ESPN WWOS Media FAM Day 2

On Sunday morning we hung out at the hotel for a little bit and then drove over to Disney Springs for our welcome brunch at Splitsville. It also just so happened to be the day of the World Cup soccer final! We were able to bowl, eat, and watch the game after hearing a few words from Faron Kelley and Darrell Fry about the media event, the ESPN WWOS Complex, and more.

Emma Kate had never bowled before and she had a blast!

I had plenty of delicious food and plenty of mimosas. It was also a lot of fun to be there for the game because lots of other soccer teams were at Splitsville and they were all so into the game. What a cool experience to be in Walt Disney World for a soccer tournament AND getting to watch the World Cup while there.

After brunch we headed to EPCOT for a couple of hours and Emma Kate rode Soarin’ for the first time (she was not a fan haha). It was so incredibly warm so we walked back (so nice to not have to take a bus or car!) to the room because I had another event to attend.

Bobby and EK went to dinner and the pool, and I headed to the Sports Complex to watch the opening ceremonies of the two soccer tournaments I talked about in this post. Thankfully we watched from an air conditioned suite, but it was so cool to see the dedication and love the parents and family members showed to the youth athletes by being at the ceremonies.

Each team had the opportunity to march across the field and sit in the stands with everyone else. Some of these teams came from FAR AWAY. I’m talking Bermuda, Kenya, Europe. What a cool experience. Minnie and Mickey even made an appearance in their adorable soccer outfits.

Meanwhile these two were having their own fun!

After the ceremonies we went back to the resort to change for dinner. We ate at Flying Fish Cafe, which is on the Boardwalk. Again, another perk of staying here is there are so many places to walk. Dinner was amazing and we had a nice private room so we could all get to know each other. I was even surprised with a special birthday treat and song, which was totally unexpected!

It was a late night, so I headed to bed because the next day we would be at the Sports Complex all day, and I couldn’t wait to see some of the new additions and see the soccer tournaments in action.

ESPN WWOS Media FAM Day 1

Disclosure: In case you missed my post about youth sports and ESPN Wide World of Sports, you can check it out here. I was provided with a free trip to WDW for this FAM, however all opinions are my own.

Recently my family and I attended a media FAM at Walt Disney World, and we arrived on Saturday although the FAM trip didn’t start until Sunday. We checked into our hotel, Disney’s Boardwalk Inn, mid morning, and were pumped that our room was ready! We went ahead and unloaded the car and then headed to Magic Kingdom.

The refurbished (I think last year?) rooms are so nice and clean looking. Two thumbs up.

Thanks to our fastpasses from the event, we were able to do attractions like Peter Pan, Enchanted Tales with Bell, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Aladdin’s Magic Carpets. We also may have done the People Mover–twice. We also ate lunch at Peco’s Bills and watched the show in front of the castle (which EK lloovveesss).

Emma Kate got to be in the show as Belle’s horse and had a great time.

We even managed to get a family picture at the purple wall! Check out that hand on her hip. She truly is a blogger’s child.

We stayed all day and even watched the parade. In the late afternoon (it was so hot yall) we hopped on a boat and headed to Ft. Wilderness. My birthday was the day before, and I wanted to have a Disney birthday dinner at Trail’s End, our favorite Disney buffet. Dinner was delicious, and our server sang a special happy birthday to me (yee haw!) in true southern style.

After dinner we let Emma Kate play on the playground where she managed to walk behind a swing and get smashed into the ground and covered with dirt. After a long walk in hysterics to the bathroom getting her cleaned up, we decided it was time to call it a night, and got on the boat back to the Magic Kingdom…so we could take the monorail back to the TTC, then the tram to our car and our car to the resort. WHEW. When we got back we decided to walk around the Boardwalk for a few minutes. I LOVE the Boardwalk at night, and we people watched, got ice cream samples, and watched a magic show.

It was so nice to just be able to walk right back up to our room and get ready for bed. We had a big day the next day and needed to get some sleep. Stay tuned for day two and the media FAM!

Youth Sports Events to Remember at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex

Disclosure: For this media trip I was hosted by Disney and visited the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, however all opinions are my own.

When I was growing up, I played on several different youth sports teams. I played recreational soccer in my town, and I played basketball, volleyball, and ran track at my school. I still remember how excited I became when it was time to “travel” to tournaments. I’m fairly certain the farthest we ever traveled was a couple of hours away, but to me it was a very special experience.

That being said, after learning about all of the amazing youth sports opportunities at the “Florida Picturesque” designed Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, I know that grade school Heather would have been jumping  out of her skin with excitement. Let me help you understand what I’m talking about.

Let’s say your youth baseball team is coming to play in a tournament at the complex. Just a few of the options available to you and your team/family include:

-Team meals: You can place orders in advance for fast and healthy meals, snacks, and beverages. The meals are delivered right to your competition venue so parents and coaches don’t have to stress.

-Equipment drop: For certain events, teams are able to drop their equipment off at a special drop zone to be transported to their field instead of lugging it all around the large complex. So fancy!

-Gameday photography: I love this one. For teams and parents who would like professional photos of their child playing in their game, you can schedule a photographer to take hi-resolution pictures for you so that you can sit back and enjoy watching. There are many packages available, as well as posed photos in front of a green screen. Then you can have your child’s picture put on a blanket, ball, or many other fun options. (Great Christmas gifts for grandparents!)

 

-Print-on-Demand Custom Tees: You can have a shirt printed on the spot to commemorate your game, tournament, first place win, and more. Customize with your name, team name, number, and sport. We had the privilege of having shirts made and they are so fun!

-Welcome Center: Here you can find cast members to help you find your way around the complex, help with theme park information, reservations assistance, and more.

Also, while I was visiting the complex, two huge soccer tournaments were just starting for the week, and we had the privilege of attending the opening ceremonies. These young athletes were treated like olympians with their own “parade of nations” of sorts.

As each country was announced, the teams marched onto the field singing, waving flags, and grinning from ear to ear as their fans and parents cheered from the stands. There was also a closing ceremony at the conclusion of the tournament to honor and acknowledge the players one last time. Talk about the royal treatment! Of course, Minnie and Mickey were on hand to celebrate.

ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex

Some of the events that happen at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex include:

-International Championships Cup Futures Tournament

-Jr. NBA World Championship

-runDisney race weekend expos

-Disney Cup international

-AAU National Basketball Championships

-NFL Pro Bowl Week

-National High School Cheerleading Championship

-Atlanta Braves Spring Training

-AAU Junior National Volleyball Championships

-Pop Warner Super Bowl

 

Now for a little information about the complex itself, because y’all, it’s massive.

There’s Champion Stadium, The Arena, HP Field House, Visa Athletic Center, Track and field Complex, Production center, as well as baseball, softball, and tennis areas and more. The parking lot has over 5,000 spaces, and there is even a grill so you can sit down and eat after a long and fun day out on the fields or courts. (They were using 30 fields for the soccer tournaments!) Also the fields are totally versatile and can be flipped to a different sport in as little as 24 hours if need be.

The production center is pretty spectacular. It’s a 3,200 square foot facility with two control rooms including three jumbo screens. They are now using 8k camera systems and have 24 channels of replay. They save and store so much footage, over 1,100 hours so far in 2018 to be exact.

ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex

Of course while heading to Walt Disney World for your child’s sporting event, if only makes sense to stay for a few extra days and hang out at the parks right? There is so much to explore including the all new Toy Story Land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, as well as Avatar, the World of Pandora at Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park. Make it a trip for the whole extended family and I’m sure your little athlete will never forget any of it.

Did you know all of this existed right on Disney property? Have your kids participated in an event at ESPN WWOS? Stay tuned for more of a play by play post of what I did during the Disney sports FAM.

What is SummerBlast at Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek

Disclosure: I was provided with a stay at HBC plus some meals and the Mermaid Academy. However, all opinions are my own.

If you follow me on Instagram, you probably noticed the amazing weekend my family had at Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek. It went by so fast but we had the best time enjoying the resort and just hanging out together. Thankfully there is so. much. to. do. during SummerBlast, we literally only left for a couple of hours the whole weekend!

SummerBlast is going on now through September 2nd, so I wanted to share with you the different elements of SummerBlast, and the top 5 reasons why you should stay here this summer. There are many more reasons to stay at Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek not listed like Disney transportation, deluxe accommodations, golf and the spa at neighboring Waldorf Astoria, awesome restaurants and a caring staff, but that would be a REALLY long blog post, so I stuck to my favorite five, which you can check out below.

1.) Free ice cream: In the lobby on Friday afternoons upon check in (around 4:30) you can get free ice cream with tons of toppings! Think of it as a warm welcome to your weekend. Emma Kate loved picking out her toppings (sprinkles and oreos) and it was the perfect snack for satisfying our sweet tooth after the drive over from Tampa.

2.) Pool party fun: Every day at the pool, the resort team is ready and waiting for you, and hosts fun activities like hula hoop contests, pool relay games, line dancing, and marco polo. The activities start around lunch time so don’t miss it! There may even be some prizes involved. Did I mention Emma Kate is obsessed with the pool at HBC? There is a zero entry, a great waterslide (must be 40 inches, and between 40″ and 48″ must wear a life jacket) and a HUGE lazy river that we must have gone around 100 times. The kid was in heaven.

SummerBlast

3.) Mermaid Academy: The Mermaid Academy is an extra charge for boys and girls of all ages. It is hosted on Wednesdays and Saturdays weather permitting, and there are different packages available for purchase. (Boys can also wear a shark fin instead of a mermaid tail!) Kids learn “tricks” like swimming through hula hoops and landing properly in the water like a true mermaid. You can also buy a package that includes underwater photos of your little fish. (Note: While any age can participate, it’s more “immersive” if your child can swim. EK can (barely) swim so while she had a blast, I would probably wait one more summer if we were paying for it ourselves.)

4.) Dive-in Movie nights: Pull up a lounge chair or an inner tube for floating in the water and enjoy a family movie at the pool on Friday and Saturday nights. What a great way to end a perfect summer day. Moana was playing while we were staying at the hotel.

5.) Special FL resident rates: Obviously this only applies to my FL readers, but HBC has some great summer rates and deals going on through Sept. 2nd. This hotel is perfect for a staycation with it’s awesome amenities and proximity to Disney springs…and it’s a great chance to go check out the all new Toy Story Land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

  • Up to 12% off Best Available Rate for Honors members and 10% off Best Available Rate for non-
    Honors members.
  • Complimentary luxury motor coach transportation to Disney them
    e parks
  • Deluxe accommodations
  • Kids Meal Deals* – Kids eat dinner free; 50% discount on breakfast buffet (as part of daily resort charge)

If you have any additional questions about SummerBlast or Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek itself, feel free to leave a comment or send me an email.

 

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.

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.

 

 

Top 10 Vacation Tips To Save Money in Walt Disney World

If you have been hanging around here more than one second, you know that I love all things Disney, and this of course includes vacationing in Walt Disney World. However, it can be very expensive to vacation there especially if you have kids. Over the years I have learned a thing or two to help cut costs while still having a ton of fun. Some things just don’t matter as much if it means you get to still go to your happy place, right? Check out my top 10 10 vacation tips to save money in Walt Disney World:

Save Money in Walt Disney World

1.) Bring food from home or order groceries: All WDW hotels have mini fridges, and all DVC (disney vacation club) rooms have microwaves, and 1, 2, and 3 bedroom DVC villas have full kitchens. If you are driving to WDW, bring food with you or stop when you get to Orlando for groceries. If you are flying, take advantage of grocery delivery services like Garden Grocer. One of my favorite Disney memories is staying at a DVC resort and grilling burgers and eating outside with the family at picnic tables. (Yes all villa resorts have grills!) We aren’t big breakfast eaters so have brought milk, cereal, and protein bars for breakfast, and even made sandwiches for lunch. It saves a ton of money because let’s face it, Disney food is pricey.

2.) Purchase base tickets: Choose a base ticket instead of a park hopper to save money. Remember, with a base ticket you can only go into one park per day, but you can go in and out of that park as many times as you want. If you have little ones, consider going to a park in the morning, then going back to your resort for a nap and swim, then head back to the park in the early evening.

Save Money in Walt Disney World

3.) Target gift cards: If you have a Target red card, you already (hopefully) know you save 5% on all purchases. Did you know this includes Disney gift cards? Pick up a couple everytime you shop at Target then save them for your trip. You can even pay off your hotel or package balance with them.

 

4.) Souvenirs from home: Disney shirts, toys, and the like are SO expensive. Like it’s painful. Thankfully, I have a Disney Store outlet near my house with great prices. I have bought toys and clothes for Emma Kate there and then given them to her when we are at Disney. We have even surprised her in the morning and said “Mickey or Tinkerbell left her a present overnight”. This way we can stay out of the stores and save some money. You can literally find a lot of the same toys from the parks at the outlet (there is even one in Orlando near Disney!) or online when the Disney Stores has sales.

5.) Bring your own water:  We always bring out own water from home by the case, but you can also bring a refillable water bottle, or ask for free ice water in a cup at any counter service location. A bottle of water at WDW is $3+, and I can get a whole case for that much. Save your money for other things!

6.) Choose where you stay wisely: There are tons of on site WDW hotels, and if you go at certain times of the year and are flexible with your dates, you can go when prices are lowest and snag a resort of package discount, maybe even free dining. However, don’t be afraid to look outside Disney property. There are several great hotels near Disney Springs as well that can save you a lot of money. Remember, holidays and summer are the most expensive and most crowded.

Save Money in Walt Disney World

 7.) Chase Disney Visa: We have a Chase Disney Visa credit card that we use for everyday purchases (please note, we pay it off in full every month!) and we earn points that translate into Disney dollars. (holla!) We use the cards for everything from gas to daycare bills to groceries and money adds up fast! I have a friend who paid for 3/4 of a Disney cruise with her points, so it is like getting free money! They also offer merchandise discounts as well around the parks.

8.) Share meals: At the sit down restaurants (not the fancy ones) we have found that portion sizes are quite large, and Emma Kate and I can easily split a meal. You can always get a mickey bar or popsicle later if you are still hungry, which is actually what I prefer anyway. 🙂

9.) Have an “off” day: Disney Springs has been revamped over the past couple of years and now it’s a destination in and of itself. The best thing? It’s free! (well, unless you have a shopping problem.) Free parking, free wifi, free live music, and chocolate samples. You can also play with Legos and there is a splash pad area that has kept Emma Kate entertained many times while we eat outside at Earl of Sandwich. Take a day “off” from the parks in the middle of your trip and hit up Disney Springs for a half day, then spend a half day at the pool, or ride the monorail around and look at some of the gorgeous hotel lobbies.

10.) Bring your own stroller: Lastly, if you have small kids, bring your own stroller. This will save you from renting from an outside company or renting one of the uncomfortable hard plastic ones from the parks, which by the way you cannot take back to your hotel. It may not be a huge savings but every little bit counts when you want to have the vacation of your dreams!

Save Money in Walt Disney World

Related: Tips for Pandora with a Preschooler

5 Things Friday XXX

Greetings! It’s been awhile since I did one of these posts (like, October!) so I thought it was high time to do a little catching up for those who don’t regularly follow my Instagram stories.

1.) Great but quick trip to NYC: I wrote a post about the naming ceremony and my time on the Carnival Horizon, but I haven’t talked a lot about my evening in the city and the next morning before getting on the boat.  Carnival put us up at the Sheraton Times Square, so we were right in the middle of the action. Amanda and I walked down 5th Avenue, past the Plaza hotel, and all through Central Park (even to the fountain from FRIENDS, see below). I have been to NYC one other time but not to the park and was super pumped to check it off my bucket list. The weather was rainy and chilly, but that didn’t stop us.

2.) Moving on up: The way Emma Kate’s daycare is structured, they go ahead and move children up at the start of summer instead of fall. Even though she turns 4 in September, she misses the cut off of September 1, so she moved from the young 3’s to the older 3’s this week, and I cannot believe how much she has changed in a year! Below is her last day of 2’s vs. last day of young 3’s and she had changed so much. I’m happy for her but sad for me at the same time. My little toddler is no longer so little.

3.) Timehop Sweetness: Some days I really dislike Timehop and things it reminds me of, but some days I love it! I was reminded yesterday that it has been TEN YEARS since we brought Bella home to be a part of our family. How adorable was she as a puppy?!? Dying over here. She was so tiny that she had a hard time jumping over the threshold to get in and out the back door.

4.) Disney Day: I have a gold Florida resident pass which means I am only blocked out for Christmas and spring break, but Bobby and EK are blocked out all summer as well after this weekend, so we are going to brave the crowds and go to the Magic Kingdom on Saturday with my parents. I just want to soak it all in one last time as a family before fall….along with every other family in central Florida I’m sure! Be sure to follow along on my Instagram stories and on Twitter.

5.) Make money blogging: I have gotten a lot of questions over the years about how to work with and pitch brands and how to make money blogging and via social media. Well I finally got my rear in gear and created a quick guide you can purchase. Check it out here and let me know if you have any questions, I’m happy to help! 

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.