Carnival Cruise Travel Guide

I am usually the type of person who likes to unpack the day they get home from a trip because I hate to keep tripping over a suitcase. However, this week I finally finished unpacking from our cruise even though we got home two weeks ago. What took me so long? There was a lot to unpack and there was a lot to do at home after traveling almost all of August! Now that everything is put away, been through the wash and luggage put back into storage, I’m excited to sit down and share about our trip! It was my first cruise and Jake was in charge of planning because he has been on a few with his family in the past. We originally booked this cruise last July for our three year anniversary back when everything was shut down. When the world looked bleak, it was nice to look forward to something. We had fun shopping for new vacation clothes, excursion supplies and picking out what book we would read on our balcony while sailing through the ocean.

What to Pack

It depends on where you are traveling to and what you plan on doing. It’s not a bad idea to overpack a little but I found that I really didn’t need to bring all that much with me on the ship. Most cruise websites give you a packing itinerary based on where you are sailing to that can be helpful!

  • 1 dress per day for dinner, casual or dressy
  • 1 coverup
  • 1 formal outfit if you choose to participate in the formal dinner night on the ship
  • 2 shorts and a t shirt outfits for leaving port and getting off the boat your last day
  • Comfortable outfits for Day at Sea activities, shorts and a top
  • Overpack on undies because you will do multiple outfit changes a day
  • Overpack on bathing suits so you always have a dry one available
  • Sneakers, sandals and a fun shoe to wear to dinner
  • Socks
  • 1 workout outfit
  • A light sweatshirt in case it gets chilly at night
  • 2 sets of pajamas
  • 1 pair of jeans
  • Outfit for excursions
  • A hat
  • A clutch for carrying your things around the boat
  • A beach bag
  • A dry bag
  • Waterproof phone case
  • A good long book
  • Sunglasses


Don’t worry about forgetting to pack something because the boat will have it! The rooms will have shampoo, conditioner and there are items you can purchase in the shops if you need them. I like to accumulate trial size versions of products I use everyday so when I travel I can just pack those instead of needing my full sized versions of the product. For this trip, I brought my own high end shampoo and conditioner because I am picky about what I wash my hair with along with a small lotion, toothpaste and a toothbrush. If you have a smaller version of a product that you need to bring, be sure to use that to leave as much room as you can in your suitcase!

  • make-up, same advice as above, use the trial size versions if you can to save room!
  • deodorant
  • sunscreen and face sunscreen in a high SPF
  • aloe lotion for post sun
  • hair straightener, I barely used mine though
  • 1 hairbrush
  • leave in conditioner, I love this one
  • hair ties, a headband and bobby pins
  • a razor
  • contacts, another set of contacts just in case
  • glasses
  • Tums, Advil and a daily vitamin
  • hand sanitizer

What to Do

Since this was an anniversary celebration trip, we had a suite with a balcony and chose to have our luggage brought to the room for us. If you are able to do it this way, I highly recommend it! It makes the days at sea and mornings so much more magical. A helpful hint, be sure to walk around the ship the first day to get an idea of where everything is and make notes of what to do on the boat. We started each day with room service so I could enjoy a cup of coffee and croissant on the balcony before getting ready for the day. We also agreed to wake up and get moving before 8am every morning to enjoy every minute we could on the ship. We didn’t want a trip where we were to busy to enjoy it, so we planned some downtime in our day as well as an excursion or activity on the boat.


Since this was my first cruise, I let Jake plan all of our excursions. Of course I had a say in what I wanted to do, but I put his planning skills to good use and let him plan. At first I wasn’t sure if I wanted to spend more money on excursions. Couldn’t we just walk around once we got to port? I’m happy Jake insisted we plan excursions ahead of time because that is what made our trip. Do your research and homework and plan out your daily game plan way in advance. Excursions do sell out and a lot of people were stuck at Port because they didn’t realize that going to the beach in the Bahamas was considered an excursion you had to sign up for ahead of time. Our first stop was Ocho Rios, Jamaica and we hopped on a bus to climb a waterfall and swim with dolphins. It was an amazing experience I will never forget! The staff went out of their way to make sure we had a memorable experience and kept us on schedule to get back to the ship before it left port.

Our second stop was Bimini, Bahamas and we signed up for a day at the beach as our only excursion. It was $60 for 2 beach chairs and an umbrella for the day at a beach resort and while it may seem silly to pay for, it was a guaranteed spot to sit at the beach with an option to leave and come back at any time because we had a wrist band. We ordered food to our chair and enjoyed a few cocktails. It was the perfect relaxing beach day! There were other excursions to do in the Bahamas but we wanted our last day to be a lazy one because it was a much needed vacation for the both of us!

Let’s talk about the food…

It is impossible to go hungry on a cruise! There is a buffet that is open most of the day and at night, there is a late night menu. In the main dining hall, it’s more of a restaurant experience which I preferred over the buffet and found the food to be better too. There are also a dozen eateries around the boat that are also included (aka free) that are open all day. While there are a ton of places to eat “for free”, you can also have a more upscale restaurant experience or a few eateries have delicious food for a small cost. We got sushi one night and it was $5 for a large portion. When you sign up for the cruise, you will be bombarded with emails about things to do, packages to sign up for and also helpful information about your trip. We looked into unlimited alcohol package for us but when we did the math, it was impossible for the two of us to drink enough for it to make sense financially. Instead, we got the free soda, juice and water package. I am so happy we did because I could stop at the bar at any time without having to pay. Being in the sun that long, I needed to drink water constantly and the soda was a nice sugar pick me up and refreshing after some time in the sun. There are a lot of bars on the ship and we luckily found a little quiet one in the back that didn’t have a lot of visitors. We got close to the two bartenders at that bar who let us bring our food from the eateries there to eat or just hang out and enjoy a cocktail when we needed a break from the sun. People are not joking when they say you will gain weight being on a cruise! Which is why I wouldn’t let us take any elevators and made us take the stairs so we could try and walk off some calories!

Fun Day at Sea

So let’s talk about what you can do on the ship. While I loved reading my book on our balcony in the late afternoon each day, we did venture out of our room to see what other fun could be had on the ship. We did a game of mini golf which had us laughing the entire time because wind was not our friend! There is a ton of organized fun to do on the ship everyday like themed quizzos, crafts, comedy shows, etc. We did a game of Bingo because you have to when you are on a cruise ship, a few games of quizzo, and spent our last night in the Piano Bar. Oh and there are plenty of kid-free places to enjoy around the ship if that is your thing. We spent an afternoon at the adult only lounge area which had cabanas and comfy places to lay out.

Last bit of advice, slow down and enjoy every minute at sea!

how to get and stay motivated

Whether you are working from home or commuting to the office again as well as also balancing a work/life schedule, it’s a lot to keep organized. My Monday through Friday is about to get a little bit busier so right now I’m planning ahead to make sure I have a schedule and game plan to keep me motivated with a busy schedule.

On Sundays, I love to sit down and make a long to-do list for the upcoming week. I write down every little thought, little or big task and any event I have going on that week. From there, I can schedule errands, tasks and make appointments on my paper and phone calendar. To make sure I add some fun into my week, I like to schedule a fun date night during the week or make weekend plans in advance to have something to look forward to.

Making small goals for the week can help prevent the days from blurring into each other. Read a whole book, workout 3 times a week or get a daily walk in. Try a new restaurant, or coffee shop or find a trail to walk. One thing I’m bringing with me post-pandemic is that life is too short to do the same thing every week!

I love having routines and I swear it’s the secret to keeping my life organized! On Tuesdays, I clean up the house so it’s done weekly and never a big daunting task. Sundays is our laundry and Wednesday is our date night. Baths on Sundays make for a relaxing way to start the week.

With a busier schedule coming up, meal planning is going to be more important than ever!

After being at home for more than a year, I’m looking into in-person workout classes for an excuse to leave the house and meet new people. Find ways to try new things!

For years I was told that you need to be hustling 24/7 to succeed. But the past year + has changed that mindset for me drastically. I’m taking breaks when I can. Weekends are for relaxing. Alone time in the morning is valuable and should not be overlooked. I love to listen to a podcast and enjoy my morning coffee. Evening routines are easy because we meal planned and keep a tidy house so it leaves more time doing the things we want to do.

Start your week with a positive mindset. Work bag is packed by the door, lunches and dinners are planned. Drink water, make time for those fitness goals, and reward yourself for achieving goals, big and small!

Have a good week, friends! You deserve it!

Friday Favorites 9.10

This morning, I had an appointment in New Jersey and was not expecting that chilly breeze while walking to the car. Brr!!! Fall is officially on its way and it’s time to bring out all of the layers. This week, I started to clean our house and make room for the pumpkins and other fall decor. Even though we have plenty of pumpkins and fall decor already, I’m hoping we can go to Homegoods this weekend to see what else we can find!

  • Sabrina the Teenage Witch is my go-to show to watch at night while I get ready for bed. With only 30 minute episodes, it’s full of laughs and typical 90s sitcom jokes.
  • Impeachment is going to be our new date night show I think and the first episode left us wanting more!
  • Outlander was on hold for a bit because I am reading the books while we do a rewatch.

Trying to recover from summer vacation hair aka dry dead ends with It’s A 10 leave-in product.

OPI came out with a new vegan line of nail polishes, Nature Strong. I’m going on week two of my manicure with very few chips and no top coat.

If you don’t have a dry brush already, be sure to pick one up for yourself. I don’t use it as often as I should, but after a bath I love to use it all over my body to get all of the dead skin off. My legs have never felt softer after I use it.

Wearing lipstick a lot this week while I run errands and I’ve been grabbing these lip glosses each time.

Does a really big grocery run after being out of the country and state for two weeks count? Well that is where I did the most shopping this week ha!

Also picked up these cute cups for $2 at Target because I fell in love with them right away.

Bought myself a new toy (a mop) to give the floors a deep clean before fall. Even though it’s simple and under $10, I was very impressed as I cleaned all of the floors in our house yesterday.

Picked up two of these $8 tanks and I’ll be going back to get more because they are so comfy and will look cute under layers for fall.

This week, Jake made tacos for dinner which were delicious! We got take out sushi on Wednesday which we like to do each week if we can for a hump day treat! Last night, I made pulled pork sandwiches with roasted potatoes and broccoli. Trying to be healthy and eat salads when I can for lunch!

Follow along to see what books I’m reading on my GoodReads account! Halfway done with the third Outlander book, Voyager and need to get the next one asap! I’ve found myself getting into bed around 8pm so I have more time to read.

Fall candles are burning in our house making it smell like fall!

Picked up a bunch of the pumpkins in the dollar bin at Target because they were only a dollar. I may have a pumpkin problem because I have so many around the house….

Ed the cat has been super clingy lately and I’m loving every second of it!

This article about a dinner party straight out of a Nancy Meyers movie gave me the motivation to start planning a dinner party myself!

Mornings with Vital Proteins are my favorite!

After a long vacation, I was so excited to get home and back into my routine. Before I can even sit down and relax, I’m looking at a very long to-do list of laundry, unpacking, and a trip to the grocery store. One simple thing I can do to get back into my normal daily routine is to start with a cup of coffee. It’s my favorite part of the day and it’s an easy way to get my daily dose of collagen supplement in. I’ve been putting a scoop of Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides in my coffee every morning for the last year and I’m constantly talking about the benefits to my family and friends. After a few weeks, I noticed a drastic improvement from head to knees, literally! Benefits of taking Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides daily are, healthier skin, hair growth, and reduce joint pain to name a few. My body recovers faster and I notice that my body isn’t as tired as it usually was after a long day.

Personally for me, I have continued to take Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides daily because it has transformed my hair. It is thicker and I’m constantly discovering new hair growth all over my head! On my recent vacation, I went without my daily scoop and noticed that my whole body ached. My knees hurt when I was walking up stairs and my back was sore. None of these things were an issue when I was taking my daily scoop of collagen. I’m excited to get back into my daily morning routine with a cup of coffee and a scoop of Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides!

Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides helps work on the inside so I have the strength and healthy body to keep up.


Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides (best price!) // Keurig K-Duo

Labor Day Weekend Sale Round Up 2021

Happy Labor Day!

Feels so weird that we are in the final days of summer and fall is on its way. I hope you all had an enjoyable summer season and got to accomplish a lot of summer fun on your to-do list. Is it weird that I spent almost the entire month of August on vacation and it still feels weird I’m not at the beach this weekend? Growing up on the beach, Labor Day Weekend was such a big part of my summer that it feels weird not to be in a beach chair today. This year, we had fun in the city and got to enjoy dinner and drinks in our neighborhood and went for a long walk to look at the destruction Hurricane Ida left in its path. If you are staying at home or on vacation, I made it easy to shop the best sales.

I’ve listed some sales going on that I think are worth it to shop at for the best deals.

Abercrombie // up to 40% off select styles 

Ann Taylor // up to 50% off your purchase.

Bath & Body Works // 50% off select items, $10 off three wick candles

Draper James // Extra 40% off sale styles

Express // 40% off everything

H&M // 20% off almost everything

J. Crew // 40% off and 60% off clearance styles

J. Crew Factory // up to 60% off almost everything

Loft // up to 50% off

Macy’s // 30% off sale styles

Madewell //  30% off sale styles

Nordstrom // up to 60% off summer sale

Old Navy // 60% off storewide 

Target //  20% off clothing, up to 25% off furniture

Ulta // 21 days of beauty

Uncommon James // up to 70% off sale items

Glowy Vacation Look with Vita Liberata Beauty Blur

When I first started to pack makeup for our trip, I had to remind myself it was going to be hot and humid. With that heat, I didn’t want to bring any heavy foundation so I packed my new tinted moisturizer to try it out. Since it’s a moisturizer, I found it really easy to blend and it held up really well with the 100 degree plus temperatures. Being on a cruise, I also wanted a minimal makeup look and found that the Beauty Blur Primer & Tinted Moisturizer gave me a nice natural glow without looking like I had makeup on. At night, I added some bronzer and blush to look a little more done up when we went to dinner but for the most part I wore the tinted moisturizer. Cannot recommend enough for an easy makeup look on vacation when you want a barely there makeup look.


  • Use a pea size amount on the face or decolletage and dot lightly onto cleansed skin after moisturizer
  • Blend outwards with fingers in circular movements or a foundation brush
  • Can be worn alone or under makeup


tinted moisturizer // bikinis and bellinis tee shirt