Winter Break and updates

I’ve been SWAMPED with work, classes at night and raising Sweetie Pie so I have not been blogging like I should!

We don’t have plans for the 2 weeks we are out for Christmas and I REALLY wanted to find something, but nothing was pulling me in at the time. I’m not realy to fly over the Atlantic again. Seriously, I must have been so excited to survive 8 hrs on a plane! LOL!

I did decide we’ll go to Denver for our winter break. I’ve been really wanting to go to Colorado. I wanted to ride the train, but we aren’t out that long. LOL! I’m looking into The Curtis but not sure yet. I’m 75% sure I’ll choose this hotel. The rooms are themed and it would be quite interesting to stay in the Barbie rooms!

I also got our flights there and back pretty cheap—$285 round trip total for the 2 of us. I had to jump on it. I just hope it snows while we are there. February should yield snow…at least I hope so! Sweetie Pie is looking for it.

April cruise- I have $64 left on our cruise! I’ve paid over $700 so far with my apps, which will mean I paid $528 of my own money for a 3 night Disney cruise when I finish this last amount. I joined an Ibotta group and my savings are exploding! Yes!

Summer- Stillno idea on what to do this summer. I’d love to stay somewhere for a couple of weeks, but not sure if that would be possible. Maybe one day!

 

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Woodruff Arts Center- Family Fun

On Sundays, the Woodruff Arts Center has free family fun activities! We completed a mask and tried out some Shakespeare dancing. We only watched the acting classes! We also went to the High Museum of Art’s Sifly Piazza to see the Merry Go Zoo. These things were art pieces that can move, so cool! There was also a playroom for 0 to 3 years old based off of the book, Beautiful Blackbird. They also do theater for the young (0 to 5)and the play that month was of course, Beautiful Blackbird. I think each month the playroom is changed to the current play. Very interesting and connects a lot!

Day 4, Dr.Seuss breakfast

We woke up to Havana and would leave port at 11:30 am. We didn’t plan to go anywhere on shore as we had the Dr.Seuss breakfast.

We made reservations and paid the $5 each fee for the breakfast. We went to the dining room and it was decorated so cute!

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I had the waffles and sausage and Sweetie Pie had the stack of pancakes, which I forgot to take a picture of!

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There was an awesome menu as well!

We also got a parfait just because! It was pretty good surprisingly!

After breakfast, we spent the day at the pool. Havana tired us out so we  didn’t have energy to do much. Sweetie pie loved the kids pool, so I spent that time laying in the sun and taking a dip in the adult pool when I got super hot!

 

This was the day we arrived in Havana! We pulled in about 11:30 and EVERYONE came out to look at it! I’ve been on cruises before but I have NEVER seen the crew come out and look! It was Carnival’s Inaugural cruise, so I should have expected it.

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We looked out and went down. Since we had our own excursion booked, we had to get a letter and they would call us to get of the ship. That was at 11. Since it was new, they said it would take a few hours to get off the ship. We went to the promenade deck to sit and look at Havana. Our tour was at 1:30 so I was already worrying. I logged into my email to email the company I used, so hopefully they would hold our car.

At about 12:30, they said anyone can start coming down. We get down to get off and there are barely any people down there. I know it was the first time, but come on! We get down and go through immigration. My mom and sister go through theirs and my daughter and I go through ours. People said they were unfriendly, not really, just more, I’m here to do my job. I was hoping the people would be like the French, keep to themselves, not talk much….WRONG! LOL! They are VERY friendly! Not that they French are, just more reserved.

After immigration, we went to exchange our money, a very easy task! We got our money and went down stairs. I was still worried our car was gone and we would have to figure out the hop on and hop off bus.

 

We pass through the little gate and a man call my name! Our car! Thank goodness! Whew! I was too nervous with my mom AND daughter! So glad he made it and knew it was us! He pulled around the car, a black 1959 Impala and we rode off! Our driver told us all about the different places we went like Ghandi park and Revolution square. We also saw the Russian and North Korea embassies as well.0630171528_resized0630171644a_resized0630171657_resized0630171735_resized

 

We saw the park where most people go, Fusterlandia the mosaic house that’s like a neighborhood project and Christopher Columbus graveyard which is really big. He told us that there was a woman who died in childbirth, but when they dug up her grave, the baby was in her arms. They say women who go to her grave are able to have babies after. Very cool story.

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After we did our 4 hour tour, I took my mom and daughter back to the ship and my sister and I went back on the island to eat and get some food and drinks.

 

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Afterwards we got back on the ship and looked at Havana, it was beautiful!

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We were supposed to have Cuban dancers perform on board, but they were denied boarding, so there was other entertainment. We just played mini golf and relaxed with ice cream….as well as danced on deck to the Cuban music!

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Carnival Paradise cruise to Cuba, Day 2

We woke up the next morning and ate breakfast. The parking deck wasn’t far away. I didn’t park at the official pier because it was more expensive. I went with The Parking Doctors. The parking was $42 for 4 days. So glad I went with them. They had a shuttle as well! We took a 5 minute drive over.

Once we got to the ship, there was Cuban music playing in the check in area. It was awesome! Apparently there were cigars given out, but before we got there, not that we smoke, but my uncle does. I could have taken it to him! LOL! Check in was also easy. As we waited in line, a lady checked to make sure we had our visas and pulled them out. She laughed and said “This is the person in charge of the trip right?” I can’t help it. It’s fun planning trips.

Sweetie Pie at the check in desk with her travel bag.

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We had our VISAs all filled out (with a copy at home for our records for 5 years) and they took our picture. The picture was so when we scanned our sign and sail card, it would show up when we got on and off the ship. We got our cards and went onboard! Sweetie Pie and Sweetie Pie’s grandma’s first time on a ship! AND Grandma’s FIRST time using her passport!

 

We up to eat some lunch and Sweetie and and I went to the pool. It was HOT as heck! I swear, I changed into my swimsuit and could barely do it. You ever had sweat dripping and tried to change into a swimsuit?? It was hell! There is a child pool, hot tub and adult pool at the back of the ship. I was so glad for the children’s pool, but it was so damn hot, I had to lay out and go back and forth to the adult pool to get in and cool off.

 

 

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Later we met up with my sister and mom and went to our cabin. It was ready! Sweetie Pie loved it. LOL! We had 2 lower bunks and 2 uppers that come out of the ceiling. My sister and I used the uppers. It wasn’t horrible for her, but for me it was! The bed was fine, just climbing the ladder. I decided I was too damn old for this and from now on, we would do an ocean view or move up. I’d go to 2 rooms, but with 2 rooms, the 3rd and 4th people are not cheaper. As it is, cruise fare and port fees for Sweetie Pie and my mom were about $250 for each of them with fees included. I refuse to pay an adult price for Sweetie Pie!

The total price was $1768 because the price kept dropping and we got credit for it on our on board account. That’s a good price, but we did have to buy visas for$75 JUST to get into Cuba. Other than the visas, an inside room on Carnival for 4 people for Thursday-Monday, that price isn’t bad. It was the inaugural sailing, so the price was a bit high. LOL!

 After dinner, we visited Camp Carnival. Sweetie Pie refused to go in there. The ages are separated with 2 to 5,  6 to 11, 12 to 14 and 16 to 18. Sweetie Pie is 5 and saw the toddlers in that room and took off! Next time will be better and she won’t be in “the baby room” as she said. Seriously, it was geared towards toddlers.Sweetie Pie could have read books to those kids! LOL!

She loved Mini golf!

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As well as looking at the ocean with juice!

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She also herself a note!

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Carnival Paradise Cruise to Cuba, Day 1

Day 1

 

We drove to Tampa for our cruise on the Carnival Paradise to Cuba. It was a 6 hour drive, so we left on that Wednesday. We stopped several times as we were super tired and Sweetie Pie had to use the restroom.

 

Sweetie Pie enjoyed looking at the different things related to attractions in Florida. I was excited about the astronaut myself!

We got to Tampa and checked into our room at the Holiday Inn near the airport. The staff was friendly and Sweetie Pie enjoyed the pool,but the housekeeping left a lot to be desired. Two things I travel with- Clorox wipes and Lysol spray. Yes, they make the small Lysol sprays that are able to be carried on a plane!

After  dinner, we went out to one of the bays and walked around. We saw tons ofcrabson the trees and collected shells. Sweetie Pie makes YouTube videos, unlisted, so we did a few of those out here. She loved it!

We swam, went to dinner and then got our stuff ready to board our ship the next day. I was nervous as this was my mom’s first cruise. I had no idea what to expect for her!

Cuba Excursion

I didn’t want to take an excursion from the ship because they were ridiculously over priced. The cheapest was $89 for each person! That would end up being $356 for all of us for the old car tour.

Yes, we are guaranteed not to be left if we book through the ship, but we are docked overnight, so we are good! My sister and I are even thinking about going out that night!

I booked through Holiplus-Hotels, houses, car rentals and excursions in Cuba and we got the same tour for $128 for ALL of us! I’m sure the price from the cruise line is a mark up for them to get money as well.

I’m so excited! I can’t wait! After getting that situated, I can relax….and think about if I want to order this new luggage from Groupon!