The Disney Cruise Is Everything You Dreamed It Would Be !!!

So I started blogging because I love to write, almost as much as I love to eat, and travel the world.  But the day that I found out that I was pregnant with my second child, I lost all interest in writing, eating out, and traveling.  For some reason, I just changed.  I stopped coordinating events for my dinner club, stopped making travel plans, and gave up on my blog.   Even after the shock of being a mother of two went away, I still could not get motivated to write.  My husband and I would dine at an amazing restaurant and I would say ” wow this place really deserves to be discussed on the blog” but I would never take any action.   Although I hoped that I would get back into it, I feared that Eat Breathe Travel was a thing of the past.  That was until …our recent Disney Cruise!  

 

A close friend was planning to go on the Disney cruise and I decided to join her.  I thought that it would be the prefect gift for my oldest daughter’s fifth birthday.  Well I was right!! It was the prefect gift.  Going on the cruise was a great experience for my family.

There are so many websites dedicated to the Disney Cruise that I originally thought I had nothing to add, but let me just share a few things that I learned from my experience and touch on some highlights :

  • Book early to a get a lower price:  Disney can get pricey, so try to book as far out in advance as possible.  Once you select a date, go ahead and book.  The price increases about every two weeks so make a decision and put down the deposit like yesterday!  I called one day and was quoted approx. $1,750 for my family of four ( 2 adults 2 kids under 5 years old) I called back less that two weeks later and the price had increased to approx.  $2,000.  I booked that day and kicked myself for a few weeks for losing $300.00 due to procrastination.
  • Pay for you trip by the deadline or else: Disney is great about payment plans but... You can pay online and you can pay as much or as little as you like, you just have to have the trip paid off 60 days before your travel date.  Oh but if you miss that deadline it is a done deal!  Disney will not entertain extending the deadline for you or anyone else.  If you miss the deadline, Disney will refund your money and cancel your reservation faster than you can say Mickey Mouse.  Take as long as you want to pay… but pay before the deadline please!
  • The three day trip is a beast:  We had a ball but we had no time to rest.  Everything is do or die.  Because the trip is so short, plan accordingly.  If you do the trip that goes to Nassau, Bahamas and you have been to Nassau before, stay on the boat and chill.  If your trip goes to Castaway Cay the following day, save your energy for that.  At Castaway Cay your food and transportation are included in the cruise price.  The beach is great and there are enough lounge chairs and umbrellas to accommodate everyone …so spend your time there.  Ok…back to Nassau…if you have been and can miss it, then take that time to do fun stuff with the kids on the boat like hang out at the pool and get great photos, and eat and drink all day.  Doing so, helped us save our sanity and reboot from all of the craziness  of travel and just being on a Disney Cruise ..lol
  • The nightly performances are not to be missed:  They are offered twice a night to accommodate both dinner seating times.  The shows are Broadway quality and we enjoyed everyone of them.  They are great and should not be missed for any reason!!! Don’t miss the shows ok?
  • Kids Club.…super fun for the kids, super necessary for the parents, super safe ( get registered before you sail and include everyone in your party that is allowed to pick your child up…if you are with a big group you may want to allow a few people to collect your child)  Just a note:  there is kids club at Castaway Cay as well…that was a game changer for us.

Disney rocks!! Here are a few other examples:

  • Hand washing stations at the buffet:  I am so funny about buffet style eating largely due to the cleanness or lack thereof of the patrons.  Well Disney addresses that issue head on.  There are hand washing stations and hand sanitizer at each restaurant entrance..use them.
  •  Complimentary strollers: Can I also say that Disney provides complimentary strollers at Castaway Cay so you don’t have to take yours off the boat !!!!
  • Healthy Food: Disney offers healthy food options.  In addition to the all you can eat soft serve ice cream and endless soft drinks,  you can also get fresh cut fruit, smoothies, salads, and wraps.

Everything else you need to know all the way down to which travel route is quicker can be found at: https://www.mousesavers.com

Worth mentioning:

  • Rental car companies run shuttles to Port Canaveral.  If you are traveling by rental car you can drop it off at Orlando Intentional Airport and ride the shuttle to Port Canaveral instead of paying  for a rental car to sit parked at the port and paying for parking.  Parking at the port for the 3 night cruise is ($64.00).
  • If you are traveling with a large party ensure that your rooms are linked so that you will be seated together for dinner.  We had a party of 20 and although we made arrangements in advance, they did not get us seated together until the final night.  It was a real bummer ..but that was the worst of it.
  • Carry your own collapsible water bottles .  We got these and they were a great purchase.   The non-alcoholic beverages are unlimited on the ship, but going back and forth to get them can be a hassle.  Make things easy by taking your own bottles.
  • The gym is good too! Imagine getting your taking your daily run overlooking beautiful ocean views.

Above all else, have a really good time!  Planning a Disney Cruise can seem intimidating.   Print off a good check-list and do your research ….but by all means enjoy your family and have a ball !

Happy trails

Spending Christmas In St. Lucea, Jamaica: A Fabulous Way To Celebrtate The Season !

Gran Palladium Resort and Spa St. Lucea, JamaicaGran Palladium Resort and Spa St. Lucea, JamaicaMargartaville, Negril JamaicaMargaritavile, Negril JamaicaA year ago today the Suggs Family was basking in the warm sun enjoying Christmas in Jamaica.  We ventured off the traditional “home for the holidays” route and found ourselves 20 minutes outside of Montego Bay, Jamaica in the fishing village of St. Lucea, at the Grand Pallidum Resort and Spa.  When we arrived, we were greeted with umbrella adorned drinks and shuttled off to our room.  As our golf cart raced across the resort, we admired the perfectly manicured grounds, impressive swimming pools, and a variety of interesting restaurants.  Lush tropical plants cradled the campus at every turn and the beautiful white washed buildings were perfectly complimented by the illustrious blue sea, just steps from our door.

The Gran Palladuim is located along a rocky coastline. The majestic cliffs are breathtaking.  On our first full day, we laid under the protection of a comfortable cabana draped with white linen and were hypnotized as we watched the waves crash into the cliffs that trailed off into the horizon.

Although the resort had everything we needed, nothing says Jamaica, like the white sand beaches and crystal clear waters of Negril. So on day two, we spent a full day in Negril eating jerk chicken and racing around on jet skis. And what’s a trip to Negril without a visit to Rick’s Cafe for cliff diving?  While Xeric took the plunge, the rest of us admired the beautiful sunset.

The next day we were off to Ocho Rios to conquer Dunn’s River Falls, which is always an exhilarating experience.

For the rest of our vacation, we lounged on the beach and ate our way around the resort.  It was an amazing way to spend the holidays.

This year, we will in Atlanta, GA enjoying a quite Christmas at home making cookies and slowly sipping from mugs filled with piping hot chocolate around the tree as we sing our favorite holiday songs.

Regardless of where you spend the holiday season, enjoy every precious moment!

Have you taken a fabulous trip to celebrate the holidays?  Share your experiences here.

Road Trip to the Emerald Coast (Destin & Fort Walton Beach)

 

Emerald Coast
Brooklyn’s sun hat flew off…it was kinda windy

Recently Xeric and I celebrated our second year of marital bliss with a trip to the Emerald Coast.  It was a five hour car ride from Atlanta to our destination.  Thankfully, he drove the entire way while I attended to our daughter Brooklyn.

We prefer to fly to most destinations but with a newborn, driving was the best option for a number of reasons.  First, we had privacy; if she was fussy the only people who had to endure it were the people who created her …lol.  Second, as a breastfeeding mom, I was able to pump in the privacy of our car.  Having the Medela dual electric pump with the hands free bustier and car adapter is awesome. Because most babies love car rides..and Brooklyn as exceptional as she is was  not the exception in this case,  slept for at least 85% percent of the journey.  Third, although she has had her first set of vaccinations we wanted to play it safe and limit her exposure to large crowds ruling out the airport and airplane.  Last, as you can imagine we were able to travel with our baby gear and other “essentials” without having to lug things through the airport, which can be a huge hassle.

Over the course of three days, we divided our time between Fort Walton Beach and neighboring Destin.  The great thing about vacationing along the Emerald Coast is that it is very laid back and lacks pretense…two things that are perfect for fatigued parents who just want to relax.  Sure both cities offer plenty of activities from deep sea fishing to para sailing to historic attractions (Indian Tribal Mounds, Fort Walton Beach ).  However, unlike some places, one doesn’t feel overwhelmed or pressured to devise a packed literary ultimately changing the vacation into a busy hustle to see every attraction before time runs out.  This trip we opted to make spending time on the beach reading and relaxing the primary focus. Emerald Coast

We are seafood lovers so beach vacations are always a culinary delight.  We were pressed to find local fresh seafood at a reasonable price.  We made the mistake when we arrived by venturing to one of the local but commercial eateries on the beach.  Despite its proximity to the beach the seafood wasn’t exceptional.  The food was just ok and had me longing for blackened shrimp tacos from Six Feet Under.  Anyway, we did end up finding a local restaurant that has been touted as the best in the area: Dewey Destin.  With a 45 minute wait we were expecting a fantastic meal and for the most part we were not disappointed.

Emerald Coast
Fresh is best!

The food was fresh and local just like we like it.  The atmosphere although busy, was very relaxed and they were able to accommodate our newborn.  Our only issue was that we had to leave our stroller outside by the hostess stand located outside.  In the event that it rained while we were dining we would have been pretty upset.  Overall, Dewey Destin satisfied our seafood craving.

To sum it all up we returned home on Sunday relaxed and rested from a weekend well spent.  If you plan to visit Destin we recommend going right after spring break and right before summer vacationers start arriving ( late April -mid-May).  We stayed at the Four Points Sheraton.  The view from our room was amazing and the hotel provided all of the amenities that were needed.  We booked our car through RentalCars.com and secured a fantastic rate.  We spent less than $100.00 for the car for the entire weekend.

 

Happy trails,

Jennifer