Our Polynesian Vacation

My family and I had a blast on our vacation to Walt Disney World resort last week, and I wanted to share some of the highlights with you in case you missed me live posting on Instagram stories. My parents are Disney Vacation Club members, and last year we stayed with them in a two bedroom villa at Bay Lake Tower. While it was wonderful and huge, we didn’t want to spend as many points this year so we only stated 3 nights, and we all 5 stayed in one studio villa. Yup, you heard that right.

It was a tight squeeze, but we were literally only in the room to sleep so it worked out fine. Plus, the room had two bathrooms (kind of, two showers and sinks), so that helped us to spread out a little bit. We arrived early Friday morning, checked in, and then headed straight to the Magic Kingdom. Having a small child in a stroller, staying on the monorail is a HUGE plus. No stroller folding, and quick easy access to the Magic Kingdom.

We rode the mine train (my dad’s first time) while my mom took Emma Kate to see some princesses, we rode Ariel, as well as Winnie the Pooh and Aladdin’s Magic Carpets. We recently introduced Emma Kate to the movie Aladdin, so she was pumped to ride the carpet ride! After lunch at Columbia Harbor House, my dad got his hair cut, and Bobby and I decided to take EK back to the Polynesian. We got our things from the car to the room since it was ready, and then mom and dad met us there shortly thereafter.

We loved our room and building location, and even had a pool view plus sideways castle view! We were hoping the wee one would nap, but no such luck, so we decided to head to the pool. Emma Kate LOVED the splash pad area when we were there over a year ago and I had been talking up the “awesome slides” for days, and she was so excited. We lucked out and were able to get chairs right in front of the splash pad area, and Emma Kate played for over three hours going up and down the stairs and the slides. I was tired just watching her!

 

Bobby and I had a “date” that night at the Grand Floridian Cafe, so we got showered and changed and took the monorail over for an early dinner. Honestly, my food was not good at all, but we used to really like this place (Bobby did like his food) so not sure if I just picked a bad menu item or what. After we ate, we walked around for a bit then decided to walk back to the Polynesian since the weather was so nice.

 

We split a Dole Whip then called it a night, and were all in bed at 9:00!

The next day we went to EPCOT. (pro tip: walk to the transportation and Ticket Center from the Poly instead of riding the monorail all the way around!) My parents had not seen the Flower and Garden Festival yet, so we rode the Frozen ride, met Mickey Minnie and Goofy, then walked around the world showcase to look at the flowers. I of course got one of my favorite ever adult beverages in France and we decided to head back to the hotel because Emma Kate was begging to go back to the pool.

Once again we lucked out with the chair situation, and ordered lunch from Captain Cook’s and ate by the pool (hello pulled pork nachos!) Emma Kate once again played for hours. This time we went back and forth from the big pool and big slide to the splash pad area. She played until 6:00! My parents went up about 4:00 to go on their dinner date but I figured, as long as she was happy we were staying at the pool. 
We watched the torch lighting ceremony, had some marshmallows at the campfire, and headed back to the room to get cleaned up. We ate jambalaya that my mom had cooked and brought with us (the villas have microwaves!) and just hung out in the room until my parents got back. We were all pretty wiped and we were in bed by 8:30!

The next day (Sunday) we went back to the Magic Kingdom to hit the things we didn’t do on Friday. We arrived right as it was opening, and grabbed breakfast from Starbucks and took our time heading over to Buzz Lightyear, the Peoplemover, Dumbo, and the Jungle Cruise.

We also watched the castle show with Emma Kate lloovveeess. We knew it was supposed to rain later in the afternoon, so we told Emma Kate it was her last chance to go to the pool if she wanted to do so, so we hopped on the monorail, headed back to the hotel, and ate by the pool again while Emma Kate played.

 

I was watching the radar, and watched it get darker and darker and knew it was about to rain. We decided to head up before we got soaked, and literally as soon as we got into the building it started MONSOONING outside! We lucked out and just missed it.

We then got cleaned up and ready for my dad’s birthday dinner at Trail’s End buffet. Again not wanting to use our car, we decided to take the monorail to the Magic Kingdom then a boat to Fort Wilderness. It worked out perfectly in between rain bands and just started to sprinkle as we got to the restaurant. Emma Kate was so good while we ate, and we enjoyed embarrassing my dad with some happy birthday singing by our waitress.

 

I saw another break in the rain on the radar, so we grabbed a boat from Fort Wilderness to the Contemporary, then took the monorail back to the Polynesian. My dad had to leave to drive home right after since he had to work the next day, which was sad because it made me feel like the trip was “over” even though we were still going to a park without him the next day.

Monday morning we packed up, loaded up my car, and headed to Animal Kingdom. It was COLD! The rain had brought a front through, and it was 53 degrees, which is insane for mid April in Florida! It was extra magic hours, so we arrived a few minutes before regular park opening and walked right onto the safari ride. We then hit up Starbucks before letting Emma Kate play for almost an hour at the Boneyard playground. She loves it there!

 

We were all tired so we decided to eat lunch at Flame Tree then call it a day and drive back to Tampa. I hate how fast fun trips go by, you just want to hang on as long as you can but poof, they are here and then gone in an instant. We had a wonderful 3.5 days in Disney with my family, and I wish we could have stayed longer, but Emma Kate was getting really worn out. She didn’t nap a single day we were there and played so hard.

I highly recommend staying on the monorail if you have small kids and can swing the cost. We loved how easy it was to get to everything and the activity and food options are top notch. I’m ready to go back! I am so thankful my parents have DVC and let us come stay with them for free!

5 Delicious Dishes To Try at the EPCOT International Flower and Garden Festival

Disclosure: I attended an event at Walt Disney World for the 25th anniversary of the flower and garden festival, however all opinions are my own.

The 25th anniversary of the EPCOT International Flower and Garden Festival is in full swing, and I was fortunate enough to get to taste some more delicious dishes at an event last week. (If you are not yet convinced you want to go to the festival check out my other post after reading this one!)

5 delicious dishes to try at Disney's EPCOT international flower and garden festival this year. So many outdoor kitchens for the 25th anniversary!

As I mentioned, this year marks the 25th year of the festival, and it was wonderful to get to hear from people who have been around since the beginning, and hear all about how the festival has changed over the years. Fun fact: Did you know that an artist used two cast members to “model” as Anna and Elsa in order to design the topiary for their characters? The poses we see are ones the girls came up with. How fun is that?!)

Ok, so let’s get down to business. Like I said, I had the opportunity to try more of the festival offerings at the outdoor kitchens, and these are my (and Bobby’s, he added in one!) collective favorites from our sampling at the event:

1.) Spicy hot dog with pineapple chutney and plantain chips from the Pineapple Promenade. This is a fun twist on an old favorite, but be warned, it is quite spicy, so if that is not your thing, you may want to skip this one. I do love how the chips gave it a nice crunch!

 

2.) Local wildflower honey-mascarpone cheesecake with orange blossom honey ice cream garnished with fennel pollen meringue kisses from The Honey Bee-Stro: This dessert was DELICIOUS and I may have had two. The cheesecake was so creamy and light, and the ice cream tasted amazing. I even loved the meringue kisses and I’m typically not a meringue kind of gal. Do not miss this one.

3.) Pulled pig slider with coleslaw from The Smokehouse: This was probably my favorite non-dessert food that I tried. It had excellent flavor, and don’t worry, you can get it without the coleslaw! 

4.) Spicy blackened shrimp and cheddar cheese grits with brown gravy and local sweet corn relish from Florida Fresh: This is one of Bobby’s contributions since I don’t eat seafood, but I did try the corn and grits with gravy and they were good! Bobby said the shrimp tasted fresh and we both said the corn/gravy had a little kick to it but it wasn’t unbearably spicy.

5.) House-made potato and cheddar cheese biscuit with smokes salmon tartare from Cider House: Another one that was all Bobby, but he said he enjoyed the mix of the flavors of the biscuit and the salmon together. I tried one of the biscuits and it was delicious enough just to eat by itself!

flower and garden

There are so many more things to taste at the outdoor kitchens, this is just a sampling. The flower and garden festival is bigger than ever and running longer than ever, and they have pulled out all the stops for the 25th anniversary. Be sure to make a visit before it’s gone May 28th. You can thank me later!

LEGOLAND Florida’s Newest Attraction: The Great LEGO Race

Disclosure: I attended a press event for the ride opening and was given four tickets to LEGOLAND Florida, however all opinions are my own.

I love theme parks and I love technology, so when the two are combined, you know I’m going to be excited about the possibilities! LEGOLAND Florida has come up with an amazing new ride concept called The Great LEGO Race, which is now open. “This ride combines roller coaster thrills with virtual reality (VR) technology to put guests in the center of an action-packed road rally where the laws of physics and aerodynamics only loosely apply” How fun is that?

 

Legoland Florida has a new ride, the great LEGO race, with virtual reality technology@

 

“Wearing optional VR headsets, riders will experience the action from every direction while riding the roller coaster – up, down, forward, backward and all points in between  in a dazzling environment where everything is made of LEGO bricks. Check out two of the screenshots from inside the race below.”

Check this out:

“The wild and wacky race pits guests against a LEGO pirate, wizard, surfer, trendsetter and pharaoh driving brick-built vehicles like a rocket-powered windsurfing rig, a stylish scooter fueled by espresso and an ornately canopied bed (called a “litter”) carried by mummy servants.”

On opening day, we got to see an adorable show followed by the ride being officially opened to the public. 

We even go to take photos with some of the heroes of the ride itself. Emma Kate was partial to the pirate, of course. She’s not quite tall enough to ride, but I know one day she will love it. 

Here are some “stats” on the ride itself:

-You must be 6 years old and at least 48 inches tall to wear the optional virtual reality headset.

-You must be 42 inches tall to ride, and must ride with someone at least 14 years old NOT wearing a VR headset for supervision purposes.

-headsets are cleaned in between each guest who rides

-It took 2 and a half years to develop this ride

-The ride is just shy of 400 meters in length

-You drop at speeds of 35 mph during your ride

Who are the LEGO minifigure competitors?

  • Pirate Captain; Team Pirate — He steers a dinghy with a turbine-powered sail.
  • Pharaoh; Team Pharaoh — He rides an ornate canopied bed (called a “litter”) carried by mummified servants.
  • Surfer Girl; Team Surfer — She rides a rocket-powered windsurfing rig.
  • Trendsetter; Team Trendy — She rides an espresso-fueled scooter with a sidecar for her tiny dog.
  • Wizard; Team Wizard — He drives a dragon-themed hot-rod.

 

Be sure to check out the LEGOLAND Florida website for more details.

 

 

5 Reasons to Visit the EPCOT International Flower and Garden Festival

Disclosure: I attended a media event at EPCOT and was able to try out some of the delicious food and drinks, however I was not asked to write this post and all opinions are my own.

5 reasons to visit the EPCOT International Flower and Garden Festival this spring at Walt Disney World Resort

Every spring, Epcot is blanketed in gorgeous flowers, topiary figures and gardens, and is peppered with delicious food and drink booths. It’s one of my favorite times of year to visit Walt Disney World, and the weather is the best at this time of year, too. Every year EPCOT seems to outdo itself and this year’s festival is definitely one you won’t want to miss. I could go on and on about why, but I have condensed it down to the top five reasons to visit the EPCOT International Flower and Garden Festival this year. Check it out:

 

1.) Flowers: This one is kind of a given, but if you love nature and the beauty that surrounds us every day, you will love seeing EPCOT decked out in bursts of color and some of your favorite characters in plant and flower form. Emma Kate loved spotting her favorites like Daisy, and the clear blue sky gave us a beautiful backdrop. I love spring in Walt Disney World! These fun characters can be found all over the park as well as gorgeous gardens, even one with butterflies!

2) Merchandise: Who doesn’t love a good Disney souvenir am I right? Not only is there a ton of new merchandise out just for the festival, but you can even buy these adorable gift cards to put on your wrist as you walk around the “world” sampling food and drink, and purchasing that new garden statue or cute light up purple rose cup.

EPCOT International Flower and Garden Festival

The mouse ears pictures below are sure to be a hit! I just love the detailing.

EPCOT International Flower and Garden Festival

This is one of two magic bands available during the festival. Any collectors dream come true.

 

 

3.) Play area for kids: I have a very active three and a half year old, but happen to be a very tired mommy. I love the special play area for kids, not only because it keeps my child busy and exploring, but because it has chairs, and umbrellas, for tired walking feet. Double win for our family! This play are can be found on the right on your way into World Showcase.

 

4.) Garden Rocks concert series: Music lovers listen up! During the festival there will be over a dozen musical acts at 5:30, 6:45, and 8:00 pm on the Garden Rocks stage. There will be some old “familiar” faces as well as some new ones!

 

5.) Food: Not to be missed are the outdoor kitchens, which is my favorite part. There are over a dozen stops that open at 11:00 am daily. Check out the Disney Website for a list of all the kitchens and menu items. Below are some of my personal favorites.

 

  • Maple Popcorn Shake with Crown Royal Maple Whisky and
  • Griddled Maple Pound Cake with Warm Peach Compote and Sweet Corn Gelato

  • Beef Brisket Burnt Ends and Smoked Pork Belly Slider with Garlic Sausage, Chorizo, Cheddar Fondue and House-made Pickle

  • Toasted Pretzel Bread topped with Black Forest Ham and Melted Gruyère Cheese. (I had two of these!)

There were so many other delicious things to eat and drink but I just wanted to share my absolute MUST HAVES. I would love to know your favorites! So be sure to get to EPCOT as soon as you can. Don’t wait, because the festival will only be around until May 28th, 2018.

 

5 Reasons to Stay at Hilton Bonnet Creek for a runDisney Weekend

Disclosure: I was provided with a 2 night stay as a guest of Hilton, however all opinions are my own.

It’s no secret I am obsessed with runDisney race weekends. When I first starting running these races, I always stayed at certain resorts, and then I heard about Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek. I was blown away by all the perks given to runners during their special race weekends! Of course there are room discounts, but above and beyond that, there is so, so much more. Here are my five top reasons for staying at Hilton Bonnet Creek for a runDisney weekend:

Hilton Bonnet Creek Orlando is a great place to stay for a runDisney race weekend!

1.) Runner’s Concierge: Oh yes my friends. They have a staff member at a desk in the lobby at certain hours ready and willing to help you. From maps of the resort, to times the bus will arrive to where to carb load for dinner, it’s a one stop shop for all things race related. It’s also where you sign up for the bus, get your special runner’s gift, and even sign up for a giveaway to win a free stay at the hotel!

2.) Bus transportation for full and half marathons: Knowing I can just walk outside and hop on a bus is a huge plus. At some of the Disney owned resorts, I have waited for up to twenty minutes outside in the cold in a long line for a bus to come, but not so at Hilton Bonnet Creek! I waited inside while munching on my FREE BREAKFAST and then we all got on the bus, space for everyone. Woo hoo!

3.) Cheer squad and breakfast: I mentioned this above, but yes, when you roll out of bed at 3:00 you can head right downstairs where you will find an amazingly energetic cheerleading squad of employees, and also your free breakfast set up inside right next to where the bus picks you up. It’s a seamless process, and it’s super fun to see the posters and pom poms and smiling faces so early in the morning.

4.) Spacious rooms and amazing views: The rooms at this hotel are very nice with plenty of space for everyone. Lots of power outlets, full length mirror, big bathroom, and breathtaking views from both sides of the resort. Super comfy queen beds and fluffy pillows are every runners dream the night before a race, and Hilton Bonnet Creek does not disappoint.

 

5.) Post race recovery: As a runner, I know that post race recovery is a super important part to staying healthy physically and mentally. That’s why Hilton Bonnet Creek offers late 2:00 pm checkout to runners, so you can take your time, shower, nap, or lay by the pool before you head out on your next adventure. (Or do all of the above!) They have an amazing pool with zero entry, a lazy river, and a water slide. There’s also poolside drink and food service available as well as private cabanas (extra charge). I love this pool and the lush tropical atmosphere, especially after a race. It’s a great place for a nap!

hilton bonnet creek

 

 

Tips for Disney’s Pandora With A Preschooler

Disclosure: I was provided with free tickets and fastpasses for Walt Disney World, however all opinions are my own.

When people think of Disney’s Pandora, World of Avatar, they probably think it’s geared more towards adults, since the movie itself was more of a “grown up” film. However, don’t count out this unique land when visiting Walt Disney World with your preschooler. They may enjoy it more than you think! Here arr my top five tips for visiting Pandora with a preschooler:

5 Tips for visiting Disney's Pandora, World of Avatar with your preschooler

1.) Let them Explore: We decided when we arrived to not really have a plan (aside from wanting to ride the rides) and just kind of explored and walked around at Emma Kate’s pace. It was so much fun to see her running around playing with different interactive things like the drums, the spitting water fountains, and more. There is so much to stimulate a young mind, and I loved following her around!

2.) Ride the Navi River Journey: This ride is super tame, my bright color loving daughter loved every minute of it. She pointed out different animals and colors, and it held her attention the entire time. It’s also a great place to sit down and cool off on a hot day.

3.) Check out the adoptable banshees: Really, just check out the gift shop in its entirety. We spent about 20 minutes just walking around looking at all the cool merchandise, including the banshees. She picked up toys, talked to other kids, and generally just had a blast. All of the cast members were so friendly in the store and took time to talk to her as well.

pandora

 

4.) Point out the beauty: Because she was so excited and moving so quickly, it was easy for Emma Kate to miss things. Sometimes we had to back up and point out hidden details or fun plants and colors. Once she knew to look closely, it was fun to watch her look deeply into the plant life and point out unique things herself.

5.) Experience the fun food: Not only is the land itself fun and colorful, but so is the food! Be sure to grab a quick service meal or a snack while visiting Pandora. It brings having fun with your food to a whole new level! Plus, the frozen beverages taste really, really good.

My three year old had a blast visiting Pandora at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and I am so glad we decided to take her and just let her roam around. It was so fun to see what caught her attention versus having a strict schedule, and it allowed us to see the beauty and fun through her eyes.

Top 5 Things to Do After You Board the Carnival Vista

Disclosure: I was provided free cruise fare for myself and my husband from Carnival, however all opinions are my own, and these are my unbiased best embarkation day tips for boarding the Carnival Vista!

I have cruised several times, and have learned a few tricks about how to make the most out of the day we get on board (Embarkation day). However, my tips vary depending on which cruise and cruise line I am on, so check out my best tips for Embarkation day on the Carnival Vista below:

1.) Eat: It’s typically lunchtime when you get on board the ship, and since rooms aren’t ready yet, we may as well eat! It’s a great way to get in the vacation and relaxation mindset. There are a few places to choose from to eat on the Vista, which is great in helping to spread people out.

Pro tip: We opted for Pig and Anchor BBQ, because the majority of people will head to the buffet, AND, this place is only open on certain days! 

2.) Sky Ride: The sky ride is so, so popular, and as you can see from the photo below, only two people can ride at a time. It is the least crowded on embarkation day and on port days when people get off the ship. My tip is to try and go as soon as you get on board, as the line will get longer as the day goes on. How cool is this?!?

Pro tip: Either wear closed toed shoes or pack some in your carry on, as they are required for the Sky Ride.

3.) Dining Reservations: Sometimes you may not have the opportunity to get dining reservations at one of the three specialty locations on the Vista, but you can make them in person at the restaurants when you get on board the ship. We did this and were easily able to get reservations at the two spots we wanted to dine in. Perfect!

Pro Tip: Do this as soon as you get onboard (ok maybe after you grab some grub) for the best selection of times and dates!

4.) Swim: Eat a little lunch, then go for a swim or sunbathe right? That screams VACATION to me! As you can see from the pictures below, the pools were virtually empty on embarkation day (and no it wasn’t cold outside! It was Miami in November!) This is a wonderful time to grab a chair and a towel and soak it all in, or hop in the hot tub and enjoy the afternoon.

 

 

Pro Tip: pack your swimsuit in your carry on, you won’t have access to your luggage until later in the afternoon. 

5.) Relax: You have eaten, done the sky ride, gotten your dining reservations and gone for a swim, now its time to think about nothing else because you are on vacation on this gorgeous ship! Enjoy the ship and all the entertainment, dining, and fun she has to offer. There truly is something for everyone when you board the Carnival Vista.

board the carnival vista

Occidental Grand Cozumel All Inclusive

Disclosure: We were given a discount on our day passes to Occidental Grand through Resort For A Day, however all opinions are my own.

Bobby and I have been to Cozumel numerous times while on cruise ships, and we wanted to go somewhere we had never gone before. I started doing some research on ResortForADay.com as we love a good all inclusive, and I stumbled on Occidental Grand, which is a resort, but the offer day passes for cruise ship passengers. It looked like the perfect place to spend the day. We purchased our passes quickly and easily on the website, brought our print out conformation with us on the ship, and waited for our day in Cozumel.

The resort is very private. We took a taxi there and it was about a ten minute ride. There is a guard at the gate, as well as lush tropical landscaping. The open air lobby was beautiful, (I wish we had more time to just wander around), and we checked in and were given directions to the beach and pools.

You have a to walk a little ways to get to the beach, but the walk is gorgeous and totally worth it. We passed different buildings that house guests, as well as sculptures, plants, and fountains.

We met several new friends along the way. I have no idea what these guys are but there were adorable and not skiddish.

We followed the Caribbean music and made it to a gorgeous pool and beach area where there were towels, clean bathrooms, plenty of chairs, and an open bar.

You could also get a beach cabana massage for an additional fee.

These cabana beds were first come first serve. They were up off the beach but we ended up in one in the afternoon where we snoozed for a few minutes before heading back to the ship.

Included in our day pass along with the open bar was a buffet lunch. It wasn’t spectacular food, but it was decent quality and there was plenty to go around with lots of variety, as well as soft serve ice cream which was a great way to end the meal.

The views at lunch did not suck.

occidental grand

We spent most of our day reading and lounging steps from the beautiful clear water, only getting up to go back to the bar!

While children are allowed at this resort, I only saw about four of them. They did have a staff member at the pool playing games with them which I thought was nice, but if coming for the day keep in mind it was mainly adults and there were no big water inflatable toys like at some of the other all inclusive beaches. We had the opportunity to speak to a couple of people who were staying at the resort and found out it was their fourth time they love the resort so much!

occidental grand

Hearing this made us want to come back and stay, as the grounds are beautiful and we found the beach area very quiet and serene. They also had an adults only pool but it is not on the beach. (below). The property was very well maintained and the staff was friendly. The only negative was the drinks were not super strong unless you specifically asked the bar tender to make it that way. My first drink was very bland and watered down, but the next one was good.

Check out this info from the Resort for a Day website:

The All Inclusive Experience: 
Your Cozumel Resort For a Day Pass includes lunch and snacks! Enjoy lunch from 12 pm – 4:30 at the Beach Club, which offers an international thematic buffet with a spectacular ocean views. Getting thirsty? Cool down with your drink of choice; unlimited alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages are included in this Cozumel shore excursion. Bars open at 10am. Resort For a Day cruise guests are welcome to arrive as early as 9:00am and stay up till 5:00pm. (These times are always local Cozumel times).
Getting There:
Transfers are not included, taxi service is readily available both at the cruise pier and at the resort for your return. We recommend heading back to the cruise ship 2 hours prior to your scheduled departure. Here are easy transfer tips based on your arrival pier:

  • Punta Langosta: 20 min tax ride, about US $18 for 1-4 guests.
  • International Pier: 8-10 min tax ride, about US $8 for 1-4 guests.
  • Puerta Maya: 8-10 min tax ride, about US $8 for 1-4 guests.

We would go back again on an adults only trip, I really enjoyed our day at the Occidental Grand!

Fahrenheit 555 on the Carnival Vista

Disclosure: I sailed on the Carnival Vista as a guest of Carnival, and ate a complimentary meal at Fahrenheit 555. However, all opinions are my own. 

The Carnival Vista has so many things to do and so many delicious places to eat. Bobby and I wanted to be sure to discover as many of them as possible, so we were really excited to have the opportunity to eat at Fahrenheit 555 Steakhouse the first night of our cruise. (Side note: if you dine there the first night, you get a free bottle of house wine or 50% off any bottle! And they have a very extensive wine list.)

Fahrenheit 555 on the Carnival Vista is a Steahouse with a small fee. It's a gorgeous place to dine for dinner with amazing food, steak, and seafood! Try it on your next cruise.

The decor inside the restaurant is elegant but also not too over the top. We found the atmosphere to be very relaxing and modern.

We were seated right away (reservations highly encouraged) and were introduced to our friendly server. We ordered our bottle of wine and had the menu explained to us. We couldn’t wait to eat!

We enjoyed just hanging out and talking while waiting for our food. There are lots of tables for two for couples which I really liked, and you don’t see that much on cruise ships.

It took awhile to figure out what I wanted to order because it all looked so delicious! Everyone can order an appetizer, entree, and dessert, so make sure you save room.

For appetizers we ended up getting salads, and then I had the baked onion soup while Bobby had the ahi tuna tartare. The soup hit the spot but didn’t fill me up too much (hello, I wanted to be able to enjoy my steak!) and Bobby loved the presentation of his appetizer. As the food was brought out, it was all explained to use which was a nice touch.

For our entrees, I had the filet mignon, and Bobby had the surf and turf. Both were delicious and tender, I would definitely get mine again. It was a generous size, and I couldn’t even finish it.

For dessert I got chocolate (who is surprised) and it was rich but amazing, and Bobby got what I remember as an apple pie in a cute little skillet. We may or may not have licked the plates clean!

I really liked that they didn’t rush us through our meal, and our dinner was nice and leisurely. The steakhouse was an amazing way to start off our cruise, and totally worth it for the small up charge you pay to eat here. Fahrenheit 555 gets an A+ in my book and I can’t wait to go back!

To see the full menu, click here.

*Please note there is a $35 per person charge to dine in their restaurant, but it is well worth it! To check out my post where I talk about the regular dining room option, click here.

Sandals Ochi Beach

Disclosure: We were provided with two free day passes to the resort, however all opinions on Sandals Ochi Beach are my own.

Back in November when I sailed on the Carnival Vista, one of our stops was to Jamaica. I knew they had a Sandals resort there, and so I was really excited to spend the day exploring, in hopes of coming back for longer one day. The weather was dreary, but we still had a great time and I learned a lot about Sandals Ochi Beach resort!

This place has a beach club, 11 bars, and 16(!!) restaurants. You can take the shuttle to the other side of the road for more fun. Tranquil, lush gardens and quiet relaxing places to read or just enjoy your surroundings. This place has something for everyone!

Of course when you stay at Sandals Ochi you get top notch service such as free wifi, free airport transfers, unlimited land and water sports, unlimited wines and premium spirits, unlimited fine dining, golf, and access to the beach club where there are so many activities going on all day and into the night.

We were given a tour when we arrived, and this place is HUGE. I don’t think if I stayed for a month I could do all the things there are to do. So for those worried about getting bored at an all inclusive, that’s definitely not an issue here!

I loved the laid back atmosphere of the resort. No one was in a hurry, everyone was happy and relaxed, and it was so peaceful. The first thing we did was enjoy a breakfast buffet overlooking the ocean. I was handed a mimosa, and thought “I can get used to this!”

We enjoyed out food and the excellent customer service from the staff before heading to the pool to relax and enjoy some drinks. We ended up at the Beach Club area and at the swim up pool bar (so nice) where they will make you pretty much anything you want. I had a great time trying different drinks I normally wouldn’t order, and listening to the music as we looked out at the water.

Everyone was so friendly and we enjoyed chatting with other couples from all over the place. Some have been back several times which speaks very highly of Sandals Ochi Beach. Before we knew it, it was lunch time, so we headed back to the buffet area (there were other options as well) and enjoyed another meal overlooking the water, and I tried the drink of the day which was delicious.

After lunch I spent some time exploring the grounds and taking photos. I still didn’t have time to even take photos of everything!

I was jealous of everyone who got to stay there overnight when we had to go back to the ship.

I definitely would love to come back here, or try out another Sandals property, and actually be an overnight guest and experience more the resorts have to offer. I would also love a sunny day (haha).

If you are considering an all inclusive, I highly recommend Sandals Ochi Beach. There is something for everyone, and there are even direct flights from many airports. They have accommodations for all budgets, and activities and experiences you won’t soon forget. I know I was just there for a few hours, but I know I won’t forget the fun we had in Jamaica.

sandals ochi beach

Pppssst: If you are sailing here on a cruise ship, they offer a limited amount of day passes, which is what we had, so you can go check out the resort for yourself!

Sandals ochi beach