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Cat in the Hat for President on Board the Carnival Pride

About a month after returning from a cruise on the Carnival Sunshine (more on that later) our family was invited to visit the Carnival Pride in Baltimore, MD for a day of fun, food, friends and fanfare.Carnival Dr Seuss Breakfast, Cat in the Hat for President #CatintheHat4Prez

We were invited to help Cat in the Hat win the Presidential Race along with Thing 1 and Thing 2 as his running mates.  In case you  haven’t noticed it’s an election year. You and your family may have noticed some commercials on television.

Along with his recent presidential announcement, The Cat in the Hat released a new book, One Vote, Two Votes, I Vote, You Vote. Perfect timing don’t you think? This book is meant to teach children why we vote, how we vote and who can vote.  Of course this is done with the whimsy and fun that other Dr. Seuss books brings to childhood literature. Carnival Cruise Lines wants kids to know they have a voice and it should be heard loud and clear.  Maybe this is why Carnival is called the Fun Ship. The kids get exactly what they want and end up having an amazing vacation.

Kid Friendly Cruising with Carnival is easy with all the amenities on board to keep kids occupied for days.

  • Camp Carnival, Circle C & Club O2
  • Seuss at Sea
  • Sweet Spot
  • Waterworks
  • Hasbro the Game Show
  • SportsSquare
  • Dive in Movies
  • Mini Golf
  • and so much more on and off the boat

After a loud parade led by Schwartz, an amazing brunch of Green Eggs and Ham, Froot Loop French Toast, some photo ops and chatting with old and new friends we were given the freedom to roam the boat and see how it measures up to the other ships we’ve already seen.

Cat in the Hat for President on Carnival Pride #cruisingcarnival #catinthehat4prez Seuss at SeaCarnival Dr Seuss Breakfast, Cat in the Hat for President #CatintheHat4Prez Carnival Cruise Line Dr Seuss Breakfast, Froot Loop French Toast

The Carnival Pride has recently gone through a renovation to include fan favorite dining/drinking options such as Guy Burger Joint, Red Frog Pub, Alchemy Bar, BlueIguana Cantina and more.  Carnival Pride in Baltimore Guys Burger Joint #cruisingcarnival Carnival Pride in Baltimore Blue Iguana Cantina Tacos

What I found was a very romantic feel as soon we got above the belly of the boat. I’m not sure what was new but I fell in love with the lighting, the bold furnishings and all the hallways.  Those gave a secret, tucked away feeling.Carnival Pride Pool #cruisingcarnivalCarnival Pride #cruisingcarnivalCarnival Pride #cruisingcarnivalCarnival Pride #cruisingcarnivalCarnival Pride #cruisingcarnival

Overall we’ve decided that the Carnival Pride is the next ship we’re boarding for a cruise. We already love cruising and with the amenities added in recent years we know we’ll  have a wonderful time.

Follow us on Instagram to see more of this day and our recent cruise through the Caribbean, Melinda on Instagram and Rob on Instagram.

Carnival and Carrie Underwood Support Operation Homefront

You’ve heard me talk about Carnival Cruise in the past. While they are truly one of the best vacation adventures our family has taken they are also an amazing supporter for communities in need.  They recently announced an initiative with Carrie Underwood and Operation Homefront to help raise funds for military families.

During her The Storyteller Tour, Carrie Underwood will treat selected military families, chosen in partnership with Operation Homefront, to personal meet-and-greets 10 different concert appearances. The final stop in the cross-country Honor. Family. Fun. campaign will be New York City, where Carnival, Operation Homefront, and Underwood will treat hundreds of military families to a special concert aboard the new Carnival Vista at the Port of New York on November 4, 2016.

Driving the effort to raise funds for the cause, fans of Underwood, and of the program, will have the opportunity to donate by clicking on the “Donate Now” button on Carnival’s HonorFamilyFun page. Commemorative dog tags will also be available for purchase at merchandise stands at all Storyteller Tour stops as well as on board the fleet of Carnival ships with all proceeds going to Operation Homefront.

Carnival and Operation Homefront introduce Carrie Underwood Honor Family Fun

Carnival and Operation Homefront introduce Carrie Underwood Honor Family Fun

In the coming weeks, Carnival will launch a new shipboard military appreciation program. Each ship will host a special event on board to recognize active and retired military personnel and their families and will kick off with a welcome video featuring Carrie Underwood.

Finally, it was also revealed that Carrie Underwood will join the Carnival LIVE! roster of artists in early 2017 with further details to be announced at a later date.

2014 disclosure

Kid Friendly Cruising on Carnival #cruisingcarnival

Being miles and miles off shore on a cruise ship is one of the most exciting things to happen for my kids. They absolutely love cruising and have been lucky enough to have experienced it twice now.  I get asked a lot if cruising is truly a kid friendly vacation. My answer is an emphatic YES when it comes to Carnival Cruise Lines. Your kids will never be bored when it comes to #CruisingCarnival.Your Kids Will Never Be Bored on Carnival Cruise #cruisingcarnival #familytravel #kidfriendly #vacation

Camp Carnival

We were able to register them online so their information was on hand and name tags were ready. When we first boarded we had to hunt done the locations of camp so that when they were ready to go they knew where to go. Shaun was able to come and go as he pleased due to his age. That isn’t the rule but something we allowed him to do. Shae had to be checked in and out by an adult or Sabreena. This is a level of security that I appreciated. Even on the last day the camp counselors were checking out Sign and Sail cards as ID. You can never be too sure!

Camp Carnival is specially designed  with crafts, activities and games for different age groups: 2 to 5 years, 6 to 8 years, and 9 to 11 years. The daily schedules are available each night before we were able to check off all the things the kids wanted to participate in the next day.  This let the whole family plan their day around lounging, activities, spa treatments or even exploring the ports. Shae spent lots of her time working on crafts, playing board games and and painting. Shaun of course spent lots of time playing video game and EPIC rounds of dodge ball.  I was never worried about them having a good time while at camp.  Carnival also offers a Night Owls segment. From 10-12pm they had special activities and movies for the kids so the adults could plan time at the casino, clubs or just alone on the Serenity Lounge. Your Kids Will Never Be Bored on Carnival Cruise #cruisingcarnival #familytravel #kidfriendly #vacation

Games and Chess

This was one of the first things we noticed when coming aboard. Rob and Shaun like to play chess and little did we know Shae knew how to play too. The spent lots of time challenging each other and other kids with a game or two. Regular chess in the Library was a great way for Rob and Shae to spend a little quality time together too.
Your Kids Will Never Be Bored on Carnival Cruise #cruisingcarnival #familytravel #kidfriendly #vacation
Your Kids Will Never Be Bored on Carnival Cruise #cruisingcarnival #familytravel #kidfriendly #vacation

Video Arcade

We tried to stay as unplugged as possible while cruising but the flashing lights and high tech graphics drew the kids in for one night only.

Mini Golf

With 360 degree views of gorgeous blue ocean there was no wonder mini golf is a popular activity for the kids.  The wind can make it a little tricky sometimes but it also made it super fun when trying to race against it.Your Kids Will Never Be Bored on Carnival Cruise #cruisingcarnival #familytravel #kidfriendly #vacation

Circle C and Club O2

Hangout spots for the older kids too are needed when they need some downtime away from the family. Carnival organizes movies, club nights and activities for the big kids too.

Punchliner Comedy Club

The comedy club makes cruising truly family friendly by offering swear word free sets. Shae joined us for one show before heading off to her nightly activities.


This waterpark overlooking the ocean is a site to be seen. Kids can splash and slide while parents lounge on the sidelines.Your Kids Will Never Be Bored on Carnival Cruise #cruisingcarnival Your Kids Will Never Be Bored on Carnival Cruise #cruisingcarnival #familytravel #kidfriendly #vacation
Pool & Deck Parties

The Lido Deck is the party hub especially when there are Hairy Chest contests to watch and pools to jump in. The cruise director and their staff along with a DJ keep the people moving, laughing and entertained with goofy games and lively music. Your Kids Will Never Be Bored on Carnival Cruise #cruisingcarnival #familytravel #kidfriendly #vacation

Your Kids Will Never Be Bored on Carnival Cruise #cruisingcarnival #familytravel #kidfriendly #vacation

Stage Shows

Shae was called up on stage during the magic show but was so shy she couldn’t participate. During the next show and Hasbro, The Game Show she insisted on sitting farther away from the stage just so she could watch.

The list goes on and on with activities the kids and families can participate in each day. Don’t forget about the excursions available when you arrive at each Port of Call too. Those adventure are once in a lifetime. Know one thing, your kids will never be bored on a Carnival Cruise.
Your Kids Will Never Be Bored on Carnival Cruise #cruisingcarnival #familytravel #kidfriendly #vacation

Never Go Hungry On @CarnivalCruise #cruisingcarnival

2014 disclosureOne of things cruises are known for is the food. The unlimited food can be found not just on the Lido Deck but in the dining room on Carnival CruiseLines. Our recent trip in the Carnival Fantasy showed us that big time.

Within minutes of getting onboard we were on the Lido Deck grabbing some lunch waiting for our stateroom to be ready so we could shed of our 12 hours in the car grossness. The choices were simple; salads, burgers, dogs, chicken tender, veggies and stirfry. Never Go Hungry on @CarnivalCruise #cruisingcarnivalLet’s not forget about the 24 Soft Serve Ice Cream and Frozen Yogurt. That took just a few minutes to get into. It’s one of the things the kids remember them most. Oh and the 24-hour Pizza. The pizza was so good. I’m talking gourmet shop style with a thin chewy crust.

Never Go Hungry on @CarnivalCruise #cruisingcarnivalIn fact the Hotel Director, Alina, chatted long about it. She said she doesn’t even like pizza but was won over when Carnival came up with this recipe with special imported flour from Italy. We ate pizza everyday. It was our nighttime snack when the kids were done with camp and we were done with the Comedy Club. We took a walk to the Lido Deck and stood in long lines waiting for hot fresh pizza and ice cream.

Never Go Hungry on @CarnivalCruise #cruisingcarnival

Seaday Brunch was my favorite meal. We actually missed it the first morning I regret that so much. The menu items were a mix of decadent, homestyle and simple dishes. Shae wanted a simple bagel and cream cheese but was brought lox as an accompaniment. Instead of dismissing it she tried and of course liked it. Rob and Shaun were brought oatmeal while Sabreena chose cereal crusted french toast. I opted for an omelet filled with fresh veggies. The options were endless and delicious.Never Go Hungry on @CarnivalCruise #cruisingcarnival
Dinner was just as indulgent too. Our dining room staff was amazing. Gultekin (Glen), Wahyudi and Jewel anticipated our every need or want and didn’t hesitate to make each meal the best ever.

Never Go Hungry on @CarnivalCruise #cruisingcarnivalHow many servers have you seen cut your child’s food for them? And to think I thought I spoiled them at home.Never Go Hungry on @CarnivalCruise #cruisingcarnival
We sat at our table each night for dinner and our head waiter “Glen” always called out good evening Mr. & Mrs. Babiak which turned into a more comforting and friendly Mr. Robert and Mel. The kids were also greeted with smiles and favorite foods.Never Go Hungry on @CarnivalCruise #cruisingcarnival

To say we were doted on is an understatement. Some nights we were just brought appetizers “Glen” thought we would enjoy rather than wait for us to order. He also knew my kids like to experiment so when it came to more exotic dishes he made sure to bring them their own plate. This is Shae and Shae eating escargot.Never Go Hungry on @CarnivalCruise #cruisingcarnival
Next up were Frog Legs. They weren’t as big of a hit but they tried it because “Glen” and his crew gave us everything and more.Never Go Hungry on @CarnivalCruise #cruisingcarnival
I don’t know how other cruiselines handle their guests grumbling bellies but Carnival is all about filling them up with mouth-watering and gorgeous food.

Grand Turk Island #CruisingCarnival

We’re in the middle of our Carnival Cruise aboard the Fantasy. I planned on sharing more in the trip sooner but it’s been a very exciting few days with very little down time. Our first stop at Grand Turk Island was anything but busy and on the go.

Grand Turk Island #CruisingCarnival

We spent a couple hours relaxing under palm trees, enjoying frozen drinks from Margaritaville (meet my new Parrothead boyfriend) and swimming in the gorgeous turquoise water. Grand Turk Island #CruisingCarnival Grand Turk Island is nestled in the Atlantic Ocean between South Caicos Islands and Salt Cay Island. Carnival Cruise uses Grand Turk Island as a Port of Call for it’s lush foliage, clear waters and welcoming towns people. Our visit was dotted with smiles from the employees within the Cruise Center and Margaritaville.The soft sands made for a great gathering spot for the kids. We even came prepared with buckets and shovels. When we got to the beach the kids found an instant playmate. On our lounger was a coconut. The kids named her Wanda.

Grand Turk Island #CruisingCarnivalWanda went swimming, playing in the sand and even bathed in the sun. This is her “throne”.

Grand Turk Island #CruisingCarnival The stop might have been short but Grand Turk was gorgeous and somewhere I’d love to visit again.

Fun Facts about #CruisingCarnival

Carnival Cruise Lines have been in the business of FUN for over 40 years. Based in Miami it’s ships tour the globe with cruises to Mexico, Hawaii, Alaska, Canada, the Caribbean and places in between.

A Carnival Cruise Ship is like a city at sea. There are enough amenities to keep even the busiest person occupied and entertained for days. You all know about the endless eating options, live shows, casinos and excursions but there’s more the the Fun Ships that you may not have known about.Towel Animals on Carnival Cruise Line #cruisingcarnival

Fun Facts about #CruisingCarnival

  • Carnival Cruise Lines is the most popular cruise line with more than 24 ships operating 3 to 18 day voyages
  • A Carnival Cruise is truly a family friendly vacation with activities for kids age 2 to teen
  • Some of the most loved staff are the Stewards. They are the ones that create those cute towel animals (Towel Animal classes are available, check with Guest Relations)
  • Schedule a “Behind the Fun” tour where you can see the bridge, engine control room and backstage area to get an up close and personal look at the operations
  • During Signature Dining, if you can’t decide between 2 entrees or appetizers just order both
  • In one week Carnival Fantasy guests will consume 36,000 slices of bacon, mmmmmm bacon
  • The staff to guest ratio is sometimes as low at 1:3 making for a truly personable, attentive sailing
  • The on-board pools are filled daily with filtered salt water from the sea
  • The Serenity Adult Retreat is the perfect kid-free zone for ultimate relaxation and peace
  • The on-board fitness centers are included voyage with the exception of instructor led classes and spa treatments
  • Leave the ball gowns, tuxedos and fancy shoes at home. It’s called a FUN SHIP for a reasonOnboard Salt Water Pools Carnival Cruise #cruisingcarnival

We’re out into the Atlantic Ocean right on our way to days filled with smiles, sun, memories and FUN.  Wish you were here.

This Family is #CruisingCarnival

In just a few shorts days we’re heading out for our summer family vacation thanks to Carnival Cruiselines. We aren’t strangers to the cruise but nowhere near the cruise enthusiasts I want to be. Our last cruise was 4 years ago and the kids still talk about it and have been begging to go again since then. Timing couldn’t have been better either; Sabreena graduated high school a few weeks ago. Rob and I will be celebrating our 13th wedding anniversary while at sea and Shae turns 7 a couple weeks after we get back. It’s celebration time all around.

The Carnival Fantasy leaves out of Charleston, South Carolina and headed to the Caribbean. We’ll be taking the 9 hour drive to South Carolina overnight, seeing some of the pretty and historical sights of Charleston then boarding the 855 foot boat for non-stop fun over the next 8 days.This Family is #CruisingCarnival #FamilyTravel

Our Ports of Call while #CruisingCarnival

Grand Turk-Grand Turk, Turks & Caicos, may be small, but it’s packed with scenic punch and historic charm. Carnival® cruises to Grand Turk deliver you to an enchanted island outpost dotted with old windmills, grassy trails, and picture-perfect beaches. Discover an oasis of green set in aquamarine seas ringed by a pristine coral reef and the steep wall of the continental shelf with cruises to Grand Turk. Swim in the sparkling turquoise seas off Governor’s Beach. Snorkel or dive the coral reefs fringing Grand Turk.This Family is #CruisingCarnival #Fantasy Grand Turk #FamilyTravel

Half Moon Cay, the Bahamas-Fulfill your tropical island fantasy on Carnival cruises to Half Moon Cay, the Bahamas. Sway in the sweet Bahamian breezes to the rhythms of calypso and find romance on this private island paradise. Cruises to Half Moon Cay deliver you to an idyllic sun-drenched island hideaway where you can play in the turquoise seas, ride horseback on powdery white sand, and encounter silky stingrays. Sail, swim or snorkel the shallow blue-green Atlantic. Ride horseback along the sea’s edge on Half Moon Cay cruises.half moon cay

Nassau, the Bahamas-Blessed by balmy breezes and jumping to a bouncy calypso beat, Carnival cruises to Nassau, Bahamas promise sizzling fun in the sun. The historic and cultural heart of The Bahamas is one of the world’s most popular cruise ship ports—one million travelers board cruises to Nassau annually.This Family is #CruisingCarnival #Fantasy Nassau #FamilyTravel

The Fantasy is filled with so much to do during the 8 days at sea. The kids will enjoy Club Carnival, Hasbro the game show, video games in the arcade, putt putt golf and of course Waterworks water park. Rob and I have the casino, nightclubs, Punchliner Comedy club, the piano bar, Serenity Adult Retreat and spa services to rival the best in the country.

As a family we’ll have lots of time to relax by the pool, enjoy casual dining with 24 hour soft-serve ice cream and pizza and do a little shopping while sailing.

Follow along all week while we share our experiences, photos from the Caribbean and memories we make while #cruisingcarnival.