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FreshCruiser blog features tips, news and insight to make the most out of a family vacation without sacrificing luxury & a healthy lifestyle. Focus on fun, active, & healthy travel. Enjoy!

Contact FreshCruiser: info@freshcruiser.com

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Welcome to FreshCruiser.com

Enjoy all the tips, news, insight, and advice on luxury family travel that highlights fun, active, and healthy vacations. Explore how to make the most out of your family vacation without sacrificing luxury.

FreshCruiser.com opens readers’ eyes to new adventures and calms any fears of traveling with children. With a special focus on family cruising, the website includes tips to staying active, eating well, and taking advantage of all the opportunities while on a family vacation.


Tips for Legoland California with a Toddler

My family recently spent 3 days at Legoland California. When we told people about our long weekend, the response was, “3 Days?!?”  We did and we had fun. We found new places to explore. We ran to our favorite attractions to ride again and again. We didn’t rush to do everything in one day.

Legoland California, which is located in Carlsbad, is for families with children between the ages of 2 and 12. My son is three years old and my daughter just turned one. My son is a thrill seeker.  He wanted to go on every ride. My daughter was too short for many of the rides but there was still plenty that she could go on. She enjoyed people-watching, being outside and the rides she did go on.

A trip to an amusement park with two little children can be overwhelming. Follow the tips below for success in visiting Legoland California with a toddler (and a baby).

Check your Toddler’s Height

Legoland’s rides have a variety of height requirements. Check your toddler’s height at the front of the park to confirm which rides they are eligible to go on.  

You don’t want a situation where you wait in line to be told your son or daughter is not tall enough to go on the ride. You’ll have a disappointed toddler. My son is just a little over 36 inches.  This allowed him to go on more attractions than our last visit.

Start your day at the back of the park

If you arrive when the park opens, head straight to the back of the park and work your way forward. You’ll find less crowds and get on more rides in the early part of your day. Click here for a map of Legoland California.

Take a break from the lines. Visit Duplo Playtown & Minilands

A great way to break up the day is to bring your kids to the Duplo Playtown or explore the Minilands.

Duplo Playground is a playground with every type of play structure you can imagine. My son ran from sitting in Lego cars to going down a slide. He would have been happy spending all day there. It can get crowded so it’s important to keep an eye on your children. A big plus is that there is only one way in and out of the area. Find shade and recharge while your children play.  

Also, there is a train in the back corner that is hidden. Make sure to check it out. 

When walking through the Minilands, make sure to remind your kids that it is all built out of legos. The replicas are true to form you can forget!

Splash! Bring an extra change of clothes, maybe two!

There are a lot of places throughout the park where kids can get wet. You’ll find spots to run through fountains, race boats, and explore a pirate ship splash area, etc. Bring more than one change of clothes and a towel. It’s hard to resist watching the joy in their eyes as they run through the water, especially if you go on a hot day.

Grab snacks at The Market

The Market

The Market is a favorite place of mine to stop throughout the day to pick up snacks for the kids. It is located at the front of the park.

The store carries nutritious snacks which will keep your child happier in the long run rather than sugary items.  We’ll grab a fruit cup, milk, string cheese or a food pouch. Grab a coffee if you need a little extra boost.

Coast Guard Build-a-Boat

We made a lot of memories throughout our 3 days at Legoland California park. Do not be too focused on the rides, as the park has a lot of the other attractions. My son says his favorite ride was the roller coaster, Coastersaurus, however, he spent over an hour at the Coast Guard Build-a-Boat. He enjoyed building boats and racing them in the water.


Must follow packing tips for traveling with children

Vacation is approaching and you begin to wonder how you will pack your belongings but also pack for your children. Take a deep breath.  Thinking about packing is worse than actually doing it. I am constantly in a state of packing and unpacking as we travel so frequently with our two children.  Here are useful tips to help you on your way and to give you the confidence to get the packing done. 

Make a list

You make an organized list of items on the computer and use it as a check-off list. This works well as you can use it over and over again. However, you can also keep a simple list of things that come to your mind throughout the day.  Create a draft on your email and keep adding to it.

Check the weather

Look at the high and low temperatures for destination. Packing 5 sweatshirts for Hawaii doesn’t make sense when it’s still going to be 80 degrees at 8pm. Check the weather a final time before putting the clothes in the bags.

Lay all items out first

Put everything out on the bed before you pack it. This gives you an overview.  Next, start removing items that you do not need or things that you have multiples.  Putting the clothes in the bag should be one of the last things you do.

Plan to do laundry?

In order to cut down on the number of clothes, bring a travel laundry detergent bottle with you or book an apartment that has a washer and dryer in the unit.

Diapers: To pack or to buy

If you are visiting a family member, order the diapers ahead and have them shipped directly to their house. If not, pack diapers.  Diapers don’t add much weight to a checked bag and then you have space for souvenirs on the way back.  You have everything you need with you and don’t need to worry about finding a store when you arrive.

Pack clothes in your carry-on

Accidents happen while flying so it’s great to have extra clothes accessible for everyone in the family. In addition, if your luggage is delayed getting to your destination, you’ll have clean clothes to wear.  Going to a tropical location? Make sure to pack your bathing suits in your carry-on too!

Can you carry everything?

Make sure you can carry or roll all your bags between you and your husband. If you have 5 roller bags plus pushing a stroller, it’s not possible to carry it all.

Count your bags

Before leaving for the airport, count your bags.  After you check-in your bags, count what’s left. It’s important to be able to do a quick count as there is a lot going on.

FreshCruiser Tip: Always pack your valuable items, including your son or daughter's favorite stuffed animal or blankie, in your carry on.


FreshCruiser quoted in article, “57 Life-Changing Travel Tips from the Best Family Travel Bloggers”

FreshCruiser.com was recently quoted and included as the #1 Travel Tip for family travel in 2016 in an article from Vacatia.com Family Vacation Blog. Here's an excerpt from the Vacatia story, "57 Life-Changing Travel Tips from the Best Family Travel Bloggers."

It's not always easy traveling with kids. You've got your routine, a budget, and maybe a little voice in your head that says “you’ll have to wait until the last kid moves out of the house to really start traveling?”So, we asked some of the best family travel bloggers to see how they make vacations a priority.

Read the full article by Vacatia, which includes motivating travel tips to give you the push you need to start packing your bags in 2016.


Tips for visiting London with a Toddler

My family recently spent five nights in London. We flew non-stop from Los Angeles with our toddler son. The flight left in the evening and we were fortunate to get a good amount of sleep. If you’re thinking about visiting London with your toddler are a few tips to help plan your visit.

Vacation Expectations

My husband and I often need a vacation from our vacation.  We want to see everything a city has to offer and ‘go,go,go.’  On this trip, we knew we’d have to adapt our normal schedule for a toddler.  Taking a break in a park to see the ducks, running around historic gardens, and stopping for a snack were not part of our old sightseeing days. However, we enjoyed the city just as much if not more.  

We spent 6 hours at the Tower of London. My son loved chasing the ravens and playing with the visiting school children. We took breaks from his playing to see the different parts of the Tower complex.

Lastly, we didn’t expect to go out to fancy dinners as restaurants in London are not as child friendly as Los Angeles. It’s important to do research to give you the knowledge to be prepared.   

Getting Around London

We stayed in the Picadilly Circus area, which is very centrally.  I read a blog post before our trip about a mother complaining how difficult it was using public transportation around the city.

Her son was in a stroller and they were carrying the stroller up and down flights of stairs since most metro stops do not have elevators. Knowing this ahead of time, we were able to manage our expectations and knew that elevators would be a luxury. 

By the end, we’d just give each other a nod, grab one end of the stroller and start carrying it up the stairs. It was worth it for being able to see different parts of the city.

My son loves buses. He had so much fun riding around the city on the bus.

Snacks, snacks, snacks

When packing up the diaper bag, bring lots of snacks. It gave us additional time in museums as our son was happy eating.  I made sure to have snacks for ourselves as well.  There’s lots of great markets for quick food pick-up that we’d run into during the day to grab fruit or sandwiches.

One of these shops was Pret-a-Manger. The stores were located throughout the city. Their mission is to, “to create, handmade, natural food, avoiding the obscure chemicals, additives and preservatives common to so much of the ‘prepared’ and ‘fast’ food on the market today.” We’d get food, drinks, and use the bathroom.

Plans can change

Touring the Winston Churchill War Rooms was fascinating and one of my favorite things we did. However, being in an underground bunker was not very toddler-friendly.  We gave him a snack to keep him entertained while we walked around. Although I could have spent a lot more time there, we made it work and left before a meltdown happened.

As soon as we left, we went to the park across the street so he could run around chasing the ducks and birds.

Use Toddler Naptime Wisely

When it’s time for your toddler to take a nap, I definitely recommend trying to get them to nap in the stroller. This way, you can still continue on with the day and not have to worry about going back to the hotel.  In addition, plan something you would like to do or see during this time. For instance, my son took a two hour nap while we walked around the British Museum one day. Another day, we sat down and had a long lunch. It felt like we were on a date even though he was sleeping in the stroller next to us.

Free London Attractions & London Eye Review

There are many free attractions to visit in London. Check them out here.

Thinking about taking a ride on the London Eye with your toddler?  Read my review here.

Words to know when visiting London with children

There are a few different words used for common baby needs, these will help you as you navigate around with your toddler.

diaper = nappy

stroller = buggy, pram, baby carriage

high chair = baby chair

crib = cot

pacifier = dummy


Review of the ERGObaby 360 Baby Carrier for travel

Review of the ERGObaby 360 baby carrier after flying to Toronto with two kids. 

I recently purchased the Four Position ERGObaby 360 Baby Carrier for a flight from Los Angeles to Toronto. The carrier can be used as a front-inward, front-outward, hip and back carry positions. My daughter is 5 months old and I wanted to use an infant baby carrier that would allow her to be in both outward and inward positions.  She’s inquisitive and doesn’t like to be looking inward if she’s not sleeping. The plan would be to push my toddler son in a stroller through the airport while having her in the Four Position Ergo 360 carrier.

The combination of her in the carrier and my toddler in the stroller worked out great. We could even switch and use it for my son if desired.

What I liked about the ERGObaby 360 Baby Carrier

I love the way the carrier is designed in terms of the outward facing position. My daughter is cozy and comfortable and able to look out at the world around her in the bucket seat. She’s sitting in a natural and comfortable position.  The carrier is lightweight.  When we were traveling, I put it in a reusable grocery bag for quick access.  I had her in the carrier when we went through security at Los Angeles airport (LAX) and it went very smoothly. The TSA agents swiped my hands and tested it for any chemicals that could be hidden.

Boarding the plane with her in the carrier, worked out well. I had my hands free to help with the carry-ons and my son.

During the flight, my daughter was crying. I grabbed the ERGObaby 360 and put her inward facing. I walked up and down the plane trying to get her to fall sleep.  She was too interested in the people. I ended up using the sun cover to help encourage her to close her eyes and stop looking around. After she fell asleep, I kept her in the carrier and could comfortably sit down and relax for a bit.

What I didn’t like about the ERGObaby 360 Baby Carrier

I’m not a fan of the extra wide Velcro waistband. The Velcro stuck to the seat, other parts of clothing, and blankets while traveling. If she fell asleep and I wanted to remove the carrier to take her off or put her in the stroller, she would wake up from the Velcro. I wish Ergo would have kept the same design as their other carriers.

No pocket. I like the pocket in the ERGObaby Original Carrier as it’s great to have quick access to certain items.  Like many carriers out there, it’s hot.  After walking through the airport, my shirt around my stomach was wet from sweat and my daughter was very warm as well. 

I had to buy the Teething Pad & Bib. I wish this came standard. It was an extra twenty-five dollars that I feel was necessary for my daughter when she faced forward. In the instructions for the ERGObaby 360 carrier, it says, “Do not machine wash frequently.”  I found the bib is necessary as she sucks on the front and regular cleaning of the carrier is not recommended. 

Overall Impression

My daughter loves to be outward facing and the ERGObaby 360 Four Position carrier really puts her in a comfortable position, making her a happy baby. For traveling, I loved the versatility of being able to put her inward or outward facing depending on her needs (inward facing if she was tired and going to fall asleep). It was an all-in-one carrier and I didn’t need to bring anything else with me. I’m looking forward to using the other positions (hip carry and back carry) as she grows. If we’re going to a tropical or warm place, I’ll have to think twice about bringing it since it’s so warm.

I’d 100% recommend bringing a carrier with you when you are flying and use throughout the trip. It allows for versatility and adaptability.  I found using the Ergo 360 in the airport was much easier than pushing her in the stroller. I had two hands free and she was happy the entire time. Depending on their weight and age, you can use it for your older child as well.

Product News from ERGObaby

Baby Chic 101 announced on their blog that “Ergobaby is launching a new carrier for hot days called the Ergobaby Four Position 360 Cool Air Carrier.”  It will include a waist buckle, rather than the Velcro and mesh to keep both you and the baby cooler.  

The product will launch in November 2015.  I wish the product was launching sooner as I'd love to try it out on our trip to Hawaii in October.

FreshCruiser Tip:  Don’t wait until the airport to use your carrier for the first time.  Get your child used to being in a carrier prior to flying. Also, it’s important to make the proper adjustments so it’s comfortable for you and your child.


FreshCruiser quoted in Care.com article, "7 Top Babymoon Ideas"

Abby Aisley founder of FreshCruiser.com was recently quoted in an article from Care.com. Here's an excerpt from the Care.com story, "7 Top Babymoon Ideas".

"Are babymoon ideas on your brain? You've weathered morning sickness, are bearing a bountiful belly and your due date is just around the corner. Before your family of two becomes a family of three, it's time to take a romantic pre-baby trip! 

Calm Down on a Cruise

Stick to what soothes you. "When choosing a cruise for your babymoon, do your research on the itinerary," says Abby Aisley, a mom and the creator of family travel blog FreshCruiser. "Select an itinerary that visits calmer waters such as the Caribbean rather than the North Sea. Review excursions for the ports you plan to visit. Adventurous excursions are put on hold due to pregnancy limitations -- fortunately, there are plenty of great options to choose from." "

Read the full article by Care.com contributor, Erica Loop, which includes more ideas for picking the right Babymoon.

Celebrity Millennium

FreshCruiser Tip: In planning a babymoon, maximizing your precious vacation time is key. If you are within driving distance or a quick flight to a cruise port, there are many short cruises that would make a great babymoon. Book a 3-4 day cruise over a weekend to save your vacation days for when the baby arrives.


FreshCruiser quoted in Scenic Tours news article, "Travel resources to help you plan your river cruise"

FreshCruiser's cruising expertise on planning a river cruise was recently included in a news article from Scenic Tours.

Here's an excerpt from Scenic Tours News story, "Travel resources to help you plan your river cruise."

Planning a river cruise should be an enjoyable experience. One where you and your partner get to relax, safe in the knowledge that everything is taken care of for you and that you get to experience new places almost daily from the comfort of one luxurious ship...

"Ideas of a vacation vary greatly and it’s important to find a cruise that is right for you. For instance, just because your parents or friends enjoyed a certain cruise, it doesn’t mean you will enjoy it as well. I encourage people to ask fellow cruisers their opinions and I always ask them why they picked the cruise, what was their favorite part, and if there is anything they would avoid." - FreshCruiser

To read the full article, which includes more of my thoughts on travel resources to help you plan your river cruise, visit Scenic Tours News.

FreshCruiser Tip: When looking to plan a cruise, don’t be afraid to ask questions to people you trust or travel professionals.


FreshCruiser quoted in Emerald Waterways article, "River cruising versus ocean cruising"

FreshCruiser's cruising expertise on river cruising versus ocean cruising was recently included in a news article from Emerald Waterways.

Here's an excerpt from Emerald Waterways News story, "River cruising versus ocean cruising."

"Whether you’ve previously taken an ocean cruise and would like to find out what a river cruise entails, or have never taken either and would like to discover which you’d prefer, our guide aims to help you make a decision on which cruise experience you should try next.

Both river cruising and ocean cruising offer fantastic opportunities for exploring the world’s best destinations, but the two may differ more than you would imagine.


“River cruising is truly about enjoying the river scenery, experiencing local cultures, and getting pleasure from the quaintness and luxury of the ship.

“I like that larger ocean cruises can travel far distances at a swift pace. On a recent ocean cruise, we visited diverse ports in Italy, Greece, Egypt, and Israel.” - FreshCruiser"

To read the full article, including more of my thoughts on river versus ocean cruising, visit Emerald Waterways News.