Carnival Inspiration

So, I’m back from my cruise. It was four days, two were spent boarding and disembarking and the other two filled with fun. We took the Carnival Inspiration this trip to Ensenada, Mexico. You can look back at this post for more about the ship.

The first day we did not board until 3:00. We had to go through a ticket check, customs, and a check in. At check in is where we got our room keys and number. Our room was on the fifth floor near the end of the ship. Deck 7 was the main deck and from there on were the amenities floor. Below the seventh deck were the rooms, the sixth floor was the only with balconies and from there down until the fourth floor were rooms without balconies. The tenth floor was the floor with the buffet for breakfast and lunch. As required by the Coast Guard, an emergency briefing and drill must be held on day one. This happened at 5:30.

When the signal sounded on the ship, my family reported to our assigned muster station where we awaited the announcement, briefing, and demonstration of our safety message. It too quite a while but after it was over, the crew took us to the to the rafts we were to use if there was an emergency. This is when the boat started to undock and we could feel the wind and smell the salt as we started to leave.

The rest of the night was super relaxed. We got some dinner, at which I ate duck pot stickers and a miso glazed salmon as well as a grilled steak and chocolate ice cream. After we went to go check out how the ship worked. There are only three elevators, one that leads to the middle of front of the ship, one that leads to the middle of the ship, one the last leads to the middle of the back of the ship. The ships get super confusing but if you look at the map and take the correct elevator, things should run smoothly. If your destination is in the back of the ship, take the last elevator. Correlate your destination with the closet elevator near there and take that one. The ships floors aren’t exactly through and through, so make sure you take the right elevator.

Day two was our one full day at sea. During this time, I laid out by the Waterwork water park. I took this day for frozen lemonades, tanning, and ice cream. I did go down the water slides and boy, they were pretty fun. Day two was also the fancy dinner. Dressing up fancy was mandatory to go to dinner. The dinner for sure matched the dinner attendants; that night I had orange glazed duck and mushroom sauced steak and, of course, chocolate ice cream.

Our third day was the day we arrived in Ensenada, Mexico. This day we disembarked at 8 am and headed to La Bufadora.  Here we took pictures and watched as the geyser did its thing. As you walk down to the geyser, you pass about 300 shopping centers and restaurants. These shops are owned and run by locals. All are family shops with handcrafted souvenirs, hats, caps, magnets, keychains, and so much more. Prices can be lowered by bargaining and most of the stuff over there comes cheap. Nothing is too expensive and even if it is, the prices there are better than downtown. When disembarking the ship busses await to take you downtown. Here there are many tour buses that actually are cheaper than buying tours on the ship. Also, souvenirs come at a much higher price here than they would at the shops near the geyser.

We had to be back on the ship by 5:30 that evening and we got out of the port by 6. The rest of the night we relaxed in our room and ate. That night I had seafood some pasta and vanilla and chocolate ice cream. This was our last night so we caught a show. It was 80’s inspired with music and dancing that fit the theme. It was a comedy musical and highly enjoyable. The adult comedy shows were very as well. Don’t forget to catch all the activities you can, all the shows, fundraisers, and parties. Do a little of everything and don’t forget to get ice cream at every meal and snack everyday like I did. 🙂

Ensenada down!

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Ready?

My next trip is coming up soon. In my last post I talked about my newest and closest planned trip, a cruise to Mexico. In this post I’m going to be explaining how to and what to pack for trips. This will include many different places, not just for a cruise!

First of all, people always say to pack lightly but I personally cannot say that because I am a heavy packer. Packing light is not the key, sure it will help but packing essentials and what makes you feel secure is really the key. If that means to overpack, then overpack, as long as you’re overpacking on the right occasions, not to go backpacking. Always bring a nice set of clothes among your regular. This secures the option to take good pictures on at least one occasion.

While still on the topic of clothes, packing clothes that correspond with your planned activities is good. I say always to pack at least on article or outfit of each genre, as long as it correlates to the season. For example, for this trip I’m going to bring a fancy outfit or dress, comfortable summer clothes, workout/ activity clothes, swim wear, and even a jacket, just in case. That covers both land and water activities and even extreme weather change conditions. Also, packing a set of clothes and necessities is good for going anywhere. When I took my trip to Costa Rica, we did a spontaneous trip to spend one night at the Bali Hot Spring Resort and Spa. This resulted in a stay with no clothes or any necessities and ever since then I pack a spare set and a toothbrush and paste in travel size packed in my drawstring. An extra bottle of water is also good, especially if going hiking or anywhere even slightly remote.

Make sure to bring necessities as well, personal hygiene items, electronic chargers, sincare products such as sunscreen, moisturizer, and makeup (if you prefer.) Bringing a camera, go pro, or any other electronic to capture your good times is also a good idea, polaroids are cute (if you can affor the film) and make sure to get more than just the standard pose.

Don’t forget to make sure each genere is covered and dont forget to have a good time!

Just Cruisin’

The Carnival Cruise Lines is actually going to be my next trip. I’ve never actually been on this specific cruise or cruise line. But like any vacation I’ve planned, I’ve checked out the cruise, activities, itinerary, restaurants, ratings, rooms, prices, the whole deal. This trip is planned for next month to go to Baja, Mexico.

According to the itinerary, we spend ship off on in the evening and spend that night and the next day at sea, then on day three we arrive at our destination. There we are able to get off for about 14 hours and then must promptly head back to catch our ship. The rest of that evening we will be at sea on our way back to our home port.

For our full day at sea, there seems like plenty to do. There are plenty of places to shop, including botiques, gift shops, and even build-a-bear. Restaurants, cafes, and snack shops are abundant for a bite to eat. Waterworks, the Carnival’s water park is also pools-2included in the initial ticket package, so slip on your water wear and lather up that sunscreen. There are also kid pools, mixed pools, mini golf, a sports center, and Sky Course, which is a suspended park. So after shopping, grabbing food, and playing all day, Mega Deck Party is a great skycourse-1way to top off the night. This is a twister-waterslide-1party for guests of all ages with dancing and a DJ.

When we arrive at our destination, we will have roughly fourteen hours to spend it as we please and come loaded back with everything we bought. That evening, we will be departing and on our way back home.

Be back in the next post or two with full details!

Better Mind, Better Life

 

Carlos Villamayor D’az

photo, Carlos Villamayor, 2010 ©CC-BY-NC- ND 2.0

Today I want to talk about how I was doubtful that Los Cabos could be so much fun. When my mom told me that we were going to Los Cabos which is technically in Mexico I started to doubt that it would be fun or even be safe. Even though my mom told me we were staying at resort Pueblo Bonito, which is a beautiful resort, I did not want to go. She told me about all the amazing snorkeling spots, because I love to snorkel, the amazing beaches, and everything else she was hoping would catch my attention. Though all her efforts, I still didn’t want to go. I kept my mindset narrow and it made the travel and flight there a pain. I was upset that I “had to” go. Little did I know that it would become one of my favorite places to go travel to.

Los Cabos was beautiful, I noticed that as soon as we drove through the area, yet I was still skeptical. I was very, very skeptical I would like it there. Yet, the ziplining

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My cousin, left, and I, right, after our ziplining trip the first time we went to Los Cabos

trip we took totally changed my mind. It was a couple days before we left and I had a bit of fun before then but that trip sealed the deal. It was right before the hurricane hit. It was raining and windy which made it all the more fun because it began to get dangerous. The wind and rain were coming down hard and the hurricane hit just a day later. We went ziplining with Wild Canyon Adventures. The employees made sure we had a great time and stayed safe during our trip. The hiking was a hard slope but manageable, I love hiking too by the way. There was mud and rust flying all over while we were coming down the cables and the rain was hitting us from all directions, it made the rides so great. 10/10 would do again, especially in the rain.

After that one activity, I did not want to leave. At all. I did not want to leave at all. It was the best way to end what really was one of the best trips of my life and is now, to this day, one of my favorite places to vacation at. It has become one of my paradise places.

 

All I want to do for vacation now is visit Los Cabo, Mexico, a place I was scared and skeptical to go to at first. The ziplining trip totally sealed the deal, made me love the place, and made me realize that if I hadn’t been so skeptical I could have had much more fun that first time. My mom was right though, the snorkeling was great, the beaches were amazing, and everything else was absolutely gorgeous. We ziplined, stayed at an amazing resort, and found the most amazing picture sites at beaches.

I now realize and believe that having an open mindset will improve your traveling experience, as it did to mine. I was too skeptical going into our Cabos trip. If I hadn’t been I would have had so much more fun that first time. My advice to you, be open minded. Better mind, better life. It really does work. The resort  Pueblo Bonito, the ziplining company Wild Canyon Adventures, and my recommendations: lover’s and divorce beach, find your own beach when you take a boat out, and have fun!

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Disney World, Orlando

Disney World is one of Florida’s biggest attractions. This large entertainment center is consisted of four large theme parks. Each with at least one ride. Magic Kingdom is the one to visit for rollercoasters, Epcot is a trip around the world in the span of its property, Animal Kingdom is a large zoo with multiple special twists, and Disney Studios is the full VIP experience to the makings of some of your childhood favorite films and the favorites of your child(ren).

First off is Epcot. This is the place to immerse yourself within 11 different countries, with 11 different cultures without the culture shock or large time difference. Epcot has 11 different countries, Mexico, Norway, China,  Germany, Italy, America, Japan, Morocco, France, the UK, and Canada. For the kids, there is an activity called “Duffy” at each country. At the first country you stop at find the Kidcot Fun Stop with is marked with a K in a red box on your map. While walking through each country, your kids will be on the hunt for the Kidcot stations as they will receive a drawing and stamp for each country visited. Epcot also features one ride called Test Track where you can design your own car and test the design during the ride and compare your car’s results among the rest of your group. Test Track is for sure a must at this park. It’s a great experience and proves to be fun to compare and beat out those in your group.epcot-map

img_0242The Duffy activity with the stamps and drawings received at each country.

The Animal Kingdom is up next. The Animal Kingdom is so much better than a regular zoo. It features many many shows and one large rollercoaster called Expedition Everest. This is one of my favorite rides out of the whole four parks and is amazing while being ridden while dark out. The best show, in my opinion, is The Festival of the Lion King. This show includes, amazing singing, acrobats, flame artists, and dancing. Those are the two attractions I recommend when visiting the Animal Kingdom, these two are a MUST.disney-animal-kingdom-map.jpg

Magic Kingdom is the place to go for all the rides. This theme park includes 6 different themes, and amazing rides. Big Thunder Railroad, Space Mountain, and The Seven Dwarf Mine Train. These three rides are three that you should reserve fast passes for to make sure you don’t wait 110+ minutes for the ride. These fast passes should be made 2-3 days in advance. Fast passes at this park will be your best friend and DON’T FORGET YOUR MINNIE EARS AND MICKEY HATS!4596198f1ead9d6741468f9d3ff0fafa

Lastly, is the place to experience each of your favorite Disney movies in rides and during shows. Disney Studios offer rides for each of your favorite Disney movies, features the Rock n’ Rollercoaster, and offers the stomach lifting, scream filled ride, Tower of Terror. The Rock n’ Rollercoaster is an ABSOLUTE MUST for this park. Having a fast pass for this ride would be a smart choice for the line gets pretty long. Rock n’ Rollercoaster is completely in the dark with blaring music as you go up, down, sideways, and upside down, all at a crazy high speed. MAKE SURE TO KEEP YOUR HEAD BACK AT THE LAUNCH OF THE RIDE! hollywood-studios-map

Overall, Disney World is an expensive but incredibly enjoyable experience. Setting up an account to add each member of your party on with the My Disney Experience app will make your experience easier. You are able to reserve your fast passes days before will ensure you get them. Plus, any picture you take with the princesses and characters will be sent to the account once the photographer has scanned your pass. HAVE FUN AND DON’T FORGET YOUR CAMERA AND MINNIE/MICKEY EARS!!

Colorado

While talking about Colorado this weekend, there will be mostly hiking trails and places to hike. Personally, I love to hike and Colorado is for sure one of the best places to do so.

Garden of the Gods is a great place for pictures and admiring everything around you.

garden-of-the-gods-mapThis is a map of trails and hiking places along with some of the rock formations Garden of the Gods are known for. The well-known Siamese Twin rock formation is located here and make for spectacular photos. The park also offers other ways to admire its beauty, there are opportunities to rock climb, take jeep tours, and horseback ride through the park. This park also has exhibits that talk about the park, the rocks, and the wildlife.

Pikes Peak and Red Rock Amphitheater are also amazing places to go. The trails there are amazing and the surroundings will take your breath away. Shows can be caught in Red Rock’s amphitheater and their trails can be hiked, making it an added bonus. Pikes Peak is definitely another amazing place to hike and take pictures. Take everything as a photo opportunity and enjoy the scenery.

The Rocky Mountains are another must visit for pictures and a good hike. If you’re in Colorado visit the Rockies. The Rockies are well-known and widely talked about but without visiting them yourself it’s hard to be able to fully comprehend it’s wonder.

When you go make sure to bring plenty of water and sunblock. Don’t forget to wear something athletic for comfort but cute for your pictures. I suggest cute print leggings and a solid top, but if you have solid leggings, wear a printed top. Crop tops are always cute and don’t forget your camera and a stylish pair of sunglasses.

Las Vegas, Nevada

Our next destination is one very known city in Nevada. Vegas baby. Here you will find plenty of entertainment, games, and pool time. Las Vegas is a crowded, mall packed, entertainment filled, game playing city. Each hotel is pretty high end but with each nice room comes a slightly to not so slightly expensive fee.

As you may have noticed, there are no red dots on this map. Not this time, being the city it is with the big known hotels there are no need for dots. Although, instead of talking about the big known hotels I will be talking about what’s in them, where to shop, where to walk, and what to see.

Vegas is a very special place to me, it’s like my second home. Vegas and Hawaii are the two places I have been the most in my lifetime and know the best. As a child I used to visit this city every weekend, and I do mean every weekend, that is unless we were somewhere else which was rare. As time went on and my sister and I got busier our trips cut down to every month then to every couple of months and stay like that even now. Every Thursday I had my suitcase packed with the same clothes I took every trip and my personal hygiene tools then after school on Friday we were off. It was like clock-work. When we came home that Sunday evening, we took out our clothes put them in the wash in their own separate load and packed them again when they came out clean. We did not stay in too many hotels, we had our condo, and to this day we have several condos and several timeshares at certain hotel and hotel chains.

The Hilton is one of the places we own a timeshare. This is a chain of hotels, with two main ones in Vegas. One older and another which opened in December 2009. Both are extremely hospitable but one is definitely nicer than the other. Between The Hilton Grand Vacation Club Hotel on the Strip and Elara, Elara is a nicer hotel. Elara is a sleeker, more modern, more up dressed hotel than the Hilton on the Strip. It is connected to the Miracle Mile Shops which is filled with stores and restaurants and bars. Miracle Mile includes a high end, Brazilian restaurant that serves many types of meat and fantastic tiramisu called Pampas. They also include places to shop such as Forever 21, French Connection, Guess, Pandora, and much more. The Hilton on the Strip is older but the hotel is also nice. There is a huge lobby and a room that serves a small breakfast for free in the mornings, a game room, and a place to buy food and drinks as well. On the contrary, while the rooms are nicer at Elara, there are extra on site features at the Hilton on the Strip.

Next is Caesars Palace. Most people know them for their extravagant casinos and decor but  they also have amazing restaurants including their own Caesars Buffet with over 500 dishes, 100 of them being desserts. It is a slightly hefty price, $54-$58 a person for dinner depending on what day you go.

Vegas also has many sweet places such as It’s Sugar, Serendipity, a Hershey’s Factory, a MnM’s Factory, and many various ice cream, gelato, baked goods, and candy shops.

Walking through Planet Hollywood, on the Strip, and in and out of hotels is always fun. Most hotels are super close to each other enabling you to take the skywalk, go into a hotel, out of it, and through another.

If you’re looking for some good entertainment catch a Cirque du Soleil show. It is guaranteed to please you with their theatrics, acrobatics, and music. Other good shows are the dancing water fountains in front of the Bellagio that go off every half hour to hour depending on the day. Inside Miracle Mile there is also a rain show with lights, fog, rain, and music that plays every half hour to hour depending on the day. Both of the shows from Bellagio and Miracle Mile are free to watch and you should catch them if you find yourself walking past.

Circus Circus is also a fun place to find games to play, card games, arcade games, and carnival games. There is also a place owned by Circus Circus called Adventuredome. It is a place full of rides and roller coasters that are a blast.

So there you have it. The rest of Vegas is yours to explore, the hotels, casino, and other shows. Have fun, enjoy, and check out Lake Mead for a day or two!