Thursday, November 6, 2014

Our Caribbean Princess Cruise

Let's go back to the week of September 10th when I got an e-mail from Princess Cruises with their cruise specials for the month of October/November. They had a 5 night cruise for $199 a person, plus a $200 on board credit for each person! Well as soon as I got the e-mail, I almost booked it. It was too good of a deal to pass up. Well, when Andrew got home from work, we talked about it, and decided to pass, and just wait to see what kind of deals they had in January, since Andrew didn't have enough vacation time at work to take off for a cruise, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. We were happy to wait and see what kind of deal we could get, and I kept checking for deals. Well, that weekend, we found out from Andrew's parents that we wouldn't be going out of town for Thanksgiving, so therefore, Andrew didn't need to save any vacation time for the week of Thanksgiving. We found that out on Sunday, while we were at lunch with them, and on the way home started talking about going on the cruise in October. It was just too good of a deal to pass up, so driving home from Greenville, I called and booked the cruise!! We had 34 days from the time we booked until we left. And the best part, when we stepped on the boat, we had $400 waiting for us to spend!! That meant all of our gratuities were paid for, and we could go on a some excursions! The cruise was making two stops. One in Grand Cayman, and one in Cozumel, Mexico. Both places we have never been before. To say we were excited, is an understatement!!

We decided to leave Michael home with my parents for this trip, and that was such a good idea. He would have been so bored on the cruise, and it definitely would not have been a relaxing trip. Michael had so much fun at my parents house, and I don't think he missed us at all.

We drove down the night before, and drove all night long, to get to Ft. Lauderdale by 12:30pm.

We ended up getting there around 9:00, so we took our time eating breakfast at Waffle House.

Then we drove over to the port and still had about an hour to kill before we could get in line to check in.

We got in line around 12:00, and were walking on the boat by 1:00.

 We went straight to our room to check it out, and then down to eat lunch in one of the dining rooms.
After lunch we went back to the room to see if our luggage had arrived, and unpacked.

Walking into the room

Our tiny inside stateroom

desk area

super small bathroom

Closet area. 
Then we went exploring around the ship and had to participate in the muster drill. We didn't do too much that night besides eat dinner and go to the welcome aboard show. The whole cruise was so relaxing, and we didn't want to be running from one thing to the next. So we took it easy pretty much the whole time. 

Sunday, we slept in late, went to the buffet for breakfast, and then found a chair on the pool deck and sat for several hours. Andrew napped, I read, we both snacked, and just enjoyed our day at sea. 

Sunday night we went to see the comedian, Darrel Joyce , that was on board, and he was hilarious! He was clean, but kept us laughing!

Monday, we woke up in Grand Cayman!

We took our time getting ready, ate breakfast in the buffet, and then made our way off the boat.

We had to take a tender boat to the dock, but it didn't take long, since we waited to get off the boat.

 We had an excursion to Seven Mile Beach planned for the day, but got to shore a little early, so we walked around some of the shops, and found some free wi-fi, I was able to upload some pictures, and check in on Michael. He was having fun, and not interested in what we were doing. Then it was time for our excursion.

 We hopped on a little bus that drove us over to the beach. Then we were shown to our beach chairs, and were able to relax for several hours on a beautiful beach. It was pretty hot, so we spent some time in the ocean too. It was so refreshing and so crystal clear. 

About 3:00 it was time to head back to the boat. We got back on a little bus, then back on a tender, and we were back on our boat. As soon as we got back on the boat, I ordered room service, since we were at the beach during lunch. We both ate a little, took showers, and rested/napped until it was time for dinner. After dinner, we went back to the room, and I crashed. I was worn out from our day at the beach.

Tuesday was our day in Cozumel. The weather didn't look too great, and we were really afraid our excursion was going to get rained out.

It wasn't raining when we got off the boat, so we continued to our catamaran and got on board for a day of snorkeling and playing at the beach. We booked the Fury Beach excursion, and it was great!

It did start to rain while we were snorkeling, but since we were already in the water, it didn't really matter. We snorkeled for about 45 minutes, and then got back on the catamaran, and sailed to Fury Beach. It was set up with a ton of lounge chairs, cabanas, hammocks and giant inflatable toys to play on in the ocean. We decided to spend the time in the ocean, since it was still a little rainy, and sitting on the beach in the rain didn't sound like too much fun.

While we were playing, it started pouring rain! And it was cold rain too! We did play for a long time, but finally we took a break in one of the cabanas, our of the rain. Then it was time to sail back to the ship.

We walked through the duty free shop on the way back to the boat, and bought some vanilla for the in-laws and a shirt for Michael. I know, big spenders!!

Back on the boat, we ordered room service again and showered and Andrew napped again. Then it was time for dinner. After dinner, we both crashed, It had been a busy day on the beach.

Wednesday was another day at sea, but was rainy and cool. We went to the culinary demonstration and the galley tour. Then one of the restaurants was having a Irish pub style lunch, so we went to that.
After lunch, Andrew went to watch Planet of the Apes, and I walked around with my camera taking some pictures.

While I was walking around, the sun came out, so I hurried to get my bathing suit on and head up to the pool deck to get some sun. At 3:30, Andrew and I met for Afternoon Tea, and it was really good. Little desserts, and mini sandwiches. Very lovely. When we got out of tea, it was yucky again, so we decided to get our bathing suits on and go sick in a hot tub. It was really nice and relaxing, and there weren't many people out, so we had it to ourselves.
Back to the room to shower and get ready for dinner.
After dinner we went to the Illusionist. He was ok, but had some really corny parts.
Then we had to go back to the room and pack our bags and put them out in the hall way by 10:30. We walked around some more, and I went to purchased a couple pictures.  Then it was time to go to bed.

Thursday morning, we were up and out of our room by 8:00. We went to eat breakfast in the dining room rather than the buffet, since we knew it would be crazy busy. Then we were off the boat by 9:30, finding our luggage, going through customs, and finding our car.  We had a long drive back to South Carolina.

As you can see, we slept a lot on this trip. And that is exactly what we were hoping to do. Relax and not worry about anything! I also didn't take nearly the amount of pictures I usually do when we are on vacation. We had a great time, and I am so glad we decided to book a last minute cruise. I'm sure that this will not be the last time we do something like this!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Costco Membership Living Social Deal


I just bought this incredible deal from Living Social for a Costco membership.
$55 for the membership and you get a $20 cash card, a coupon for a free apple pie, a coupon for a free rotisserie chicken, and a coupon for a free 30 count pack of toilet paper!!

Click HERE if you want to get this awesome deal too!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Our Hawaii Vacation Video

OK, last post about Hawaii...

I made a little video slide show of our pictures.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Hawaii Photobook is Finished!!

I just ordered my Hawaii Photobook! I've been working on it ever since we got back, and I finished it today! I can't wait to see the printed version!

I opted to do a digital photobook this time, rather than a traditional scrapbook like I usually do. There were several reasons, but the biggest one was to save money. To have all of my pictures printed, 900 of them, would have cost a lot of money. Plus the album ($20+), and all of the paper and stickers, it is a big investment. I knew I could go digital for a lot cheaper. I did buy a few digital kits, but the total for all of them was $20. And shutterfly is always having sales, and promotions on their photobooks, so I wasn't sure when I would be able to print it, since I would have to wait for a sale. Well, I got an e-mail yesterday from shutterfly for a free photobook (a value of $23.99)!! And they are having a 50% off photobooks sale too!
 My original price was going to be:
+ $11.99 S/H
+ $9.35 tax
Total = 138.32

This is how it broke down after all of the sales:
$58.49 (50% off)
- $23.99 (Free code)
- $11.99 (Free shipping code)
+ $2.76 (tax)
Total = $37.26

Total saved = $101.06!!!!!

I am so proud of my Awesome Deal!!!

You can check out my photobook below...

You'll love Shutterflys award-winning photo books. Try it today.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Tips for those traveling to Aulani

Here are just a list of things I thought I would share with others that may be traveling to Hawaii and staying at Aulani:
1. Leave the resort. Don't fly all the way to Hawaii to sit at a resort. You could have saved yourself a lot of money, and just gone to one of the other Disney resorts. There is so much to see and do around Oahu.
2. Rent a car. If you don't want it for the whole time you are there, then at least for a couple of days. So you can go and see the rest of the island.
3. Don't waste your time in Honolulu or Waikiki. We didn't go, and were told by locals to avoid it. We don't feel like we missed out on anything. Unless you have a lot of money to burn at the expensive shops...
4. When you get a shave ice, just get one to share. They are huge, and melt fast. Buy one, share it, and if you still want more, get another one. I saw so many melted shave ice cups laying around the pool, because they are too big for kids to eat.
5. Go to McDonald's and get their Haupia pie! YUMMY!! (It's a coconut pie.)
6. The resort is huge, and spread out. Be prepared to walk! And if you have small children, bring a stroller. I was almost wishing we had brought one for Michael, and he is almost 4!
7. Make time to stay at the resort. I know I said to leave the resort in number 1, but you also need to at least stay at the resort one day to see what all they offer. We did an every other day approach and that worked really well for us. That way we didn't get so exhausted from going all day, every day.
8. Don't buy milk at the ABC store. It was twice as much as it was at walmart. Drive to the Walmart 2 miles away. It will save you $$$
9. Do buy your souvenirs from the ABC store, they are cheap! Walmart also has cheap souvenirs.
10. Drive on the H3 - the most beautiful views of the mountains!
11. Talk to the cast members at the resort about what to go do and see.
12. Use photopass. I wish we had used it more, and we ended up with over a hundred pictures. They are everywhere, you just have to look for them. On the Beach and in the pools too.
13. Don't expect a beautiful sunset every night. I went expecting that, and was so disappointed when we only had one! If you get more than one, then it will be a pleasant surprise. I'm not sure if it was the time of year, or just the weather we were having, but it seems like every night, there were clouds blocking the sunset.
14. The ground by the pools gets very hot! I don't think you need water shoes, but you will definitely need shoes if you are going to be walking any further than just to the pool from your chair.
15. We didn't do this, but we saw a lot of people doing it. Make lunch in your room, and bring it down to the pool to eat. This will save you lots of $$$.
16. Another $$$ saving tip, eat at local restaurants. They are not as expensive as you might think. We ate at a few different places and never experienced sticker shock when we got the bill. We did, however, think the prices at Monkey Pod were high. Zippy's was really good, and wanted to go back, but never got a chance to.
17. We rented our car through We got a midsize for 8 days for $228. Saved a lot of money.

I think that is all for now. If I think of anything else, I will add it. These are just my opinions, based on my experience, so if you had a different experience with any of these, please leave a comment.

Thanks for reading along. Hope you enjoyed it!