Ever Scout by Stacee Adams

Monday, June 19, 2017

Sailing on a Disney Norwegian Cruise- Day 4






We just arrived back from our amazing trip to Norway onboard the Disney Magic Cruise Ship. My kids have only asked 1000 times this week if we can get back on the ship right now!

If you missed the first few days, click here!

On Day 4, we woke up in Alesund, Norway! I loved the excitement each morning of getting out of our inside stateroom to see what was waiting for us in port!



The small pool here is actually a staff only area- they have a pretty prime spot for viewing the world!



After breakfast we jumped off ship and went to explore. As usual, our agenda included finding a playground for these two!


The weather was spectacular in Alesund- a little warm so we shed our layers pretty quickly!



Such a quaint town!


We finally found a playground in the Town Park! The boys happily played for awhile and then we decided to head back to the ship to eat lunch.


Spotted these gorgeous tulips on the walk back- Someone was ready for their afternoon nap!


 After lunch and a nap- the boys visited the Kids Club and Normer and I played some Jenga. I kept waiting for a large wave to come and knock it over during his turn. Of course I knocked it fell on my turn!


We dined in Lumiere's and our amazing waiter had a few magic tricks for the boys. He made them these little bunnies that would hop each time they tried to pet it. Rowe is obsessed with anything resembling a stuffed animal and begged for a bunny every night at dinner!



After dinner, we visited Deck 10 to check out the view as the ship was sailing through the Fjords. This picture was taken at 10pm! The days were very long and the sun never fully set at night.







Stay tuned for Day 5 when we had a disappointing surprise but it all worked out in the end!




Did you know that I help families book Disney Cruises? I can help you find the perfect stateroom for your family, give you all my tips and tricks for sailing along with helping you plan out your excursions. The pricing is the exact same as you'll find booking directly with Disney but you are getting a personal consultant for free! Please contact me at stacee@centurytvl.com for more info! Also, follow me on Instagram to stay up to date with all our latest trips! @staceetravels









Friday, June 16, 2017

Sailing on a Disney Norwegian Cruise Days 1-3





Lots of dreams came true for our family as we had our first sailing on a Disney Cruise!
We sailed for 7 nights on the Disney Magic to Norway. The ship departed out of Copenhagen so we arrived the day before the cruise left.  We only had a few hours to walk around the city due to a delayed flight. The boys had been sick the week before and were still not their best so we weren't able to do as much as we would have liked in Copenhagen.

We stayed at the Marriott Copenhagen and it had lovely views of the water. It was within easy walking distance of Tivoli Gardens but we never made it there! :( Tivoli Gardens is a vintage amusement park. Walt Disney actually visited when he was designing Disneyland and got lots of ideas.

 They boys loved watching boats from our window.
 Since Badge was still not 100% we only did a little exploring. We did book a Scenic Cruise to see most of the major sites including the Little Mermaid Statue. We also really wanted to rent bicycles in Copenhagen as there are bike paths on almost every street! In fact, it was hard to tell the difference between the bike path and the sidewalks sometimes which resulted in us almost getting hit.

I was most struck by the gorgeous spires everywhere you looked!



 I'll take one of these chevron doors! Gorgeous!


Wish I could have seen more of you Copenhagen!


Day 1- Leaving Port
We all woke up excited to finally board our ship after waiting months and months! We arrived at the port around 12:30 and stood in line to get checked in.


I think I may have been more than excited than the kids when we were finally about to board!

I had checked in online as soon as it opened up and the check in process at the port was super quick! The agent even said that it makes things so much easier for everyone if you do the check in before you arrive.
We boarded the ship by 1:00 and started to explore. Our room wasn't going to be ready until after 1:30 so we headed up to the open restaurant, Cariocas,  for lunch. We loved the Mickey plates and even how the waiters make the ketchup Mickey shaped! :)


After lunch, our stateroom was ready so we checked it out! We booked a Deluxe Inside Stateroom that was located on Deck 2 Aft (thats the back of the ship). We didn't have any sea sickness as the water was mostly calm. There were many times we felt the ship swaying but it never bothered us, just felt a little funny. It was very loud in our room the mornings the ship docked. The ship backs into port so whenever the back engines were going it woke us up and made our whole stateroom shake. I think we would have enjoyed having a port hole or verandah, but we honestly were not in our room that much to justify the cost. It would have been nice though as the boys usually slept in until 9 (it was so dark in our room so that helped them sleep in!) and we wanted to see what was outside! The stateroom was small, but it was the split bathroom was helpful and I felt there was plenty of storage for all our stuff. I unpacked all of luggage and put the suitcases under our bed. I brought extra trash bags to put around the bags since they would be underneath the bed. Typically, we never put our luggage on the floor of a hotel room (Hello bedbugs, we don't want you!) but having the trash bags made us feel a little better.


 We checked out the top deck of the ship with the pools and watersides. They were ready to jump in right then!

After unpacking our bags, we headed up to see the Sail Away Party- unfortunately it was raining so the party was moved indoors to the Atrium.

 We still had fun dancing with all our favorite Disney Characters!!!


I was really impressed by how many opportunities there were to meet characters! There were characters walking around the ship and others that just stayed in the same spot with a short line. We always took the opportunity for photos with Mickey and Minnie!



The boys played in the kids club until it was time for dinner at 8:30pm! Whew that is late!

Second Seating Dining- Disney ships have two seatings for dinner 6pm and 8:30pm. The 6pm dining does fill up very quickly so you have to book well in advance to get it. We were given the second seating and we made it work, but it was really hard on the boys. I think at their ages, 4 and 6, they would have been much happier to eat at 6pm. Each night there is a Broadway style Disney show, so if you have the late dining, you go see the show first at 6:30 then have dinner. We found ourselves eating a light snack right before the show each night. Poor Rowe loves his sleep and he was consistently tired the whole week. He did take a nap a few times, but that meant one of us was stuck in the room with him and not out enjoying the port or ship. I think the late seating is great for families with older kids as you don't have to rush back from port to get cleaned up for dinner. We sat down at 8:30 and the boys would mostly be done with dinner by 9:30. The waiters were incredible about bringing their food very quickly each night. Some nights I took the boys to the Oceaner Club (Kids Club) so they could play while we finished our dessert. That meant we weren't getting back to our room until after 10pm though! The good news is that the boys literally passed out each night as their heads hit the pillow! We have struggled before sleeping in the same room with the boys and we didn't have any issues this time! :)


Day 2- Sea Day

We woke up around 8:30am and had tickets to a Character Breakfast at 9:15. The breakfast was free but you had to reserve your tickets online when you checked in as it does fill up. We loved eating our Mickey Waffles and seeing Mickey, Minnie, and Pluto!




We spent the rest of the day enjoying the ship! We swam in all the pools and tried all the water slides. I even did the Aqua Dunk ONCE. I am all about the thrills but this was not my favorite waterside. You stand on a little platform with your legs crossed and the floor will just drop out from under you while you free fall into the slide. Normer went on it several times but I was good after one go. We loved the hot tubs and it was really fun to watch Disney movies on a huge screen while hanging out in the water.

Rowe was asking for a nap after lunch (he never does that!)  so Normer stayed with him while Badge and I sat in my favorite spot for awhile. I loved the window seats on Deck 3. If I had any downtime on the ship, this is where Normer would find me reading my book. :) By the way,  I read 3 books on this trip!


We saw that there was a race going on next to us so we decided to join in. We had to carve a race car out of a carrot and potato then race them down a track. We won one heat but lost in the end!


After Rowe's nap, the kids went to the Kids Club and Normer and I had a mini date night before dinner. This was always my favorite time of the day! It was so nice to get time together. We played games, saw a movie, went to a show or just hung out. This day we saw the new Beauty and the Beast. We both enjoyed it and someone I know keeps playing all the songs on repeat in our house (Hint: Its not me!)

Day 3- Stavanger

Our first port was Stavanger, Norway. This is one of the larger cities in Norway but it was easy to get around as the ship was able to port right in the heart of the city. I basically won the Mom of the Year Award by taking the boys for the day by myself! Normer really wanted to hike up to Pulpit Rock and I did not feel good about taking the kids up there. It is not easy to get to- you have to take a bus, ferry and then another bus just to get to the trailhead. Then you have about 3-4 hours roundtrip hike up to the Rock. When you only have 8 hours in port, that ends up giving you about a 10 minute window to get back or miss the ship leaving you! I was also worried about the incredible sheer drop offs on the hike. While Badge and Rowe are strong and can out walk most adults, I just did not want to take them. So Normer was able to secure a spot on a group hike and me and the boys hit the town!



We walked around the Old Town first and our main goal of the day was to find a playground. We looked and looked....


 Eventually we made our way over to the newer section of town and found some new Troll pals.
 I was pretty disappointed with the coffee onboard the ship- it was not strong enough for me! There is a coffee shop, Cove Cafe,  on Deck 9 where you can buy lattes but they were expensive ($5-6) for the size and taste. So we stopped at Starbucks for me to load up on caffeine and I asked where a good playground was. The Barista said we should head to the play area next to the Oil Museum.

Well, we arrived and Badge deemed it to be a junk yard! Ha!

 It was a really cool area where they had repurposed "junk" to make it a play area but it was not what my boys were looking for so we continued our search for a fun playground!

I had heard great things about the Children's Museum in Stavanger so we stopped by next. The boys LOVED the trains and the car play area. I think they could have stayed there all day.

There were several floors of exhibits and at one point I had to do a major distraction as walked by the History of Childbirth Positions. "Kids, look over here, look at those stairs, I think I see a car, go THAT way now!" I have no idea who puts that type of exhibit up for little kids to see but it was just too much for us!!! AAHH!

With our admission to the Children's Museum, we also were able to get into the Maritime Museum for free. It was located right next to the cruise docks and was in a really neat historic building. The boys had the BEST time playing on this ship play area. It had a working phone (where they could call me on the other side of the room) and even a little crane where they could lift up luggage and food. They could have stayed here all day too.


We decided to get back on the ship and take a dip in the pools! I really enjoyed the pool set up as I didn't always have to swim with them. The life guards were top notch and really paid close attention to the kids so I felt safe. So the boys played and I read my book.  The boys absolutely loved the Twist N Spout Slide. They must have gone down it 50 times! It was chilly- around 60-65 degrees but the pools were heated. You just got really cold when you got out of the water!


Normer really enjoyed his hike up to Pulpit Rock, it was very windy and he agreed that it would not have been a good hike for the boys to go on.


After the boys took showers we headed back up to the top deck for a quick snack before they went to the Kids Club. While we were eating, I saw a playground from our ship! We spent all day looking for one and never found it. You can barely see the yellow slide in that green area. Badge was not thrilled that we missed it!!

After a late dinner we all passed out from a busy day.

So that's Day 1- 3, stayed tuned for more fun!

Did you know that I help families book Disney Cruises? I can help you find the perfect stateroom for your family, give you all my tips and tricks for sailing along with helping you plan out your excursions. The pricing is the exact same as you'll find booking directly with Disney but you are getting a personal consultant for free! Please contact me at stacee@centurytvl.com for more info!

Monday, May 22, 2017

Keeping Your Kids Cool in London




If you are planning to visit London in July or August, pack your swimming costume! No, London is not the next beach destination but can be HOT, HOT, HOT here in the summer. Most of the time the temperatures in London are quite mild and it could still be considerably cool through the summer but as the mercury rises here, you'll want to be prepared. 

As a Southern Belle from Georgia, we live by our sweet tea and air conditioners in the summer months. You won't find either of those here in London so I've had to get a little creative!

Most hotel rooms will be air conditioned (but still a good question to ask before booking!) but the majority of places will offer no air conditioning. I am known to go take a fitness class just because they have air conditioning while I'm working out! :)

So how do you keep your cool here in London? You put on your suit and splash around in a fountain!


 Diana Memorial Fountain


Princess Diana has two incredible locations that truly celebrate her life- Diana Memorial Playground and this fountain. 

We visited several times last summer and the boys absolutely love it! This fountain is an oval shaped river with rapids, bridges, and small pools. You basically wade around  in circles enjoying each section. My boys love to take a little boat and chase it around (It can get lost in a few places though!) Do make sure you watch little ones carefully as there are deep sections and the water can go quite fast at times!


Serpentine Lido


The Serpentine Lido is located in Hyde Park and offers a children's paddling pool and fantastic playground. There is an entry cost but if you want to spend a few hours reading a book while your kids play happily, it is worth every penny! My boys were highly entertained for at least 3 hours. They alternated between the pool and the playground. If you are especially brave you can take a dip in the Serpentine at Britain's oldest swimming club. Although, I might steer clear with all the swans and geese around- yuck!


More London Riverside

This incredible spot is located next to the River Thames and London Tower Bridge. There is a fountain splash pad and a little river that goes down a pedestrian street full of shops and restaurants. If you follow the river, you'll find a a few water features at the end that the kids will enjoy. This is the place to bring a little boat and chase it! It is quite a busy street full of pedestrians (especially during the lunch hour), so you do have to dodge around a little but it is such fun for the kids. The area is shaded too so that is a plus!


What a view at the splash pad!!

Somerset House

We love Somerset House- this a HUGE fountain with plenty of space to play! I even took a turn cooling off myself. :)

I hope these spots will keep you cool the next time you visit London in the summer!


I enjoy planning adventures for individuals or families around the globe so that they can focus on their time in destination and not worry about the details of getting there. Contact me at stacee@centurytvl.com for more info!




Friday, May 19, 2017

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday!

Our days are numbered here in London so I have been soaking up as much as I can before we leave. It is bittersweet for sure! We are packing it in with a little less than two months left. A Disney Cruise, friends visiting, and a few more day trips are all on the agenda. Here are my favorites from the week:

ONE



My new converse are shiny and pink! What more could a girl ask for? I love these shoes as they go with almost everything in my wardrobe and make me feel like a true Londoner with my crazy shoes. :)

You can find them on Amazon in the US. 



TWO

If you are a fan of Downton Abbey (by the way I am visiting Highclere Castle in July- eeeekkk!!) then this is the book for you! I loved this fictional story written about families that lived in Belgravia. The super cool thing is that this is where I live right now. Some of the houses mentioned in this book are a 3 minute walk from our flat. You know I have gone to look at the houses even though its fiction!


THREE

While in the US in April, I picked up the Original Little Hands Card Holders for the boys at Target. We play lots of games in our house and this has been a game changer (no pun intended)! Its always a win for me when the kids can do something independently and on their own!


FOUR


These brothers....they drive me crazy and melt my heart all at once. Badge's teacher texted this gem to me earlier this week. Heart shattered. They are best friends and I love seeing their relationship grow!



 FIVE


London will always be my favorite. Always. 




Have a great weekend!!