London

I'm back from my trip to London and Paris! I'm starting my write up of all we saw and did. But whew boy is it a lot!! Here's the first part of our trip of three and half days in London.

             I started off my first international trip with six hour flight from Orlando to Reykjavik with Icelandair! I really enjoyed my flight on Icelandair, even though I was in economy class each seat had TVs and a USB port for charging. There was even a pretty awesome selection of free movies including Wonder Woman and Baby Driver. I watched part of Wonder Woman and then tried to sleep for a few hours. My flight was an overnight flight that left around 8pm. I arrived in Reykjavik around 3 am EST and I even got to see the faintest flicker of the Northern Lights on way into Iceland so that was pretty cool!

            I spent about 45 minutes in the Reykjavik airport which was kinda strange cause there were so few seats in and around the gates, but I just hung out on the floor for a little while before taking the shuttle back out to my new plane that would take me to London.

            I arrived at Gatwick around 1245pm local time and made it through customs and passport control with little fuss. I then bought myself a national express bus ticket to Heathrow as I was meeting my friend there after her flight arrived. I was so excited to see some fall leaves on my ride there since it had been about 80 degrees when I left Florida. I met up with my friend and we took the Heathrow Express train into London which was super easy. We then hopped on the Tube towards our hostel, which was fairly easy but a little hard to navigate with our big bags. Not to mention that because it was unseasonably warm for October I was of course sweating buckets. Not a good look.

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             We made it to our hostel mid afternoon and checked in. We ended up staying at the Wombat’s Hostel London. We booked two beds in a 6 bed female dorm. We were pleased with the room; it was on the main floor so no stairs needed. When we first checked in all the beds were occupied but by two days later it was just my friend and I and another girl left which was nice. Our room had a private shower and toilet room as well as separate sink, which was nice. The floor were wood and the room felt clean, the shower seemed to be cleaned daily. I’m sure hostel dorm rooms depend on your roommates but we got very lucky and had quiet, chill roommates.

            After dropping our bags and showering off almost 24 hours of traveling we headed out, walking to the Tower of London which was only about a 7 minute walk away. We walked along the Thames and over the Tower Bridge and then back along a super cute walkway along the river. There were tons of people out and we enjoyed all the sights and cute pubs and restaurants. We eventually ended up at a restaurant that as cute and kitschy inside. The food wasn’t bad but unfortunately our service was sort of terrible, it took over an hour for our food to get to us. We walked back by the Globe Theatre and talked about doing a tour of it. We headed back to the hostel and off to sleep soon after. 

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The Globe Theatre! 

           On Sunday we woke up early to get to the Columbia Road Flower Market because we were curious to see the market and I love anything to do with fresh flowers. We took our first spin on the double decker red buses, which was a bit of a bust because even with my citymapper app I found it pretty confusing of which bus to use and in which direction. It didn’t help that when we got on and I asked our bus driver if our stop was on there he said yes initially the said he actually wasn’t sure and tried to look at it on my app… didn’t inspire much confidence. Regardless we eventually got to the stop we wanted and made our way to the market. One bus experience was definitely enough and we didn’t venture back and instead stuck to the Tube.

            The Columbia Road Flower Market is on Sundays only from 8-3ish in East London. I read lots of things saying to arrive early though as the flowers go quickly. I was worried there wouldn’t be as many flowers in October but there were still tons and some truly gorgeous flowers I’d never seen before. One tip is to be cautious, as some stands don’t allow you to take photos or video of their flowers. I was sad we didn’t have anywhere to display flowers or a vase to put them in or I definitely would have bought some.

         We then walked to Beigel Bake for breakfast and had an amazing bagel and pastry! Careful as I believe they are cash only.

        After our bagels for breakfast we headed by tube to stop by and see Buckingham Palace. I managed to unwittingly get us there just in time for the daily changing of the guards. The crowds were so gigantic I actually thought the royal family might be appearing… but no apparently that was just a normal crowd day at Buckingham Palace. Regardless after pushing our way through way too many people we made our way to the other side and the green area near the park there which was gorgeous. We then walked to Harrod’s to check out the curious things they sell. We managed to get rather incredibly lost inside looking for things and kept walking in huge squares.

Our only glimpse of the actual "changing of the guard", taken in a walkway where you couldn't stop. 

            After a stop at a Café Nero for coffee we headed to the Science Museum, London for a bit. I enjoyed the exhibits a lot and there was a lot to look at for adults, not just children. We stopped in the Natural History Museum briefly then grabbed some Italian for dinner at Rocca. Next we stopped by Hathcards the oldest bookstore in London. I actually managed not to buy any books!

            We walked through St. James’ Park to Parliament Square and saw Westminster Abbey and Big Ben. Funny story, we definitely took pictures in front of Westminster and somehow missed that that’s what it was, we thought it was a different smaller church so we went back a day later to see “Westminster Abbey” and discovered we’d actually already seen it! We walked by Big Ben which is under quite a bit of construction and Parliament. We went back out for dessert at Motown in Whitechapel that night and enjoyed some ice cream. 

Hatchard's and it's infamous five story staircase.

The Science Museum London

Inside the Natural History Museum 

             On Monday we headed to Breakfast Club for breakfast on my dad’s recommendation. It was tiny but we only waited probably fifteen minutes. After we headed to the British Museum and wandered there for a few hours. We had a ridiculous amount of fun making up funny snapchats for the different works of art, although I promise we were respectful. After we started to gloss over we walked to Chinatown to get a snack at Bubblewrap London. You should definitely try their egg waffles that you can fill with all sorts of sugar and toppings. Next we headed to Trafalgar Square and looked around the National Portrait Gallery briefly.

            After that we took the Tube to the Florence Nightingale Museum, which I was especially looking forward to as a nurse who learned about Flo in nursing school! We spent about two hours there, which was probably way more than my friend wanted to see. We came outside at 3pm to what appeared to be either a tornado or darkness falling. It was incredibly strange and after I texted my dad (the resident family weather man) to ask if the world was ending, he told me it was Hurricane Ophelia that was hitting Ireland. It had picked up dust and sand from the Sahara and had formed a giant orange cloud over London. It was disturbing and the only way I can describe the strange feeling was the way it looks before tornadoes in the US. I have no recollection of what we ate for dinner nor photo evidence… 

Bubblewrap London!

           On Tuesday we got up early to do laundry and grab Dum Dum Donuts in Bethnel Green. They are in a tiny shop there. The donuts are gorgeous but definitely on the heavy side. We also grabbed bagels again at Beigel Bake for snacks later. We tried to go to the Hunterian Museum but I belatedly realized they are closed until 2020 for and extensive renovation… so that was a bust. We hopped back on the tube, making a stop at King’s Cross Station to see the Harry Potter themed Platform 9 ¾. It was a bit underwhelming honestly, to someone who has visited Harry Potter at Universal. We were glad we didn’t go out of our ways to see it. We then made our way to Portobello Road Market to wander a bit in Notting Hill. We ate at a cute café called Gail’s for lunch.

             After we headed back to see Westminster Abbey although we then realized we’d already seen it. We debated paying to go inside but eventually decided it was a lot of money, we did stop in the gift shop though and picked up some super cute gifts. I have to say I think my favorite places that we bought souvenirs were strange places like museum gift shops and the stationery section at Harrod’s had some amazing postcards!

         Next we headed to our prebooked time at the Sky Garden to see London from the 34th floor! You do need an advance ticket to visit the Sky Garden and you should arrive during your ticket’s time period. But you can stay as long as you like. There are also a couple of restaurants in the Sky Garden you can eat at. After a few photos there and a snack we headed to Oxford St to buy me some new sneakers (sidebar London and Paris are no joke, BRING GOOD SHOES) and to Selfridges to get a backpack I’d been eyeing. We then hopped on the tube and headed towards Spitaelfields Market and ate some fish and chips at Poppies. It was a little underwhelming but I really felt like the food just needed better seasoning (how’s that for typical English fare for ya).

         The next morning we were booked on the Eurostar to Paris so we grabbed some breakfast and sprang for an Uber to the train station. The weather had been particularly strange and HOT, in the 60’s and 70’s and sunny every day we’d been there but the day we left it was rainy and much more what I would have imagined as typical London weather. 

            Overall I think my favorite part of London was the London Science Museum and the Florence Nightingale Museum. London is incredibly easy to navigate in my opinion, especially with an app like citymapper. I found the Tube to be incredibly clean and well organized. We almost never waited more than a minute or two for a train to arrive and there were workers all around if you needed help. I felt very safe on all the trains and platforms. It was a nice change of pace after using the subway in New York the last year and half as the delays get longer and longer.

            London is expensive but we managed to get pretty lucky by eating at places where there were half price menus or other cheaper options like street food or cafes. Almost every museum we went to was free or very low cost which was awesome.

            The biggest downside I see with London is how similar it feels to the US. It feels like a big city anywhere. This is probably comforting to an American not wanting to venture too far outside of their comfort zone. I did enjoy the history of London though and how much older the building are obviously. Plus I love an English accent! I’m looking forward to returning to London but moreso to use it as a base for traveling to see the rest of England like Bath, Darcy’s House and the Harry Potter Studio tour which we didn’t have time to see this time. 

The Ultimate Packing List for my London and Paris Trip

I'm going to London and Paris in October!! I kind of made this as a last minute-ish decision in July when I booked my plane ticket. So of course I've spent almost every moment since then obsessively researching and preparing my packing list. 

I have bought a bunch of random stuff I needed, some of it probably unnecessary, but it is soothing my mind to get it all. 

I've got my backpack which is an Osprey Farpoint 40. I bought a tote bag at Target to use as a carry on and I've finally picked out a travel anti-theft purse (which is this one from Travelon in pewter). 

So here's my official packing list, I've test packed it a couple of times and I think this is the way I am actually going to pack it! 


My Packing List for 10 Days in London and Paris in October

Clothing

  • 4 shirts (two short sleeved and two long sleeved)
  • 1 black sweater
  • 1 grey cardigan 
  • 2 t-shirt dresses
  • 1 pair of jeans
  • 2 pair black leggings 
  • 1 pair tights
  • Rain jacket
  • 2 pairs of compression socks
  • 3 pairs of darn tough wool socks
  • 2 pairs of short socks
  • Hat and gloves
  • 2 scarves
  • 1 strapless bra
  • 1 sports bra
  • 1 black tank top
  • 1 pair pajama pants
  • 1 pajama t-shirt
  • 6 pairs of underwear
  • 1 down lightweight coat
  • 1 green khaki jacket
  • 1 pair of black motorcycle boots
  • 1 pair of tennis shoes

Toiletries and Misc

  • Shampoo and conditioner
  • Mascara
  • Lipstick
  • Hairspray
  • Shout wipes
  • Small packs of laundry detergent
  • Umbrella
  • Copies of travel documents
  • Reusable shopping bag
  • Ziplock bags
  • Pen
  • Wet wipes
  • Various cords and chargers
  • Cash
  • Small amount of duct tape
  • Various luggage locks
  • Curling Iron 

Carry on Bag 

  • Medication (Including cold/flu, pain relievers etc)
  • Passport
  • Earphones
  • iPod
  • Book
  • Plane ticket
  • Notebook
  • Camera
  • Computer and charger
  • Mophie powerpack
  • Liquids bag
  • Toiletry bag

My carry on bag from Target

My carry on bag from Target

What will be in my carryon. Blue zippered pouch has all my cords and chargers. The altoids tin has bobby pins and memory cards for my camera.

What will be in my carryon. Blue zippered pouch has all my cords and chargers. The altoids tin has bobby pins and memory cards for my camera.

Outfit for the plane: green t-shirt dress, leggings, grey shirt, black coat, green scarf, my boots and socks (yes plus compression socks.. I'm old).


I'm really pretty proud of myself for cutting down the clothes I'm packing because I am a chronic overpacker! Seriously, I usually bring a huge suitcase for a four day trip. So planning for this international trip in a backpack has been challenging to say the least. 

L-R: T-shirt dress, pj pants, pj shirt, long sleeved flannel, black sweater, black t-shirt, black and white striped long sleeve shirt, short sleeve shirt. Leggings, jeans, two pairs of socks, tights. Not pictured in this is the outfit I'll be wearing on the plane

Miscellaneous bag

New York in May!

We headed back to New York for a few days at the beginning of May! The weather was oddly cold and rainy a few days but we had fun! I was just happy it wasn't 90 degrees like it was in Florida. 

The rain wasn't super fun and it actually flash flooded on that Friday we were there which was very odd and not very fun to be out in. Other than that the day we went to Central Park it was gorgeous! 

Guys, we got to eat cookie dough at Do!! And the first time we went we barely waited at all!! (We went back a second time on Sunday and we had to wait about 30 minutes). It is so yummy! It tastes exactly like raw cookie dough but without the raw eggs so you don't have to worry about getting salmonella! I had the Nuts for Nuts flavor and it was amazing!

We went back to The Lower East Side Tenement Museum again! We did the Irish Outsiders tour this time and man I love this museum! I think if I lived in NY I would try to figure out a way to work or volunteer there! 

We saw Cats the first night we got there which was amazing! I was really pleasantly surprised how much I enjoyed Cats. It has been updated with cool new hi-tech things and I loved the actress that played Grizabella! The worst part was how long we had Cats songs stuck in our heads... My cousin and I saw Anastasia one night too which I was very excited about but I was a little underwhelmed with actually. They made a lot of changes from the story in the movie and that made me sad. It also felt like they added about 10 new unnecessary songs. Ah well, the audience really seemed to love it. 

I introduced Rachael and Waldo to my favorite bagel place at Best Bagel and Coffee which I have deemed the best bagel I've ever had in my life! Every time we eat there I enjoy it so much. And we ate there 3 times during this trip.... Seriously, go grab a bagel there if you're in New York. 

Ah, New York. That grand dame of cities! Sitting here looking at these pictures I wish I was back there! I'll have to start planning another trip soon! 

The Women's March on Washington

I heard about the Women's March on Washington back in December and was desperately trying to figure out a why to get there! But hotels at that point were so darn expensive (around $1000/night) that I didn't think it was going to happen. I'd also been trying to find someone that wanted to go with me and could afford and had the time off work. 

Fast forward to the week before the inauguration and suddenly I was finding tons of hotel rooms that weren't that expensive. So I finally talked Heather into driving into D.C. with me! 

We drove in early Saturday morning, slept for 3 hours and then drove the rest of the way into the city Saturday morning. It was a little rough, sleep wise. But it was so exciting to be sitting in traffic just outside the capitol and seeing so many people wearing pink pussy hats!! When we got close to our hotel in the city all we saw was sidewalks full of people headed to the march with signs!! And oh, the signs!! There were so many great, funny, inventive, beautiful signs! 

My biggest take away from the March was that there was a lot of people pissed off with the way women and girls are treated in this day and age. Also, there is a lot people don't like about the current administration. 

Then there was the chants!! Oh, so many great chants. My favorite was probably "This is what democracy looks like." Because that one hit home to me. We live in this great country were we have the right to protest and the freedom of speech to say what we want to. I also really enjoyed, "We will not go away, welcome to your first day." 

There were so many people there for the March. Whatever they showed on TV and whatever number they estimated the crowds at, it had to be more. Everywhere we went and everywhere we turned we ran into a solid wall of people. It was amazing and inspiring. 

Everyone that we ran into was also so nice! We had some great conversations with people from all over, and some people that were local to the D.C. area. The spirit of camaraderie and respect was so lovely! 

An Ode to Disney Springs

Okay, I have to admit I was pretty skeptical when Disney announced they were retheming (and RENAMING) Downtown Disney. Apparently I don't really like change much. But now that Disney Springs is really starting to come together and most of it is open, I have to say I'm pretty darn excited about it! It's so pretty!! I posted a photo of it on instagram the other day and said "I'm sorry for ever doubting you would be great, Disney Springs!" 

It's so much more fun now with the new construction open. Plus there are so many neat stores and most importantly a lot more food options!! That was what Downtown Disney was lacking in my opinion. We've tried a few different places and I'm sure we'll continue to try more. 

So far we've tried Blaze Pizza which is super yummy! You design your own pizza then they flash bake it in like 3 minutes! YUM!

We've also tried D-Luxe Burger which was ok. It is a huge burger which isn't my favorite, I rather like the thinner patties. 

We tried The Daily Poutine and man was it good! I've never had poutine before but dang I'm going to have to do it again! 

Kayla and I tried Frontera Cocina last weekend and it was pretty good as well if you're interested in Mexican food! 

There are a lot more stores to shop at including some of your favorite brands like Sephora and Anthropologie, as well as new ones I'd never been in before. There are so many good restaurants to try I'm sure we'll continue to try new ones as we explore Disney Springs more. I really want to eat at the Boathouse!

Weeki Wachee and Tarpon Springs!

When my mom, sister and her kids were here this summer we headed over towards Tarpon Springs to stay for a few nights and go to Weeki Wachee. Mainly because my niece (and I) love mermaids. 

Ever since I read a fiction book about Weeki Wachee it's been on my list of places I wanted to see. The main story behind it is they have "real live mermaids" they breathe using hoses and were famous in the 1950's for drinking coke and eating bananas underwater. 

Nowadays the springs are a national park, but they still put on a mermaid show a few times a day. It's a neat day trip and it doesn't cost a ton of money. 

The springs themselves are gorgeous and clear, although we didn't swim, we were told they are pretty chilly year round. 

We also stopped in Tarpon Springs which is famous for their sponge docks where the ships that harvest sponges come in. There are some cute and interesting shops, as well as a bunch of sponges for sale! 

EPCOT's International Food and Wine Festival!

It's Food and Wine time in Orlando!!! Well, it's almost over actually. But I didn't get to experience much of the fun until the last few weeks. I had actually never done Food and Wine before and I really enjoyed it! 

I've now been three times (with one more trip planned for the final weekend) and the results are in! 

Favorite drink: The Martini Slush from France (Runner up being the Szarlotka from Poland which I have no picture of!)

Favorite food: The Buttered Chicken with Naan from Africa! 

I also snuck in a picture of our pizzas from Via Napoli! OMG I love that place more and more every time I visit! 

What are your favorite things to eat and drink at Epcot's Food and Wine??

Food and Dining at Disney World

Now, let's talk about one of my favorite subjects in the world, food! Now Disney is of course about a lot more than food. But I love food. So here are some of my favorites and some dining reservations we made on our last trip, new and old. 

I know, I know. I am such a sucker for Mickey shaped food! Pretzels, ice cream bars, rice krispies treats. GIMME GIMME. 

One of my newer favorites is heading back to Gaston's Tavern for a Lefou's Brew and a giant cinnamon roll. Although I will never forgive Disney for turning the Main Street Bakery into a Starbucks at least I can drown my sorrows in a cinnamon roll. (Seriously Disney... there are enough Starbucks in the world, I DON'T WANT ONE IN PLACE OF MY GLORIOUS MAIN STREET BAKERY)

Over at Hollywood Studios there is still a bakery to be found at the Starring Rolls Bakery! I snagged this amazing lemon BB-8 cupcake there one afternoon. Mmmm. 

Sorry this is a terrible picture (taken at night before the Main Street Electrical Parade) of the ice cream sandwiches sold from Sleepy Hollow Refreshments in Liberty Square. I had never had one of these but my sister and brother in law are big ice cream fans and they really loved them! Plus they're pretty cheap. Only around $4! And they're huge! 

We did a breakfast at the Whispering Canyon Cafe one morning. We have been to Whispering Canyon a handful of times on previous trips and have always enjoyed the fun atmosphere. Whispering Canyon is a table service meal. We always love breakfast so we chose to go then. Unfortunately we made a later reservation of 10:45 and the restaurant was pretty empty. This made the fun atmosphere a little quieter with few other guests to play with. But it was still a great experience with our server, Sunshine! 

Mickey Waffles!! See I told you I love Mickey shaped food! 

Chef Mickey's was a must on our list with the kids because it's a great place to get to meet Mickey and the gang and enjoy a breakfast buffet! I have to say, out of all the new places we tried I would definitely go back to this meal! The buffet was large and well stocked with yummy food. The characters took a little bit of time to get around to each table, but that's ok, leaves more time for eating! 

Plus, who doesn't love brownies for breakfast?? 

On Saturday for Dapper Day we finally got a reservation for Via Napoli which I have wanted to eat at for the last few trips. Thank goodness we had a reservation because the check in desk was a mess. We still waited a few minutes even with a reservation. 

I got a strawberry agua fresca which I thought was going to be like strawberry lemonade but was more like strawberry water (hence the name I suppose), but I actually really enjoyed it and it was very refreshing. 

The pizzas were pretty amazing too! The ones in the picture are personal pizzas! They were pretty big, but I managed to at the whole thing myself! I would definitely go back to Via Napoli! 

Other dining experiences included Play and Dine at the Hollywood Vine for a buffet lunch which I was not that impressed with. We also ate at the Plaza Restaurant one night for dinner which was also just okay. 

We took my niece to the Akershus Princess Storybook Breakfast one morning which was fun! She loved that the Princesses all came to the table. This was also a breakfast buffet which was pretty good, although I have to say the Contemporary's had more variety. It was also fun to get to walk back to the World Showcase when no-one else was around. 

What's your favorite place to eat at Disney? What should we try next time? 

Moments from the last few months

Whew, it's been a long time!! 

I don't really have an excuse for not posting, other than we haven't been doing much and I've been staying inside lots because it's so darn hot outside! 

We have managed to make it to Disney a couple of times over the past few months now that we have our annual passes and we got Universal passes last week! 

Here are some moments from my phone from the past few months! 

Disney World!

We came back from Disney World back in April!! It was quite a busy trip. I've never spent 6 days in the parks in one trip so that was pretty tiring but we had a lot of fun! 

We took our entire family including all my sisters and niece and nephews for their first trip. We did all four parks and a couple of Disney DIning experiences we had never done before. 

We miraculously ended up planning our trip around the Spring Dapper Day event and I was overjoyed!! I have been trying to get to a Dapper Day event since I heard about them a few years ago. It was so much fun to be there and see everybody dressed to the nines! I also really enjoyed watching the confused looks on the other park goers' faces! 

I also heard a middle aged women explaining to her friends that this was called DISNEYBOUNDING. Which, some people were disneybounding but most of us were just dressed up for Dapper Day. It was great! I highly recommend it if you love vintage or retro style. 

We went on Kilimanjaro Safaris first thing one morning when there was Extra Magic Hours at Animal Kingdom and we saw more animals than I've ever seen on the safari! We saw a couple of elephants and the male lion as well as tons of other animals. 

The Teacups happened to be pretty much all of the kids favorite rides which was fine by me because I love theming and the color of the teacups! 

We were there for the Flower and Garden Festival at Epcot which was gorgeous! 

We got to meet Baymax at Epcot which was especially awesome for Rachael and I because we are a little obsessed with Big Hero 6, especially Baymax. 

I fell in love with the snapchat filters from all over Disney. Especially this one, I mean c'mon I'm OBVIOUSLY very hot & juicy. 

We watched Wishes a couple of times throughout the week but this was on Monday, on my birthday! Not a bad way to end your birthday!

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Hollywood Studios general aesthetic is basically my favorite. I hate that the Streets of America (cough, half the park, cough) is closed though! 

The World Showcase at Epcot is always one of my favorites and sadly we didn't get a ton of time to explore it. But we did walk through a few of the pavilions. 

We did wander around Morocco though and I had Rachael take this photo of me which I absolutely love. 

I also wandered up the train station steps to take photos of the castle and stumbled upon Mary Poppins just hanging out with only one or two people around her. 

All in all it was a great trip and there was still so much we didn't get done that we had wanted to. But I'm sure there will be more trips in the future. 

I have another post coming up about all the awesome food we ate and the dining reservations we had. 

What's your favorite part of Disney World?? 

Best of Birmingham: Holler & Dash

Last weekend we tried the new biscuit place Holler & Dash!! It's a biscuit house for goodness sake! 

Above was my Strawberry & Dash meal which was strawberries and whipped cream on a biscuit. It was so yummy. I was a little unsure what the combo of biscuits with whipped cream would taste like but it was a lot like strawberry shortcake! 

Rachael's Chicken Biscuit. One of her favorite types of biscuit, although I'm surprised she didn't get biscuits and gravy! 

CJ's frittata!

And Kayla's tater tot bowl! Yum!

So, if you're in the area I highly recommend stopping by Holler & Dash one morning for some good 'ole southern cooking! 

Our Cruise!

Back in December Rachael and I went on a Royal Caribbean cruise with a few of our friends. It was so nice to escape the gloomy winter weather for the tropical Caribbean! We went on the Six Day Western Caribbean cruise out of Ft. Lauderdale that went to Grand Cayman, Jamaica and Haiti. This was our first cruise and I really had no idea what to expect to be honest!

I found this couch in one of the lounges and I really want one installed in my future house! 

Sunrise the morning we arrived in Grand Cayman. 

7 Mile Beach in Grand Cayman

7 Mile Beach in Grand Cayman

Grand Cayman and not our cruise ship in the background. 

Buster, our towel puppy!

Jamaican kids waiting on the school bus. 

Jamaica!

Jamaica was definitely my favorite out of the three ports we visited. We decided to pay for the RC excursion for the catamaran cruise and snorkeling. We also took a 45 minute bus ride from Falmouth to Montego Bay which I enjoyed because we got to see a little bit of actual Jamaica (not the weird Disney-fied Jamaica that is the Falmouth port). 

Snorkeling in Jamaica. Ugh, so gorgeous. 

Labadee, Haiti

Our private beach bed in Labadee. We split it between all 6 of us, so worth the money! 

We decided the night before we got to Haiti that we were going to rent one of the beach beds. If i recall correctly it was about $175 but you can split it between up to six people, which made it super reasonable! It comes with two floating mats to use in the water and a butler. Plus a bottle of evian for everyone which was nice! It was nice to have a butler because your RC drink packages work in Labadee, so you could order from the butler and have soft drinks and alcoholic drinks delivered right to your beach bed! 

Overall, I'm not sure if the cruise life is for me. Although I definitely enjoyed being able to go to three different ports in three days. The days on the ship though definitely felt like way too many people in a small space (although the ship was really huge). The food was alternatively so-so and pretty good depending on the dish. 

The entertainment on the ship was okay to pretty funny. The love and marriage show (like the Newlywed Game) being the best. There was never a lack of options for scheduled activities if you are in to things like that. I might have also enjoyed it more if we had had better weather on our at sea days so that we could actually lay out. It was alternately cloudy or drizzly for most of them. 

I know some people absolutely love cruises and while I might do another one, specifically a Mediterranean or Hawaiian one, I think there are other ways I'd rather spend my money traveling. That said, we did get a fantastic deal on this cruise that we will probably NEVER beat (BOGO and no port fees). 

Have you been a cruise? Where did you go? Any cruises you're dying to go on?