ABOUT MY FAMILY
A little about me and the family. We "try" to cruise often (3-4x a year if possible) and my little family that cruises all of the time consist of me, the hubby and our daughter, Sakari. (Pronounced just as it's spelled SA-KAR-I) Sakari has been cruising since she was 3 years old.
Since COVID hit, we have been doing land vacations and have found that we enjoy it very much. Being able to do everything on the islands and be on "island time" with no time restrictions have made us love this form of traveling since we couldn't cruise.
"Most" of the time my oldest daughter, Kendra, and her fiancé and my grandson, who is the same age as my youngest daughter, comes along with us. Recently, my granddaughter, Kambriah has started cruising (and land vacationing) as well.
My youngest son, Kolin (adult) sometimes cruises with us.
Then there's my oldest son, Kenny, has cruised with us once since becoming an adult and once as a teen. He had a major case of seasickness, so I'm not sure if he'll ever join us again.
WHY I DO IT:
These reviews are meant to be helpful to others, show you around the ship, places we go and give you some ideas.
I feel that a picture is worth 1,000 words, which is why you'll find my reviews very picture heavy.
I'm a site person and I know it really helps me to put a picture to something someone is trying to explain.
By no means do I ever try to influence you one way or the other to do the things we like to do, but merely give suggestions.
I try to help out others the way they have helped me so many times in the past and I am so grateful for that.
In my opinion, no question has been asked too many times. We were all new once and no matter how many cruises or land vacations I have been on, I will still feel like a newbie with tons of questions myself. There's always some place new to go to that I haven't been and I love the thrill of researching and picking out something to do.
I do my reviews as honest as I can and I know everyone has a different expectation during a cruise or land vacation and will have a different experience.
MY CRUISING EXPERIENCE
As you can tell from my list of reviews, we mainly cruise with NCL and my goal has been to do the entire fleet....but they keep adding ships on me.
I have adventured out and tried Carnival several times and absolutely loved the ships we have been on with them so far.
I have also started trying to sail with Royal Caribbean a little as well. We have nothing but wonderful experiences with them and great ships!
We did a Royal Caribbean back in the 90's and also NCL Seaward back in the 80's.
My goal is to not sail the same ship more than once for a new experience each time. (However, I did have to sail NCL Epic twice...only because that was one cruise that my youngest daughter did not come with us because she was too young, and she has insisted ever since that she wanted to go on it...so we did and also we sailed on the Breakaway again only because we had to use up some future cruise certificates up and the Breakaway seems to be the only ship sailing to the Caribbean during the summer months).
FOR THOSE GETTING TO KNOW ME:
We are a fun loving and goofy family that loves to have a good time. We make the best of everything even if it's a bad situation. Anyone who follows my reviews knows the "crap" I've dealt with on cruises from breaking my hand in St Maarten, breaking my toe on the Getaway, missing our flight due to my "dear daughter" Kendra...who is the most non-punctual person you will ever meet, to anything else that is thrown at us. We make light of the situation and we roll with it!
We crack a lot of jokes (and I have a quirky sense of humor...my kids do as well) and love adventure and trying new things. My youngest (Sakari) is an animal lover and if there's anything involving animals, we have to do it. We have done swims with the stingrays, dolphins, manatees, sharks and held so many things in the sea (yes, even those we didn't know better and paid the price for it). She LOVES to draw. She's actually really good at it too. Sakari would rather sit around drawing (mostly animals) than playing with toys when she was young. I include many of her "masterpieces" in my reviews because that's what she does in her "off" time on the ship. She was tested in 5th grade and labeled as "gifted in arts" and selected to attend ART SCHOOL. She started her art school in 6th grade, and we are so proud of her, and she is currently now going into high school in 9th grade and it will also be an art school. Sakari has been cruising since she was 3 years old (and has been on over 20 cruises...you're welcome daughter for us making you Platinum before you're 18) and she just thinks it's a way of life. She is a DAREDEVIL!!! She will do anything we do and doesn't think twice about it. She zip lined in the jungle, by herself at the age of 3, cave tubing, held tarantulas, jumped off 2 story decks into the ocean, went on the biggest water slides on the ships (and yes, even the ones that you stand in and the floor drops out from under you)...the list goes on. There's nothing she won't do. Now that she's a "teen" her love for adrenaline has increased and she's really into roller coasters and huge drop water slides at the water park. She's like having an extra adult with us.
We LOVE LOVE LOVE the beach. So if I can find a beach or snorkeling...that's where we'll be. If you ask me some "touristy tour seeing the history" type of thing, forgetaboutit...because that's not me. But, during our land vacations, we have started adventuring away from the beaches and doing more "different" things.
At the age of 8, Sakari took up diving and became a certified MASTER PADI SEAL at the age of 10. We try to dive in at least 1 port each cruise (or land vacation) now for the last several years. Maybe some day we'll get certified...who knows. :) It just hasn't been on my agenda.
I tell my story through my eyes and my take on things. Everyone may not agree or have the same opinion, and that's ok, but I'm honest with the way "I" see things. I'm a planner. I do EXTENSIVE research prior to any cruise. I read reviews, I look on the web, I take notes, copy maps, save websites, make spread sheets and everything has to be perfectly planned. That's just me. The family just "rolls with it". I crack up because I feel like a mother duckling and they follow...in a line and (seriously) if I turn one way, they do too, if I quickly turn back, they do too. Sometimes I start weaving back and forth in a "S" shape just to throw them off...then they'll catch on to what I'm doing and laugh. It's all a game and I have fun with it. (See what I mean? That's my quirkiness coming out). Don't worry, the hubby is the same and he pays me back. He's my personal GPS and he likes to throw me off too as a payback.
One of the most often questions asked is.... "what type of camera do you use?" Well, I'll get that question answered right now before we begin.
The models have been used for most of my earlier reviews (which there are TONS of them out there and always being updated) are Olympus Tough cameras: 620, 830 and the TG4. I feel they take excellent pictures. I use to carry my DSLR with me, but I felt that it hindered my fun a little. There's just too much equipment to carry with me. It's heavy. It's bulky. I found a camera that does a good enough job for me and that's all I use now. I find that I can enjoy my vacations more. Are the pictures always perfect? Nope...I do a lot of walking and snapping...sometimes you win, sometimes you lose and get blurry. It is what it is.
UPDATE: As if December 2019, I have purchased an Olympus Tough TG6!!! So, I will add that to my list of camera's at this point and actually have 2 of them.
My "main" camera these days is the TG6. The reason for this is because when they made this model, you can add additional lens to it. I currently have a fish eye lens and I use it about 50% of the time for my pictures.
Now I have never really done video, other than with using my camera. However, we purchased a cheap GoPro Hero 7 and I've tried making video's with it in some of the recent reviews . I've been learning how to put pictures together, edit and add music so I'm going to attempt to start using it a little more in the future.
UPDATE: My new camera/video maker: GoPro 10! I will probably start using it a lot more than just the Olympus Tough TG6 now. It's amazing!
One of the settings is a "miniature" setting on the Olympus. This is something like the "tilt-shift" pictures you can do with a professional camera. If you take a picture in this mode of something that's not supposed to look miniature, you'll get a pretty cool picture.
I also love the macro functions...especially the underwater mode. The macro mode on the TG6 is to die for! You can right up on the subject and it takes awesome up close pictures.
For the "most part", I try to keep the settings on some type of "sports" mode because I'm always in motion and that helps keep the blur down.