<![CDATA[Travel Time Mama - Cruising Blog]]>Sat, 30 Jan 2016 18:38:15 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[What NOT to pack on a Cruise]]>Mon, 13 Jul 2015 21:01:01 GMThttp://traveltimemama.weebly.com/cruising-blog/what-not-to-pack-on-a-cruise
To lighten your luggage, consider leaving these things behind. I say consider, because I will bring some of these things with me. It all comes down to what is important to you personally, but here are a few items to think about before you pack.

  • Beach towels – Most ships provide these. You can even take them on shore excursions.
  • Drinks/snacks - Tons of food & drink on board, so unless it is something special you don't need to bring it. I never bring food. I have brought soda, water and alcohol on a few cruises. Pay attention to what is allowed in your checked luggage with each cruise line. Some allow you to bring these items on in limited amount and as a carry on item. Do you really want to be dragging a case of soda or water around with you on the ship for several hours until your state room is ready? 
  • Shampoo/conditioner- this will be provided by hotels & ships. I do bring my own, because I am picky.
  • Hair Dryers: Most ships provide these, but check cruise line information to be sure.  It is also a great idea read reviews about the hair dryers because some of them can pretty useless. 
  • In addition to the things you may not need to lug on the ship, their are some things that you can't bring on on some ships. Some of these are common sense  but others things may be something you might not realize you should not pack. These are some items that are not allowed. Please check your cruise line website for a full list and be aware that the list can change. 
  • Clothing irons and steamers 
    •    Electrical and household appliances (i.e. coffee makers, hot plates, toasters, etc.)
  • Fireworks
  • Illegal Drugs (Duh!) 
    •    Candles
    •    Heating Pads
    •    Incense
  • Scissors with blades longer than four (4) inches (Large scissors of the type used by scrapbook and quilting enthusiasts are at times permitted with prior notification from the Security Services Department
  •    Household goods or tools of trade
  • Power strips and extension cords are also items that may or may not be allowed on board. 
  • Metal Detectors
  • Kites
  • Scuba Gear
<![CDATA[Carnival Triumph Cruise Video]]>Mon, 16 Mar 2015 00:27:27 GMThttp://traveltimemama.weebly.com/cruising-blog/carnival-triumph-cruise-videoHere it is! My video of our cruise. Finally finished. Enjoy. * and yes I called the spring rolls egg rolls by mistake
<![CDATA[Carnival Triumph... Cruising WITH OUT Kids..... Part 2 Tales of  Snorkeling, loosing things, barnacle stings in Cozumel, and towel animal fun. ]]>Sat, 28 Feb 2015 21:24:05 GMThttp://traveltimemama.weebly.com/cruising-blog/carnival-triumph-cruising-with-out-kids-part-2-tales-of-snorkeling-loosing-things-barnacle-stings-in-cozumel-and-towel-animal-fun
Day 4 brought us back to one of my favorite places in Cozumel. I was super excited to share Chaulkanob Park with my Mom. The kids and I loved it and I was sure she would to. How could you not? I will preface this by saying I had a great time but my mom encountered some issues that may not have made it the most enjoyable day but it was memorable. I had booked our excursion at Chaulkanob with Carnival and it included a guided snorkel, sea lion show, park access, and even a Tequila tasting- which was not advertised and we opted to skip. We were busy losing things and getting stung by sea creatures. 

First up was the snorkeling. I was a little worried because the first time I snorted it was just in shallow water and It took me an embarrassingly long time to get the hang of it. My mom is a better swimmer than me so even though she had never snorkeled before, I wasn't to worried about how it would go for her. 

We donned our gear and took a big leap ( Okay, we shuffled slowly down slippery steps) in the water. I had a little trouble with my goggles. Underwater, I was fine but when I came up I could see very little. So that was fun. I kept taking them of and putting them back on trying to get better vision, but it just kept getting worse. So, let this be known that this was the reason it took me so long to discover my mom was not with the group. She and another cruiser were still back at the steps. Where they stayed for the entire snorkel. Unknown to me, she was having trouble with her mask, vest, and flippers.

So, I snorkeled on. Quite proud that I was doing so in extremely deep water. I have some sort of fear that I will forget how to swim in deep water.  The guide lead us out and we saw a few underwater statues and schools of fish.  Honestly, what I saw the most of was flippers. Flippers from the others in the group. In my face.  And then, the underwater Paparazzi (yes, they take your photo underwater) assaulted me and took several photos- which I did not buy. $30? For one photo- No thanks!  I really had fun, even though I did not see as many different types of fish as I did the first time I snorkeled.  After discovering that the area we were in was not that large, I opted to say far behind the group- to limit the flipper in the face factor.  

I was pretty exhausted and ready to hit the sand when we headed back to the steps. I discovered my mom was still there. The flippers were bothering her and she didn't want to swim out and risk a leg cramp. Which apparently, has happened to her the other times she wore flippers.  With our snorkeling adventure completed, we were able to choose staying with the guide or heading off on our own until the sea lion show. We opted for free time. Mom took a smoke break and then we headed to this shallow little cove.

The day goes on....

We grabbed beach loungers and I ordered drinks for us on the beach. The little cove was a little more crowded than the last time I came. The kids and I pretty much had it to ourselves.  We soaked up the sun and things were looking up for mom. Until she discovered she had lost her cigarette case. If you smoke ( I don't)  you would understand this to be a crisis. She went back to retrace her steps but had no luck. We decided to take her mind off of it buy taking a swim. Out to the rocks, where you can peer out at the deeper water and see the schools of fish.  Here is where things take another bad turn for my mom.  We were both sitting on the rocks. I lost my balance and stumbled cutting my hand a tiny bit. Moments later, my mom was stung by something. We took our injured selves back to the loungers and debated on what stung her.  

If you have ever been stung by an unknown sea creature you would know that it can be easy to freak out as the pain gets worse. We finally decided to find first aid. We headed back to the lockers to get out stuff near the outdoor restaurant. My mom showed her sting to the staff and they put some vinegar on it and told us that it was just a "barnacle sting" and nothing to worry about. 

The panic and the sting subsided! Things were looking up. Turns out someone had turned in mom's missing cigarette case and she was able to smoke. 
Next up, we headed to the Sea Lion show before heading back to the ship. I enjoyed the show even though it was my second time to see it. Because it was November, the Sea Lions and handlers were wearing Santa hats and the show had sprinkle of holiday flavor to it.
After the Sea lion show we did a little exploring and head back to ship. To eat of course!  Here a few more photos from the park.

Day 5:  Fun, Food, & Towel Animals

We managed to stay busy the entire cruise. True some of that time spent lounging and relaxing but we also hung out a lot in the music areas, watched the nightly comedy shows,sunk down into the hot tubs, and we even watched the towel animal puppet show. We decided to give the Towel Animal Making class a go.  We were each given towels to use to create our creatures and then called up to speed out on the stage to make our critters. The staff gave us lots of laughs and hands on help. In the end, our towel animals came out better than I had expected! 
<![CDATA[Carnival Triumph & Cruising WITHOUT Kids]]>Sun, 28 Dec 2014 02:26:27 GMThttp://traveltimemama.weebly.com/cruising-blog/carnival-triumph-cruising-without-kidsPicture
     I love traveling with my kids. I have not traveled without them in almost 3 years. I decided to take the plunge and take my mom on a cruise without any of my little ones or my grown up ones. I was pretty stressed about leaving them. The little ones were definitely worried about being away from me.  After intense planning for everything that could go wrong and coordination a lot of schedules I was ready... not to go. If I had not already paid for it, I would have canceled. That was the amount of freak out I was having. However, I went, I conquered and I am glad I did. I had hoped to have a ton of photos to share with you but I did not take many. I had my camera with me at all times but I didn't use it much. Turns out, without my kids, I don't know what to photograph. Then my camera had a flip out. I apologize in advance. Here is the breakdown of our 5 Day Cruise on the Carnival Triumph with visits to Cozumel and Progreso Mexico. 

     We started out on Sunday around 2:00 P.M. at exactly the time the rain decided to pour down. Thus turning our 5 hour drive into 7 hours. We had the joy of driving through all of the Dallas area with very little visibility. Defiantly stressful. Then we took a wrong turn going though Houston and ended up... somewhere in Houston driving behind horse drawn carriages. This is a big deal because my mom completely freaks out about Houston. Rain and wrong turns considered it was an okay drive. Not great, but okay.
      Our first stop was the Beachcomber Inn. Which is a small cheap motel that I have stayed at before. Not luxury by any means but well worth the $45 that included breakfast. I accidentally booked a non smoking room out of habit. My mom improvised as you can see from the photo!

    Next on the agenda was food. Not having the kids on trip meant that we didn't need to stop for food or do much car snacking. No need to decide where to eat because I was had been craving the Shrimp Cocktail from THE SPOT for almost a year after discovering it on our last Galveston Trip. My mom opted for the burger with toppings from the topping bar. They were both amazing and worth the wait. Can I just take a moment to rave about the amount of avocado in that cocktail. Mouth watering. It was dark, so our window table only gave us of view of the dark beach and the seawall. A view of the beach at night is still better than no beach view at all!
    With only an hour left before the Lights at Moody Gardens closed for the night, we decided to take a quick stroll through the display.  I am not sure how, but we didn't start in the right area and did not make it all the way through before they shut them down. I know we missed a lot but we did get to see the Nativity Story. The light show starts every 5 minutes and  includes an audible and visual telling of the  the Christmas story with lighted displays.  Moody Gardens had also added Chinese lanterns to their decor  this year in the form of lighted under sea creatures and pandas. I wish we had more time to explore but it was still worth the ticket price. 

Day 1: Embarkation Day.....Faster To The Fun..... 

     We awoke eager to board the ship. We did a tiny bit of sight seeing by car and did a little beach combing for shells to take back to the kids. It was much warmer than it was last January and perfect for exploring. We found an empty beach and I spent a few moments simply savoring the sound of the waves. We spotted a few birds and watched as one of them worked hard to drink beer from an abandoned can. We were on a beach, so I am pretty sure it wasn't water he was after. It was comical to watch him pursue the can, move it and drink out of it. Drunk birds? Who knew. 
Beach selfie.. I intended this to be more beach and less self
This was not the beer can bird.
        We set out to park the car. We used 81st Dolphin parking again. They are great. They greet you at your car, load your bags and take you to the cruise terminal right away. No need to wait for other passengers to fill the van. We were so close to the terminal, there was no need for a porter to take our luggage. We dropped them off and headed down to priority boarding. I had splurged again for the  FTTF (faster to the fun). For an additional $50 per stateroom - not guest you are able to skip the lines to get on and off the ship faster. Another big perk is that your room is ready as soon as you board. Which was a big plus as I my mom and I both carried on water and cokes. Who wants to lug those around the ship for hours? There was a slight fog delay, but as soon boarding started we were on the ship dumping our carry on luggage in the room and off to explore our home for the next 5 days.  
One of our first priorities was to scout out of the smoking areas for my mom.
This chess set was in use a lot during the cruise. Often by extremely sunburned people.
      I think we spent most of the first day exploring and walking the ship.  Our room was on deck 7 aft and turned out to be pretty great location after we got the hang of finding it and put up a door decoration to make it stand out. I quickly discovered that the aft area of the lido deck was never crowded... well except the hot tubs. It was great place to grab a table to eat, a chair to lounge in or just get away from the crowds. It was also close one of the outdoor smoking area which was convenient for mom. 
     Our luggage arrived early ( another FTTF perk) and I quickly unpacked. A perk of traveling without kids, is I was able to travel much lighter. missed the show that night, but our table mates said it was short and not impressive. We were at a table for 8 and our table mates were all great. We had a lot of laughs at dinner each night!  Speaking of laughs, I made it to all the comedy shows except the ones on the last night. Carnival does a great job the Punchliner Comedy club. Our performers were Ken Rogerson & Jaime Lissow. 

Day 2: Sea Day & Elegant Night 

Mom was up before the crack of dawn while I was content to sleep in. No kids waking me up and demanding odd things like cheese & chocolate milk. It was awesome. Once, I was up I felt a little lost. I really was not sure what to do with myself without the kids but the sunshine was calling my name. We tried out the hot tubs, enjoyed the sun, and grabbed food from Chopsticks and ate in the aft pool area. We people watched, watched the Master MixoIogy contest which was actually funny and entertaining. I stayed out side to watch the mens hairy chest contest, which is always funny, but Mom went to do something else... smoke? Eat? We spent most of this day eating, relaxing, eating and repeating the process. 
These are the spring rolls from Chopsticks. They only had them one day. I went back for seconds. They were the BEST spring rolls I have ever eaten.
Yummy! The key lime pie was good, the chocolate chip cookies were very good and the raspberry thing wasn't bad either!
    While were on the subject of food and drinks. Let me tell you that some of the food was very good. Some of it was okay and a few things were disgusting. Food wise, this was not the best cruise cuisine. Overall, the deserts were great. The Chocolate Melting cake is always a win. The prime rib on elegant night was amazing. The lobster.. not so much. And, yes I ordered them both. You can do that you know. At dinner, you can order 2 entrees, desserts or starters. Or you can order 10. The portions are small so sometimes it is a good idea to order two different selections if you are trying something new. 
      The Alligater fritters, crab cakes, and steak were all great. The cold mango cream soup was something I never want to put in my mouth again. I did not care for any of the pasta dishes at all. I am very pasta picky. I noticed that none of my table mates enjoyed any of the soups that were served. Most of the fish dishes and vegetable dishes were good. The spinach covered meatballs from the buffet were one of the most disgusting things I have ever eaten. Even after brushing my teeth and having a drink that taste lingered. 
     Guys Burgers were very good. I regret that I only ate their twice. The first time I had the pig patty. It had a regular patty and one made of bacon. I don't even what to think of the calories. I also tried the burritos from the mexican grill but they just were not for me. 
     Now on to the drinks. Not the alcohol ones- carnival has those down, but the drinks included in the cruise. The lemon aid tastes okay. It made my stomach burn. The tea, as I remembered was terrible. Even with lemon and sugar, we could not drink it. However, we went and bought mugs and discovered that we could make our own iced tea from the hot water and tea bags at the drink station. It wasn't the most convent thing, and we were forever clogging up the condiment station but we ended up with drinkable free tea!  I will move on now. 

Day 3: Progreso, Mexico & The Dzibilchaltun Mayan Ruins

     This was my first trip to Progreso and my first ever Mayan Ruins tour. Touring ruins is just not the best idea with kids of varying ages and attention span so it had never been an option before. We booked our tour through Carnival which has its benefits and drawbacks. We paid more than if we had booked direct but we were guaranteed that the ship would not leave with out us if something went wrong. This was really important to keep my moms stress level down. I do feel the tour was worth the money but I think I would have enjoyed more time to explore on my own verses listening to the tour guide. 
     Don't get me wrong- he was a nice guy, a good guide and very knowledgeable about the Mayan Culture. The problem was that he spent a lot time talking about the Mayan Calendar and how they calculated the seasons. Which was interesting for the first 10 minutes and after that it just made my head hurt. Math. There was counting and thinking and my brain doesn't work with numbers. My mom lost interest in what he had to say long before I did. 
     The best part came next! I was most excited about it and it did not let me down. After the tour, we had free time to explore the ruins and the cenote (sinkhole)!  The natural sink hole is 144 foot deep. Swimming in it was both exhilarating and a bit scary. It was beautiful and the water was clear and cold. The guide pretty much told us we were crazy to swim this time of year as it was their winter and 75 degrees and to cold to swim by the locals standards. However, I thought it was perfect. Not to cold or to hot. It was full of fish that were quite friendly if you consider having them suck on your toes friendly. I would have been perfectly happy to spend several hours swimming. 
    I forced myself out of the water and mom and I spent a little time climbing around on the ruins, checking out the museum, and drying off before we headed back to the tour bus. Honestly, we really did not have enough time to see everything. 
     I took of few photos from the bus windows on our way back to the Triumph. I had really hoped to have some time to explore the port, get a massage, and shop but we were running short of time and we were famished from all the exploring. 
Wow, that wraps up the first three days! I will end now and continue this in another post! 
<![CDATA[7 Tips For Cruising On A Budget ]]>Sat, 06 Dec 2014 16:46:03 GMThttp://traveltimemama.weebly.com/cruising-blog/7-tips-for-cruising-on-a-budget

       I had no intention of cruising this year. We took our big Disney World Trip during spring break and we have another Disney Cruise booked for November 2015 that I am still paying on. The play was to recover from what we spent and Disney World and keep paying on our upcoming cruise. So what happened? I some how ended up on Carnivals website while doing my online Christmas shopping. I stumbled across a irresistible pack and go price. 5 nights for way less than the price of a one night stay at a nice hotel.  The cruise bug bit me and the next thing I knew I was calling to book the cruise. Because… Hello! It would make a great Christmas present for my mom and a much needed get away for me as the sail date just happens to be right after I will be finished with my massage therapy certification.

    So, my mom and I will sailing out of Galveston on the Carnival Triumph this December. Honestly, this will be super budget vacation. It has to be! Christmas has already eaten up the bank account. That is the great thing about cruising, after the initial cruise, travel, parking and gratuities are paid you really DON”T have to spend a lot more money. Don’t get me wrong, you can spend a lot. I certainly have. Shore excursions, fancy drinks, and all those other fun things can add up but they are optional.  Here are a few tips that can help you to Cruise on the Cheap and still have a great vacation.

1. Save ... before you go. 
     Start your saving  by booking a great rate.  One way to save is to book early or last minute (1-2 months before sail date). I save over $1500 by booking our first Disney Cruise early and choosing to go in January when cruise rates were down. For this cruise I happened to score a great pack and go rate of only $179 for 5 nights. Don't be afraid to book that inside cabin to save. Choose a port that you can drive to verses paying for air travel. But.... Don’t skimp on the gratuities. Okay, so this doesn't save you money but this is not the place start slashing your cruise costs. Many cruise lines automatically add the gratuities onto your ship account. Don't forget to budget for this. For example, for this trip the suggested gratuities are $60 per person. This amount is divided among the cruise crew. You can adjust the gratuities up or down based on service at the end of the cruise. You will also want to have plenty of ones unhand for tipping your porters. 
  1. 2. Know what is included and what is not- before you sail. 
  2. This will save you money and stress at the end of your cruise. The last thing you want to do on your last day is realized that you have been billed for all those souvenir glasses you did not know you were buying with your drink and those “in room cokes and snacks” that you thought were free. So grill your travel agent, read all the fine print on your cruise lines website and visit the forums on cruise critic.com to find out what is not included in your cruise fare. Pack Smart but light. Little things like over the counter medication,  sunscreen, and polo shirts can cost a pretty penny on the ship. For example, we ended up shelling out $54 for a plain polo shirt on one of our cruises because I forgotten to take into account the fact that all those long sleeved dress up shirts for dinner I packed for my son were NOT going to fit over his cast and sling. 
  3. 3. Set a budget for those Fruity drinks, fancy coffees, soft drinks (if not included) and stick to it. 
  4. Without a doubt, this is one area you can spend a lot of money if you are not careful. I am not a big drinker, so this is not a huge deal for me. You can save money by bringing some of your own drinks onboard as allowed by your cruise-line. Tap water, fruit juices, tea, and plain coffee are often included at no charge. However, beware… they may not taste great if you are picky. I HATE the iced tea on Carnival and Disney. Some ships offer drink packages  (soda or alcoholic) that might save you money if you are a big drinker.  I also pack my favorite sweetener and flavored coffee creamer. 
  5. 4. Skip the photos. 
  6.  There are photographers onboard to take your photo and then you have the option to view and buy them. The photos are tempting and expensive. One way to avoid that temptation is to avoid visiting the photo gallery to view the photos. 
  7. 5. Skip or Splurge? 
  8. Many ships offer specialty dining for an extra charge. With the plenty of food already included in the cost of your cruise there is no need to spend extra money. However, if food is your thing and you want to splurge on this extra cost dining. Do it.. and then find other areas of your vacation to cut cost. That is the real tip here….  Consider what is most important to you on your cruise vacation and budget it in. Then, find other not so important areas to cut your spending. I splurged for Disney’s Palo Brunch and it was worth every dime!
  9. 6. To go or not to go... Ashore!
  10. Book private shore excursions or have carefully researched plan set off on your own excursion or stay onboard and enjoy a less crowded ship. This is often a lot cheaper than booking through the cruise ship and offers you more options. However, you are responsible for getting yourself back on board the boat in time. The ship will leave with out you if you are not. I must confess, I have never stayed onboard but I have explored on my own and saved money by doing so. However, if the whole idea of being on your own or getting left behind stresses you out to much to enjoy the day, splurge on a ship sponsored excursion. For this trip we will most likely book though the ship, simply because the idea of getting lost or left behind stresses my mom out. 
  11. 7. Be shopping savvy. 
  12. Don’t just buy because it is a highlighted deal! Do some research online before you go if you are going with intention to shop for certain items. Somethings are a great buy but often you can find the same items cheaper elsewhere. If you have kids what will be want to buy everything they see, be prepared by helping them establish a budget and stick to it. I am more of a looker than an actually buyer when it comes to shopping… except when it comes to my kids. I really have to set limits for myself in that area. 

<![CDATA[Galveston: Pre- Cruise Day Two Report]]>Sat, 06 Dec 2014 15:59:25 GMThttp://traveltimemama.weebly.com/cruising-blog/galveston-pre-cruise-day-two-report       We started Day two of our pre-cruise trip eagerly. A bit to eagerly and early. We did some beach exploring but it was just to cold to get out of the car so we ended up doing most of our beach exploring by car.   For lunch, we stopped at the THE SPOT.  We scored a table with a lovely view of the beach and chowed down on some great food. I had the shrimp cocktail which was huge and yummy. The boys had burgers and my picky daughter had an amazing shake. Confession: I don't like shakes. I know.. I know... that is just wrong. However, I did taste this one and it was made with Hershey's syrup and that makes all the difference to me. The boys liked picking out their own toppings for their burgers at the topping bar. We will defiantly be adding this to our must do list for future trips to Galveston. 
        Our next stop was the Pirates of the Gulf Coast Museum. It took us forever to find it. My GPS was just not compatible with the location. We gave up looking for it and got out on foot to explore the area and stumbled across it.  It was small and more of an scavenger hunt than an actual museum. There is also a haunted house attraction. We did not tour that... as Joshua does not do well with scary things.
      The museum has some anamatronic pirates and sounds that completely freaked him out. We were less than halfway through when he wanted to leave. He stuck it out and we tried to finish the scavenger hunt. We finally did... after backtracking to find the things we missed. At the end, each of the kids got to chose a prize from the big treasure chest.  All in all, it was a neat attraction but if you have kids that are easily spooked you might want to skip it. Ironically, my two year old daughter was not scared at all. 
         On our self appointed walking tour (read... wondering around with no clue where we were going) we stopped at a number of places. We skipped over a few of the places we had visited in prior visits, like the Tall Ship. We decided to take a dolphin boat tour. We enjoyed watching the birds attack the shrimp and fish boats and the saw several dolphins. The tour guide was funny and informative. It was chilly, but the hot chocolate and blankets provided on the boat were a cozy touch.  We also visited the Kings Confectionary and spent a great deal of time eyeing all the candy and ice-cream before we decided what to buy. We headed back to the hotel for snacks and naps before our last stop at the Moody Garden Festival of Lights. 
     After walking through the amazing lights we headed back inside to take our tour of the Moody Gardens Rainforest Pyramid. We have visited the rainforest in a prior visit but the tickets were half price because it was late. We decided to give it a try even though we  were warned that most of the animals would be sleeping. 
      I am so glad we did. Touring it at night was a completely different experience. Most of the animals were sleeping . A monkey was fast asleep right in the middle of one of the walk ways. He was attended by his very own security guard (Okay, it was just a staff member!) who was making sure that none of the guests disturbed him. We really enjoyed hunting for the sleeping  inhabitants. Another bonus was that it was not crowded so we were able to take our time.  Once we made our way through the pyramid we headed back to the hotel for some much needed food and sleep. 
<![CDATA[Princesses, Pirates, and Pizza... Oh my! (Disney Wonder Pre Cruise Day 1 Part 1)]]>Fri, 10 Jan 2014 20:05:58 GMThttp://traveltimemama.weebly.com/cruising-blog/princesses-pirates-and-pizza-oh-my-disney-wonder-pre-cruise-day-1-part-1Now that we have hit dry ground and settled in at home after our Disney Wonder cruise I can begin to share all of our wonderful moments. There were so many magical moments, I do not even know where to begin. The princess tea party? Perhaps, the pirate night dinning? Or, that famous Palo pizza? I guess the best thing to do is to start at the beginning of our trip.So that brings us to.....

Hi- Ho- Hi- Ho... It's off to Galveston we go. At 5:01 A.M. with our smiles, sippy cups, and fuzzy blankets.

and chocolate pop tarts! These are a vacation must for the kids. I had a coke zero & a Kind bar. The kids ate and promptly fell back to sleep. Not me, I had 5 hours of driving to do. 

The drive went smoothly. We made excellent time. Thanks to the snacks I brought along we did not have to stop for breakfast and we made it to Galveston in time for lunch, in spite of the fact that I have to make several desperate restroom stops. The kids were fine, but my stomach was acting foolishly. I think it was a combination of stress and something I ate that did not agree with me. The kids did great. Amber had a brief meltdown over the Ipad, but that is just a normal everyday thing. 

It was not long before we saw this sky line bathed in fog and welcoming us closer to our destination. Isiah began counting McDonald's just after Houston. F.Y.I. He counted 8 McDonald's along the remainder of the Journey. 

First Stop in Galveston... Food.

We opted to eat at the Mosquito Cafe due to its ratings on trip advisor. It was good, but was it worth $50 for 2 burgers, a sandwich and a bowl of kids pasta? Not really. The portions were huge. It would be a great place to grab a bite for yourself on a lunch break, but it was not really family friendly. No high chairs, and the kids menu was limited. I had the Island Slammer sandwich and a yummy Mango Peach Ice tea. 


<![CDATA[Disney Cruise Craft #1 Magnets for Stateroom door ]]>Mon, 16 Dec 2013 19:45:02 GMThttp://traveltimemama.weebly.com/cruising-blog/disney-cruise-craft-1-magnets-for-stateroom-doorPicture
Apparently, a fun thing to do on Disney Cruise ships is to decorate your stateroom door with magnets. There are a lot of cute ideas and the best part is that some people have already done the majority of the crafty work for you.

The photo to the right is a fun example of magnets to make for your door. 
(LINK)  http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2172891
This lady has created and shared these graphics for personal use...Free!

We chose pluto for our door. We followed the instructions, laminated the graphics, cut them out, and applied magnets to the back. Cute & Simple.

<![CDATA[34 Days to Disney Wonder.....]]>Sun, 01 Dec 2013 20:17:17 GMThttp://traveltimemama.weebly.com/cruising-blog/34-days-to-disney-wonder]]><![CDATA[The Great Pre-Cruise Hotel Debate......]]>Mon, 19 Aug 2013 18:34:55 GMThttp://traveltimemama.weebly.com/cruising-blog/the-great-pre-cruise-hotel-debate     I always plan to arrive at least one day prior to sail away day. That allows me plenty of time for delays, getting lost, and time to enjoy exploring before we sail.  This lead to my ever present debate....   how much am I willing to pay for sleep verses my love of luxury and convenience. 
    This is a big debate for me. The luxury side of me whispers o"You are on vacation! Splurge, indulge, relax" the budget side of me yells " It's just a place to sleep so save the cash for something else!:
    I really think it comes down to personal choice and what the budget allows. There is no hard cut right or wrong answer but I will share my personal food for thought on this subject.  To make it personal, I am going to take you through my hotel selection process for my upcoming vacation in Galveston, Tx before setting set aboard the Disney Wonder.  I will publish this post in instalments as I go through the planning process, so bear with me and keep checking back! 

                             Trip Details & Options
Thursday, Jan 2nd            Early Morning Depart
Thursday, Jan 2nd:            Hotel Check In                                                                 
Friday, Jan 3rd:                Hotel Check out                 
Saturday, January 4th:       3:30 Sail Away on Disney Wonder

Hotel Option #1  $$$    Moody Gardens Hotel