An Unexpected Day at Sea on the Viking Star

Having the right travel mindset is crucial to enjoying travel when things don’t go as planned.  Today, for instance, I’m on the Viking Star, and I expected to be photographing the beautiful ruins of Selunite on the island of Sicily.  Instead, I am sitting enjoying some cappuncino and planning some cha cha lessons with my husband for later this afternoon.


View from the Viking Star as we pass the Sicily area

Last night we left the port of Civitavecchia (about 2 hours outside Rome) to travel to the port of Trapani on Sicily.  We had rough seas; I’ve got a cast iron sea stomach (as does everyone in my party) but we definitely were doing zig-zag walking all over the boat. We woke to seas that were still rough; rough enough to close the therapy pool in the spa (which we had planned to use when the spa opened at 8). We (my husband and I) instead used the steam room and snow grotto (yep, real snow!) and saunas.  We did have the place to ourselves.

After a fine buffet breakfast and two Viking talks in the main theater on the ports of Tunis and Cagliari, we were heading back to our room to get ready for our stop in Sicily, when the captain came over the loud speaker.  The news was not good…due to high Continue reading

Cruise Debarkation Day: All Good Things Must Come to an End

Shot with DXO ONE Camera Processed with Snapseed.

Empty sun loungers on the Lido deck of the Carnival Breeze

There is nothing sadder than a cruise ship the morning of debarkation. The long awaited vacation full of sun, fun and friends is over, and to add insult to injury, you generally have to vacate your room pretty early so you wake up at the crack of dawn.

For our debarkation, Mr. Travelholic and I always choose to self-assist.  On the plus side, you get to keep your luggage with you instead of having to leave it outside your door before midnight the previous evening.  I’m always afraid I’ll be one of those cruisers you see the next morning debarking in their pajamas because they forgot to keep an outfit out for debarkation morning. Although they are entertaining.

Another plus is that the self-assist people get to debark before the people who ask for luggage assistance. For me this is a huge plus; some people like getting a leisurely breakfast and coffee and having a last cruise moment.  Not me; I wake up and all I can think about is getting home.  Continue reading

The Last Day of My Cruise

The Carnival Breeze at Carnival Port

The Carnival Breeze at Cozumel Port

I am siting on my balcony, cool breeze in my hair, looking at the vast and lovely ocean, with moody clouds in the distance (possibly the far outreaches of the Hurricane Matthew system?) but since it is the last day of my cruise, I really should be inside my cabin packing. And figuring out debarkation. And all sorts of other useful end-of-my-vacation things. But no, I’d rather sit here and enjoy my last cruising day, and leave everything to do in a mad panic later.

This has been a fantastic cruise! I really have had a marvelous time on the Carnival Breeze. I’ll be blogging about each day of the cruise, both sea and port days, and I have lots of images to share as well as reviews of the ship, excursions, food, and much more. But today, my last day on the ocean, I have to go back to gazing off my balcony into the distance. Plenty of time to catch everyone up when I am back home staring instead out of my office window.  If you want more information and you just can’t wait, I’ve been posting images on  The Tiny Travelholic on Instagram during the cruise. And for cruisers on an Eastern Caribbean cruise today, I’ve got an extra thought for you as I lift my glass–stay safe, stay out of Matthew’s way, and may most of your cruise continue uninterrupted (if a little changed, especially if you were heading to Jamaica).


Boarding Day on the Carnival Breeze

View from the Carnival Breeze at Galveston Port Sail Away

Royal Caribbean’s Liberty of the Seas at Galveston Port, seen from the Carnival Breeze after boarding.

As our fabulous cruise director Mike has said, cruising is all about Food, Friends and Fun (I knew I liked Mike When he appeared in a suit made entirely out of Union Jacks last night), and my first day aboard the Carnival Breeze did not disappoint at all.

Let me back track to the morning of boarding the boat so I can catch everyone up. We (“we” on this cruise generally refers to Mr. Travelholic and myself, and often also to our theater friends Tamra, Rhonda, Darrin and Bill who are cruising with us) opened up our eyes at the Four Points Sheraton in Galveston. Although the hotel disappointed the night before (non-working WiFi) it was hard to stay cranky when opening our eyes up to the waves and water right outside our window.  We skipped breakfast at the hotel (eating right before you get on a cruise ship seems redundant) tried the free hotel coffee (blah) and packed into our taxi for the boat at 10:00 AM.

Two tips when boarding Carnival at Galveston. You get to pick your boarding window, so pick an early one if you are like my group and can’t wait to get going, and order your taxi the night before since thousands of people will all be heading to probably more than one boat the morning of your cruise (Liberty of the Seas was also leaving Galveston yesterday).

Our hotel was very close to the port and we made it by 10:15 (boarding window 10 to 10:30). We love Carnival’s new staggered boarding procedure…there were no lines at all, and we so breezed right through the boarding process. The Continue reading