Cruise Prep 101-Research

Taking a cruise should be a splendid and fun experience for everyone and Sweet Tea Gals has some handy information, advice and ideas for those getting ready to take a cruise.

Most Importantly: Do Your Research!

When preparing for a cruise trip make sure to research the different cruise line and ships to find the cruise that fits your needs best. This can be done easily by searching out each cruise line using the internet and investigating each ship in the different cruise line families right down to being able to pinpoint a room. This really comes in handy.

Not all cruise lines are the same. If you are looking for romance, or  family fun, or perhaps want to take an adult cruise with no children aboard check with your cruise lines, research the different ships and what is offered and if needed go through a travel agent to make sure you are getting what you want.

My first experience on a cruise was for my wedding and we used the Princess Lines choosing the gorgeous ship Caribbean Princess.  The ship itself was geared more for adult fun with its many bars, shopping areas aboard, elegant formal dining rooms and casinos. I do not recall seeing a whole lot of children aboard.  The ship did offer activities for kids scheduled daily and parents could leave their children with the recreation crew and go do what they planned. The Princess worked well for our purpose as we were taking young teens and children, who planned to swim in the pools and enjoy shows geared for their age, our parents who would want a more quiet atmosphere and our friends who would enjoy the bar and pool areas.  The ship was beautiful and our stewardess surprised us each day with special things placed in our room for the honeymooners.  Our stewardess also picked up quickly on the fact that my stepdaughter had chosen to stay with her dad and I in our room and added an extra cot for her and each day made a special towel animal for her bed.  On my wedding day the stewardess helped me with my dress and after we left the ship at St. Thomas for our wedding,  she added rose petals, chocolates and champagne to our room.  We had not asked for any of these special amenities, our stewardess was very attentive to all her passengers needs and why they were on the cruise.  My mom and our other guests were on different floors and each had special amenities added to their rooms each day as well.  This impressed me! Our port-of-calls were St. Thomas, United States Virgin Islands and Cozumel, Mexico. We had planned to be married on the beach in St. Thomas and I called the Caribbean Princess line to find out if they could recommend a wedding planner on St. Thomas to assist us in arranging our wedding for us.  They were happy to oblige and we were married on St. Thomas without a hitch, the wedding planner that was recommended did a wonderful job and the scenery and ceremony were absolutely beautiful.

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Princess Cruise Line-Caribbean Princess

My second cruise was with Carnival Cruise Lines aboard the ship Destiny. Carnival has always been known for the party ships of the seas since the 1980’s. Many of my friends and even my husband had cruised on the Carnival  line during the 80’s and loved it.

Rick Springfield Cruise 11-14-08-Carnival Destiny at Port-Key West FL
Carnival Destiny at Port-of Call in St. Thomas

On this cruise my husband, myself, and two of our closest couple friends planned on cruising with ‘Rick Springfield and Friends’. This was back in November 2008 and as we boarded the ship I immediately noted the difference in the size of the ship compared to the Caribbean Princess. This ship was quite a bit smaller than the Caribbean Princess Cruise ship and although it had many amenities it wasn’t quite as beautiful or as gallant of a ship. The rooms were a bit smaller compared to our other cruise even though we once again had a balcony room. Our steward for this cruise took care of everyday needs in our rooms but there wasn’t that extra special touch provided by the Caribbean Princess. This cruise was a much more laid back atmosphere and most passengers on board were there because of Rick Springfield. That ship sure did rock with all the concerts given by Rick Springfield throughout the cruise. I sure loved the entire cruise!

Rick Springfield Cruise 11-14-08-Rick and John
Rick Springfield and John Waite!

Since this was my second cruise, we were again stopping in Cozumel and since two of the couples with us had been with us on our wedding cruise we all stayed around the port area, shops and restaurants.

My third and most recent cruise was once again with Carnival aboard the ship Fantasy. I had been asked to go by my bestie and the other half of Sweet Tea Gals, Lori, my cousin and my Aunt.

Carnival Fantasy-Ship in Port at Cozumel Mexico
Carnival Fantasy Sails Into Port-Cozumel

I had done some research on the ship and knew she had been updated, I also clued in very quickly that Carnival had adopted a lot of Disney Cruise Lines rules. A-ha, Carnival had decided to gear itself toward family time and fun. I noticed it immediately as I boarded the ship. Kids and their parents were everywhere. In fact throughout the cruise several passengers commented to me in conversations that they didn’t expect so many young children aboard.  Apparently these passengers did not do their research. I already knew the ships had added water slides on the top decks and had researched daily itineraries and Carnival Lines were now offering Kid And Teen Zone Areas and a lot more activities geared toward the whole family and activities geared for specific ages. It was a whole new experience this time aboard a Carnival Cruise ship and this was the best cruise by far.

Even though there was not the extra special touches added and our steward on this cruise was barely seen we still had a blast.  Not much time was spent in our cabin which was a good thing because the cabin was located on the lower decks and it was an inside cabin.  It was small.  With four of us in the cabin there was no room for anything extra.  It was at times difficult for all of us to get ready, for the day or evening, at the same time  because of the limited space but we quickly adjusted.  Thank goodness we are not the fancy kind of folks or we would have been in trouble trying to properly dress in evening attire.  Those shorts, tees, summer dresses and khaki’s for the young man, made it easier and we gals definitely didn’t have enough room to spend too much time in front of the only mirror in the cabin putting on makeup.  Hey, we southern gals know to touch up our lips with a bit of color to make ourselves presentable before steppin’ out for the evening.

Of course Disney Cruise Line says it all-it is Disney and it will be for kids of all ages, that’s a given.  This is a cruise I definitely want to do some day!

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Cruising Made Easy 101

 

Cruise Lines Offer Holiday Cruises-Check Them Out!

 

Sweet Tea Gals Best advice: Do Your Research!

http://www.princess.com

http://www.carnival.com

http://www.disneycruise.disney.go.com

Cruisin’ with ShowStoppers of Southeast Missouri-A ShowStopping Hit!!

This May, myself, my bestie and partner in Sweet Tea Gals, Lori, her son, and my Aunt Judy boarded the beautiful cruise ship Carnival Fantasy. We were on this cruise due to my cousin, Keiton, being a member of the group, ShowStoppers of Southeast Missouri, who would be performing three shows aboard The Carnival Fantasy.

ShowStoppers of Southeast Missouri

ShowStoppers of Southeast Missouri is a singing and dance group made of teens ranging from 7th grade to 12th, under the direction of Mrs. MaryRuth Boone.  The ShowStoppers begin to practice for their summer performances in the fall and continue practicing till its Show Time. Needless to say, this is quite a commitment on the part of the performers and their families, and these young teens work this hard because they share a love for music, love to sing, and love to perform. The group’s director, Mrs. Boone, plans out the theme of the show for each year as well as the music selections, choreography,  costumes and what the show will entail. I have to say-she is one awesome lady!

ShowStoppers performing at The Forum, In second picture that’s my cousin, Keiton singing a solo!

I had not seen any of the practices or the performance the group held at their home base before the cruise, and I was delightfully surprised with the show. Outstanding! ShowStoppers blew me away! Their show consisted of music from Broadway hits of ‘Jersey Boys’ and ‘Mama Mia’ and all of these young people were so talented in voice and performance. They were great!

One of my favorite pictures taken! Mrs. Boone directing The ShowStoppers from her seat!

What I didn’t expect was the dance and song numbers to be so outstanding and so much fun to watch. You couldn’t help but find yourself singing along to these great songs, and listening to the solos and dance routines given by these young artists was fantastic!

ShowStoppers perform in the Universal Lounge

The group preformed three shows aboard the ship. They began their first two performances in a smaller venue, The Forum, and with the first performance it was mostly family members and a few passengers who came on in to watch the show. By the second show the audience increased in numbers and by their third show the group performed in the largest theater, The Universal Lounge. Through word of mouth by passengers who had already seen the show and as passengers heard the music and singing coming from the lounge more and more passengers came on in to catch the performance.   The Universal Lounge seats were full and the audience throughly enjoyed themselves. The ShowStoppers were definitely a hit!  They even had several passengers come for repeat performances and one couple who didn’t miss any of the three shows. Outstanding!

The couple pictured with The ShowStoppers never missed a performance! They attended all three shows!

These young teens were as good or better as the shows that normally perform aboard the cruise ship. Their youth and exuberance was contagious and the pure joy the group displayed during their performances was undeniable-the audience loved it. They absolutely danced and sang their way into the hearts of the passengers aboard The Fantasy.

As Always-Enjoy Life One Sweet Tea at Time and add some great music to go along with your day!

Prayers for Texas!

All of us are aware of the devastation Hurricane Harvey has caused in Texas and throughout southern states.  These are just a few posts from some of Sweet Tea Gals favorite celebrities we follow and what they are doing to help out!

 

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Miranda Lambert down in Texas helping dogs in need after Hurricane Harvey alongside her foundation MuttNation
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Miranda Lambert’s MuttNation Foundation along with The Pink Pistol providing help to the dogs in need down in Texas
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One of Sweet Tea Gals Fav Twins, Jonathan Scott of Brother vs. Brother, Property Brothers, Property Brothers-Buying and Selling post from Instagram on how to donate to help out
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Clint Harp from Sweet Tea Gals fav Fixer Upper Show posting how to help by purchasing Texas Forever Tees

Help out by checking with your local Red Cross, local churches, local tv stations for items needed and trucks heading down to Texas to help out those in need!

Total Eclipse of the Heart over Kentucky! Solar Eclipse August 21, 2017!

I have no other word other than AMAZING for my experience and how I felt watching the solar eclipse.  In Kentucky we got quite a show, the eclipse began around 11:10 am in south central Kentucky, with a very small black space beginning to cover the sun. 

Of course we had our special eye ware on:

Me with my ‘OH SO COOL’ solar glasses taking a look at the Eclipse

My Daughter and Dad with their eye ware on. Check out my Daughter’s shirt and what it says…
Even Bailey Boy got in on the action with his special doggie glasses

Over the next couple hours my daughter, dad and I would check out the progression of the eclipse. Around 1:10 pm we could see that it was getting a bit dimmer in the backyard and sure enough right on cue for our area, at 1:25 pm we had totality.

Truly an experience to behold. Watching through the glasses we saw the darkness creeping closer over the sun as the moon was passing and to watch that one little last flicker of light and then, Bam!, to witness total darkness over the sun was amazing. We took our glasses off so we could view the backyard and sure enough we were in the dark, the temperature had dropped and the humidity was gone. 

But just as all good things must come to an end, this moment in time went too quickly. Just like the last bit of sunlight poked through before totality, so was our moment of the moon fully covering the sun. Within seconds we realized it was already starting to lighten again in the yard and as I put my glasses back on the moon was in motion and the sunlight began peeking through again. 

I went back out one more time around 2:00 pm and the moon was still partly over the sun but the heat of the day was back along with the birds and squirrels out in the yard again. What fun to anticipate and watch the eclipse as the moon made its way over the sun and to share it with your family, it is a moment that will always be remembered.

Just Livin’ Life One Sweet Tea at a Time with a Total Eclipse of the Heart over Kentucky!

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun-Sweet Tea Gals are Ready for a Week of Crusin….

Leaving tomorrow night to head down to Mobile, AL to catch a ride on the Carnival Cruise Ship Fantasy for a few days. Looking forward to some fun in the sun and needed relaxation to restore my soul and let my mind and body reach a place of balance, harmony and strength.

 In other words:

  • Girls Just Wanna Have Fun
  • Cruisin’ With My Bestie
Double Trouble on the Cruise!!!!!

    The two of us Sweet Tea Gals on board a cruise ship for a week, Woo-Hoo!  

    We have stops at Costa Maya and Cozumel. I know we are going to be doing some Dune Buggy driving, another day will be spent lounging around at a Beach Resort and doing some scuba diving-sounds like good times ahead!

    Passports are ready, itinerary has been received and reviewed, we have spent time doing some pre-cruise last minute shopping , got our lovely ear patches for motion sickness-what else would any gal want to wear as an accessory-and now we are double checking everything and doing final packing.

    When we disembark next week I am sure the two of us will have plenty to share about our trip plus some great pictures to show. I know just from starting to prep for this trip we have come up with some travel prep ideas, cruise ship prep ideas, fun cruise printables, plus a cruise binder printable and tips for packing to post when return from our trip, plus we’ll have discovered some new fun family cruise tips to share with y’all! 


    Bon Voy’age(!) and Live Life One Sweet Tea at a Time!