Saturday, February 20, 2016

Cruise to the Western Caribbean!

Today I am headed down to Tampa, Florida for a 5 night Western Caribbean cruise.  Yes, I am writing this on an airplane as we speak, I just cannot contain my excitement any longer.  Unfortunately, I do not have any photos yet of the cruise ship or my adventures, but I can share with you my packing experiences thus far.  For a trip this large and with lots of activities involved you have to be very conscious of packing and weight.  I took a first pass at packing and just started to lay out all of the clothes, jewelry, and accessories I definitely wanted to take.  From there, I took a second pass and laid out outfits for each day that I was going to be away.  This makes the thought of packing for a long trip less daunting and you are less likely to forget items.  Another great tip goes out to all you females, be sure to try “iffy” outfits on prior to packing, by iffy I mean clothes that require special undergarments or fittings.  There is nothing worse than forgetting to pack that strapless bra or cami to go with that cute dress.

For a 5 night cruise, my boyfriend and I packed a large checked bag and our scuba diving bag. These were our only two major large bags and then we also had our own carry-on roller bags. I also had a separate carrying bag for my scuba regulator (the mouth piece you breathe out of for you non-divers).  A good rule of thumb when packing scuba gear is to purchase a separate bag designated just for your regulator.  This is a very expensive piece of equipment and you would hate to get any one of the hoses crushed.  Another smart tip I would like to add is if you plan to check at least two or more bags try and divide up your clothes between each of the bags this will not only help to avoid over-weight additional charges from the airlines, but also if the airlines just so happen to lose your checked bag you still have some of your clothes remaining until the airlines can locate your bag. 
Cruising to the Caribbean, I always suggest to pack plenty of sunscreen.  Between my boyfriend and I we packed a wide spectrum from SPF 15 to SPF 70, it just depends how fair your skin is and how you normally react to the sun.  It is ALWAYS a smart idea to keep sunscreen on at all times, whether you are in direct sunlight or not.  Along with sunscreen it is also a good idea to pack a cute hat that covers your face from direct sunlight.  Unfortunately I only own baseballs caps, so that’s what I packed.  Try to find a cute cover-up that you feel comfortable walking to and from your room to the pool deck.  It is quite a walk and if you don’t want to have the “looks” then it’s usually best to pack some sort of cover-up or sarong. 

Our cruise disembarks on Monday and our first stop is Cozumel, Mexico.  We will be spending the day at Mr. Sanchos where it is all you can eat & drink for $55/person.  It is a great price and the best part is that it is right on the water.  This also allows you access to snorkel.  Based on the videos and pictures this is definitely a great place to start of the vacation.

The next day we are planning on making a stop in Grand Cayman.  This is where my boyfriend and I plan to go on a two tank certified open water dive excursion.  We are beyond excited and can’t wait to see what one of the top dive destinations has to offer.  I hope to capture some great footage underwater using my GoPro Hero 4 camera.  I purchased the dive housing and special tinted lenses so the changes in water doesn’t affect the video footage.  Next week I will be sure to upload actual pictures and video footage of our excursion.
Once we arrive back in Tampa on Saturday we plan to have a few days of some down time and a “vacation from our vacation”.  The Marriott on San Key is the ideal place for this.  Since I am an avid traveler for work and frequent the Marriott properties, the decision was easy when it came time to choose a perfect little hideaway from all of the chaos. 

Stay tuned for next week’s addition of photos and videos from my trip & cruise to the Western Caribbean!