Friday, March 7, 2014

Terri's Top Travel Tips

We had a WONDERFUL cruise vacation! It was a great time with great friends doing great things! We enjoyed wonderful food and wonderful entertainment (broadway type shows, ice dancing show, Donovan and Rebecca, and The Texas Tenors! We were never bored and almost didn't have enough time to just sit on the deck doing nothing. We played miniature golf, climbed the rock wall, rode a boogie board, and went ice skating... on the ship! We also participated in a one mile walk for the Make A Wish Foundation... on the ship! We did a zip line adventure in Roatan, Honduras with Caribe Sky Canopy Tours, a cave-tubing adventure in Belize City, Belize with Butts Up Cave Tubing, and enjoyed kayaking and snorkeling on Palancar Beach in Cozumel, Mexico.

The best vacation!

A God-ordained moment was being in the boogie board line with a lady whose mother is a five time cancer survivor... four of those being non-Hodgkin lymphoma!!! After we finished the boogie board, her mother and I shared a survivor's hug! So special.

Here are my top travel tips for first time cruising...
  • Travel with friends who are experienced cruisers! Not only did their knowledge ease our stress, they also got some nice perks!
  • Carry-on bag actually means a bag with WHEELS! There is a lot of walking just to get from the van to the line... and a lot of walking through the line... and a lot of walking to find our stateroom... There's even more walking if the ship is late because of fog and you have to spend a couple of hours walking around town until you can get in line to board. Next time our carry-on bags will have wheels!!!
  • Let the bank know you'll be out of the country so that your card will be accepted at the port cities. Oops! Thankfully the ship had an ATM!
  • Have a no-frills hair style... like my post-chemo short curly hair... because it is WINDY on deck!
  • Make sure your hat has some kind of under-the-chin strap/string... because it is WINDY on deck!
  • Pack LESS! Now that we know what a cruise is all about with formal, smart casual, and casual nights for dinner, we will pack less next time!
  • Book your excursions directly and save money! I was nervous about this because the ship will not wait for late groups unless they are on a ship-sponsored excursion. But we were in the same groups as the ship tours, so we finished when they finished. No worries!
  • Don't pay full price for anything. The shops on the ship will have sales - like t-shirts for $10! At the ports - you can walk away from a "deal" and the shop owner will keep offering the item at a lower price. It's a weird system!
  • Use a backpack that has more than nylon cording for the straps. Hauling a bunch of seashells from the ocean in a simple cinch sack can hurt your shoulders. Don't ask me how I know!
  • Be brave and do new things. The only things I had already experienced were miniature golf and ice skating. Everything else (the boogie board, rock climbing, zip lining, cave tubing, kayaking, and snorkeling) was new... and FUN!  
  • Be brave and eat new things. I didn't know what a lot of items were on the menu, but I made it a point to order the unexpected - escargots bourguignonne, chilled banana and rum soup, caprese salad, garlic tiger shrimp, smoked duck breast, creamed wild mushrooms, BBB creme brulee, tiramisu... YUM!
  • Pack WARM clothes in the van for the trip home. It was 74 when we got off the ship in Galveston and 22 with ice by the time we got to Dallas. Brrrr!
  • Start saving for the next cruise!!!
This is the life!

O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens.
~Psalm 8:1 


  1. You missed two. If the port is closed by fog, don't go stand in line, find a bar or restruant with a TV and something to drink. The other is, get your cold drink in a hollowed out pineapple rather than a styrofoam cup!

    1. Yes, the pina colada in a styrofoam cup was a bit disappointing, but it was still a pina colada ON THE BEACH!!!

  2. Yay!! I'm so glad everything went well. Sounds like you guys had a blast! : D

  3. You were so much fun to spend the week with and it was awesome watching you and Daryl experience new things! I loved every minute!