Cruising To Your Next Adventure

Cruising is like going on the ultimate, worry-free adventure – aside from the mishaps that have made the news recently. A floating resort – As soon as you embark the ship your adventure begins – exploring the ship and learning the layout of your home away from home, trying new cuisines, and meeting new people. By the time you’ve boarded the cruise everything has been taken care of with the exception of alcohol (some cruise lines offer drink packages) and excursions (if you’ve chosen to wait).I just booked my 6th cruise adventure to celebrate my besties b-day, and this time we’re exploring Jamaica, Haiti, Grand Cayman, and Mexico by way of Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas.

The Freedom of the Seas – 1,112 feet in length, is a whole lot of ship and I am so excited that we have 7 nights to explore it all! Ice skating, a movie theater, rock climbing, and 4-pools (including an adults only retreat).

How to Choose Your Cruise Adventure:

Where do you want your cruise to depart from? – I don’t get sea sick, but after the roller coaster ride I had on the Atlantic a couple of years ago leaving out of the Port of Baltimore I typically fly South and cruise out of Florida. NYC is a large cruise port though, with 3 cruise ship terminals (Manhattan, New Jersey, and Brooklyn).

Where do you want to go? Alaska, Caribbean, Europe, Canada, Australia?

How long do you want cruise? 3night, 5nights, 7night, 14nights?

What cruise line do you want to use? Does it matter? – So far I’ve cruised with Royal Caribbean and Carnival and Royal Caribbean is by far my favorite. I have heard good things from friends that have cruised with Celebrity and Princess Cruise Lines though.

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Now you’re ready to book! How do you find great cruise deals?

Cruise Line Websites (Royal Caribbean, Carnival, Princess, Norwegian, etc…)

Vacations To Go

Priceline

Expedia

Travelocity

SATO Vacations

USAA (for military members)

 Tip: Additional discounts are given based on state residency, age, and military service – always inquire

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Short Vs. Long Cruises – My only advice here is always check the amenities available on your cruise ship – you don’t want to choose a long cruise that has a number of “At Sea” days and not enough to keep you entertained. I’ve gone on 3-night, 5-night, and 7-night cruises before and I enjoy the 5-7 nighters the best. I’m not sure if I’m ready to embark on a 14-night cruise adventure just yet, but there’s an Australia, New Zealand, Fiji cruise that is calling my name.

To Go for the Balcony or Not? – Now,I have gotten a balcony room before – at the urging of my Mother who wanted to have more space, and it was nice to relax on the balcony while pulling in and out of port, but I wouldn’t say that it’s absolutely necessary. I actually enjoy relaxing on the deck, watching the sunset as we pull away, and napping. I typically just go with an inside room since I don’t spend much time in my room. Plus it’s cheaper, so that means more money to explore with.

A Cruise…..To Nowhere?  –  Still on my list of things to do – I think it would be awesome for both the seasoned cruiser that wants to get underway and have a good time and the cruisin newbie who wants to test the waters. Ships leave port, cruise offshore for 1-2 nights, then pull back into port. You get all the luxuries of being on a cruise vaca – music, food, bars, shows, comedy, casino, and other ship amenities minus the port calls and excursions.

Cruise Myth Busters:

The Cruise Ship 15 5- Either make your way to the well-equipment gym each day, dance your butt off at the club each night, or choose not to over indulge at dinner. Trust me they know how to feed you on a cruise ship, so over-indulging is very easy to do. It seems like there is ALWAYS food around and at dinner they will let you try anything you want on the menu.

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Booking Your Excursions through the Cruise Line is Best – Not always the case. Often times local guides will give you a better rate for your money than the cruise line. That $90 paddleboarding adventure, may only cost you $40 and is equally safe and fun.

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Tip: Want to read reviews about your ship, meet people who will be cruising with you, read reviews on excursions to help narrow down your choices? Visit Cruise Critic.

Happy Cruising!

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Until Next Time! -xo AGT

That’s A Wrap! – TBEX Toronto

1300 travel bloggers took over the city of Toronto for one amazing weekend of building brand relationships, seeing old friends and making new ones, networking, exploration, education, and a little dancing :)

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We heard some powerful and inspiring messages from keynote speakers Trey Radcliff and Erik Lindbergh, then broke off into sessions. My favorites were: Content Strategy, Telling Your Story Through Photography, Building a Publishing Empire, and Rethinking Your Audience. 

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Engaged in a little speed dating with some wonderful brands and companies like; Trip It, Hyatt, Room 77, North Caroline Tourism, Vadovia, Google Travel, Roam Right, Four Seasons Hotels, Lou Hammond PR, and the list goes on and on. 

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Explored the City – There is so much diversity in Toronto that you see the world without ever leaving the city.

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Enjoyed some local cuisine – Toronto Tourism really pulled out all of the stops. One night we had Indian, Chinese, Caribbean, American, and Canadian cuisine and some fantastic Canadian wines to go along with it.

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Partied….and Networked of Course :) Every night there was an opportunity to put on your dancing shoes and meet more of your fellow travel bloggers and industry reps.

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Recharged in the American Express Lounge

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Sailed to Centre Island for a night of networking and fun hosted by Expedia and Alberta Canada and I won a trip to Mexico! Just one note for the next outdoor party, citronella candles, those mosquitos feasted on me.

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And before we knew it, it was time to say goodbye :( Man, did the time fly! This was my first blogging conference and I met some amazing fellow travel bloggers, learned how to brand myself, learned how to build a publishing empire, learned how to take better pictures, and now have the opportunity to work with some really great brands and PR companies. If you’ve never been to TBEX or any blogging conference for that matter I would highly recommend it. 

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This October, Travel Bloggers will be taking over Dublin for TBEX Europe! Will you be there?

Until Next Time! -xo AGT