Hope everyone is well and into the groove of a new school year! We had a late summer vacation and returned from our Carnival cruise last week so I'm now starting to adjust to back to school season:)
Since I'm still on vacation mode, I'll share a short recap of our cruise experience. It was an 8-day Exotic Caribbean cruise going to Grand Turk, San Juan, Puerto Rico, and Amber Cove, Dominican Republic! It was especially exciting because the kids being Puerto Rican/Dominican can visit places that they connect with culturally. Due to Hurricane Florence we had to skip the San Juan stop to ensure that the ship would be ahead of the hurricane while returning back to NYC. We were disappointed but of course safety comes first! Guess we'll have to go there another time!
This was my third time on a Carnival cruise. We sailed on the Carnival Horizon, the newest ship, and it was so much more enjoyable than the previous ships we sailed on. And as far as long vacations with kids, this was the first BIG trip for us! Thankfully we had company: we went with my husband's parents which is helpful because we had a little break here and there and enjoyed a show by ourselves.
Continue reading for more details and pictures of our Exotic Caribbean Carnival Cruise! If you enjoy these type of posts, please join my mailing list by entering in your name and email below. On my blog I'm sharing my journey as a design entrepreneur, keeping you updated on the latest styles for YFT, and posting lifestyle shopping guides and commentary!
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For a cruise you need casual clothes, evening outfits for formal nights, and swim wear! I made sure to pack outfits for myself and the kids to make getting dressed easier. My favorite way to pack is using packing cubes. I have a different color for each of us, organized by type of clothing. We put the cubes in the drawers so no one is confused (or makes mess) looking for their clothes. What I wasn't prepared for was the amount of luggage! We ended up with one suitcase for each of us but I was REALLY hoping for only two. Guess I have to get used to that from now on! We had to borrow one from our parents literally the night before the cruise!
Above is a pic of our room. YFT's bed is above and we had a little crib for the baby. We always booked the balcony room, but I was too paranoid about having a balcony with the baby (plus it costs more).
The last two cruises we really enjoyed the food! There are plenty of fish and vegetarian dishes. However, this cruise had less fish/veggie options in the buffet so that was a bummer. At the dinner buffet the pasta dishes usually had meat or pork in them! Don't get me wrong, there is plenty of food to eat, and certainly less wasteful than previous cruises, but be mindful if you don't eat any non-halal chicken or meat (or are vegetarian) there are a lot less options. For sure the best part are the desserts. If you love desserts like me, they are amazing on the cruise.
HANGING OUT ON THE CRUISE SHIP
Since we sailed out of New York, we spent a lot of time we spent on the ship! Carnival Horizon is a brand new ship and there was so much more to do than the other two ships I cruised on. The kids loved the Dr. Seuss theme water park, and it was fun for me too!
The arcade was also really fun. The games were all NEW and very fun to play. The library was big and so beautifully decorated, I wanted to spend more time there but we passed it once and that was it! We ended up spending more time outside. It's refreshing to lay down and enjoy the view and breeze on a comfy chair. With two kids the time I spent sitting is not much though!
My husband went to the gym and the sauna with his dad for a few hours everyday. Also on the deck of the water park is mini golf and other games. And there is also the IMAX and thrill theatre which are extra cost but if you felt pressed for fun, they are available!
Evenings we enjoyed the shows, and movie nights on the lido deck! It seems they played all the movies YFT loves: Star Wars, Avengers, Pacific Rim, Peter Rabbit, to name a few!
Carnival gave my husband a $50 spa credit that I was able to use for a facial! Now I have tons to say about this especially since I've been on a skincare journey so I'll keep it short here! [ You can follow my personal instagram for more details on that @ammaraza ] Having a spa treatment on a cruise is a special treat, especially since it was a family trip! Overall I enjoyed it, and if you're a spa kind of person, you would enjoy it too!
Um..we didn't do any! There is always an adventurous list of excursions to book that range from zip lining to a beach getaway with lunch. We've just taken a local cab for a tour around the main sites and stayed at the beach. The beaches right off the cruise ship are sometimes not the best because they are crowded (and full of rocks), especially in Grand Turk. However we walked a bit and found a good spot! Here are some pics from Grand Turk and Amber Cove in DR.
This baby float is the best thing ever! Perfect way for her to enjoy the beach with us.
In DR we took a taxi and got a mini tour plus a drop off to a local beach which was beautiful.
And, that's it for my cruise recap! Have you ever been on cruise? Was it with Carnival or another cruise line and where did you go? Please share your experiences in the comments! If you've been on another cruise line, let me know if you think it's better than Carnival.