Cruise Control! Highlights From My 11th Caribbean Cruise

swinging into the summer

swinging into the summer

Cruisin’ is made for love
I love it when we’re Cruisin’ together
— Smokey Robinson

In June, I took my 11th Caribbean cruise (and my 10th cruise with Carnival Cruise Line) with my family. Since we first set sail in 2008, my mummy, brother Keion, and I have made cruising an annual family vacation; and, all together we have visited 20 different islands and countries in the Caribbean Sea.

This year we sailed for 7 days on the Carnival Conquest ship from Miami to Grand Cayman (Cayman Islands), Roatan Island (Honduras), Belize City (Belize), and Cozumel (Mexico). This cruise was our first repeat. We took the same cruise in 2011; however, our experience at each destination was completely different.

This time around we tried new things and had new adventures as a family. My brother rode a jet ski for the first time on Grand Cayman’s blue-tiful Seven Mile Beach (while my mother and I watched safely from the shore). We toured Roatan Island and learned about the history and culture of the Garifuna people, who are the descendants of afro-indigeneous peoples from the Caribbean island of St. Vincent who were exiled to Honduras in the 18th century, went cave-tubing in the Belizean rainforest, and visited the Ancient City of Tulum in Mexico and learned about the Mayan civilization that once lived there.

I could go on and on about my fun family cruise vacation, but I would rather show you rather than tell you.


The Food & Drinks

eating mangoes in Roatan


Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands

all smiles on Seven mile beach

all smiles on Seven mile beach


Roatan Island, Honduras


Belize City, Belize

cave tubing in belize


Tulum (via Cozumel, Mexico)

Ancient City of Tulum


Priceless Moments on the Fun Ship

1st formal night
formal night with mummy

Have you ever been on a cruise? What were you favorite places?

7 Tips For First-Time Cruisers

Have you ever been on a cruise?

I love cruises. My family and I started cruising in 2009, and since then we have been going every year. We started out with a short 3-day trip to the Bahamas from Miami on Norwegian Cruise Line and moved on to longer cruises on Carnival Cruise Line. To date, our longest cruise to date was a 8-day cruise to Turks & Caicos, Dominican Republic, Curacao, and Aruba from Miami on Carnival.

Now, as of this month, we have taken our 11th cruise (10th with Carnival) and are officially OG Cruisers!!! To commemorate this travel milestone, I have created 7 tips for those who are planning to take their first cruise or who are curious about cruising as a travel option.

Travel Guide: Packing Tips For Over-packers

In a previous post, I gave y'all tips on how to fly cheaply with Spirit Airlines. Now I got some packing tips for all of the over-packers (and undercover over-packers) out there.

If you are not sure whether or not you are an over-packer, take a few seconds to answer the following questions:

1) Do you own a luggage scale?

2) Do you pack items (just in case) that you know your destination will have or provide?

3) Do you know which items to remove if you bag is a pound or two overweight at the airport?

4) Do you pack a different pair of shoes for each day of your trip?

5) Do you find yourself packing and repacking (and packing and repacking) the night (and/or morning) before your trip?

If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, YOU ARE AN OVER-PACKER.

Don't worry! I am not judging you. I am a recovering over-packer and I am here to be your sponsor. In the video below, I provide my tips on how to evolve from an over-packer into a smart packer.

Martinique: My First Solo International Trip


If there is one thing that you need to know about me, it is that I love to travel. I like discovering new places and experiencing new cultures, especially the food. My top bucket list item is to travel to 6 out of the 7 continents before age 50---thus far I have traveled to North America, Asia, and Africa (note: Antartica is not on my list because I do not like the cold). 

Out of all the places I have been, the Caribbean has been alway, and will always be, my favorite. I am a Caribbean girl. My parents immigrated to the US from the small island of Dominica. I spent the first five years of my life traveling between my mother's home in Boston and my grandparents' home in Dominica. The Caribbean is home. 

So, when I saw this super sale from Boston to Martinique from Norwegian Airlines, with prices as low as $49 one way for direct flights, I could not pass it up. Plus, I had never been to Martinique. I was not able to take advantage of the unbelievably low (low low low) $49 flight because of my class schedule, but I was still able to get a great price--$188 for roundtrip ticket for Sunday, March 13 to Wednesday, March 16. 

If you have never heard of Martinique, it is a French island located in the Caribbean Sea, south of Dominica and north of St. Lucia. The capital is Fort-de-France. The island features black and white sand beaches, rainforests, and a volcano, Mt. Pelee. Once a longtime colony of France, the national language is French, and the culture, food, and architecture are mix of French and West Indian. 

Highlights from My Trip: 

The Hotel

I was lucky to find a reasonably priced 4-star hotel in the capital Fort-de-France on Simon Hotel is a brand new contemporary hotel, featuring modern furnishings, free wifi, a bar/restaurant, clean, spacious rooms, English-speaking staff, and views of the city and the sea. It is also within walking distance of restaurants, air conditioning, shops, local attractions (e.g., the public garden La Savane and Fort St. Louis), the cruise ship terminal, and the ferry (which provides easy access to the southern beach town of Les Trois-Ilets). 

hotel entrance 

hallway of rooms

view of the hotel from the ferry

The Food & Drinks

I am a foodie and I love to drink. My favorite thing to do when I travel is to try the local food. Here are some of my favorites from my trip. 

First night, I tried a local ti punch, which is a rum based mixed drink, popular in the French-speaking Caribbean islands of Martinique, Guadeloupe, Haiti, and French Guiana. Funny thing is when I saw it on the menu, I thought it was rum punch, a staple of the English-speaking Caribbean islands.  To my surprise, the waitress brought out a glass of rum, a bowl of brown sugar, and a lime wedge. As you can expect, this drink is STRONG. If you are not a drinker, skip it. But if you are a drinker, start your stay in Martinique with this local drink.

My first full day in Martinique I took the ferry over to Pointe du Bout in Les Trois-Ilets. I spent some time on the beach and then walked over to Havana Cafe in Creole Village. Food looked good on the menu. Unfortunately (for me), the staff did not speak English and I do not read or speak French; and so, I ended up picking my food based on the pictures on the menu and my rudimentary translation of the menu (thanks to 6 years of latin classes at my high school alma mater). With all of that said, I ordered th 1/4lb rotisserie chicken and french fries and Copa Cabana Sun cocktail and they were delicious. Note: if I could read the menu, I would have ordered my favorite, codfish fritter, which I learned too late is "les accras de morue" in French.

My last full day in Martinique I took the ferry to Anse Mitan in Les Trois-Ilets. I hit the beach for an hour and then walked over to the beachside restaurant Le Barracuda for lunch. Luckily, the restaurant had staff that spoke English and a bilingual French/English menu (thank goodness!!!). Without hesitation, I ordered the codfish fritters, stuffed crab, french fries, and a rum punch. Honestly, I was not a fan of their codfish fritters. It tasted more like oil and batter than codfish. But, the stuffed crab, french fries, and rum punch were so delicious. Highly recommend those three items if you find yourself at Le Barracuda.

The Beaches

The main reason I love the Caribbean is because I love the beach.  I am beach baby. A water sign. A summer baby. I was meant to be near water.

Day one, I headed across the waterway on the ferry to Pointe du Bout beach. I really like this beach. It is located a short walk from the ferry dock. Pointe du Bout beach is a large beach separated into three distinct areas, one part is next to a hotel resort, a middle part that has a small pool feeling, and a third part that faces toward Fort-de-France. I spent the majority of my time lounging in the middle part. The water is very calm and a nice cool temperature that warms up quickly. This beach is not ideal for sun-worshipers/bathers because the sand is a hard and rough and the area is small. But for someone like me who just wants to relax in calm, shallow water, this beach is a great place to spend a day.

Day two, I took the ferry from Fort-de-France to Anse Mitan. The ferry to this beach is bit longer than the one to Pointe du Bout because it stops at Anse a L 'Ane before it reaches Anse Mitan. This beach is significantly different than Pointe du Bointe. The ferry drops you off right at the beach, which is covered in soft sand. The beach is long and features different water activities, including jet skis, water trampolines, and dolphin watch tours. The water is clear and perfectly cool. I stayed in the water for a complete hour, relaxing and observing the scene. I highly recommend this beach. Wish I could have stayed longer. 

Overall, I had a great mini-vacation in Martinique. If you want to know more about this French island or travel experience, comment below. 

Spring Break is the Right Time to Travel to Somewhere New

It is officially spring break time. As a college professor, I look forward to this break because it not only gives me the opportunity to re-energize for the rest of the semester, but also gives me the chance to travel.

Last spring break, I traveled to Japan for the first time and fell in love with Japanese culture and food. This year I am taking a shorter (but much needed) trip to the French Caribbean island of Martinique. It is my first time visiting the country and I can't wait to explore. I got a round trip ticket for $188 (total!!!!!) from Norwegian Airlines.

The airline has been having a sale from a few major US cities to the French Caribbean islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe. One-way tickets are as low as $49. Yes, I said $49 for a direct flight from Boston/New York/Baltimore to the Caribbean. Generally, a roundtrip ticket to this part of Caribbean is between $600-$800. The price was way too attractive to ignore.

I will post more information about my trip once I touch down on the beautiful island. In the meantime, check out my video on why everyone needs to travel.