December 28, 2018

That Time I Tried Traditional Cruise Dining...


https://cruiseradio.net/

Guest column: Carnival's Assigned Dining

Assigned dining is how cruises and resorts have been serving meals for decades. The idea is that you have a set time, and you sit at the same table, and have the same service staff every day. Large tables are used to fit in all the guests, which means that unless you are with a group, you will be eating with strangers.

Many cruise lines now offer Anytime Dining which is more like going to a land-based restaurant. There is an early and late Assigned dining time for each cruise. The early time at 6pm often fills up quickly, so for my first few cruises, I've opted for Anytime Dining over the late dining at 8pm.

On my cruise on the Carnival Inspiration, I finally got the chance to try out the traditional Assigned Dining which you can read all about on Cruise Radio.
https://cruiseradio.net/carnival-cruise-line-traditional-dining-review-2018/

December 22, 2018

That Time I Played Trivia on NCL...

Until last month, I had only been on one Norwegian cruise and the rest were all Carnival. When I went on the Gem last month, and we played our first round of trivia, I discovered we never played when we ween on the Breakaway last year (unless they changed their system...seems unlikely).

 So, Carnival gives out a trophy. Aptly named: Ship on a Stick.
This is my friend, not someone form google.
She was very proud to be cruise-famous on our cruise.
I assumed Norwegian also gives out one prize per trivia and never thought about what the prize might be...

December 21, 2018

That Time I Ate Thanksgiving Dinner On A Cruise...

https://cruiseradio.net/

Guest column: NCL's Thanksgiving Dinner

When I booked a cruise that took place over the Thanksgiving holiday, the only concern I had was getting a crappy Thanksgiving dinner. That would be worse than NO Thanksgiving dinner.

But I did it and it was actually pretty decent! Find out all about it on Cruise Radio.
https://cruiseradio.net/review-thanksgiving-dinner-on-a-cruise-ship/

December 20, 2018

That Time Thanksgiving Was on The Norwegian Gem...

After thoroughly enjoying my cruise on the NCL Breakaway and especially being able to drive to a cruise instead of flying, I decided it was time for another Norwegian cruise.

I found an 11-day cruise on the Norwegian Gem that took place over the week of Thanksgiving which meant that I'd only have to use 5 vacation days in exchange for me and Husband ditching both of our families...

December 15, 2018

That Time I Became a Travel Agent...

Basically. I love talking about and booking cruises so much that I decided to see if I could make money doing it!

https://www.laurenofalltrades.blog/p/travel-agency.html
Seriously - I start so many days asking Husband "can we book a cruise today?..."

December 12, 2018

That Time I Ate at The Chef's Table...

https://cruiseradio.net/

Guest column: Carnival's Chef's Table

Carnival's most upscale specialty dining option is the Chef's Table dinner. For the newer ships, you're going to want to book in advance to make sure it doesn't sell out. You also won't know the date of your Chef's Table dinner until the day you board and they call your cabin with the date and time.

All the food is delicious.

The cost is $75 + 18% tip on older ships; $95 + tip on the newer ships.  You get a very exclusive dining experience, but you will be eating with other diners unless you bring a large group. Once you get your assigned date, assume you'll be spending the whole evening at dinner.

Check out my experience on the Carnival Inspiration on Cruise Radio.

https://cruiseradio.net/carnival-chef-table-review-2018/

December 11, 2018

That Time My Childhood Was Ruined by Celeste Pizza...

You wouldn't think that a $.99 pizza would be able to ruin my childhood, but it's true.

I was at the grocery store, late at night trying to find a snack for Husband that wasn't expensive and used minimal plastic. I spotted the Celeste Pizzas and told Husband to get one.


HE HAD NEVER HAD ONE. I was shocked. Maybe it was not that common of a food, but I had a ton of these when I was growing up because they're cheap and, frankly, delicious...

December 10, 2018

That Time I Was Faster to The Fun...

https://cruiseradio.net/

Guest column: Carnival's Faster to The Fun

"Faster to The Fun" is an option that cruisers can purchase for their cruise that allows them priority access for boarding, luggage delivery, guest services, tendering to ports, and disembarking. It is available in limited quantities, based on the amount of Platinum & Diamond VIFP guests that are booked on each sailing, as they get said priority for free with their status.

The cost varies by ship and itinerary so when I was on a 3-day sailing, on an old ship, I decided to give it a try. When people ask "is it worth it," well, it really depends on the people, their cruise, and their travel plans. What was it like for me? I'll let you read all about it on Cruise Radio.

https://cruiseradio.net/carnival-cruise-line-faster-to-the-fun-review-2018/

December 09, 2018

That Time I Freestyled on the NCL Gem...

https://laurenofalltrades.blogspot.com/2018/12/gem-s-caribbean.html

Here are all the Freestyle Dailies for the NCL Gem's 11-day NYC to Southern Caribbean itinerary (San Juan; Basseterre, St. Kitts; Castries, St. Lucia; Bridgetown, Barbados; St. Johns, Antigua; St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands), 11/15-11/25/18...

December 08, 2018

That Time I Went to St. Lucia...

I recently visited St. Lucia on an NCL Gem cruise. St. Lucia was the third port stop and we actually went on an excursion!
 

As a promo when booking the cruise, I had $50 credit for excursions which made me more inclined to go on one. I still didn't want to spend a lot of money as it's $50 total for me and Husband, not each, so I looked at the least expensive options in each port...

December 05, 2018

That Time I Tried The Drink Package...

https://cruiseradio.net/

Guest column: Cheers! Drink Package

I'm not a big drinker. But I am a big cruiser. And I love giving advice about all things cruises, so I decided that I needed to try out Carnival's Cheers! drink package for myself.

Let me tell you, it was quite an adventure. In short, no I don't think I'll become a drink-package-person, based on how much I don't drink. I'm going to stick with the soda package. But I can definitely see the appeal. I'll let you read all about it on Cruise Radio.

https://cruiseradio.net/carnival-cruise-cheers-drink-package-review-2018/


November 13, 2018

That Time I Cruised on the Carnival Inspiration...

I got to travel for business to Los Angeles which put me in a perfect position to go on a West Coast cruise. I wanted to use as little vacation time as possible so I picked a 3-day cruise on the Carnival Inspiration which has just one port stop in the Mexican Riviera: Ensenada.

We stayed in the nearby Residence Inn because I had Marriott points to get a free room, but had that not been the case, I hands-down would have stayed on the Queen Mary which has been turned into a hotel and is permanently docked right next to Carnival's cruise terminal...

I Mentioned the Bisque...

This is an awesome recipe for shrimp bisque which I tried and loved. This is saying a lot because I am excessively picky. Enjoy!


Shrimp Bisque:

Ingredients:
10-14 oz. raw shrimp (can be frozen)
7 scallions
1 onion
1 carrot
1/2 c. butter
4 c. vegetable stock
4 parsley sprigs
1 bay leaf
4 black peppercorns
2 1/2 c. milk
1/3 c. all-purpose flour
< 8oz. tomato paste
1/2 c. sherry
1/2 c. heavy cream
A pinch nutmeg
Salt and pepper

Directions...

November 09, 2018

That Time I Was on TV...

This was actually not the first time I was on TV, but it is the most recent. A couple weeks ago, when I was on the West Coast, I decided to take advantage of being in Los Angeles and decided to get tickets to see Conan's live taping of his show. 

But he wasn't recording shows when I was there (I missed it by two weeks!). So I got tickets to see James Cordon instead (the "Late Late Show").
I had attended the live taping of Conan's show back when he was in NYC a couple of times and had a good time so I knew it was a good way to spend an afternoon - plus it's free (except for transportation and/or parking)...

November 01, 2018

That Time I Watched Designated Survivor...

I had no idea what this show was about or that it even existed until I saw it on Netflix. I decided to watch it because I like Kiefer Sutherland. Basically what happened was that the campaign worked:


The world was tired of not watching Jack Bauer kick major ass, and ABC brought him back in Designated Survivor and made him president...

October 27, 2018

That Time I Went to Ensenada...

West coast here I am was! 

I got to be on the West Coast for the first time since I was like 3, and took the opportunity to go on a li'l 3-day jaunt to Ensenada, Mexico via the Carnival Inspiration.

None of the excursions seemed worth the cost so we decided to just do some exploring and get some delicious tacos!...

October 23, 2018

That Time I Had Fun Times on the Carnival Inspiration...

Here are all the Funtimes-es for Carnival Inspiration's 3-Day Mexican Riviera cruise (Ensenada)....

October 19, 2018

That Time I Was All Formal...

Some people love it, some people hate it*. Personally, when we cruise, we love dressing up for formal night! (and every night really.)

I've noticed that people want to know what other people wear....

October 13, 2018

That Time I Visited Venice...

So I already made a post about the "Time I Went To Venice..." but I only talked about one thing that happened. Decided I should probably write about what else we did there!
 

We landed at the Venice airport, bought tickets for a water bus and were taken to the island. It was already such a cool city, even from just the edge of it...

October 11, 2018

That Time I Saw Venom...

Tuesday was my birthday and Tuesday is also $5 $5.50 movie night at my theater, so Husband and I thought that would be a fun birthday activity.
Based on my "was it entertaining" requirement for whether it was good or not: Yes. It was good...

October 05, 2018

That Time I Came Across the AIDA luna...

At the end of my Horizon cruise, we saw the Aida Luna docked next to us in New York. The view from our ship was meh, but was excellent from the Air & Space Museum we visited after we disembarked.
I took some close-ups so that the internet can find them if it wants to :) ...
(click though to see more photos)

October 03, 2018

That Time I Ate Ramen Noodles...

I was walking into Walmart and spotted something interesting.

A new (to me at least) flavor of Ramen Noodles!...

October 01, 2018

That Time I Finished Saving All My Pennies... Again...

Two years ago I started an experiment where I picked up every single coin I saw on the ground. This included some less accessible ones, and stopping short in front of people just to pick up a penny.

After a year, I counted them all to see how much I collected which came to $4.18 (plus some Hong Kong coins). Not a particularly large amount but enough that I decided to run the experiment again!

So, again, I spent the last 12 months as a real-life Mario...

September 29, 2018

That Time I Had Fun-Bermuda-times on the Carnival Horizon....

Here are all the Funtimes-es for Carnival Horizon's 4-day Bermuda itinerary (New York to Bermuda)...

September 28, 2018

That Time I Went To Bermuda...

I just visited Bermuda for my first time as a port stop on a 4-day Carnival Horizon cruise from New York. It was a special sailing that unfortunately won't be offered any more in the future as the Horizon has permanently moved to Miami. 

Since we'd already spent a fair amount on the cruise, I didn't want to add any cost to our trip by booking excursions. Instead I found out where the ship would be docking and used Google Maps to find some stuff to do...

September 27, 2018

That Time I Took My Friends On a Cruise...

After our first cruise (20 months ago on the Vista), Husband and I had so much fun that we decided that we needed to take all our friends on the next one... and then we went on two more in the interim. Yes, I'm an addict. I already covered a ton of stuff the Horizon has to offer when I was on it in May which you can read more about there.
We ended up picking the Carnival Horizon's 4-day NYC to Bermuda sailing because a) we loved the Vista which was almost identical, 2) it was the lowest overall cost and fewest required days-off-work for a cruise we wouldn't have to fly to (we're all in PA)...

September 13, 2018

That Time I Went to a Cruise Port...

I'm leaving TODAY on just a li'l 4-day cruise to Bermuda on the Carnival Horizon. It will feel like going home after spending 14 days on it this past May!

http://laurenofalltrades.blogspot.com/2018/09/beach-accessories.html
And here are all the things I like to bring with me on cruises for when we got off the boat at the ports...

September 06, 2018

That Time I Went to Carnival's Craft Brewery...

https://cruiseradio.net/

Guest column: Carnival Horizon Brewery Tour

Carnival made history in 2016 by putting a craft brewery on the Carnival Vista, brewing 4 varieties that can't be found anywhere else, and by being the first US cruise line to do so.

In 2018, they doubled down and put another brewery on their new ship, the Horizon.

Passengers are able to take a tour of the brewery that includes samples of the beer (for a fee). I partook both on the Vista at the Red Frog Brewery and then again on the Horizon at the Pig & Anchor Brewhouse, and then I wrote about it for Cruise Radio.

https://cruiseradio.net/review-carnival-cruise-brewery-tour/

September 03, 2018

That Time I Went To The Cinnamon Festival...

Okay, I didn't go to a Cinnamon Festival. As far as I know it's not a real thing. But it was in an episode of Psych so...

This recipe was inspired by said episode in which Gus and Shawn eat more slices of cinnamon pie than I can count (okay, I could but then I'd have to watch the whole episode, which I didn't have time for). Per my post yesterday, this is actually from years ago, when I had a different blog (same blog different name), and never published it... because of reasons?



Looks good right?


Cinnamon Pie

Ingredients:
1 c. white sugar
1.5 Tbsp flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 pinch salt
1 egg, beaten
2 Tbsp melted butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
1.5 c milk
1 unbaked pie crust (10", these are found in freezer section)
Optional: Whipped cream

Directions...

September 01, 2018

That Time I Did a Blog Challenge...

This was from years ago, when my blog was a different blog... and then I imported the old one into this one... but didn't publish all of the imported post for some reason.

Since I have new readers now, I thought this would be a good way for them to get to know me! Some of the articles that are linked live on old blogs, but I decided I'm okay with that.

Challenge: "List seven previous blog posts based on various criteria, and then issue the challenge to several other bloggers."

1) Most Beautiful: 
I'm not sure how a blog post can be "beautiful" but luckily I sometimes post pretty pictures so I'll go with I Did Miss My Bed... It's a photo I took in Florida on my trip there.

2) Most Controversial:
I really don't post anything controversial so I'll have to say How to Not Make Friends at Work because a number of my co-workers (at the time of writing) could read it and think its about them. But it was actually inspired by someone I no longer work with.

3) Most Helpful:
I guess the previous choice could have been used for this one but TOO LATE. I also don't post anything particularly helpful but I will choose How to Date a Co-Worker because, as long as you understand that it's entirely sarcastic, it will keep you from making as ass of yourself with a co-worker love interest.

4) Post Whose Success Surprised:
Last year there was an episode of Psych, where they ate tons of cinnamon pie at some diner. I needed to know what I was missing and made one and posted it and it got an average amount of attention. Until sometime in October when people started searching for variations of "cinnamon pie recipe psych," and "cinnamon festival." "Cinnamon Festival" now has 340 1657 views!... Seems I should publish this one to this blog, as I haven't as of yet.

5) Post I'm Most Proud Of:
I love them all equally! Okay probably not but I don't know if I really have one I'm most proud of over ALL the others. I will chose After Sundown This Thing's a Vampire Magnet. What I like about it was how good the water cooler came out in the picture. You may have seen it more recently in the posts from # 2&3. Yeah I recycle graphic elements so I can get them done faster. Deal with it.

6) Post That Got Undeserved Attention:
I feel like this is the same as the surprising success one... I'm cheating a little by picking one from my recipe blog but whatever, I'm going with What do You Call Cheese That's Not Yours? It is a simple cheese nachos recipe that's almost not a recipe but got over 400 hits many of which from people searching "chips and shredded cheese." Oh and it all happened in pretty much one day! If anyone knows why the whole US was searching that on that day, please enlighten me!... (I apparently deleted this at some point in the last 7 years. Not sure why. Probably because it's not really a recipe... decided to leave it as my Undeserved Attention post because, seriously 400 hits? Weird.)
Seriously. This was the "recipe."

August 30, 2018

That Time I Went To Halifax...

The last stop (finally!... 4 months later...) on my transatlantic Carnival cruise was Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

This was the port I was most excited for because we had a duck tour scheduled. Every time I'm in a city that has them, I've wanted to go on one, and I was finally going to!...

August 27, 2018

That Time I Was Trapped on A Boat...


https://cruiseradio.net/review-carnival-cruise-line-steakhouse-fahrenheit-555/

Guest column: First Impressions of a Transatlantic Cruise

After my first cruise in 2017 I fell in love so hard that Husband and I booked a 14-day Transatlantic cruise for our honeymoon. Yes, you may have already read about it here, but here's what I thought about: 14 days with just Husband to talk to (for the most part), being trapped on a boat for 6 days in-a-row, and sinking like the Titanic... hitting an iceberg...  sailing across the ocean!

https://cruiseradio.net/first-impressions-of-a-transatlantic-cruise/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+cruiseandblog%2FhXuX+%28Cruise+Radio%29

August 24, 2018

That Time I Tried to Get My Umbrella Back...

Remember when I used to hate taking the bus? Me too. But since then, I watched a documentary about a guy who wanted to lower his carbon footprint to zero, and my employer has an option to get a hugely subsidized community-bus pass, resulting in buses being my primary mode of transportation.


So I was on the bus, and about 10 minutes after I got off for a dentist appointment, I realized I'd left my umbrella on it...

August 10, 2018

That Time I Went To Six Flags America...

I grew up in NJ so, naturally, the amusement park I went to most was Six Flags: Great Adventure. I always loved it and went at least once a year from middle school through college.
Even though Great Adventure's rides are near and dear to my heart, I've always wanted to go to one of the other Six Flags parks, but none have ever been convenient to get to....

August 09, 2018

That Time I Went To Vigo...

Vigo was my last European stop on our transatlantic cruise. I've never heard of Vigo, outside of the villain from Ghostbusters II.

We were pretty exhausted from the jet lag followed by three other ports so we didn't plan much...

August 04, 2018

These Pretzels Are Making Me Thirsty...


Here's a really simple, fun, quick, tasty recipe (What? Too many adjectives?) for an elegant treat. Enjoy them yourself or give as a gift!





Chocolate Covered Pretzels:
Ingredients:
2 Bags Pretzel Rods (I use Snyder's)
1 Bag (14 oz.) Chocolate Wafers
1 Bag (14 oz.) White Chocolate Wafers

Equipment:
2 Tall coffee mugs
Parchment Paper or Silicone Baking Sheet

*Note: When buying pretzels, look for bags with the least amount of broken rods. This is harder than it sounds.

Directions...

August 02, 2018

That Time I Ate Mall Sushi...

Husband and I were driving across Pennsylvania and decided we wanted to stop and do something fun along our route.
We were near Harrisburg, so I thought there might be a Dave & Busters, and hat we could play arcade games for an hour, like grown-ups....

July 31, 2018

That Time It Was Plastic Free July 2018...

I do not have a lot to say this year. Not because I have given up on the cause, but because I have mostly maxed out what I can do to be plastic-free:...

July 28, 2018

That Time I Watched A Movie....

Yesterday I decided to take a break from binge watching Parks and Recreation (for the 13th time), and instead find a movie to watch.

The movie I picked was Obvious Child (I couldn't figure out why it's called that) staring Mona Lisa Saperstein Jenny Slate and Plop Jake Lacey....