About FreshCruiser Blog

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

Subscribe to RSS Feed
Navigation

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.

Entries in travel (11)

Wednesday
Mar282018

Journal: Family time in Yosemite National Park

It had been 14 years since my first visit to Yosemite National Park and my first time back since then. Sharing Yosemite with my two young kids was even more amazing then I hoped. On my first visit, my husband planned the trip. He grew up going with his family and couldn't wait to share it with me. I didn't want to go. I wanted to vacation on the beach. I realize now it was because I would be out of my comfort zone. I had never visited a National Park and didn’t know what to expect. I am so grateful to my husband for not only showing me Yosemite but for showing me that glorious experiences can come out of being a little out of your comfort zone.

On my more recent trip in February with my husband and kids, we arrived to the Yosemite Valley Lodge late at night. When we opened the shades in the morning, we found ourselves surrounded by natural beauty including fresh snow on the mountain peaks. There was a chill in the air but nothing hats and gloves couldn’t fix. We enjoyed the day exploring and hiking. Our last few vacations had been to bustling cities. Spending time in nature was exactly what we needed. We all had a hop in our step as we hiked around.

Yosemite with Kids Highlights

Wildlife

Seeing wildlife in its natural habitat is always a treat. I believe it gives our children a profound respect for all things living. During our visit, we saw a blue heron, bugs, deer, a variety of birds, otter poop and a coyote.

Starry Night

One night of our stay we went on a guided tour, called Starry Night. The organized tour, which was through the National Park Service, had a 8:30pm start time.  My 3-year-old daughter fell asleep in the stroller on the way to the meeting spot.

The night sky was completely clear and filled with stars. It reminded me of planetarium shows we have been to, only this was the real thing. The guide used a laser pointer to show us which star or group of stars he was explaining. The stories the guide told were memorable and appropriate for all ages. My 5-year-old son learned a lot and talks about specific stars from that night. I enjoy travelling with my children as they can experience so much first hand, and this was another perfect example.

Ranger Talk

We attended a Ranger Talk while at Yosemite. I have to admit, we were pushed a little bit to do it as it was a requirement to complete the Ranger Program for our kids. It is one of the best things I’ve ever done. 

As we walked around the park, the Ranger taught us to move slow, listen, smell, and look. It was a learning experience and a reminder to do this when we returned home.

Nighttime Games

I brought a bag of games to play. It was such good family time and a fun way to end the night while we ate at the Yosemite Valley Lodge Lounge.

Giant Sequoias & Snow

We drove to the Tuolumne Grove which has about two dozen giant Sequoias since the Mariposa Grove is currently closed for renovation and set to reopen on June 15, 2018. Sequoias are only visible after a one-mile hike downhill.

Since we were there in January, the hike was in the snow and ice. We were prepared in our snow gear and the kids had so much fun playing in the snow. When we reached the Sequoia groves the kids had fun throwing snowballs at us. On our way back up the hill, we played hide and seek to make the time go by faster and keep my son from being carried. We headed back to the Yosemite Valley Lodge for some hot chocolate.

Ice Skating

My husband learned how to ice skate in Yosemite as a child so he was looking forward to taking our kids. I was a competitive figure skater growing up and therefore love any opportunity to lace my skates up. After a morning of hiking to Mirror Lake, we decided to go ice skating. It was the perfect afternoon activity. I was pleased to find out that they had skates small enough for my 3-year-old to rent. The sun was still shining as we stepped onto the ice. We were surrounded by a breathtaking backdrop.

The tradition of ice skating in Yosemite dates back to 1928. The Half Dome Village Ice Rink is an outdoor rink with a view of Half Dome. The ice rink in Yosemite is open from mid-November to mid-March.

Final Thoughts

Our time in Yosemite was one of my favorite vacations as a family of four. My husband and I challenge each other to visit new places, however I hope to return to Yosemite every year and make it our family winter tradition. The United States has so many National Parks that I would like to visit. It’s time to start making a list!

Monday
Dec042017

Tips for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade with Kids

When I was in 8th grade my parents took my sister and I to New York City to see the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. I remember getting up so early that we were one of the first people on the streets.  Our goal was to get as close to Macy’s department store as possible. We watched it on television for so many years that we were hoping to see the performances. As we approached Macy’s Herald Square, it was already packed full of people.  People even brought ladders to see over the crowds. By the end of the parade we were cold and tired but it was worth every second. It is one of my favorite family memories.

Fast-Forward twenty-five years. I now have a family of my own and couldn’t wait to take them to experience the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. My kids are 3-years-old and 5 years-old. Their eyes were as big as bowling balls when they saw the balloons coming down the street. It truly has everything, floats with singers, marching bands, clowns throwing confetti and the giant balloons.  

Get there early

In doing my research before the trip, I read to be on the parade route by 6-6:30am to get a good spot. However, I’d recommend even earlier. By 6:15am all the viewing spots in the front row were taken. The key is to pack correctly as if you are warm and comfortable, the extra 30 minutes or so that I recommend will be worth it.

Restrict Liquids

There is no easy way to get to a bathroom. As the start of the parade approaches, the streets are completely packed and you will not be able to get back to your spot if you do make it out. My kids were fine as we were careful what we gave them. I wanted coffee so I restrained myself to only a little.

Wait

Before the parade starts, there isn’t much to look at. There are lots of police on along the route but no pre-parade entertainment to help make the time go by faster. The best thing to do, especially if you have your kids with you is to get to know your neighbors.

It makes the whole experience better and more exciting. We lucked out with some of the nicest people from around the country and it made the time fly. I brought new activities for my kids to play with while we waited. We also played games like, “I spy” and “Simon says”.

Pack This

  • Warm clothes – I recommend long wool socks. My ankles were cold! Put on one more additional layer than you were planning. You can thank me later.
  • Blankets – For a little extra warmth, I’d recommend bringing a few old blankets with you.
  • Chairs – Bring a camping chair or a weekender seat. I packed the weekender seat in the bottom of my suitcase. I bring it with me on a lot of travels so it's worth the investment. When the parade starts, everyone folds up their chairs so why not be comfortable for the few hours before?
  • Hand Warmers – After a few hours waiting, your hands and feet will thank you. Bring the hand warmers with you so you don't have to pay triple to get one from a street vendor.
  • Protein Bars – I always travel with CLIF Nut Butter Filled Bars. They are compact and keep you full. My kids love them as they combine chocolate and almond butter.
  • Themos – In your suitcase, throw in a themos to use for hot coffee, cocoa or tea. Make it at home before you leave or grab it in your hotel. It will stay warm for hours and you don’t have to worry about it spilling.
  • Something to share - I’d recommend bringing a thermos of coffee to share or hand warmers. Grab this 40 pack of Hand Warmers from Amazon and really make friends! Make nice with your neighbors as it enhances everyone’s experience.

If you follow my tips, you will not only be prepared but also enjoy the experience. The anticipation of the parade starting, meeting new people, and sitting on the streets of NYC are all part of the experience.

Wednesday
Sep202017

5 quick tricks to ensure safety on your family holiday

Bondi Beach, Sydney, Australia

We get it – family holidays are hard. There’s simply so much to think about, not only in preparation but also when you arrive. One of the primary concerns is safety, especially when visiting busy cities and risky areas around the world.

With that being said, there are plenty of tried and tested ways to keep you and your kids safe whilst on your holidays. Here are just five quick tricks to consider in order to ensure a smooth trip.

Make a plan in case someone gets lost

In the unlikely case of someone in your party getting lost in a busy, built-up area, it’s important you establish a plan to ensure you’re reunited easily and quickly. If you’re in a city, for example, determine a landmark that can become the meeting point should you become separated, just one of the useful tips recommended by CTI.

And perhaps the most important thing to do in this situation is to not panic and remain calm. Stay level-headed and sensible, and you’ll be able to make more rational decisions. So long as you have an established plan in case of an emergency, you’ll be reunited easily.

Pack some essential supplies…

Remember to bring the things to keep you safe and healthy throughout the trip – medication is always a worthy addition to your suitcase, whether it be paracetamol, allergy medicine or antiseptics for any little scrapes or cuts anyone may suffer during the adventure. This helpful guide outlines what you should pack, and what medicines and dressings are easily available in many countries.

And, of course, don’t forget the lotion. Depending on where you are in the world, it’s paramount you all lather yourselves up with a sufficient amount of suncream in order to avoid any nasty burns, sun stroke or even sun poisoning in the most extreme cases.

…including a safety kit for the little ones

Consider conjuring up a little safety kit to give both yourself and the little ones peace of mind, especially if they’re young. Give them a little backpack to wear with ease when out and about, and put some things inside it that will aid both them and anyone who may help in the case of them being separated from your party.

A helpful thing to give them is a family photograph. This will allow anyone who helps your little one to seek you out in a crowd, making the situation a lot less stressful than it could be otherwise.

Be constantly watchful and vigilant

Regardless of where you are in the world, it’s important you remain vigilant of the people and the environment you’re surrounded by. There will always be things you need to look out for, whether it be a dangerous part of terrain or a shady group of people you don’t trust.

Unfortunately, there will be risks wherever you are in the world, even at home. But the added risk of being in an unfamiliar location may be slightly more unsettling – remain watchful of your surroundings and keep a close eye on everyone you’re with to avoid winding up in negative circumstances.

Don’t attempt anything risky

Last but not least, don’t let anyone do anything that isn’t safe. Whether it be swimming in particularly rough waters, playing in a risky area or talking to strangers, make sure there are rules set in place so nobody puts themselves in a dangerous situation.

Sure, it’s important for everyone to be free to enjoy themselves on a family holiday – but make sure there are at least some boundaries set in place.

Save

Tuesday
Feb092016

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.

Click to read more ...

Monday
Mar312014

Heading to Hawaii on vacation with your baby? Rent a cabana. 

My family recently spent 10 nights at the Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa in Hawaii. Traveling with an infant can be challenging. However, if you make a few key decisions, traveling can be a breeze. One of those decisions was renting a cabana at the resort; I’d say that this is a must for traveling with a family as it provides many key benefits. Read about the benefits as well as insider cabana tips for Sheraton Maui at Black Rock.

Click to read more ...

Monday
Oct142013

Tips for Traveling Solo with an infant

My husband and I were planning a trip from the West coast to the East coast for a few days to visit my parents. However, I decided that I wanted my 6-month old son to spend more time with his grandparents. My husband couldn’t take more time off of work, so I made a decision. I was going to fly by myself with our son. It would be my son’s third trip back East. I traveled with him before, but never on my own. I knew that once I got there, my parents would be waiting for us with open arms, ready to help. However, I wanted to get there with as little stress as possible.

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Sep172013

Best vacation songs of all time

As I sit here in non-vacation mode day dreaming about being on vacation, I often dream about sitting on my verandah looking out over the sea, fully relaxed with a my favorite drink, listening to some of my favorite music. Which then leads me to this, what IS in fact the very best music to listen to while on a cruise? What should I load my playlist up with before heading out?

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Mar122013

BabyMoon: Tips for staying healthy when cruising while pregnant

It’s official! I’m expecting my first child this spring. I am already dreaming about all the fun my child will have while cruising. Going on a cruise is the perfect “Baby Moon” trip to go on with your husband or partner. 

A cruise really allows for great quality time and lets you spend your day how you want. When planning the cruise, it’s neat to think about it being the last time it will be just the two of you! I spent pregnancy weeks 14 and 15 on board the Celebrity Millennium.  I enjoyed the experience and wanted to share some of my tips and experiences with other mothers-to-be.

When to Go on a BabyMoon Cruise

If you’re trying to figure out a time to go on a cruise during your pregnancy, I would pick a date a few weeks into your second trimester, at or around 4 months.  If you’ve been suffering from “morning” or in my case, “all-day” sickness, it’s better to wait for a time when chances are, you’ll be feeling a lot better.   Our trip was already planned before I found out I was pregnant.  The timing worked out well as while on the ship I finished the first trimester and feeling a lot better.  

Celebrity Solstice

Every cruise line has a different policy for pregnant women. Generally you can take a cruise until you’re 23 or 24 weeks pregnant. Vacationstogo.com offers a list of the policies for each cruise line. Click here to check out the restrictions.

Top healthy tips for traveling while pregnant

Below are my tips for staying healthy on a cruise while pregnant.   Before you book a cruise, it’s important to check with your doctor first and discuss your concerns and questions.

Hydrate, hydrate, and hydrate
Drink lots of water. I would always grab a water as we walked through the buffet. 

 

Since the weather was very hot, it was even more important to make sure I wasn’t getting dehydrated.   On days at port, we made sure we had water with us at all times.

Wash your hands
This is a tip that everyone should follow on a cruise ship but even more important for a mom-to-be to prevent sickness.

Eat what you feel like eating
Morning sickness?  One of my favorite parts of cruising while pregnant was the buffet.

It allowed me to have tastes of different items and then go back for more of the one that I liked the best. With food readily available on a cruise, try having multiple smaller meals throughout the day to help with morning sickness, heartburn, or nausea.  


Be active

Before leaving on the cruise, I bought a heart rate monitor to check my heart rate during physical activity as my doctor told me to keep my heart rate below 150. (Check with your Doctor before starting any workout routine or physical activity).

Walking 15-30 minutes a day around the cruise ship track is a perfect way to get exercise, which is important for you and your baby. I enjoyed starting my days with a long walk, either on the treadmill or around the track.

Watch your step
Depending on how many weeks along you are when you’re cruising, you are adding a lot of extra weight to your body and you’re not as stable as it used to be. Make sure you have a good center of gravity before stepping and watch out for notoriously slippery areas like the pool deck.

Know what you’re eating
With pregnancy comes a long list of do’s and don’ts. It’s important for you to make those decisions however, knowledge is power. When it comes to food, if you’re curious about a particular item, make sure to ask for more information. 

I had to say good-bye to sushi and tuna tartar but luckily there were so many other items to pick from that I didn’t miss them as much as I thought I would.


Be Prepared

I know it may sound crazy to pack food to bring on the cruise but, I would definitely recommend bringing granola bars or crackers with you on board the ship.  In the mornings, I always had crackers next to my bed and it helped with my morning sickness.  In addition, you want snacks to have while at port or on an excursion to hold you over until lunch or dinner.

Take a break from being adventurous

Now is not the time to be adventurous with activities or food.  While at port, stay away from street vendors and stick to eating on the ship or at a hotel which allows you to try the local food but typically has a higher standard of food quality and preparation.  When looking for an excursion, read carefully any restrictions for pregnant woman. 

I definitely wanted to go zip lining in Costa Rica but instead we planned a really fun day exploring the Monte Verde Rain Forest. I really enjoyed Costa Rica and can’t wait to take my child there. We’ll go zip lining together!

Why go on a Cruise for your Baby Moon

There are a lot of great reasons to go on a cruise for your Baby Moon.  The ability to have whatever food you feel like at your fingertips is a dream for any pregnant woman.  The accessibility of the buffet throughout the day and all-inclusive food is a real plus.  

Casino on the Celebrity Solstice

With strict non-smoking policies on most cruise ships now, it was a relief to that I didn’t have to worry about walking through clouds of smoke. In addition, I could enjoy the casino without breathing in the smoky air.

Whether we were at a show or at the casino at night, when I was tired, I loved being able to just take the elevator to my room and be in bed within minutes.  I didn’t have to worry about a drive home, a long walk to the hotel, or waiting for a cab while on a land vacation.

Towel Creation from on board the Carnival Paradise

I really enjoyed the quality time with my husband. We’ve been on so many cruises together but this one felt different. We didn’t run around to every activity like we have in the past; but instead, we played games and hung out just the two of us. This was such a memorable cruise that will always have a special place in my heart.  

Cruises are a great place for pregnant women.  When cruising, make sure to follow my tips above as exercise and eating well are important aspects for a healthy mom and baby.  

Stay tuned for more details about my Baby-Moon Cruise experience!

FreshCruiser Tip:  Don’t forget to check out the kid’s club on the ship for fun, won’t be long till your little one is there!