QUEEN OF KATWE Premiere – What It’s Really Like Behind the Scenes #QueenofKatweEvent

Disney made this Queen of Katwe Premiere post happen, but everything below is from my brain and heart.


Have you seen those beautiful shots and vids of movie premieres and wondered what it’s really like? Well, I always have and am delighted to be able to give you girls the real scoop on what they’re like. I was chosen among 25 bloggers to visit LA for Disney’s Queen of Katwe red carpet movie premiere. Queen of Katwe is AMAZING and you just have got to see it. It opens with limited release today, and opens everywhere September 30th. (Let me know how you like it after you see it.) Anyway, I was really excited to experience all the Queen of Katwe Premiere goodness and report back to you.


Here’s what to expect when you’re at  your red carpet premiere (and afterparty):

So, to start, some premieres are different. There may be pre parties and/or the red carpet experience may be more rushed (or less rushed). I hope to attend more so I can give you guys the scoop on  how others worked in comparison to this one.

The Celebs


We saw, hugged, chatted with the stars of the film both on the red carpet and in the theater….and in the jam packed after party (I’ll get to that later and let you know my embarrassing faux pas with a celeb.) It’s interesting to watch how the celebrities interact with their assistants, the photographer and reports as well as the fans and other premiere attendees.

David Oyelowo was so gracious and sweet, stopping to talk and take selfies with as many people as he could before he was shuttled to the next point on the carpet by his handlers. Lots of other celebs that were not in the film were also on the red carpet. Industry big wigs and corporate folks behind the scenes on the film walked the carpet too, but not too much phototaking for them.

(BEHIND THE SCENES NOTE: There are 2 red carpets. One for the stars of the film and recognizable celebs, then another right next to it for corporate big wigs and movie execs…and bloggers! :))

The Fancy Feels


Listen. A  step and repeat always makes me feel like a celebrity. (I should put one up at my front door) I don’t care how janky the event is, I’ll smize in front of that step and repeat and feel like everyone in the place is there to see me! ::singing Beyonce’s Ego:: At this red carpet (which by the way was a burgundy/maroon color for this film) it was a long line of photo ops with the signs from the movie. We’re there in our cute lil dresses – Oh, and some folks were in gowns all gorgeous and some were in a cute top and skirt, so attire at the event ran the gamut.

SIDEBAR: The day after the premiere I was able to visit the folks who dressed David Oyelowo and his family for the red carpet (and all the press he’s doing for Queen of Katwe) Kutula Africa (Kutula.org) had David looking sharp!


above photo courtesy of Getty Images


The Business


You see so much business going on. It’s a fun exciting event but then you remember…all of these people are at work right now! PR folks hustling their clients in front of cameras… actors walking along, smiling and being gracious, taking photos, somehow not going blind from all the flashing lights…security folks hustling people along and watching out for their clients…photographers snapping, reporters shoving mics in people’s faces…It’s a lot.

I was eavesdropping my heart out and when people weren’t talking about the film, they were talking about meetings for later on. Even us bloggers were sure to get pics on the red carpet because of the business we had to do (ie: writing posts like this one!)


The Movie Itself

Well, I’ll give you the movie review in a separate post, but during the premiere you get to sit in a theater in your fancy dress and eat popcorn and watch the movie… just like regular.  You can kinda peep around and spot celebs if you’re like me  ::avoids eye contact:: There were a bunch of Disney child stars that I probably should’ve taken photos with so I can show my kids when they’re at an age to care. Oh, before the film there was a dude playing live music on the stage for us too.

The Afterparty


The Hard Rock held the afterparty and I was happy to see so many people turn up for it. So many people I didn’t recognize hahaha and a few I did…like:

Jason George who was super sweet and practically begged for my photo so I obliged. *wink* Greys fans…I’ve got some spoilers for you!!*


Highlights from the party were watching Lupita boogie on down with her on-screen children and when my favorite song from the movie came on. #1 Spice is going to be my new jam!


Ready for my embarrassing moment: OK So I see a star I recognized and went over and was like “omg hey Jackee!” and Kim Whitley was like “…that’s not my name. beat it kid.” Ha!!! I’m kidding, She was totally sweet and kind about it. I did call her the wrong name lol but she was like “Oh girl I get it all the time for years and years don’t worry, she gets it too.” So I felt slightly less rude. I chatted with her and Vanessa Bell Calloway (who is still looking good!) for a minute and then left them alone.

So, there you have it. That’s what the Queen of Katwe Red Carpet Premiere was really like, from the perspective of one lucky blogger blessed with the chance to attend. Be sure to go watch the film guys. It’s really important, and also just really good. Here’s the trailer if you missed it in my last post:

Check your local theater because it comes out today in limited release and next Friday, the 30th, it’s out everywhere. Take your kids or make it a girls night out, but definitely go see this film, so Disney knows we want more like this!!


Have you been to a red carpet movie premiere before?

*no I don’t 

How to Cruise with Kids (Part 3): Choosing Your Excursions

how to cruise with kids part 3

How to Cruise with Kids

If you’re just finding this guide on How To Cruise With Kids, please check out the previous posts:

  1. Choosing Your Cruise
  2. All About the Kids Club

Choosing Your Excursions:

The great part about cruising is that your ship will stop at multiple ports during your cruise vacation. You have the option to simply debark and explore the area on your own or book an excursion. Excursions are organized group tours and experiences.

My number one tip for cruise excursions (whether you go as a family, couple or even solo) is:


Some sites I look to for info:

If you simply google cruise excursions + destination, you’ll find tons of resources to help you plan your trip. You’ll find reviews, ideas and even private tour operator websites.

You basically have 3 excursion-booking options:

  1. Through the cruise ship (beforehand or while on board)
  2. Independently with an excursion company beforehand
  3. Directly with an independent tour company once you’ve debarked at the port

Here’s where you can find the excursions for each destination on a few of the major cruise lines: 

Just navigate to your ports to see the list of available excursions available there as well as any age requirements, price and a brief description of what is included.

A few tips and things to note:

Excursions purchased through your ship are pricier (sometimes more than double) the cost of purchasing independently. The benefit is that you’re guaranteed not to be stranded if something unfortunate happens and you’re late returning to the ship. The con (outside of possible cost) is that it’s often more crowded.

So far, we’ve done excursions booked independently and have never had a problem getting back to the port on time. On our past 2 cruises we took excursions through the cruise lines (Royal Caribbean and Norwegian) and had an enjoyable time on both.

We have yet to visit a port that doesn’t have independent tour operators, taxis, excursion companies etc right at the pier just waiting for all the cruise ship passengers who don’t yet have plans. If you choose not to plan beforehand, you’re not out of luck.

Traveling with a family, I would recommend booking ahead of time, whether independently or via the cruise line’s website just so you are certain there is something to accommodate your group.

Four things to consider with cruise excursions as a family:

1.  Consider your children’s age/temperament

Your children’s ages determines a lot of what you can do at each port.  Does your child require a stroller? What can and can’t your child do? Are there any fears to be concerned with? Will they need a nap? Can they handle long bus rides? Keep the needs of the children in your group top of mind when choosing excursions. When you look through the excursion descriptions they will let you know if it is completely unsuitable for children. (ie: cave tubing in Belize)

atlantis dig

2.  Consider breaking into groups

If your group is split on what to do, try splitting up to satisfy everyone. Yes the trip is about togetherness, but doing separate activities allows you to have fun stories to tell when you’re enjoying quality time together back on board the ship. This works well if your family has a mix of risk-taking adventurers and those with more tame sensibilities. Also it’s a great option if there’s a large mix of ages. (I secretly look forward to the day my daughter enjoys shopping and spa days so we can do that while the boys go off gallivanting.)
3. Consider staying on board

At each port most people (I’m talking 90% or more!) get off the ship to explore the destination. If you’re at a port you have visited several times, or have no interest in…or just want the ship to yourself, you may want to consider staying on board. You and your family will be able to enjoy all the ship has to offer with no lines, no waiting, and no drama. I first stayed on board on our Bahamas cruise last year and we tried again a few months ago with the kids in St. Thomas. Felt luxurious having an empty ship and no wait for anything.

4.  Consider your budget

Paying for a group excursion is a lot pricier than paying for a party of two. If budget factors into your vacation plans then choose an option where kids under a certain age are free or at a very reduced rate. You may also want to consider chartering your own excursion if your group is 6-8 passengers or more. It may turn out to be more economical. Some vendors will even work with you on the price and you have the bonus on being able to tailor your experience to exactly what your family wants to do.

Remember: There is no need to purchase an excursion at all. You can stay on board, or just walk around the port.

Stay tuned for How to Cruise with Kids (Part 4):

Life On Board Your Cruise Ship


How to Cruise with Kids (Part 2): All About The Kids Club

how to cruise with kids part 2

(Click Here for: How to Cruise With Kids Part 1)

Cruising is the perfect vacation option for families. You are able to have time together as a family, explore different countries, eat great food, have tons of fun together and separately. Parents can have together time (or solo time) away from kids thanks to the awesome kids programs.

I’ve been asked so many questions about the kids programs on Royal and Norwegian so here are my answers, info and tips. But first, our experience:

We have only used the children’s facilities on two ships: Royal Caribbean’s Grandeur of the Seas and Norwegian Escape. On Royal, Rohan was 11 months old and we made use of the Royal Babies program. On Norwegian, we used the Norwegian Splash Academy for Rohan (age 3) and the Guppies program for Kaya (age 2). On the first day of our cruise I was sure to visit with the staff for all age groups, and tour the facility so I could better answer questions in the future. We have yet to try Carnival and other cruise lines, but when we do I’ll update this to include them.

Is my baby too young/old?

Babies can cruise starting at 6 months of age. Up until recent years, the only option for children under 3 were in-room babysitting services. Now, babies 6 months through 2 years old have programs on board just for them. On Royal there is the Royal Babies & Tots program, and on Norwegian it was the Guppies program.

From age 3 – 17 your children can participate in the main “kids club” offerings. They are grouped by age and have activities catered to their level.

Is it expensive?

Age 3+ is free!

On Royal, it was $8/hour for the Royal Babies program. On Norwegian we paid $20 per session for Kaya. The session is just under 2 hours. So at night we put her in from 7pm-8:50 session and she stayed for the 9pm -10:50 session, but we picked her up at 10:30 when we picked up Ro.

After 10:30pm the Splash Academy for 3 years and up charges a fee. I didn’t ask what that price was, though.

What kind of activities do they have?

For Rohan in Royal Babies they had tons of Fisher Price toys, and would read to the babies, and sing songs. For Rohan there wasn’t much of a “curriculum” just lots of free play with heavy interaction from the staff. So few children were in the program that it was 1:1 or 1:2 ratio of staff to kids.

The Guppies (0-2) program on Norwegian had so much planned for the kids each session. We dropped Kaya only at night from 7pm to 10:30pm. During that time she did active games, singing, storytime, arts & crafts, had snacks and free play with the blocks/puzzles (her fave). We received a printout each time we picked her up which logged her diaper changes, feeding, activities down to her mood during each activity! (ie: loved 3 little pigs story, was excited for puzzles, disengaged during beauty and the beast storytime, focused during painting, two wet diapers, not hungry…) We got beautiful art each night from Kaya’s program as well:

artwork2     artwork

The Splash Academy Turtles (3-5 years) did lots of active games, songs, building, toy time, got face painted, had story time and always had a fun theme that ran through the day. On fairy tale day and pirate day the kids paraded through the ship (indoors, not near the exterior of the ship) for us parents and other passengers to ooh ahh and aww over them.

Older kids played age appropriate games, have video game time, and “chill out” style areas to enjoy each others company and feel “cool” and less like they’re being babysat. 🙂 The oldest group (14-17 I believe) can check themselves in and out of the program, come and go as they please, and had a teen club all to themselves.

What if my kid doesn’t like it?

It’s not a mandatory program. If your child doesn’t like it, they do not have to go. Additionally, if you’re nervous about their experience you can request a beeper (no matter your child’s age) and have the staff beep you if your child is crying, or acting up, or asks to go back to their parents.

Is there video or a way to keep tabs on the children?

The beeper mentioned above is the only way for the staff to contact you. You can always call and check in on how your child is doing, or go by the kids club and spy out like I did. 🙂 There is no video of the kids club area for parents to monitor their child. Be sure you let the staff know what part of the ship you’ll be, so if they do need to reach you, they can.

Is it safe?

Yes. The baby areas on both Royal and Norwegian were locked up and had 2 barriers to entry for folks who weren’t the child’s parents. The kiddie area itself is on the inside of the ship, so unruly sprinting kids cant go running/climbing/falling anywhere but inside the designated child areas.


 What is the staff like?

On the two ships we’ve used the children’s facilities on, the staff has been awesome. The Royal Nursery staff were so sweet and gentle, and had such a calming vibe to them. The Norwegian Guppies staff seemed to really love babies, and had lots of tricks up their sleeves to quickly calm fussy kids.

The kids club staff had energy for days…no…weeks. They had that fun/gentle leadership quality that was able to hype the kids up for their activities, and also guide them and be obeyed. We went to visit the Splash Academy on Norwegian Escape before we registered ro, I went to the bathroom and came back and Ro was pushing one of the staff, Curly, around in his stroller and they were both laughing hysterically. They were a well oiled machine and a fun group, just perfect for kids.

Did your kids like it?

Yes, they loved it. We didn’t use the kids club all day. We used them only in the evening after we fed the kids dinner. I think if we tried to send Rohan to all the sessions (On Norwegian it’s 10am-12pm, 3pm-5pm, and 7pm-10:30pm +late night sessions $$) he may have pushed back, plus…we wanted to spend the days with the kids.

There was only one night where Ro said he didn’t want to go, and that was the day after he had a crash into another boy and hit his head. When we asked why he didn’t want to go, he said it was because he didn’t want to bump his head again. So, other than that night, they went and loved it. Kaya was really into the art work, and Rohan loved the parades, face painting and active play.


Can they watch the kids while we are on an excursion?

That wasn’t something we were interested in so I didn’t ask when we were on board, but I did just find out that they do offer that service on Norwegian. You do have to pay for the hours that the child would be in their care outside of their normal hours mentioned above. They will feed the kids and everything for you while you’re out enjoying your excursion. I didn’t ask about the service on Royal.

Do they have in-room babysitting options? 

On Norwegian they don’t offer it, which was a major bummer for us. On Royal Caribbean they offer it for (i think) $8 or $10/hour. We will make use of this service on our next Royal Caribbean cruise for sure. You just have to reserve in advance so they can figure out scheduling.

Do they feed / change / soothe the children?

In the Splash Academy for older kids they do not feed the kids. And you children have to be potty trained 3 year olds in order to attend. They do soothe them, like when Ro and the other kid crashed into each other. Both cried and both were soothed. In the Guppy program they will feed per your directions, change diapers and soothe and even rock your child to sleep.

Will they let my children stay together if in different age groups?

I’ve heard of this….but it wasn’t allowed for us on Norwegian Escape. (I asked just in hopes, even though Kai isn’t fully potty trained and couldn’t stay with her brother even if they made the age exception.) I can’t speak for Royal or other lines. I have only heard stories from other cruisers on cruisecritic saying that their children of various ages were able to stay together in one of the age groups.


a separate little free-play area for young kids near the kids club and baby club

What do they provide?

The Splash Academy provides everything. One day, they did tell us to bring Rohan dressed in pjs for the pajama party and parade. Other than that, we never had to supply a thing. They weren’t allowed to give him juice or snacks though. Only water. So if he was hungry he would’ve had to wait for pickup or have us found. Kids were encouraged to come with no toys, etc. (They did allow Rohan to bring in his Elmo lovey though.  PS: There was a staff member on board named Elmo too)

The Guppies provided everything for activities, but we had to bring Kai’s sippy cups, diapers (they had wipes), snacks, lovey.

On Royal they have a great program where you can get a big bag of toys for your children to use in the stateroom and while on board. It’s free, and you can swap out the toys for a different bag if your child gets bored. You just return it on the last night. (You can ask for cleaning wipes – if you didn’t pack your own- when you pick up the bag so you can wipe down the toys… if you’re a weirdo like me)

Any tips?

  • Register your children for the kids club on day one even if you dont think you’ll use it
  • Always bring your kid to the club well fed, hydrated and freshly pottied
  • Visit the baby/kids area with your children and stay and play a bit to get them used to the area and staff (especially if they are not in day care)
  • Make use of the ‘free play’ areas when kids club is not in session for age appropriate baby playtime
  • Be honest, upfront, and vocal about what you do and don’t want your children exposed to/doing/sleeping/eating etc. They will cater to your requests.
  • Trust the staff and treat them kindly. They’re really good with children (and parents).
  • Pick up a bit earlier than the closing time to avoid a long line of parents waiting for pickup
  • Have a fun activity waiting for your child to entice them to leave because they won’t want to.

Any other kids club questions send em my way!

My SCUBA Love Story for PADI Women’s Dive Day

scuba couple

OK Girls, you’re going to have a lot of travel posts to enjoy on the blog this summer. I have more cruise tips for you as well as details on our memorial day trip to Orlando. We love to travel and for a period of a few years in a row, John and I would go back to the same area of Mexico each summer.
He would always talk about wanting to scuba dive, and while I was totally fine with snorkeling, I was petrified of diving. Being under the water so deep, no air but this little tank, sharks, plus I can barely swim… No way.

I agreed to do a “discovery class” as it was called, down in the Mayan Riviera on one of our vacations. I honestly figured, if it was too scary I’d just stay on the boat and read while John enjoys his dive. (I packed a book just in case.) John doesn’t know this but I credit that class for solidifying in my mind that John was going to be my husband for realsies.

During the Discover Scuba course I paid very close attention to the instructor’s guidelines. All the parts about how not to die…I was all ears. I had about 700 “what if” questions, and the instructor gently answered them all. I kept sneaking peeks at John to see if he was annoyed with me, but his face only showed sweet concern. During the class I’m just getting more and more nervous. Convinced it was my last hours on earth. John was just holding my hand, giving me reassuring smiles and nods, rubbing my back and telling me how he loves me and was proud of me for trying it.

love me

After the classroom part, we got geared up and went to the beach to practice the skills we just learned about. (TMI: I get the bubbleguts when I’m nervous and I also shake like a leaf and have to clench hard to chill out.) I swear my shakes were the cause of all the waves in the ocean that morning. John was just telling me it’ll be okay and how great I was doing. The instructor was very helpful as well. I guess he was used to dealing with nervous nellies.

Fast forward to after the course when we’re on our boat heading out to the big scary dangerous open water with sharks, and jellyfish, and darkness, and spooky things for my impending death… I’m shaking. I need to poo. And there is John… cool as a cucumber and reassuring me that I’m going to be fine. That I’m totally safe. Reminding me of the backup air. Telling me how he’ll not leave my side until I want him to. Letting me squeeze his hand til it’s purple. Reminding me to take a breath or two.

Time to jump off the side of the boat…backwards. WHAT?! I didn’t know about this part! Everyone else is off and in the water holding the guide rope. I’m sitting on the edge petrified like a wooden statue. John’s next to me telling me how proud he is, rubbing my shoulders, giving me reassuring eye contact and just being so patient. Before this…I don’t think I’d ever seen him as patient….ever. (And we’d been together like i dunno 7 years at this point)

The captain was getting impatient and said something I can’t even remember to John and John did that manly dont mess with me deepvoice thing to him on some “just wait a minute she’s good, she’s good.” (I SO wasn’t good.) And he sat with me for a while, as I held up the group, until I nutted up and jumped in.

SO anticlimactic too because I’m wearing a damn life vest puffed all up with air. I hit the water and just sat on top of it like… plop.  LMAO.  I had to laugh at myself. But John didn’t. He jumped in right beside me, asked me if I was okay and held my hand and we did our descent. And true to his word he was right beside me the entire time of that dive until I got all comfy and brave. (I may or may not have had one small panic attack and used up hella air in my tank…but that’s neither here nor there)


The world under water is incredible and MUST be seen first hand….even if only once. It’s just so amazing.

After we were back on the boat I knew I had to do that a billion more times. And I knew that if John could help me get over that gripping fear, without getting annoyed, upset, rushing me, and quickly regulating on the people who were… that he was a dude I needed around forever. I saw him differently from that experience on. I love how safe and loved and accepted (despite my irrational craziness) he made me feel.

After that dramatic dive I was hooked. It was in May and we went back to Mexico that August to dive some more. We both got our PADI open water diving certifications and we both want to go on to get advanced and eventually rescue certified.

So I say all that because I want to urge you to try it too!!




July 16, 2016 marks the second annual PADI Women’s Dive Day. It’s an annual celebration of women in scuba diving and provides special opportunities for more women to enter the sport of scuba diving.

During PADI Women’s Dive Day, PADI Dive Centers and Resorts, dive clubs, and other organizations around the world will offer female-friendly dives and events, ranging from first-dives to shark dives, beach clean-ups to special speaker engagements, and much more. Some PADI Dive Shops will also offer the opportunity to try scuba diving, for the first time, through the PADI Discover Scuba® Diving program. Others will focus on PADI ReActivate™, which gives lapsed divers the opportunity to refresh their scuba skills, rediscover the sport they love and reactivate their dive certifications!

The inaugural 2015 PADI Women’s Dive Day event was an historic day for diving. More than 6,000 divers from 65 countries participated in 335 special events on all seven continents. The PADI photo album on Facebook shows how women (and some with their their families) from all over the world enjoyed the 2015 event.

If you would like to participate in PADI Women’s Dive Day, you can find an event near you or get more information at http://www.padi.com/women-dive

If you’re not yet a PADI-certified diver you can contact your local PADI Dive Center or Resort to get started or you can explore options in the PADI course catalog.

If you are already a PADI-certified diver who is interested in participating in a the 2016 PADI Women’s Dive Day event, please contact your local PADI Dive Center or Resort to see if they’re hosting an event – and encourage them to get involved, if they’re not already.

Visit PADI’s blogsite at http://www.padi.com/blog/2016/03/03/womens-dive-day-plan-to-participate.


Do You Scuba Dive?

This is a sponsored blog; while the views expressed here were genuinely mine, consideration was paid to me by PADI to review this product.

Cruising With Kids on Norwegian Escape – Cruise Recap

how to cruise with kids cruise recap

We love to cruise. This was John and my 6th cruise together, Rohan’s second, and Kaya’s first. Our very first cruise as a family of four! This sailing was a bit of a last minute surprise (scary for an planner like myself) and it turned out to be absolutely perfect. (Oh, and don’t forget to check out the rest of the posts in our How to Cruise with Kids series)

Here’s our Norwegian Escape Cruise Recap.

We sailed out of Miami on the Norwegian Escape for a 7 day eastern caribbean itinerary. We had 3 days at sea, and 3 ports: St. Thomas USVI, Tortola British VI, and Nassau, Bahamas.

family in tortola 2

We drove to the pier and used Safe Cruise Parking to keep our car for the week (totally recommend them, btw. Last place took forever to take us to pier and never came and picked us up after the cruise, we had to taxi back to the parking lot!) A short drive from the lot to the pier, and 20 minutes after that we were getting on board. The embarkation process was super quick and easy. (We arrived at the pier around 1 btw)

boarding ship

Our cabin was 10800 a mini-suite with balcony and it was juuuuust a hair bigger than the balconies we normally get on Royal Caribbean. The bathroom was cuter though. This was the first time we had a room that accommodated 4 and the kids LOVED the murphy bed thingy that came down from the ceiling.

cruise cabin

Kai slept on bottom bunk, and Ro slept up top. John and I shared the king bed (not pictured). Everything I (over)packed fit nicely in the closets and drawers and our empty suitcases fit under the bed easily…with space left over for the kids to play under there as well. The balcony was standard/small with 2 chairs and a mini table just big enough for a couple cups of coffee and maybe a bowl of fruit.

kids on cruise ship balcony

The ship was big and beautiful!  It was sparkley! The Escape is the newest ship in the Norwegian fleet and has so much to offer for any style of cruiser. I met a lot of solo travelers on board. NCL has studio cabins to accommodate 1 person traveling alone. We loved all the random places to just chill out and hang as a family or solo. The coffee (and cupcake) shoppe saw us a few times a day. There was a mall on board for anything you want, and a great photo gallery to check out all the shots taken of you while on board. I loved how grand some of the touches were.

norwegian escape

As a family with two little littles we were excited to see all the family focused events. We took part in the family dinner which had face painting, build your own cupcakes, balloon animals, and hoola hooping. We didn’t attend the shows but we heard there were lots of clean comedians and shows. (There are adult-only options as well.) We made use of the gym, gym classes, mini golf, ropes course, all the slides, the pool, and the kids water park area.

gym class ncl escape

Though poorly attended, the total body conditioning class was great (and instructor was a hottie) and had me sore the next day. The gym facilities were sparkling clean, smelled great (not sweaty), and was a hair cooler than other indoor spaces on the ship. It was large enough to accommodate several cruisers at once, but I never saw it even 1/2 full on the times I went to work out.

norwegian escape mini golf   family dinner party norwegian escape

The kids loved the ropes course more than I expected. Kaya was the smallest one to do it, and she wasn’t afraid after her first few steps. She and Ro even ziplined like pros. Unfortunately, John and I didn’t make it on the adult ropes course. But next time….

norwegian escape kids ropes course

Some disappointments outside of service, were the library. We are used to grabbing a book at random, and on our last cruise with Ro we got a little pile of books to read to him during the week. This library was all locked up with random open hours for taking books out. We didn’t make use of the adult-only zone Spice H20 but I visited and it was lovely…though only a hair quieter than the main pool area…which was SUPER loud at all times and always had a million towels on chairs and nowhere to sit. The itinerary dragged a bit as well, but that’s not a big deal. We’ll choose a different itinerary layout in the future.

on board norwegian escape

We enjoyed most of the meals we ate. There are 4 restaurants and the buffet included in your cruise price, and then there are a la carte restaurants and cover charge restaurants. We mostly took the kids to dinner at the buffet, then dropped them to the kids club, then we had a grown up dinner at one of the included restaurants. We tried one a la carte: Pinchos Tapas restaurant (so good!) and Moderno Churrascarria because: meat. (Also really delicious) If you’re not familiar, Churrascaria is that Brazialian style of restaurant where you have your apps at a deliicous buffet, and then you start getting bombarded with various grilled meats brought over in never ending succession and carved at your table until you tell them to stop. (John’s heaven.) Service was a mixed bag. Some folks were great and some looked like they’d rather be anywhere but here.


Roey’s Buffet Plate

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Our ports of call were St Thomas, Nassau and Tortola. In St. Thomas we stayed on board and enjoyed having the ship all to ourselves. We used the empty pool and play ground without fighting for a sunbed, we enjoyed the restaurants with no wait and the buffet with no lines. (We stayed on board the Majesty of the Seas when it was in the private island last year, it was the best decision ever.)

st thomas from balcony

In Tortola we took an excursion through Norwegian. We booked a tour that took us through the mountains of Tortola and to the 2nd highest point on the island. We then took the winding tour back down the mountains and to the beautiful Cane Bay beach.

dani tortola

It was informative and fun thanks to our tour guide, Henry. I’m surprised at how well the kids did on the jitney tour. Only one meltdown to speak of:

kaya cry

In Nassau we spent the day at Atlantis thanks to some blogger perks. I have a full recap/review coming, but I gotta tell you, I LOVED that place and so did the kids. John even said he wants to come back to spend a few days there. Atlantis just had so much to do for kids and adults and it was gorgeous!

atlantis dig atlantis with kids

We found ourselves doing a lot of comparing to Royal Caribbean as it’s what we’ve cruised together on 4 out of 5 times before this one. A few things were better on Norwegian, some weren’t and a few were equal. Overall we had an amazing time. All four of us! We are already talking about when we’ll be able to fit in our “annual family cruise” in next year’s travel calendar.

family silly kids

Any questions about the ship or cruising in general, please send em my way! I could talk about cruising all day long.

The “How to Cruise with Kids” series continues next with “All About the Kids Clubs”