About Me

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Cusseta, GA, United States
I'm an army wife, working mom of 2 kids.! My husband Tim is a Soldier on Fort Benning. I work for MWR for the Community Recreation Division as an admin assistant...I absolutely LOVE my job I couldn't have found anything better! My daughter, Kennedie, was born in January of 04 and our son, Cale, was born June of 09 - that's right they are 5 and a half years apart! Kennedie is VERY involved in dancing, she is in her 9th season (2017-2018) of being a competitive dancer. It's exhausting but we LOVE it. Cale is starting to REALLY get into sports. He is on a year round wrestling team, and he plays baseball in the spring! This blog started out as a recipe sharing venture but now it's going to turn into a more "granola" way to live. Cheap recipes more homemade recipes and repurposing things. I'm a crafter at heart so i'm going to throw some of that in their too! On Valentines Day of 2017 we bought our first Travel Trailer. I'll be documenting our travels also on this blog!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

First time Cruising!

WOW 4 weeks ago we booked a Carnival Cruise - abord their Magic ship.  We only had 3 weeks to prepare and I was surprised at how little "first time cruising" information there was out there.  So i'm going to help and give you knowledge that I gained from this experience. 

If you have a chance make sure you buy Faster to the Fun.  It's $59.95 for your entire room, so you only pay it once.  While we didn't need it getting on the boat as the process was pretty quick - it would have been nice for when we were back in Galveston trying to get off the boat and getting back to our car.  People were back home at 8:30 in the morning and we were still stuck on the boat waiting for them to call level 9!

 This is when we first arrived on the boat - this is the lido deck were a lot of the action happened.  It was the biggest pool onboard.  (he were living in the back of the boat and right up the stairs and out the door was another smaller pool that was overlooked so we hung out in the chairs watching the waves)
 This is our room.  Right where my left foot is, is where the wardrobe was - three cabinets.  Where my right foot is, is where the bathroom is.  Let me tell you that the toilet seat is rounded and uncomfortable! (the video that was playing was the safety and welcome video - that just happens to be our captain of the ship on the screen,  that wasn't planned!)
 This is the Showtime Theater - it's where all the performances happen, BINGO happened alot here too.
 A panarama I took while waiting for a game show type of show to start.
 We would normally port on a dock and get right off.  In Grand Cayman Islands - you tendered off the boat.  Which means the islands are home to the 2nd largest barrier reef and it's obviously protected.  So the Ship has to anchor at sea and these little boats come and collect passengers and bring you a short way to the dock.  These boats took about 300 passengers at a time!

 This is the main lobby - where you first enter the boat.  There is a bar and you can see the glass elevators.  There is usually a live musician at night performing.

 LONG hallways - this is when we were waiting to exit in Jamaica.
 We read in another blog that people decorate their door so it's easier to spot down the hallway. I'm so glad that we did - because after a while all the doors and hallways look the same and you can get lost pretty easily!  Next time i'll be more elaborate - as some people went ALL OUT!
  This is a panorama of the main dining hall - which is where you could eat dinner.  We chose the my-time dining which means we can choose when we want to eat anytime before 5:45 and 9:30.  I chose this option because I didn't want to feel rushed or STARVING waiting for our time.  You can choose a dinner time and go into another dining room if that is your choosing, that just means you'll sit by the same people and the same table and have the same waiter everytime you dine.
 a panorama of our room.  This was when we were packing to leave!
 The buffet hall.  It was a pretty long room - there was two main buffet stations - our room was right below the back end so it was easy to get up go up a short flight of stairs and right into the line.  This is where we ate breakfast and lunch when we were on the ship.
the outdoor movie screen.  The only time we were interested in one of the movies playing the screen was broken.

This is from right above the lido deck there was a waterpark for the kids and behind me is the adults only section of the boat  that I didn't know about or stumble upon until the last night on the ship.  I went around exploring and taking pictures of everything to show my kids.  Right behind the red carnival fin is an outdoor fitness area.  There is a really nice indoor one too.
Ok so you've seen the boat - here are some insider tips that I didn't know or found out DAYS'S before.  First thing I wish I would have known was that there are Facebook groups for your specific ship and day you are traveling.  I found it about 2 weeks before we were due to head out.  Ours was called Carnival Magic June 21, 2015.  This way I was able to ask questions - see questions I'd never thought about asking and a lot of the people in the group were veteran cruisers and were nothing but gracious with their wisdom!  Also we almost had instant friends once we were onboard!  We met the first day at sea in one of the bars in the afternoon to say hello in person!  It was great!

I was always told by friends that you SHOULDN'T book your excursions through carnival as they are much more expensive and you should just wait and get off the ship and there are people with signs waiting in the port with cheaper prices.  This was ONLY true for us in Grand Cayman.  During the excursion "brief" that James the Cruise director gave during our first day at sea, apparently Carnival has changed how they do excursions and they are guaranteed to be the best price and if you find something cheaper they will give you 110% money back.  Also if you are on a carnival sponsored excursion and something happens that boat will not leave without you.  If you are not on a carnival excursion and you are late - sorry not sorry you're being left at the port.  We had great experience with the two excursions we booked with carnival (and you can book on the boat if you don't want to do it before hand, even the night before and sometimes if it's late enough docking you can do it that morning.)  We learned our lesson in Jamaica - we tried to do that excursion by yourself route and ended up paying double in the end.  The Jamaica people are very convincing and they are known for swindling tourists.  I wanted to get back to the port at 2 (we had to be back on the boat by 3:30) so I could do some touristy shopping - and our hired driver purposefully didn't  get us back until 3:15 and didn't take me seriously when I kept saying "no I don't want to do that because I don't like cutting it so close to departure time" we found out he did that so we couldn't haggle the price he was trying to get from us.  So if ANYTHING always book an excursion THROUGH carnival in Jamaica.

Bring bug spray to Cozumel - we didn't and were itching bad the next day! 

Sea sickness wasn't an issue for me like I thought it would be.  I get horribly car sick when I'm sitting in the back of a car.  Only one night did it effect me when the seas were really bad.  Other than that it wasn't a big deal - the boat is big enough and the seas are calm enough to not even notice sometimes! (I will say that when we were finally back home after getting off the boat - you could feel the swaying it was kind of trippy).

If you are a drinker invest in the CHEERS! program.  It basically is unlimited alcohol during your cruise.  I think it was like $250 for each person (and each person over the age of 21 in your room MUST purchase it - if you are a husband and wife in the room you have to pay $500 for it) I'm not much of a drinker so it wasn't worth that to me - but would have been a great program for my husband.  Basically you are getting your moneys worth if you have like 5 drinks a day.  I went for the "bottomless bubbles" package which is unlimited soda.  I don't know that I got $60 worth of soda but it was nice to not have to pay $1.50 each time I got a soda.  That program can be bought singly.  We did sneak alcohol on the ship but it was only enough to probably save about $150 dollars in alcohol. Which was better for the budget that NOT!

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