Tag Archives: summer vacation

Grand Cayman Western Caribbean Cruise

How to Choose a Western or Eastern Caribbean Carnival Cruise

Your guide to choosing a Western Caribbean or Eastern Caribbean cruise for your family

Summer vacation planning is likely at the top of your to-do list.  My kids, 16 and 9 years old, a boy and girl respectively, usually don’t have the same things in mind when thinking about a dream vacation.  My son wants to explore, go geocaching, and enjoy nature, while my daughter enjoys swimming, find native sparkly jewelry (ie – go shopping), and historical landmarks.  I enjoy it all.   I really do.  Well, I’m not a big fan of shopping actually.

We’ve gone to the beach for almost every vacation the last 15 years and will be going to the mountains in Arkansas this summer, so to balance things out, because I can’t possibly go 6 months without seeing the ocean, we planned a cruise vacation with Carnival Cruise line for our Spring Break.  I am really excited because I know both kids will enjoy the cruise since there are a lot of entertainment and activity options on board and at ports that cater to both of their tastes.

While your spring break has likely passed, planning your summer vacation doesn’t have to be difficult especially if you consider a cruise.     This will be our first family cruise and the kids are as excited as my husband and I are.  The most difficult part of planning our cruise vacation was choosing whether to go on an Eastern Caribbean or Western Caribbean cruise.

Below are scenarios I put together for those of you who are wondering which is better fro your family; a Western or Easter Caribbean cruise.    These scenarios take into consideration that we are departing from Miami but there are many other ports to choose from.  There are so many choices when it comes to a cruise, including departure ports, destinations, excursions, etc.  Carnival Cruise line lets you choose a cruise based on departure port and/or preferred destinations.  The ship below is Carnival Breeze and is the ship we’ll be cruising on during our Spring Break.

Carnival Breeze cruise ship

Whether you should choose the Western or Eastern Caribbean-style Carnival Cruise depends a lot on your personality.   They each have different flavors in the activities that you will participate in and places you will visit.

For example, if you choose the Western Caribbean Carnival Cruise and you start out in Miami, you will have the option to take a fun fan boat ride through the Everglades. The local wildlife, gators, Blue Herons and cranes, ensure a unique party location.

On the second day of your Western Caribbean cruise, you will experience a fun time at sea, and you will also have access to a sports bar that features big screen TVs. On the third day, you visit Cozumel, Mexico, a location made famous for its scuba diving, but that is not all that is available here. While in Cozumel, you can check out the amazing secret river or swim with the dolphins. There is also an all-inclusive beach day and sea lion show. While here, the ancient Mayan Kingdom of Tulum will also be available to visitors.

Carnival Breeze top deck

On day four of the Eastern Caribbean Cruise, you will be visiting Belize, which gives you the sightseeing privileges to some of the most diverse wildlife on the planet. The Mayan ruins of Altun Ha are also located here. It’s the perfect island paradise, and you can visit the famous Jaguar Cave or go on a ziplining adventure.Day five, you visit Mahogany Bay. You have a beach house exclusive getaway, but you can also visit the Mayan Princess, which features an all-inclusive bar.

On day six, the cruise takes you to Grand Cayman, the biggest of the Grand Cayman islands. Here, you can swim with dolphins or go kayaking. There is also a stingray and turtle swimming option.For day six, you enjoy a fun day at sea with the Twister Water Slide and Cloud 9 Spa. There is also a serenity adult-only retreat. On Day seven, you can enjoy a game of roulette or party it up with DJ Irie. It’s the perfect place to get your groove on.

Grand Cayman Western Caribbean Cruise

How does an Eastern Caribbean Cruise differ?

To start out with day one, you have a more relaxed vibe. For example, once you get off the plane, you can enjoy a hop-on or hop-off city tour of Miami. The is also the option for an Everglades tour.

On day two, you visit the exotic Half Moon Cay private island. A perfect location for a romantic getaway. You have sightseeing, snorkeling and horseback riding.

Day three, guests will enjoy a fun day at sea. There is the option for cooking classes from world-class chefs, which also includes enjoyable taste tasting. Another noteworthy thing about the Eastern Caribbean Carnival Cruise is that you have Hasbro, the Game Show. You have the chance at participating in Connect 4 Basketball, SORRY! SLIDERS or Yahtzee Bowling.

On Day four, you enjoy a visit to St. Thomas, the gateway to the Virgin Islands. Wet your palette with the best of St. Thomas rum testing.When day five hits, you have the option for a drive through the rain forest. You might also enjoy a canopy adventure.

Day six, you spend at the Grand Turk with sailing and snorkeling by the beach. You might also enjoy the all-inclusive private beach.


As you can see, the Carnival Cruise that you should choose will depend on the destinations you are most interested in visiting with the activities that suit your idea of a vacation.

Connect with Carnival Cruise Line

Visit Carnival Cruise Line’s social media pages to watch ship videos, get the inside scoop on the latest cruise vacation deals, and see what passengers love above Carnival!

Carnival Cruise

Note to readers: Carnival Cruise Line provided our family with a 7-day cruise in exchange for providing our readership with information and honest opinions about our experience. No positive review expectations were set or required by Carnival Cruise Line.

Before, during, and after our April Carnival cruise vacation we will update AtlantaMoms.com and TheMommyInsider.com as well as our social media pages, with blog posts about and photographs of our experience. Be sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook to get a glimpse into our family’s Carnival cruise experience, a 6-day Western Caribbean cruise, sailing on Carnival Breeze, departing April 3rd, 2016.


SAVE Big in San Antonio This Summer through SAVE – San Antonio Vacation Experience

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of SAVE . All opinions are 100% mine.

Known as one of the nation’s most affordable vacation destinations, San Antonio is making visitors’ summer getaway even more value packed with SAVE – San Antonio Vacation Experience. With more than $600 in savings to theme parks, animal adventures, top shops and historic tours, plus great deals on hotels, summer is the time to SAVE in San Antonio.


SAVE partners include top San Antonio hotels, resorts and attractions. Ranging from budget to luxury, SAVE has a price point for every price point and need. SAVE hotels line the River walk in the heart of downtown as well as the theme parks and airport. Make sure to check out SAVE Limited Time Offers for special limited time deals on hotels and attractions!

My family has been trying to plan a vacation to San Antonio and is so excited about SAVE – San Antonio Vacation Experience! We are going to use SAVE to plan our whole vacation, from hotel stay to all the area attractions.

Where to stay: Hyatt Regency San Antonio on the Riverwalk

Reason why: The only River Walk Hotel directly overlooking the historic Alamo

Now the hard part..what to do while we are there!  Here are some of the deals we found:

  • Alamo Sight Seeing Tour (Kids ages 3-11 $2.00 of and Adults $5.00)
  • McNay Art Museum (Children 11 and under are free)
  • South Heritage Center at Witte Museum ($1.00 off)
  • Sea World San Antonio ($10.00 off per ticket, up to 6 tickets)
  • Natural Bridge Caverns ($2.00 off an adult ticket and $1.00 off a Child’s Discovery Tour Ticket)


Ways to save on your next vacation to San Antonio:

Summer vacations can get very expensive very quickly, but with using SAVE we can stay within our budget and have fun doing all the adventures we enjoy!




Visit Sponsor's Site

Are you Happy or Stressed that the Kids are out of School for the Summer?

summer vacation stress question

I asked the question on Twitter this morning “Two more days until my 11 yr old is out of school. Do you get excited about your kids being out of school, stressed, or both?” and was thrilled to get a good mix of answers includes those below..

Kids out of school for summer vacation - are you happy or stressed?


Yes, I am super excited that my 5 year old daughter is already out of school and that my 11 yr old son will be out of school is T-24 and counting.  But I also get a little stressed when I think about trying to run a business (AtlantaMoms.com too), transport my son to camp, cook, clean, play, travel, etc..

Here’s what I’m most excited about:

  • Not having to wake up at or before the crack of dawn to get the kids off to school.
  • Being able to jump in the car and go to the park (or where ever) whenever we want.
  • My son experiencing some amazing summer camps.
  • Going to the beach with my family for a week.

Here’s what I’m least excited about:

  • Not knowing from minute to minute when my 5 year old is going to come into my office or whatever room I happen to be working in at the moment, and ask for a snack, help with a toy, or for me to play a game
  • The money I’m going to spend on gas for transporting my son to his four summer camps.
  • Having to take the kids everywhere I go.. grocery store, etc..

What are your most and least favorite things about the kids being out of school for the summer?

P.S. Follow me on Twitter here.

Alicia Hagan, Editor