Last year, my mom had a stroke and two heart attacks. It was a challenging time to put it lightly. Fortunately, I was able to spend a week with her down in Virginia as she recuperated. Although I had already started going on annual getaways with my mom (Paris, Atlantic City and such), I made a mental vow to spend at least one week a year with my mom doing FUN things (God-willing). Thankfully, my mom is back to good health. Since she likes casinos and I like relaxing and being pampered, we decided to go on a short cruise. The Carnival Splendor Cruise from New York to Canada was the best fit so we bought our tickets a few months ago and went on the cruise at the end of July. It was SO relaxing and fun.
Another Reason That I “Needed” a Cruise
Summers are pretty laid-back at our home – especially since my husband Reggie is a teacher. We try to ease into the days and not overbook our calendars. Unfortunately, the construction crew in our back courtyard had another plan. They show up bright and early (around 7am) during the week and drill until the end of the work day. Tylenol has become a good friend and I STILL have no idea what they are trying to accomplish.
-My mom went on the cruise to enjoy the casinos. I prefer to spend my money on food, pampering and other experiences (To each her own way to have fun!) She had a great time. She spent money; received a free drinks voucher (which was wasted on her because she doesn’t really drink alcohol) and actually even won a bit. She was happy.
-I went on the cruise to rest. We chose an inside room (no windows). We went to bed late and slept until our bodies woke us up is the mornings. It was divine!
The meal at the Steakhouse was exceptional and I would spend my own money to go there again. For appetizers, my mom ordered the onion soup and I had a crabcake. I LOVED my crabcake. For the main course, my mom ordered the surf and turf (lobster and steak) while I ordered the lobster ravioli. For dessert, my mom had ice cream while I had the cheesecake. We were both extremely happy with our meals. I was a waitress during college so I always ask my waiter or waitress what she recommends. Our waitress highly recommended the onion soup, tomato soup, all of the salads and lobster ravioli. I didn’t take pictures of the food because I was with my mom. However, the pictures on the Carnival website are pretty accurate.
-While in St. John, we went to a small market and purchased a picture from a local photographer, ate poutine (fries, cheese curd and brown gravy) and went on a tour of the area. I strongly suggest supporting local businesses when you cruise…
Money-saving Cruise Tips
-If you are a “spa person” (like me) and don’t want to spend the entire day off the ship when you are in port, wait to book your spa treatments for in port days. (The rates are significantly lower).
-If you have your eye on some of the jewelry and items that are sold in the gift shops, wait until the day before the cruise ends to get considerable savings. (Also, be sure to enter the various raffles that are held throughout the cruise. I didn’t win anything, but you never know…)
-Consider waiting until you dock to purchase local excursions. I prefer giving the funds directly to the locals (who usually charge less anyway) and tipping them well – especially in St. John where the economy is a bit depressed.
Have you cruised from New York before? If so, where did you go? (I went on a Nickelodeon Cruise with the family in the past. It was also great.)