to mention we looked really cool wheeling them around.) ;) Check them out for your next adventure!

Unpacking... just once!

If you don't unpack your bags when you cruise, then you are really missing out! Imagine arriving at the ship rolling your Moonlight Spinners up to the door to your new home on the water for the next week. Some may walk in, drop the bags at the side of the bed, and head to the Sail Away Party or Pizza Pirate! If that's your thing... great. But here's what we do: we pop some champagne (obviously) and then leisurely unpack our bags. It's the only time we're going to unpack during this trip (as opposed to non-cruisers, who may unpack at each hotel... yuck!), so we carefully place our things as we would in our home. We talk about all the fun things we're excited to do, agree to not judge each other for the food we consume, and cheers our champagne flutes multiple times (because… vacation!) As we finish up, we take our empty bags and together push them under the bed, where they'll remain until we leave. And just like that, the cruise has officially begun. 

The. Food. 

Our mouths begin to water as we anticipate our next cruise. The food is THAT good. Even after seven days at sea we leave bummed that we didn’t get to try a certain dish because the options are literally endless. It's amazing how the staff does such an impeccable job serving up fresh, tasty, and exotic dishes day after day. It seems as though every night we’re trying something new – whether it’s escargot or a fish that’s unique to the region that we’re in! But our favorite and nightly staple has always been, and will always be, the chocolate molten lava cake on Carnival. It’s TRULY what dreams are made of.

Everything you need in one place

A cruise ship is like a floating city. It’s insane. Good food, bars, pools? Yep. Comedy shows, magic, dance clubs, stage shows, casinos? That's all there too. If you forgot anything in your toiletry bag or you want an extra bottle of red wine for your balcony, you can find anything nearby. 

Affordable!

Disclaimer: We cannot control how you act in the casino. If you are not there for the gambling, then we can say that cruises are really affordable! Cruising allows you to see the world, eat like royalty, and relax in style all without breaking the bank. What more could you want?!

 

People in Cruise-mode

Non-cruisers may not understand this, because on a traditional vacation you get all kinds of people, most of whom probably don't want to interact with you too much. On a cruise, guests have the "Fun Never Gets Old" mentality and they are social, friendly, and of course ready to party. You'll meet so many great new friends! One of our favorite places is around the dinner table... you eat at the same 10 person table each night, so you totally have a little squad by the end of the trip (unless you're traveling with 8 kids). Despite how they may be in their 9-5 daily life, once people enter cruise-mode they are laid-back, fun, and potentially your new best friend!

You'll get time to relax

In our book, embarking on a cruise is the epitome of relaxation. Stress and obligations go out the window from the moment you step onto the ship. It’s a go-at-your-own-pace, do-what-you-want-when-you-want kind of a trip. Mid morning brunch? Sure. Drinks on the Lido deck? Why not. Afternoon bingo followed by a dip in the pool? Yes please! We love the freedom of going at our own pace when we’re on a cruise. While there are certainly no limits when it comes to daily activities, there is also no shame in taking a nap. Or three.

There are 8 reasons to get you interested... need more? Shoot us an email if you're not convinced that cruise life is the best life. For everyone else... pack up your bags and let us know where your headed. We may meet you there!

Special thanks to American Tourister for sponsoring this blog post!

A Day in Nassau

During our recent three-day cruise aboard the Carnival Victory, we had one amazing stop on the island of Nassau, in the Bahamas. One thing we loved about this port was the fact that our ship was docked there ALL NIGHT. Meaning, we could have partied in town all night! (We didn't - but we could have!) Being there for as long as we were gave us the freedom to roam around the island at our leisure, not worried or stressed about getting back to the ship in time for departure. 

Nassau is known for its iconic resorts and waterparks, so obviously we had to check those out. ;) We booked our excursion through Carnival, and they made the whole process so quick and easy. Within 20 minutes, we were off the ship and on the bus heading for the Atlantis Resort on Paradise Island! We had a blast. 

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We enjoyed their aquarium and waterpark, where Bobby was like a little child. He kept asking, "Can I go on one more?" Ha! It was hard to leave the waterpark, but the beach was calling our name. Pristine blue waters and beautiful white sand… we are realizing that one day on Paradise Island is not enough time here. That just means we have to come back!

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Whatever port we are at, we always save time to explore the town. We like to experience the culture, meet new friends, do some shopping and try out the "local cuisine". 

We spent the better part of our afternoon roaming the colorful streets of Nassau and snapping photos in front of the many pink buildings. Did you know that the government buildings in Nassau are all painted pink? They are colonial-style buildings in a beautiful shade of pink, after their state bird, the flamingo. All of the buildings are so bright and colorful - even the police station was painted a bright sea green. 

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We peeked into a couple of the most magical looking restaurants in town, and got directions from a local policeman (who looked extra spiffy in his uniform)! He kindly directed us to the Straw Market, a traditional open-air market, where local vendors sell everything from handwoven crafts and carvings to colorful t-shirts and bags. It was quite the sight, and definitely the place to go if you want to barter. 

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Don't miss this spot when you're in Nassau, it's a local experience you won't forget. While we didn't end up purchasing anything, we were definitely tempted!

After the Straw Market, we found a spot to cool down and have a drink before heading back to the Carnival Victory. As much as we love exploring every port, there's always an excitement at the end of the day to come back to our ship. It truly does become our "home away from home". We're sure that those of you who have cruised before know the feeling!

Nassau is a beautiful port with locals as vibrant as their colorful buildings and bright blue sea. Thank you Carnival for putting together such a magical excursion! We can't wait to return and explore more of the island!

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This post was created for Away We Go with Carnival, the destination for getting in the getaway state of mind. Head on over.

Sea Day Sea-ssentails

In between days at port, you often get to experience a sea day. This is a day of traveling to your next stop where you get to do anything and everything aboard the ship. Some enjoy sleeping in, laying out in the sun all day, and then getting to bed early. Others love spending the day in the casino, trying to strike it rich. We, like many others, like to do a little bit of everything. If you want a taste of a variety of Carnival amenities and experiences, take a minute to read about our Sea Day Sea-ssentials. 

Towel Animals!

On sea days you will encounter a zoo of Carnival’s famous towel animals. While you may become used to seeing one in your room each evening, on a sea day (if you get up early enough), you will find an incredible assortment of animals all over the Lido deck. And you can even visit the towel animal theater, where the towel animals come to life and put on a show!

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Morning Brunch

On sea days, we brunch. Sea day brunch in the dining room offers your standard omelets, eggs and toast, and blueberry pancakes. But there are also crazy options, like French toast coated with cereal, mac n’ cheese, steak-n-eggs, and banana cream pie. We love the menu of sea day brunch because it really makes you feel like you are on vacation. When else would you have blueberry pancakes, mac n’ cheese, and a double chocolate brownie at brunch. Cruise life is the best life. 

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Fun in the Sun

After morning brunch, we like to go get our tan on. Swap the coffee for a mimosa, put on some sunscreen, and soak up the sun. Feel free to snooze, read a book (Alli), or work on your Rubik’s cube solving speed (Bobby). 

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Hairy Chest Contest

Exactly what it sounds like. A contest for showing off your chest hair and performing hilarious challenges to music. The best part is that the hairiest man may not always win… like Bobby. He won for the second time in a row on this cruise. Ha!

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Martini Tasting

After the hairy chest contest, and a nice little nap, we head to the Alchemy Bar for some martini tasting. The bartenders make amazing cocktails and like to have fun with it! You can order a flight of 4 martinis, and then blind taste to try and figure out which one is which. It’s 5 o’clock somewhere! 

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Art Auction

Art Auctions aren't something we normally spend our time doing, but why not peruse art and possibly bid on some? We love walking around and seeing the diverse art hanging on the walls of the Carnival Victory

Vroom!

Playlist productions are the live performances aboard the ships that have incredible dancing, lighting, and special effects. There are normally two showings on your sea-days, so depending on what else you have going on, make sure you get to one of them. Our favorite show so far was on this recent trip aboard the Carnival Victory, called Vroom! 

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Piano Bar

This is not just a sea day activity for us. Almost every night aboard a Carnival cruise, we will end our night at the piano bar. Not only do the ships always have super talented pianists, but it is one of the most fun places to make friends. The same people normally go to piano bar. People that want to have a good time, meet other people, and are outgoing enough to sing songs at the top of their lungs. No matter what kind of day it has been, it is always a great idea to end it singing classic piano tunes with your new best friends!

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There are endless opportunities for fun on a Carnival sea-day. You can be adventurous, mellow, or anything in between. We just rattled off a bunch of activities that you will find us doing on our sea-days, how do you spend yours?

This post was created for Away We Go with Carnival, the destination for getting in the getaway state of mind. Head on over.