5 Things Friday XXXIII

Another Friday, and we are officially a week out from my birthday, which happens to be Friday the 13th. Thank goodness I’m not superstitious right? I would be hiding in my house and that’s not a fun thing to do on your birthday. I have a lot of fun things coming up to share with you, so let’s kick off another 5 Things Friday:

1.) Another cruise post: This time, I’m recapping my favorite 5 food and drink spots on the Carnival Horizon. Trust me, it was hard to narrow down! There are so many delicious spots on the ship, but click here to see which made my personal final cut.

2.) Poshmark: Did you know I am on Poshmark? I have several things for sale, kids and adult clothing, so check it out if you are looking for some new duds. I am currently obsessed with how easy it is to buy and sell on there, and I don’t even have to go to the post office!

3.) Best pre workout: I have been experimenting with pre workout, so tell me your favorite that doesn’t cost eleventy billion dollars and doesn’t make you so amped up you can see sounds, mmmkk? I’m looking for some suggestions!

(This is an old photo I am not injured!)

4.) Disney Sports FAM: As I mentioned last week, I am headed to Disney next weekend for a sports FAM specifically dealing with the ESPN WWOS complex. I just found out we will be staying at the Boardwalk, so I’m super pumped about that! EK has never stayed on the Boardwalk and it’s my favorite place to run in the early mornings (or swim as we like to do in the humid summers). We leave next Saturday and I will of course be documenting everything in true blogger style.

5.) Early birthday bash: Tomorrow we leave with EK and my parents for a fun filled weekend at Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek! I have never stayed in the summer, so I can’t wait to check out all of their summer blast activities. It may involve swimming with mermaids and ice cream and more, so don’t miss it! I will again (duh) be posting on IG stories and Twitter throughout the weekend.

Have a great one everyone! Stay cool!

Top 5 Carnival Horizon Food and Drink Options

Recently I had the opportunity to sail on the brand new and beautiful Carnival Horizon. I was able to feast on many of the different dining options while on board (I think my waistline is still recovering!) and I wanted to share my favorites. That’s one of the things I love…there are SO many options, even if one is not for you, that’s ok, there are tons of others! Even 24 hour pizza and ice cream my friends. While eating and drinking to your hearts content onboard, be sure you don’t miss these Carnival Horizon food and drink options:

Carnival Horizon Food and Drink

1.) Alchemy Bar: Those familiar with Carnival have (hopefully) already tasted in the sweet goodness of the Alchemy Bar. Hands down the best drinks I have had in my life (and I don’t say that lightly!) We loved the location too, it’s a great spot right in the middle of the ship for people watching. The bar is very popular so going at off times will help you to get a front row seat to the fun.

alchemy

alchemy

 

2.) Fahrenheit 555 Steakhouse: This was the best meal we had on the ship. It’s elegant and classy but also modern and fun at the same time. They have a great menu and drink menu as well. Also, the chocolate dessert is delicious and rich. I had the fillet as well as salad and dessert and several pieces of amazing bread from their awesome selection. One of the things I loved that the Horizon changed up from the Vista is that the back wall of the steakhouse is open to the piano bar during the early hours of the evening so you can listen to the music. They then later close the wall off to keep the dining room more intimate and relaxing. If you want spectacular service, food and drinks and a quiet romantic evening, then this is the reservation you want to book. Your meal includes appetizer, salad, entree, side, and dessert.

 

3.) Bonsai (and Teppanyaki): Those familiar with Carnival probably have already visited Bonsai. It is situated across from the steakhouse and next to the Alchemy bar (another great people watching spot!) They have sushi, yes, but something that is new is the Teppanyaki element. They have two hibachi tables ready and waiting for you. So make sure to make a reservation, spots go quickly! Think of it as part meal and part show. They have options such as steak, shrimp, lobster, and tofu.

 

4.) Cucina Del Capitano: This cruise was my first time dining at Cucina, and it did not disappoint. Situated up high above the Lido deck buffet, you might miss the entrance if you aren’t looking for it. I loved the adorable Italian set up, and the fact that the servers did a cute little dance for everyone mid meal. I’m a carboholic, so all the bread and pasta was right up my alley. The chicken parmesan was very filling and cheesy, and Bobby and I both enjoyed the Arancini (sssoooo good!) They also had some tasty wines and the windows offer breathtaking views of the ocean.

 

5.) Guy’s Pig and Anchor BBQ Smokehouse/Brewhouse: This is “sort of” a new addition to the Carnival fleet. While you may recognize the name, it has slightly “morphed’ into even more BBQ goodness than ever before. There is still the counter service BBQ included with the price of your cruise that you can get out on the deck at lunch, but inside you can now dine at a themed (adorably by the way) smokehouse and brewhouse for a nominal fee for dinner. The dining room has plenty of space, and the drinks are incredibly popular (the trash can nachos are my favorite!) The exclusive line of Parched Pig craft brews are only served aboard Carnival Horizon, (a smoked porter, a farmhouse ale, a hoppy IPA and a toasted amber) and they are all brewed under the supervision of an in house pro brewmaster!

pig and anchor

The best part about all of this: It doesn’t even scratch the surface of all the options on board the ship. I could have made a list of ten, but decided to stop at five because…well, it’s making me hungry. Also, GREAT NEWS: You can now book dining reservations right from the Carnival Hub app! Be sure to download it (free) before you sail so that you don’t miss a thing while on vacation.

You can check out my cruise highlight post as well!

Disclosure: We sailed on the beautiful Horizon as a guest of Carnival, however all opinions are my own.

5 Things Friday XXXII

Happy Friday once again! It’s pure insanity that it’s the last Friday of June. How did that happen? We are 6 months to Christmas (omggggg) and July is my birthday month, so that’s super exciting! Today I have 5 things for you, and am going to try to do better about doing these more often. So here goes!

1.) Cruise and post: If you follow me on social, you probably saw me bombard Instagram Stories and Twitter over the past few days with posts from our hosted press trip cruise with Carnival. We had a blast and my first recap post is up on the blog. You can also watch all of my IG stories on their own highlight button in my profile. It’s labeled “Carnival Horizon” Bermuda is my new favorite. More on that later.

2.) Birthday month: It’s almost July, which means my birthday month! Let me know if you need my address. KIDDING! July around here is ssooo stinkin hot and miserable it’s nice to have something fun to look forward to.

3.) IGTV questions: I started my IGTV channel the other day, and have played around with it a little bit. I want to do a Q and A, so if you have any questions for me, comment here or email them to me, or send me a DM on Twitter or IG.

4.) Sunny Day: Emma Kate has a new obsession in the form of the Nick Jr. TV show Sunny Day. She LOVES “hairstyles” so this show has been right up her alley. It’s suited perfectly for preschoolers, and Mattel has a line of toys to go along with the show. What I like about it is that the pieces are larger than Barbie pieces, which she sometimes has a hard time holding and using, so they are good for her age group. Mattel was kind enough to send Emma Kate some of the toys, and she has LOVED playing hair salon with Sunny and Rox. Also, the theme song for the show is SUPER catchy and I guarantee you will be singing it all day long. (Along with the Baby Shark song which has been haunting my dreams for the past few days.)

5.) Disney Sports: Disney invited me to check out all things Disney sports and the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in July! It actually starts the day after my birthday so we are going to be doing some celebrating! I will share more details once it gets closer but I can’t wait. I went to a similar event 5 years ago (omg that makes me feel old) and I’m pumped to see what’s new.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone! Catch ya on social media.

PPPSSTTT: I’m hosting a SPIbelt giveaway on Insta right now!

 

Carnival Horizon Bermuda Cruise Recap

I’m back from an amazing voyage on board the newly built Carnival Horizon. I have so much to share, but also wanted to write things out while they are fresh, so I decided to do a recap post highlighting the whole cruise, then go back and do some individual posts diving deeper into our experience. Keep reading for our Carnival Horizon Bermuda cruise recap:

Carnival Horizon Bermuda

On Thursday, the 21st, we flew out of Tampa and into New York. Bobby had never been to NYC before, and I was bummed we wouldn’t have time to wander around, but at least he got to see it out the window as we drove to the port! We had priority boarding so we got on the ship very quickly. Something to note, they used new mobile embarkation technology that speeds up the boarding process and checks guests in with 30% less time than before. This is great because, hello, more time on vacation, less time waiting to board. It definitely seemed speedy for us.

Once onboard we headed straight to the Lido deck to eat. We hadn’t had any food yet that day, and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on a delicious burger from Guys. Bobby may have had two burgers. After eating and relaxing on the adults only serenity deck for awhile, we got some pictures of the Freedom Tower and Statue of Liberty as we set sail.

That night, our press group had a cocktail reception in the beautiful Havana bar, and then dinner in the main dining room. This was my first time getting to check out the exclusive Havana pool area, and it was so nice and relaxing! We were also treated to a gorgeous sunset before heading to dinner.

Carnival Horizon Bermuda

The next day was a sea day, so Bobby and I slept in (it was glorious to wake up at 6:00 and then roll over and go back to sleep with no alarm or child that acts like an alarm!) We went to the sea day brunch, and while Bobby went to the gym, I read a book and took a nap. It was a super low key day but that’s why I loved it. We spent time exploring the ship and taking photos and videos that afternoon. We had dinner that night with the press group at Cucina Del Capitano, the speciality Italian restaurant, and then hit the hay.

The next day was Bermuda! Yall. I am not really sure what my expectations were for this port, but I fell in LOVE. The people, the water, the views, the houses, everything was beautiful and we truly had such an amazing day.

Carnival Horizon Bermuda

We were on the first shuttle out to Horseshoe Bay, and we walked and walked for an hour getting amazing photos along the way before it got crowded. The water was cool, and the temperature outside was only 83 degrees, so it was awesome.

We took the shuttle back so we could eat lunch on the ship and then we had a 1:00 excursion on a catamaran which I enjoyed way more than I thought I would. They took us to a very calm and quiet bay where we anchored and played in the water for a couple of hours. The water was so clear, and Bobby even did some cliff jumping (while I relaxed on the roof of the boat, no jumping for this girl.) We all enjoyed rum swizzles on the way back to the Horizon, and I couldn’t stop smiling because it was such a perfect day.

That night we had no plans with the group so we had an early dinner in the main dining room. I also did more reading, and we went to bed much earlier that night. We may or may not have also enjoyed that the pizza window is open 24 hours a day!

On our last sea day, I woke up at 6:20 (wwhhyyy) and went up to the Serenity deck to snag us a lounge/bed to relax in for the morning. I did more reading and enjoying the day before Bobby joined me around 9:00. We had lunch at Guy’s and the buffet before the rain started. The water got a little bit rougher, and I took a nap while Bobby went to the IMAX theatre to see the new Star Wars movie. The sun came back out later so I did some reading on the balcony as well.

 

We had drinks at the Alchemy Bar (which is amazing! Seriously don’t miss this) before dinner with our press group at the steakhouse, Fahrenheit 555, and it was delicious. A great way to round out our trip. Sadly we got off early the next morning to head back to reality. We had such a great time exploring this new ship and I can’t wait to share more detail with you soon.

If you would like to see all the videos/Instagram stories I took over the course of the cruise, go to my profile and click the highlight title “Carnival Horizon” and you can see everything!

 

Disclosure: We attended this cruise as guests of Carnival, however all opinions are my own.

 

 

5 Things Friday XXXI

Hey-o! Happy Friday my friends. We made it through another week, which means time to catch up on some things that I either haven’t mentioned on the blog or that you may have missed on social media. (Psstt Follow me on Instagram and Twitter for the most up to the minute happenings!)

1.) Dumbo Teaser: Did you know that there is a live action version of the beloved story of Dumbo coming out in early 2019? YES! I grew up on this Movie, and Emma Kate’s “must do” ride every time we go to Magic Kingdom is Dumbo. I can’t wait for us to watch this together! Take a peek at the teaser now:

2.) Bermuda, Bahama, come on pretty mama: Bobby and I are heading out on a press trip with Carnival Cruise lines next week, and we will be going to a new to me port (Bermuda) on the new to EVERYONE ship, the Carnival Horizon! I had the privilege of checking out this beauty at the naming ceremony last month, and can’t wait to sail on her for four nights with some other amazing bloggers. I will have wifi on the ship and will do my best to update as much as I can, signal permitting (again, the best place for updates will be Twitter and Instagram/Instagram stories).

carnival horizon

3.) Nerd Alert: If you follow my Instastories you may have already seen this, but lately I have been having problems with fatigued eyes, headaches, and having a hard time falling asleep at night. I decided to take the plunge and get some blue light blocking glasses. I found some cheap ones with great reviews on Amazon, and so far I am loving them! My eyes don’t feel so worn down at night, and I am falling asleep way faster than before. You can check out the affiliate link for the ones I purchased here.

4.) Action Hero: I was invited to be a Women’s Health Action hero! I will be partnering with them on different campaigns throughout the rest of the year, testing out products and things and telling you which I like, and why. It’s an amazing encouraging and uplifting program and I am so thankful to be a part of it. Look for #WHActionHero on social media for more.

5.) Adventure Island: Last weekend, Bobby and I took Emma Kate and my parents to Adventure Island courtesy of the water park, and we had a blast! We had never been and I will admit I was super impressed. It’s so fun to know something so great is just a few minutes from my house, and I hope we get to go back (especially because I totally want to rent one of the super cool cabanas!) Emma Kate loved the splash pad area with slides and more, and we even all went down a super fast and cool raft ride together (EK and my mom were not fans but they did good!) Bobby rode the brand new Vanish Point slide and said it was a lot of fun, and an adrenaline rush as you anticipate the floor dropping out from under you (YES it happens my friends!) Check out AdventureIsland.com for a fun promo they have going on through July 1 that involves Busch Gardens.

Carnival Horizon Naming Ceremony

Disclosure: I was provided this trip by Carnival Cruise Line, however I was not asked to write this post and all opinions are my own.

The Carnival Horizon, their 26th ship, made her way across the Atlantic last week where I had the honor of helping welcome her to New York for a special naming ceremony. Not only were we celebrating this gorgeous sister ship to the Vista, but we were celebrating St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and all the amazing work they do for over 8,500 kids a year battling tough illnesses. While we were in NYC, Carnival presented St. Jude with a $100,000 check, and have given 16 million dollars to St. Jude so far!

horizon naming ceremony

We were able to board the ship in the afternoon and head to our balcony staterooms to prepare for all the festivities.

I loved the bright colors in the staterooms, and there was plenty of space to move around.

horizon naming ceremony

I particularly loved this beautiful print on the wall. It really added a nice pop of color to the rooms.

I had some time before my first event, so I took some photos of some cool spots on the ship, like the first ever Dr. Suess water park at sea! Emma Kate would love this area. There were slides, water sprayers, and more. So much fun!

horizon naming ceremony

I of course had to head up to Serenity, the adults only area (Bobby and I spent a lot of time here on the Vista in November!) and loved seeing the NYC skyline from this part of the ship. True to its name, it was quite serene.

At 5:00 I headed up to the ribbon cutting for the all new Pig and Anchor restaurant, and Guy Fieri was even on hand to cut the ribbon. There are four new craft beers brewed right there on the ship, and I got to taste some as well as delicious pass arounds, and I hope I get the chance to eat here when I sail to Bermuda next month.

Next it was time for the naming ceremony in the lobby atrium, where the already beautiful dreamscape was decked out in a special way, with artwork from thirty kids at St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital. It couldn’t have been more beautiful. It was explained that art is a great way for the kids to express themselves and feel like “normal kids” while in the hospital, and I loved seeing their imaginations shine through in their pictures.

I was also excited to see the ships new Godmother, Queen Latifah, make a speech. We got to see her earlier in the day at the press briefing, and it was great to hear her speak once again. You could tell she was truly honored to be named to this special position.

After the naming, we headed to the Liquid lounge for a special lip sync battle between Queen Latifah and Jake Elliot from the Philadelphia Eagles. Jake tried so hard and put on a great show even though I’m sure he would have been much more comfortable on the football field. 

(source)

Next it was time for dinner, and I was super pumped to have my favorite Carnival dessert, the chocolate melting cake. Guys, don’t skip this one on your next cruise!

The night ended with a special deck party and fireworks, before the Horizon sailed off the next day to Bermuda. It will sail out of New York this summer, and then take her place in Miami later this year. Be sure to check out Carnival.com to price out your next cruise vacation, you don’t want to miss our on all this gorgeous new ship has to offer.

(source)

You can also check out Instagram story videos of all the fun I had by going to my Instagram Profile and clicking on the Highlight titled “Carnival Horizon”.

Fun is on the Horizon

Disclosure: Both trips discussed in this post are hosted by Carnival, however all opinions are my own and I was not asked to write this blog post.

You may remember that back in November I had the privilege of sailing on the Carnival Vista, their newest ship, for a trip to the Caribbean. (You can read all about it here, here, here and here.) now, the Vista’s sister ship, the Horizon is ready for sailing, and thanks to Carnival I get to see her not once but twice in the next month! Check out the details:

First up, I leave TODAY for New York City for the naming ceremony on board the Horizon. I will be spending the night near Times Square tonight, then boarding the ship tomorrow afternoon and spending the night on her in a balcony stateroom.

Queen Latifah is the Godmother, and she will even be facing off in a lip sync battle with Jake Elliot from the Philadelphia Eagles. Cannot. wait. It’s a quick trip and I will be flying back home on Thursday, but thankfully I will have another opportunity to explore the Horizon in June when I sail on her for a four night press trip to BERMUDA from New York, and Bobby gets to come with me!

Accommodating almost 4,000 guests, Horizon is then to sail from New York throughout the summer and arrive in Miami in late September to begin year-round 6- and 8-day Caribbean voyages. 

Neither of us have ever been to Bermuda, and I have never sailed out of New York so we are super excited for the opportunity. I don’t have a lot of details on that one yet, but I will let you know when we get closer to sailing so that you can follow along. For now, be sure you are following me on Twitter and Instagram because I will be posting there today through Thursday and doing Instagram stories live.

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!

5 things to do after you Board 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! 

Board the Carnival Vista

Board the Carnival Vista

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?!?

Board the Carnival Vista

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!

Board the Carnival Vista

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.

 

 

Board the Carnival Vista

Board the Carnival Vista

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

board the carnival vista

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.

Health and Fitness on the Carnival Vista

Disclosure: I was provided with a free cruise from Carnival, however all opinions about fitness on the Carnival Vista are my own.

As people who work out on the regular, it is important to us to have active and healthy things to do, even while on vacation. I was so pumped to see that the Carnival Vista has plenty of options for health and fitness lovers, and we took advantage whenever we could, which meant more dessert for us!

fitness on the carnival vista

Up on the open decks, the Vista has a great sports and activities area. There was a huge caged in basketball court, and even though we never had the chance, we saw where they play volleyball up there, too!

There is also a really fun obstacle course, mini golf, ping pong, and other games you can play with your family.

Fitness on the carnival vista

Don’t forget about the one of a kind sky ride where you pedal all the way around the boat, up in the sky! Talk about a workout with a view. A walking/jogging track also goes around this area if you just want to take in the view or chat with a family member while walking and burning some calories.

Our favorite however, was the fitness center which is located int he Cloud 9 Spa.

They had tons of treadmills, ellipticals, bikes, weight machines, dumbbells, bosu balls, medicine balls, and even a foam roller. There was definitely not a shortage of workouts to do here! They also had health and fitness seminars you could attend, personal training, and Pilates.

The treadmills have the best view in the house, looking directly out the front of the ship. it was gorgeous!

Fitness on the carnival vista

After you are done with your sweat session, you could pay a little extra to have access to the thermal suite (we got it free with our spa stateroom.) Here you can go into the sauna, hot tub, steam room, or several different cool showers.

I spent some time on the heated tile loungers to relax my sore muscles, which was just what I needed.

We worked out three of the five days we were on the ship, which I think is a great balance for a vacation. There is no need to ruin your routine or hard work just because you go on vacation. I love knowing that Carnival gives me great options and cares about my health, and hope you too will enjoy fitness on the Carnival Vista!