|A beach is lovely as an alternative to shoveling snow|
|Jake and I putting our feet in the Caribbean at Aruba|
|Our home away from home for 11 days|
If you have the option of using Southwest Airlines, take it. Your bags fly for free and you have the option to change your flights without penalty, so if a date changes or another fare becomes available that is cheaper, you can change it. On a cruise, you can pack lots of stuff. I normally take one small bag for traveling anywhere else, but this time I brought two filled bags. They usually have a formal night so you'll need room for extra shoes, suit coat, fancy dress, etc. Remember when you're browsing flights to include another $50 in the price to check bags, if you use any other airlines. And if you're using a comparison flight website like Kayak or expedia, Southwest does not show up. It can make a difference. The downside to Southwest is that it's sort of a free for all to get seats. They are not assigned. You check in up to 24 hours in advance and whoever checks in first gets a higher number so they take priority over people who check in later...or worse yet, wait until the airport. I always set an alarm exactly 24 hours ahead of the flight so I can be among the first to check in and then won't get stuck in a middle seat unless I choose it. You all end up on the plane. I guess it's just a psychological thing getting to make choices.
Winter is a big time for cruising the Caribbean. The worst of the hurricane and storm season is over. Weather is warmer than most of the USA, and you can find a variety of cruise lengths and destinations. Selecting a cruise line is dependent on what you want to find onboard. We've cruised with luxury cruises, Disney, Princess, Caribbean, etc. Each have their own personality. Look at photos and a listing of amenities for the ships. Be sure there are adequate entertainment options for what you enjoy. The larger ships have water slides and rock climbing walls on deck, along with a shopping mall at the center. The smaller ships often have smaller bars and no large theater performances. If it's Disney, expect children to crowd out the swimming pool. Read reviews of cruise lines, destinations, and ships at Cruise Critic. People who have been there before can give some great tips!
|Shows include magicians, theater productions, or a single entertainer|
|Outdoor movies, burgers, fruity drinks and a pool await you!|
|Lobster at one of the private restaurants onboard. Worth the extra $25 for dinner!|
|A zipline canopy tour of a rainforest was a fun option|
|Local tour guides speak your language and share interesting stories|
Do you love to Snapchat, Facebook, Skype, etc? This will be very costly if you want to use the ship's WIFI. Buy a packaged plan from the ship or check with your cellphone provider to see if you can add cell coverage. I know a man who came back to a $10,000 bill for using the ship's cell system to check his email and Facebook. Finding internet in ports is very difficult and it is often slow to download and drops frequently. Expect to be out of touch for the duration of your trip. It's good to really get away once in awhile. I hope you do it! I'd love to hear about your cruising!
|We were thrilled to find WIFI in a Dunkin Donuts at Nassau. The place was packed with phone checking tourists!|