travel

Hotel Review: Rodeway Inn and Suites, Fort Lauderdale, FL

Happy Sunday, friends! Here is my overdue review of the hotel that I used when I went on my cruise in October.

Prior to, and immediately after, my cruise, I stayed at the Rodeway Inn and Suites Fort Lauderdale Airport and Port Everglades Cruise Port Hotel (now that’s a mouthful!). I selected this hotel because it offered quite a few attractive amenities. Firstly, it was close to the airport and featured a free shuttle service. This service picked up and dropped off guests at both the airport and the cruise port. As someone that has paid for several shuttles to get around before boarding a cruise ship, I appreciated the complimentary service provided by the Rodeway Inn.

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Secondly, the hotel had a complimentary breakfast for guests. The breakfast was available for several hours each day, so it serviced both the early birds as well as the slightly late risers. The offerings weren’t luxe – it was just a step up from a continental breakfast – but it was nice to get some fresh fruit, pastries and coffee before heading out for the day.

Thirdly, the hotel offered a very reasonably priced early check-in option. Since we got to Florida well in advance of the standard check-in time, it was nice to pay the small fee and get into our rooms early. Finally, the hotel had a laundry room on site, as well as a gift shop and restaurant. With so many of amenities at the hotel, I truly didn’t need to go anywhere else to get the things that I needed during my stay.

Now, here’s my review of the staff and room.

The staff was excellent! The ladies at the front desk were all friendly, professional and thorough. They made sure that we knew everything we needed to have a comfortable stay and a seamless transit to the ship and airport. If only all hotel staff would be so spectacular!

The room was clean and adequately sized. I especially liked the fact that the room did not have carpeted floors: while most hotels do an excellent job of keeping carpets clean, I’ve seen a few that made me cringe. The floors at the Rodeway Inn were spotless. The bathrooms, too, were immaculately cleaned. I breathed a deep sigh of relief when I saw how much care had gone into preparing our room.

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In a nutshell, I enjoyed my stay and I will return. The convenience of a complimentary shuttle, combined with great service and a good breakfast, are fantastic reasons to return!

travel

2019 Travel Plans: Looking Back, Looking Forward

Well, as 2018 winds down, I can comfortably say that I’m done traveling for the year. I don’t anticipate going anywhere new until next calendar year, but boy, what a fun year this has been!

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From my trip to Kenya, to road trips to Philadelphia and North and South Carolinas, to my cruise last month, I’ve been a busy girl. And 2019 shows no signs of me slowing down!

I’m finalizing a few details on a late winter trip to San Juan, as well as a late spring/early summer trip to Paris. I was toying around with the notion of attending a very pricey and exclusive class next spring, but I’d rather spend my money on transformative or “bucket list” travel. The class can wait!

Next falls looks like it may include another family cruise and, if not, I’ll be in London for a few days to attend an event I’ve been eyeing. I’m also looking into some additional travel to the Pacific Rim: I haven’t decided on a country yet, but I feel like this region is calling me, so we’ll see where my hankering takes me.

I have to finish reviewing my cruise travel for you all, but once that’s done, I’ll be laser-focused on my 2019 plans. I’m so excited!!!

I hope you all are having a relaxing Monday and an easy transition into this post-Thanksgiving work week. Take care, and I’ll talk to you all tomorrow!

 

international · travel

Cruise 2018: Dining on the Sea

If you all didn’t know, I love to dine out. I actually think I like eating out a bit too much, which is why I’ve cut down significantly over the past few months. That being said, I still got excited at the dining options available on my latest cruise.

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The Allure of the Seas (a Royal Caribbean ship) has multiple restaurants on board, as well as several cafes, wine bars, and snack bars. My family and I dined regularly at the main dining room at American Icon Grille. This restaurant  published a luxe menu every evening, featuring various appetizers, entrees and desserts. The restaurant changed up the menus every day, so there was always something new to try. There are also a few other themed restaurants, such as Silk (Asian foods) and The Grande (American foods).

KODAK Digital Still Camera

A typical breakfast that I’d order from room service

There is also a buffet located near the pools (the Windjammer Cafe), which has a few of the food items featured in American Icon Grille but also other dishes that aren’t available in any of the dining rooms. To be honest, I had the best time dining at the Windjammer in the evenings. The buffet had a different chilled fruit soup every night which were delicious and I could literally eat every day without getting tired of them (think the world’s smoothiest, most delicious smoothies . . . yes, it was as tasty as it sounds).

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A menu from one evening at American Icon Grille

Oooh, not to mention, there is a Sorrento’s pizza, which makes fresh pizza until 3 AM. Who doesn’t love pizza? And the room service has lots of delicious fresh options available all day long.

I won’t continue to talk about the foods: let’s see some pictures, shall we?

Lobster bisque and Tiger shrimp

Left: Shrimp ceviche; Top right: Shrimp and potato salad; Bottom right: Lobster

Desserts!!!

Enjoy your Friday, and I’ll talk to you all tomorrow!

international · travel

Fall Vacation Part 1 – Cruise Overview

Happy Monday, friends! Today’s post will be an abbreviated one, because I’m going to flesh out some more of the details over the next week or so.

As you all recall, I just returned from a cruise. I’ve cruised many times before: please don’t ask me to count them, because I can’t LOL! It’s something that my family enjoys doing, so I participate because I enjoy spending time with them. We have done several Caribbean cruises and this most recent cruise also took us back to the Caribbean.

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This isn’t a photo from our ship, but the sunset looks so much like the ones that I saw!

We cruised with Royal Caribbean on the ship, Allure of the Seas. The ship is large, beautiful and has lot of activities for all age ranges. Believe it or not, one of my favorite things to do on the ship was get cotton candy on the boardwalk area. There are several videos you can view, if you want to see the ship and its features.

We visited Nassau, Bahamas; Cozumel, Mexico; Roatan, Honduras; and Costa Maya, Mexico. We cruised for 7 days, and we sailed out of Fort Lauderdale, Florida. My family has found it prudent to arrive one day prior to sailing and leave one day after arriving back, just to have a bit of a travel “cushion” in case there are any unexpected delays. So, I also have a post reviewing the hotel where we stayed coming up pretty soon.

I tried to stick with my IF eating plan but I gave up two days into my vacation! There were so many great dining options that I have to discuss those in a separate post.

 

international · travel

I’m Back!!!

cruise

Yes, I’m back from my cruise and I have SO many photos and stories to tell! I knew I wouldn’t be able to give “real time” updates while I was on the ship (I go on the cruise to disconnect, not to maintain my regular routine!) so I made sure that I scheduled some posts for you while I was away.

I always love my time on the water, and I’m really excited to share this experience with you all. Today, however, I’m winding down and catching up on my emails and all the things that happened while I was away. I hope you all have been doing well!

Enjoy your Monday, and I’ll be back tomorrow. Adios!

 

luxury · travel

Fine Jewelry at Freeman’s

Freeman’s Auction has done it again. You may recall that I attended my first Freeman’s Auction a few months ago, when I saw a brooch that I wanted to add to my collection. I got a catalog from them a few days ago, letting me know about an upcoming fine jewelry auction.

Guys, I’m thinking about making the trip.

I generally avoid going anywhere north of Washington, DC from the months of November to April (I hate the cold) but I may put my usual protocol aside to do this trip. Besides, I loved the Philadelphia Museum of Art and a return trip would be awesome.

As far as the auction goes, I liked a few pieces in the catalog but I wasn’t struck by any lot in particular. However, I was much more impressed when I checked out the full list of jewelry on the Freeman’s website. My favorite is this wheat stalk brooch. It’s 18 karat gold, simple but unique. How many wheat brooches have you seen recently? Exactly. I’m sure there are only, like, 2 of them in existence. And I’d love to own this one.

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This gold pillbox is also going to be auctioned by Freeman’s and it’s so beautiful and vintage: I can’t stand it! It’s also 18 karat gold and has a Greek key-like pattern on the outer edge, and concentric circles on the top. No one has elegant holders for their pills anymore: how lovely is this?

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The Freeman’s Fine Jewelry Auction will be held on November 6, 2018 in Philadelphia, PA at 12PM EST. I may be there, so if you decide to make the trip, make sure that you say hello if you see me!

style · travel

Cruise Ready – How I Pack for a Seven-Day Trip

As I look ahead to my Caribbean cruise, my mind comes down to the one question that matters most of all:

What will I wear?

Now, I’ve packed for many (MANY!) trips over the years so I’m a bit of a packing pro. However, I don’t think I’ve ever written down my luggage logic. Until today.

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I’m going to break down exactly what I pack for 8 days. Warning: there are some pieces that will be worn more than once. Fortunately, the ship has a laundry room, as does the hotel that I’m staying in when I return from the cruise. Also, the ship has laundry and dry cleaning service, so you can leave the washing to someone else, if you’d like.

The outfits I’m packing are as follows:

  • 2 “anytime” dresses
  • 1 formal/semi-formal dress
  • 3 tops
  • 1 pair of shorts
  • 1 skirt or 1 pair of capris (haven’t decided which one will make the cut yet)
  • 1 set of pajamas
  • 1 swimsuit
  • 2 sarongs/pareos
  • 10 sets of undergarments (bras and panties); 4 pairs of socks
  • 1 workout ensemble
  • 1 pair of sneakers
  • 1 pair of heels

It’s important to remember that I’m wearing an outfit onto the ship, so I’m not counting that ensemble in the items above. For my 1st day/boarding the ship ensemble, I’ll be wearing:

  • long pants
  • blouse
  • ballet flats
  • small scarf

I want to keep it simple, but the truth is, it’s easy to run out of things to wear when you are doing a capsule wardrobe. Just because I’m keeping it simple doesn’t mean I want to be bored when I get dressed. I also don’t want to have to wear the same exact outfit 4+ times before I get home . . .

I’ve usually consulted The Vivienne Files for help with planning my travel wardrobe. I found a cruise-specific capsule wardrobe that may be of interest to someone. While I wouldn’t wear the colors and pieces specifically included, it still provides a good visual of what kind of items would give you the most versatility when packing for a cruise.

That’s my list for now. I’m actively trying to see if I can pare it down even more. If I can, I’ll let you all know! How do you all pack for travel? Let me know in the comments below!