Friday, March 16, 2018

Why it Pays to be Kind on Vacation.

Do you notice that travel can seem to make seemingly nice people into crabby people?  While it's not fun to be cramped in the middle seat of an airplane or have a smoker next to your balcony on a ship, what matters is HOW you react to it.

As a short woman, I guess not just petite because I'm tiny, I've come to the knowledge that most people speak before they think.  "That little girl is drinking!" or "Look that girl has a Michael Kors purse!  What is the world coming to?"  It's alright.  I've learned a long time ago to let it roll off.  When my husband hears, "Is that your daughter" and I'm a month older than he is, I'm glad he let's it roll off too.

Too often, however, we hear terrible stories of people fighting on planes, drunken brawls in a hotel, etc. How is it that while you're on VACATION (I saw that with awe because I feel that way on vacation) you would let people get to you?

Remember what vacation is for.  To relax, to get away from work or home or winter.  It's something to enjoy. 

So next time you hear someone at the airport gate ranting louder and louder at the gate agent, let her know what YOU think.  Smile and say 'thank you' for all you do.  It goes a long way. 

PS: Headphones are another way to ignore and relax. 

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Going on a Carnival Cruise? Here's what you can't MISS!

Carnival Cruise Lines is a great value for pretty much anyone.  You can cruise from almost anywhere (well, not Michigan... sigh) and they sail all over the world.  So what don't you want to miss about your next cruise?

1.  Carnival's Warm Melting Cake - free in the dining room and I ate one every night of our last cruise. They are AMAZING.  Ask for double ice creams.

2. Guy's Burgers are also free and also delicious.  You have your choice of  burgers (try the Ranger) and toppings.  Comes with fries which are also yummy.  We ate at least twice or three times here for lunch.  Did I mention it's free?  All part of your cruise fare!

3. Towel animal invasion - strolling through the aft pool to head upstairs and watch the wake when I saw these.  Totally cute and pic worthy.

 There's more to tell but I'm out of time.  Sea you soon!  Mary

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

My Cruises Inc business cards came!

Wow...I'm somebody!  (Does that remind you of Steve Martin from The Jerk?")

I've been a Travel Specialist with Cruises Inc. for 3 months now.  Building my client base and listening to webinars and checking out deals about every day. 

I have yet to book a cruise ...  but ... know I will soon.  My sister-in-law wants to go to the Caribbean in October 2016 and I've got some great leads.

Now that's I've stated the above, this time of year gets me thinking of Christmas cruises.  I've written before that I've always wanted to go on one but with BOTH...count em...2 daughters getting married last month, there will be no cruise for me this Christmas.

Interested in a cruise?  Visit me at  Catchy huh?

Where do YOU want to go today?  #cruiselife4me  #cruisewithmary

Monday, September 14, 2015

The days are getting shorter, time for an Autumn cruise!

Well I've been a bit busy since I last wrote.  With both daughters getting married next month (wow!) and busy at work as is the norm, but the biggest news is that I trained with Cruises Inc and am not a Cruise Vacation Specialist!!

So far it's been wonderful and I've been BUSY with quotes and friends and co-workers wanting to book cruises.  So...on to the blog....

 It's a hard time for us here in Michigan.  Nights are getting cooler and the days are getting shorter.  None of us like to see this occurring, because that means winter is surely coming.  BUT, before winter gets here there is this delicious and wonderful time of year called Fall or Autumn to some of you.  

So what does that mean to the cruise industry and it's passengers?  The kids are back to school so you can take advantage of some great prices!

Visit my website at and see what I'm talking about.  

Happy sailing, 

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Long Term Cruising

Long Term Cruising

Having recently gotten an email from Holland America, I'm amazed at the savings by choosing a long term cruise. It goes to exotic locations and you save by spending more time at sea. Crazy! Here's an example:

32-DAY INCA DISCOVERY & SOUTH AMERICA with an inside stateroom is $2699. You'll pay more for a Vista Suite with balcony but it's still affordable at $5399. That's 32 days at SEA!!!

50-DAY ATLANTIC ADVENTURER Sail all over Europe and the caribbean for the lower cost - remember 50 nights at sea - for $5499 for an inside stateroom.

25-DAY SOUTH PACIFIC CROSSING now here's one I'd LOVE. Australia and the south Pacific. Very affordable at $1799 for an inside room.

These longer cruise voyages give me heart palpitations. I'd love to sail for a month or so at sea. Wouldn't you? Now these examples are solely Holland America's and there are many more with other cruise lines.

I recently signed up with to be a part-time cruise consultant. I'm SUPER excited and can't wait to learn and train.  Once I retire in 3 years (feel too young to retire!) then I'll go full time.

Happy Cruising,

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Summer Cruisin' - Take the family and actually have a GREAT vacation!

We've all had those family vacation nightmares.  All of us piled into the car, endless driving with little breaks.  "Moooom, Chris stuck his finger in his mouth and is putting it on my face" type of rants.  One of us was always car sick and another barely out of diapers.  Struggling with 8 kids in the Ford Country Squire station wagon, how did my parents do it? They didn't have ipods, or ipads or cell phones then. My parents being the saints they are didn't have much of a choice for a family vacation but you do!

Instead of piling into the family truckster and taking a xanax every 3 hours to deal with the stress, why not book a cruise.  Not only would you have the undying admiration of your kids, but your wife will thank you as well. When your kids are firmly ensconced in the youth clubs meeting new best friends for life, you and your spouse can enjoy dinner ALONE...sans juice boxes but real wine glasses.  Get the picture?

There are cruise ports all over the U.S. and the world.  Choose one closest to you or fly or take the train to one.  This can be educational as well as fun.   Cruise ships have more to do in any given day that you can dream of.  Here's a sampling:

How about Royal Caribbean's Quantum or Anthem of the Seas where you can enjoy Rip Cord - where you can try sky diving safely, or take the family bumper car driving without ever leaving the ship.  You can all jump in the North Star which takes you up and over the ship in a giant glass enclosed bubble and that's only the start.  Quantum and Anthem have more activities in any given day that you could dream of.  Let's talk food.  There's a new concept that began on these ships called Dynamic Dining where you can eat at a different restaurant each evening.  Need a drink?  There are many  bars & pubs but none so well known as the Bionic Bar where two robotic arms will mix your drink - a first at sea!

Carnival Cruise Lines has a new ship coming out called the Vista. It has many features including Sky Ride which is a bike ride high above the ship, the first IMAX at sea, a ropes course and so much more.  Dining venues take you anywhere from Guy's Burger Joint to Farenheit 555 Steakhouse, as well as many restaurants and one just for foodies, Chef's Table.

Norwegian Cruise Line has a new ship called the Getaway which offers the Waterfront which is an open air area promenade with many venues, 5 water slides and many more fun ways to entertain yourself in the sports complex plus 28 dining options and great entertainment, including seven time Tony award nominated musical, Legally Blonde.  The Getaway is aptly named for a fun week at sea!

I can't list ever cruise line or this blog would turn into a book.  However, I hope you can imagine the many, many fun activities that could captivate both the klingons (kids) as well as the adults in your family. 

Cruising meets the unique needs of every family member Don't just take my word for it, try it out for yourself.  You'll thank me!

Happy Cruising, Mary

Monday, February 23, 2015

Why it's Great to Cruise when it's Below Zero?

Just a few tidbits to "warm me up" so to speak as we freeze here in the sub-zero north.  It was -25 on my ride in to work. Some thoughts on why to take a cruise this time of year:

  1. Packing all that warm weather clothing just takes your inner temperature up about 5 degrees.  
  2. Knowing that you'll have to endure the plane and all things MOOOO! (as flying indicates...) Soon you'll be in balmy weather.
  3. Green plants, blooming flowers, green grass.  I have to say that I'm so sick of WHITE! 
  4. Blue ocean, ocean breezes and yummy fruity drinks.
  5. Sunglasses...'nuff said.
  6. Take a cruise, leave from the warmth of Florida (an option) and cruise to the even warmer Caribbean, Bermuda, etc.
  7. Throw away the vitamin D and get some sun.  Sun deprived skin turns to (safely now people, use sunscreen)  golden brown.
  8. Swimming, not only is it cardio but it's so wonderful to swim in warm salt water or even a pool.
  9. You can walk outdoors at night without hunching your shoulders against the cold.
  10. BEST of all - you're not in MICHIGAN, or BOSTON, or MAINE.  
It's just nice to dream of warm climates.  My desktop picture is Miami, when you're sailing away and  you see the people climb out of their cars and wave at you.  SO heavenly.  At least that gives me a little relief.

Happy Sailing,

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Unsure about a cruise-Read a Cruise a Review

I love reading cruise reviews. It doesn't matter if I'm taking that ship or going to that destination, it's so interesting to see the writers reaction to the ship.  For me, it's almost...almost...ALMOST like being on the ship.

I have some favorite cruise reviewer's like Gambee, Middle Aged Drama Queen, too many to name. 

If you are new to cruising, go to cruise Critic and choose the cruise line you're considering and read what others have to  say. 

Remember that one person's worst cruise is someone else's best!  Don't let that sway you.  

It's a joy to "try out" other cruise ships or cruise lines in this way.

Happy Cruising!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Live Out Your Years on a Cruise Ship

There was an article today in Fox News Online and a number of other newspapers that an elderly woman is spending $164, 000 a year to live on the Crystal Cruises Serenity ship.  I think it's a brilliant way to retire in your later years.  Her husband had died, according to the article, and she sold her 5 bedroom Ft. Lauderdale home (which included 10 acres) and continued her cruising life.  Lee Wachtstetter and her husband had cruised many times over there 50 year marriage.  89 cruises to be exact before he passed away.  He told her to continue to cruise and so she now resides on cruise ships.  

With the high cost of assisted living, wouldn't it make sense to wake up to the sea and the breezes?  To go into port or not, but to be waited on constantly, dine like a queen and be in permanent residence on a ship? Think of the entertainment at your disposal!  And the food! 

I'd like to know what you think?  I, for one, would do it in a heartbeat IF I could afford it.  Think about it though, no property tax, no need to pay for garbage removal or satellite telly.  No grocery bill or phone bill.  However, you would have a high cost of living, many port charges, etc. I'm assuming she phones her family while in port but otherwise that would be extremely expensive. 

Still, I wouldn't blink.  I hope someday that will be my life.  I know it's not for many people but I could totally live my life on a cruise ship.

What do you think?  See the article here. 

Happy Cruising,

Monday, January 5, 2015

While it's snowing and cold, why not take a cruise?

One of the best months to take a cruise in January.  The prices are down and it's not overly hot if you're going to the Caribbean or Bermuda.  It's also a great month to try and get an upgrade or an upsell.

What's an upsell?  It's an opportunity to trade up to a better room for a fee.  Make sure you let your TA (Travel Agent) know you would like the opportunity. 

When Mike and I cruised NCL Jewel to the western Carib., we asked our TA to check on that for us.  We had booked an aft mini-suite for a 5 night pre-wedding honeymoon cruise.  (We couldn't cruise after our wedding as son Jake had to start school and we were married in late August.)

So while home sick one December day, my TA called and said she was going to make me VERY happy.  For $300 total we were offered an upsell from the mini-suite to a forward facing PENTHOUSE Suite!  This penthouse suite was complete with butler, concierge, cappuccino machine, the biggest balcony I've ever seen on a ship and many, many amenities.  We were treated like royalty. 

There are many ways to skin a cat so to speak.  If you're not sure or if this is your first cruise, talk to others who have cruised frequently.  On, you can find just that.

Happy Cruising,


Thursday, December 18, 2014

One person's great cruise is another person's worst...go figure!

I'm constantly amazed at the cruise reviews that are negatively slanted. No matter the cruise line - but for this blogs sake I'll pick on Royal Caribbean. 

I know there are experiences that are less than stellar but in all truth, I've never had a bad cruise. 

I hear complaints about embarkation, food quality, shows, ports and excursions not to mention cabins.  I think if you have to wait more than an hour to embark, it's a nuisance.  However, I can wait knowing that I'm going to be on the ship in a little time. 

Food quality is so subjective that it's hard to know where to start. Yes, the Windjammer (or Jammer as it's known) may not have the quality of the main dining room or specialty dining.  It has one thing in it's favor, however, and that is the ability to pop in and grab a snack pretty much any time of the day or night...which is pretty great.   I love their bran muffins, the only time I eat them is on the ship.  They are superb.  I am pretty laid back about food.  If I'm not cooking it and I'm not cleaning up after it, it's good to me. 

I've always had decent meals in the MDR (main dining room) although there are one or two meals I haven't liked.  Guess what?  Your waiter will bring you need for complaint.  I find the MDR to be a great place for any meal.  Specialty dining is just that.  It is a special experience with great food.  You will have to pay a fee, but it's usually so good it's more than worth the price.

I pick the cruise for the ship and not the port of calls.  However, that being said, we are booked on a southern Caribbean cruise with friends and I am looking forward to a couple stops.  I may go to port or I may not.  The ship is the ultimate destination to me.  There are some ports that I haven't enjoyed, but that doesn't mean someone else won't.  You may love that port - it's all subjective.  

Where am I the pickiest?  Ah...that would be my cabin.  I want the best cabin for my dollar.  I want the best location and the biggest balcony I can afford.  I wasn't always able to cruise in a balcony and have had my share of inside and outside staterooms.  If there's a problem with your cabin please tell your steward.  They should be able to fix it.  Speak up and be kind yet firm.  The staff work their hinds end off each and every week.  They deserve your respect and they are willing to help.

A cruise is what you make it.  I'm a glass half full...make that 3/4 full kind of girl.  I know I'm going to enjoy myself and do as much as I can fit in that 7 days.  If something isn't perfect, I can roll with it. I am just amazed at the finicky people complaining and giving the cruise 1 star.  1 star?  Come on.  You're on a cruise ship in the middle of the're not working!  

A good day cruising beats a great day working any day of the week. 

Happy cruising, 


Tuesday, December 9, 2014

$400 OBC...but not for ME!

Royal Caribbean is running a special - well not that special - it's their BOGOHO sale.  Buy one get one half off sale.  

We took advantage of that when it first started early in 2014. We were able to book a grand suite on Adventure of the Seas for less than a balcony on a new ship. 

So what's the problem? The difference is now they are advertising up to $400 on board credit or OBC.  We are in a suite so I figured we would receive that amount, however, because the price when we book was cheaper than it is now, that is not so.  I think that is insulting.  Not only should the credit be applied but my Platinum status discount shouldn't be taken away if we received it.  (which we are!)

I love cruising always.  I love Royal Caribbean.  I don't love the offer as it stands.  If you're booked you should receive the offer.  Just my two cents.

I'll get off my soapbox now.  

Happy cruising, Mary