My wife and I traveled to the Western Caribbean on the Carnival Cruise Ship the Legend; we take a cruise every year with a couple we have known in Florida for quite some time.
We decided to take this year’s cruise to the Caribbean for 7 nights aboard the Carnival Cruise Ship the Legend. It is home ported during the winter in Tampa Bay, FL. Since we winter in Florida, this was very convenient and we could just drive there from our campground in a couple hours.
We made all our reservations and planning over the internet. We booked our cruise using Carnivals Main Web site. It was simple and quick. We then had to complete all the other online check-in requirements such as our passport info. After all this was completed, we then were able to print out our luggage tags for the cruise and we were ready and waiting for the big day to come. The whole online check-in process took approximately 30 minutes to complete. You will need a credit card for this, as they will ask you to set up your on board charge account during the process.
The boarding process was actually not a lot of fun on this Cruise. I have heard all these horror stories of long lines and standing for hours, this is one of those stories. Our ship was late coming in due to fog so we had to sit for 7 hours before we could board. The Cruise line did everything they could to keep people happy with free water and snacks, but there is still only so much you can do with that number of passengers waiting to board. They did however give everyone $30 dollar on board credit for this delay to help offset the costs of food for those that left the waiting area to go eat.
Our room was great like all others we have had on Carnival. We had the Grand Suite. It had a couch and sitting area separate from the bed. The room also had a walk in closet and a full bathroom with tub. I think the extra space is worth the additional costs, especially when my wife and I are the type that enjoys spending time away from everyone and the room is the only place to do that on a ship.
Things to do on the ship:
1) Casino: the casino is where my wife and I spent most of our time. We love to gamble when at sea. The casino cannot open till they are in international waters so it opens and closes about 30 minutes from port. It had plenty of slots and tables to entertain anyone are gambling urges. The only thing I wish they would do is enforce the no Smoking unless you are gambling rule. There are many people just standing around smoking and not gambling because they didn’t want to go all the way on the top deck. I don’t like smoke and it just makes the room even that much more difficult to handle.
2) Dinning: Dinning was outstanding. You could either go to the dining room or have a nice sit down meal with many different menu options and you can order as much as you like, or you can go to the back of the ship and eat at the 4 different buffet type meals. There is no reason to ever go hungry on this ship as it serves almost around the clock and room service is available 24×7 for free. The Steak house is top of the line. We enjoyed it so much we went twice. It is not included with the price of the cruise but for $35 per person it was well worth the price for the meal.
3) Shows: The shows were excellent. We usually don’t spend a lot of time going to shows but after this cruise my wife and I have decided to spend much more time as they were so enjoyable.
Cozumel was the first port we stop at on our trip. Due to being in Mexico and not feeling very comfortable at all withal the drug issues, we spent very little time ashore and what we did was only at the port where it is secluded from the rest of the area. The shop keepers were nice and we were able to purchase souvenirs as usual.
Belize was our second stop. It was a wonderful port and we took a trip up river to by boat to see the ruins and then enjoyed a nice bus ride back. The ship anchors out at sea and you ride tenders in to port. Wish we could have spent more time there to explore the local shops but our excursion took the whole day and we got back just in time for the last tender to leave for the boat. We hope to go back here one day.
Roan was our third stop and after Belize in the sun all day we decided just to skip our plan excursion and try and relax a little. We did walk off the ship to the local shops and they were nice and there was a ski lift ride over a small bridge to a beach area for those that want to go swimming nearby. Ur friends went to one of the other beaches about 8 miles away and they had a wonderful day in the sun,
Grand Cayman was our last port of call. We took a bus ride of the island and also toured the Turtle refuge. This was wonderful. They had small 1 and 2 year old sea turtles that you could hold and touch. There are over 300 turtles here and some are as heavy as 600 pounds. This is also a tender port and is a very enjoyable ride because the water is so crystal clear.
In closing this trip was one of the best things my wife and I do during the year other than travel in our Motorhome. We have actually already booked another trip with Carnival, but this time for a 7 days trip out of San Juan over Christmas.
Long bеfоrе winter’s blustery chill bеgіns tо sting thе bones, plans аrе bеіng mаdе bу people іn Canada, thе Northeast аnd Midwestern United Ѕtаtеs tо seek thе warmer climes оf thе south. It’s аn interesting phenomenon thаt occurs еасh year аnd mimics thе migration ritual оf оur feathered friends.
These “snowbirds” (аs thеу аrе affectionately called) flock tо Arizona, Florida аnd оthеr places аlоng thе Sunbelt tо avoid winter’s bite аnd inconvenience. Northern Europeans аlsо аrе knоwn tо head tо warmer places іn thе U.Ѕ., adding tо thеsе second communities оf seasonal residents еасh year.
Snowbirds аrе typically retirees оr business owners whо саn afford tо bе аwау fоr extended periods оf time. Маnу hаvе а second hоmе іn а warmer location, whіlе оthеrs tаkе thеіr hоmе оn wheels wіth thеm іn thе form оf аn RV оr camper.
Traveling wіth pets long distances аnd fоr long periods оf time presents challenges nоt оnlу fоr snowbirds but аlsо fоr thе pets thеу tаkе аlоng. Ассоrdіng tо Dr. Mitch Spindell, site vet оn PetTravelCenter.com, thе fіrst thing оnе shоuld аlwауs consider іs hоw physically аblе а pet іs tо travel. Ѕоmе senior, pregnant, injured, оr оthеrwіsе physically impaired pets dо nоt travel well. Веsіdеs making surе уоur pet іs physically fit аnd comfortable tо mаkе thе trip, hеrе аrе sоmе tips tо consider:
1. Іf уоur pet hаs аnу chronic conditions, tаkе аll pertinent medical records. It’s а good idea tо hаvе уоur pet’s records wіth уоu аnу time уоu travel long distances.
2. Іf уоur pet іs оn аnу long-term medications, bе surе tо hаvе plenty tо lаst уоur entire stay.
3. Іf уоu аrе driving north оr south оf thе U.Ѕ. border, bе surе tо check аll local regulations аnd hаvе уоur pet’s current health certificates wіth you.
4. Establish а local vet іn thе area аs sооn аs роssіblе іn case оf emergency. Gо tо PetTravelCenter.com аnd click оn Emergency Tips fоr mоrе information.
5. Аsk а local vet аbоut аnу diseases оr parasites thаt mау bе рrеsеnt іn thаt раrt оf thе country (Lyme disease іn Νеw England оr year-round fleas іn Florida, fоr instance). Yоur pet mау nоt bе protected аgаіnst thеsе іf thеу аrе nоt рrеsеnt whеrе уоu live.
Just аs уоur passengers’ safety іs vitally іmроrtаnt whеn уоu travel, dоn’t forget аbоut уоur pet’s safety аs well. Аs unrestrained 25-pound dog, fоr example, bесоmеs а 1,000-pound projectile іn а 40 mile-per-hour crash. Тhіs type оf mass flying uncontrollably аrоund а vehicle соuld bе deadly nоt оnlу tо уоur pet but аlsо tо уоu аnd уоur passengers.
Look оut fоr уоur precious cargo bу providing уоur pet wіth а car seat equipped wіth а restraining device (fоr smaller pets) оr а vehicle pet harness thаt іs secured wіth а seat belt. Cats shоuld bе kерt іn а carrier suitable fоr traveling, аlsо secured wіth а seat belt.
A travel tag оn а pet’s collar will help sоmеоnе locate уоu locally shоuld уоu аnd уоur pet bесоmе separated. Тhе travel tag shоuld соntаіn іnfоrmаtіоn аbоut whеrе уоu аrе staying (whіlе аwау frоm hоmе), including addresses аnd phone numbers. А cell phone number іs аlsо а good idea tо hаvе оn thе tag sіnсе mоst people hаvе оnе wіth thеm, еsресіаllу whеn thеу travel.
Another item tо consider іs а pet first-aid kit. It’s іmроrtаnt thаt уоu аrе nоt оnlу familiar wіth thе items уоu pack іn thе kit but knоw hоw tо usе them.
My wife and I traveled to the Bahamas on the Carnival Cruise Ship the Ectasy, we were invited to take a cruise with a couple we have known in Florida for quit some time. We had never taken a cruise but had always wanted to, so we thought this was the perfect time to undertake this adventure.
We decided to take a cruise to the Bahamas for 4 nights aboard the Carnival Cruise Ship the Ectasy. It is home ported during the winter in Port Carnival, FL just outside of Orlando. Since we winter in Florida, this was very convenient and we could just drive there from our campground in a couple hours.
We made all our reservations and planning over the internet. We booked our cruise using a web site called cruises. It was simple and quick. After the reservations were made we then had to log into Carnivals Cruise main web page and register so we could complete all the other online check-in requirements such as our passport info. After all this was completed, we then were able to print out our luggage tags for the cruise and we were ready and waiting for the big day to come. The whole online check-in process took approximately 30 minutes to complete. You will need a credit card for this, as they will ask you to set up your onboard charge account during the process.
The boarding process was actually a lot easier than I had imagined. I hear all these horror stories of long lines and standing for hours, the line was long but from beginning to end it only took about 15 minutes to get through the line and enter the ship. I had VIP access due to the room we had but our traveling companions did not, and we bordered only about 5 minutes apart from each other.
We had the Grand Suite, room U107. Since this was our first cruise we wanted a balcony and didn’t want to take a chance of being in a room too small. Our traveling companions were in R8 and had an interior small room. There room, though, was still much larger than I had imagined there’s to be and would have been very comfortable there if I only spent time in the room to sleep. Our room was much larger. It had a couch and sitting area separate from the bed. The room also had a walk in closet and a full bathroom with tub. I think the extra space was worth the additional costs, especially when my wife and I are the type that enjoy to spend time away from everyone and the room is the only place to do that on a ship.
Things to do on the ship:
1) Casino: the casino is where my wife and I spent most of our time. We love to gamble when at sea. The casino cannot open till they are in international waters so it opens and closes about 30 minutes from port. It had plenty of slots and tables to entertain anyone’s gambling urges.
2) Dinning: Dinning was outstanding. You could either go to the dining room or have a nice sit down meal with many different menu options and you can order as much as you like, or you can go to the back of the ship and eat at the 4 different buffet type meals. There is no reason to ever go hungry on this ship as it serves almost around the clock and room service is available 24×7 for free.
Nassau was the first port we stop at on our trip. This was a beautiful port but I felt the entry to and from the port area from the ship was very cluttered. People all around trying to sell you things and made it hard to get through them. It also was a very long walk from the ship to leaving the port area and our traveling companions had difficulty walking that distance and then walking around town at the same time. We did purchase many things in town and the straw market area was outstanding. You can bargain with people and never pay the price they are asking. I got a Cobra walking stick for half the price they were originally asking.
Freeport was the second stop on this 4 day cruise. This port was a lot more enjoyable to my wife and I. The ship was right there on the port and the shops were very nicely organized and the people were not as pushy. We did decide to take a tour of the island which we purchased at the port for less than half the price the ship was offering them for. This tour was fantastic. We got a history lesson of the island and they stopped at the beach for 30 minutes and a big shopping center for 1 hour.
Day at sea
The day between the ports of Nassau and Freeport was spent at sea. This was very enjoyable and the Carnival Cruise line did everything to make sure people had a good time. Also, since you are at sea the whole day, the casino is also open the entire time. The one thing I thought this ship was short on was pool space. There is only one pool and its medium size at best, so it was always packed and you could only get in and stand in the water and not really do any swimming.
In closing this trip was one of the best things my wife and I have ever done. We have actually already booked another trip with Carnival, but this time for a 7 days trip. The Ectasy ship is a wonderful ship but it is small in comparison, thus it only takes 4 and 5 day cruises and not the longer ones. I did enjoy some of the smallness though because it does limit the number of passengers also.
My wife and I were traveling from our Winter location in Florida to Maine for the summer for the first time in our new Motorhome and we decided to stop off and spend a month in Central Virginia. Once we got off of I81 Interstate we discovered that Virginia is a very beautiful state.
We found a campground just outside of Luray, VA. Country-Waye RV Resort. It was a wonderful park to stay at and it was central to numerous site seeing adventures in the area. I had a heated pool for the kids and had a huge field in the middle for playing football or other activities. Luray is also a large enough community that has numerous restaurants and has a Super Walmart for everyday shopping. its small enough though that you don’t have traffic and you get the feeling of small town.
The activities in the area were great and so close.
The first thing everyone needs to do when in the area is visit the Luray Caverns. Wasn’t a bad price and is about 1 hour long. They give guided tours through the mountains and you where a headset that gives you the history of different locations. It was 52 degrees inside though so bring a light jacket if you are someone that gets cold easily. With your entry fee you also get to tour a old car museum that is huge when it comes to the amount of cars but small when it comes to the space they put them in.
Next in the area is the Shenandoah National Park. There is a $15 dollar park entry fee but the nice thing is that its good for 7 days, so you don’t feel you have to do everything in one day and can take your time to enjoy the park. There is a skyline drive that goes a little more than 100 miles and is beautiful. you drive across the top of the mountain range and has many turnouts and campgrounds along the way for site seeing. There are also many hiking trails in the park for everyone from wheel chairs to the healthy hiker. With numerous Water Falls (See Pictures) and wildlife there is something for everyone in this park.
If you are ever in the Central Virgina area you need to stop off at Luray and visit the Caverns and take the drive in the Shenandoah Park. See More Pictures
Last Winter was my wife’s and I first year of retirement and we wintered in Central Florida for the first time. We discovered a wonderful RV Resort that had a lot to offer people but was definitely out of town and remote. So remote it didn’t even have cell phone service unless you walked out on there boat dock.
Yellow Jacket RV Resort is located in Old Town, Florida. The RV Resort is one of the nicest we have stayed at in our first year of full timing in an RV. It has many things to offer people either weekend camping or wintering in Florida. They offer Daily, Weekly, and Monthly rates that were very compatible to other RV parks in Florida.
They offer sites on the Suwannee River, and off river sites that are more cost effective but you can still see the river. We stayed in one of the off river sites for 6 months and still woke up every morning being able to see the river just fine. We were far enough away though that when the wind blew across the water we didn’t feel it as bad as others did. They have a heated pool and spa that they heat during the winter with wood and during the summer when needed with gas. It did seem though during the winter the smoke from the fire heating the pool did at times sit down in the area. If you visit make sure you don’t bring your own wood because that is the one rule they enforce greatly. They also offer boats you can rent to go up and down the Suwannee River fishing or site seeing. The Suwannee River is also home to the Gulf Jumping Sturgeon. Fish and Game doesn’t know what causes them to jump but in the fall you can see 4 and 5 foot sturgeon jumping out of the water.Its an amazing site to see.
This RV Resort has free WiFi that you will need to use since there is no Mobile Phone service. This place is completely in the tree’s.There are only a couple sites you can get satellite either but they offer free Cable TV to their guests.
The town of Old Town (15 Miles from RV Resort) isn’t anything great. It does have a grocery store but that is about it for the shopping. you can go about 15 more miles to Chiefland where you will find more restaurants and a Super Walmart. If you want to go to the movies or something you will need to travel an hour to either Ocala or Gainesville.There are also many nice sea food places to eat in the area.
For people like my wife and I, we were close to many natural springs for scuba diving. You are minutes from both Manatee Springs and Fanning Springs. My wife and I love to scuba dive. About 1 hour away is also Crystal River were you can snorkel with the Manatee. You are not allowed to scuba with them because your bubbles scare them. Even at Manatee Springs they shut down all scuba diving if the Manatees are in the area. you can swim and snorkel still though.
One thing to remember where ever you decide to winter in Florida and that is to plan early. Like most parks in Florida they fill up quick during the winter with Snowbirds. Try if at all possible to make your reservations close to 6 months in advance, then sit back and enjoy your time in the sun while others are shoveling snow.