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Found 16 results

  1. When it comes to cruising, many of you know I have no issues just letting it all hang out. Well, I do put my belt on to suck some of it in, but when it comes to deck parties and night-life on the high seas you can bet your bottom dollar that yours truly, his whistle and party crew will be in the house ready to BAA-RING DA NOISE! A conversation I had with a fan inspired this post and I hope the words I shared with her would also encourage you to jump out of your comfort zone and live life to the fullest! YOLO! So there I was a few months ago sitting in the karaoke lounge sailing on Carnival Glory. A fan of the blog approached and struck up a conversation with me. She was saying how she couldn't understand how I could get up in front of so many people and not seem to care what they thought of me; if they were laughing at me and even wanted to know how I "showed my face" around the ship the next morning. I simply told her this, "I stopped caring what people had to say about me when I realized no matter if I pleased 1 or 1 million, everyone was not going to like everything I did - which is fine by me. I also realize that I will never see most of the people on this cruise ever again in my life... so why not give them a show?" She began to nod and laugh. I said, "You only get one shot to live this life here on earth, so why not spend your days laughing hard, cuttin' a rug and showing others they too don't have to just sit there but can join in!" She soon grabbed her teenage daughter, brought her to the karaoke lounge and together they took the stage singing Coldplay's smash hit, "Viva la Viva!" I gave them both a standing ovation and the mother told me, "I did it because I took what you said to heart!" I have walked into many nightclubs on cruises where people aren't dancing and the mood needs to be that of a club and not a community music sitting center. So with all the dance floor space I see, I round up my crew, we jet for the floor and GET IT INNNN! Then before I know it, others are joining us asking if they can hang with us while we're in the club. That's when I realized that when cruising people can get so caught up into what everyone else is thinking of them, they allow strangers to hinder themselves from having a great time. Is that you? Stop that right now if it is! Yes, now I do know that not everyone is an extrovert and/or is comfortable with displaying goofy moments in poolside games, vocal abilities at karaoke or even their gaming skills in the casino, but I do know that we all have a chance to use a cruise to help us step outside of our comfort zone, wouldn't you agree? I mean come on, you eat all that food when everyone is looking (you may not even know it sometimes, but people are watching), so why not put on a show for 'em?! Next time you hit the high seas, don't let your shy and bashful side get the best of you - shine like the brightest star in galaxies and let the ship know YOU know how to bring the noise! As always, you're cruisetacular for reading and I have nothing but love for ya! Keep cruising and grooving--Shon!
  2. Over the past few months, many of you have asked, "Shon, when can I sail with you?" I'm no genie, but your wish is my command? Here's your chance to sail with me in 2014 right from my backyard on Grandeur of the Seas! We'll be sailing to one of my favorite destinations: Bermuda! I hand-picked this special 7 day/6 night cruise that's been dubbed as the "Bermuda's Grandeur with Shon" cruise! The cruise departs on Friday, September 12, 2014 and returns on Thursday, September 18, 2014! I know the weather will be great, seas will be smooth and this cruise will go down as one you'll always remember! I'm teaming up with Daley's Destinations based here in Maryland on this sailing; helping to give you a great price, on-board credit and even a reduced deposit*. If you book between now and Thursday, September 05, 2013, all you have to do is place a $100.00 deposit down per person to secure your spot (that's it). The other portion of the deposit - which is $150.00 per person - would not be due until Sunday, February 02, 2014 and the final payment of the cruise would not be due until Sunday, June 29, 2014. What a deal on that deposit break-down, right? And on top of that, we're throwing in free on-board credit per cabin! I promise you, this is one sailing you won't want to miss! The videos are cool, the pictures may tell the tale, but seeing it live and in person is something you'll be glad you did! So what are you waiting for? Get your cabin booked today so we can sail to the pink sand shores of Bermuda in 2014! Bring your friends, family and even brotha man from the 5th floor! Interior cabins are currently $716.12 per person and Ocean views are running at $818.12 per person. If you save $25.00 per week every month, you'll have $100.00 per month to pay on the cruise and going this way, it'll be paid off before the June 29th deadline. Now remember, you can only take advantage of this special promotion and pricing by booking via Daley's Destinations. For more information on this sailing, check out the e-flyer, call Daley's Destinations direct at 1-888-803-6189 and stay tuned for more updates from me. Be sure to mention you saw this cruise advertised on The Ocean Escape and they'll be sure to make sure you get to take advantage of all the good stuff mentioned above. Act fast because cabins are limited! As always, you're cruisetacular for reading! Hoping to cruise and groove with you in 2014--Shon! *The reduced deposit of $100.00 per person is only valid until Thursday, September 05, 2013 so act fast!
  3. Happy Monday, everyone! How are ya cruising this week? I hope with smooth seas and cruisetacular weather! So let's get back to the story telling. I saw a few comments asking when I would get back to sharing some funny stories from the high seas and your wish is my command! This story comes from the 4th of July sailing I did on Norwegian Sky from Miami to the Bahamas last month. Okay, I just woke up. Had breakfast (I didn't have to fight anyone for a cinnamon roll... this time - haha), got my tender number and was off the ship in record time. The water was a little choppy, but we made it into Great Stirrup Cay's (Norwegian Cruise Line's Private Island) harbor just fine. Like everyone else, I wanted to get a beach chair (and a really good one at that). I walked around for a while, surveyed the land and finally saw this spot that was full of trees, had decent shade, was close to the dance floor and I decided to POUNCE! I begin walking over and that was when I was stopped by a random guy. He asked me, "Are you actor?" He had an accent I couldn't pick up on at that moment, but I just responded with a laugh and said I wasn't an actor. Well, then I set up shop at my beach chair, grab my sister Mia and we began doing some filming for my YouTube Channel. Things were going great until this guy came back over and said, "Well if you're not an actor, why do you have a camera and doing a video?" That was when I shared with him I was a travel writer and cruise blogger and video taping is an added thing with my gig. He laughed it off, in disbelief it seemed, and then walked away. By this time I was a little hungry so I headed over to the pavilion for just a small snack (you know how it is when you cruise... you eat every 20 minutes). But while I was away, my sister told me that this same guy (pictured above with me and his girlfriend) came BACK and told my her, "It's okay to tell me if he's really an actor. I promise not to tell anyone - I know that's Eddie Murphy!" So I came back and he screams, "EDDIE!" I then laughed and told him I've been told I favor Eddie Murphy since I was in college but I'm promise I am not him! Honestly, I think it's just the mustache I rock that makes people have that "inkling" to assume I'm him in younger form. Then the guy asked for a picture with me, pulled out HIS video camera and would not stop filming me when I joined in with the group line dances on the beach and he wouldn't let it go. He was truly a character and when he saw me roam around the ship he just began waving and laughing. I just laughed and shook my head. Now I get it. I favor the guy some (at least some people think so), but honestly, do you think I REALLY look like him? I mean to the point where you would do all this guy did? Anyway, this was another time in my life I was mistaken for Eddie. I'm gonna start wearing a donkey outfit and setting up a booth if this keeps up! LOL Keep cruising and grooving, y'all! Catch ya on the next update!
  4. Happy Labor day, cruisetacular peeps! Ready for another story from this summer's highs seas adventures? Alrighty, here we go. This one comes from when I sailed Carnival Glory from Norfolk with my family and friends. If you watched The Post-Cruise Show: Carnival Glory on my YouTube Channel, you may remember me briefly talking about this story. But just in case you missed it, this is what went down... So there we are. Night one of our cruise having a blast and we decided as one big group we would perform "We Are Family" to break in the family and friends reunion cruise. After putting in our song number and fighting over who was gonna sing lead, we were ready... well kinda. So this was "Karaoke Live" meaning you did karaoke with a live band and not a track (which all of us thought was cool). We got there about 20 minutes after it started and saw the clock ticking closer to the end time of the karaoke. Then they called a group who didn't show up. They called them again and THEN they called my family! We were so excited! This was it, we thought. I ran right on the stage after seeing my friend Metria by the door, grabbed the mic, signaled for my crew to come on up and then... then I ALMOST popped someone with a backhand! Remember that group that was called and never showed? Well guess who came on the stage out of nowhere? Yeah... and guess what the karaoke hostess told us? That they're gonna let that group go; they would be the last ones for the night, and she was sorry... Excuse me? There are few things you don't tell me on a cruise and not being able to perform karaoke with my family is one of them! The hostess and I had a brief one-on-one conversation (where I was very calm) and she explained to me there was nothing she could do because the comedy show was about to begin approximately 15 mins later. I was persistent. I pretty much said, "So you won't allow one more 4 minute song? I don't mean to be inconsiderate, but that still leaves roughly 10 minutes for transition for the comedy show." She wouldn't budge. We were so upset. We all wrote about it in our post-cruise surveys, and we truly thought how all that went down was all the way wrong and ALMOST deserving of a backhand, LOL! What do y'all think? Well perhaps no backhand, but I thought Carnival could have made that up to us some kind of way. Despite helping other groups (we didn't know) with their songs that evening at karaoke, it wasn't the same performing karaoke without my fam (which rarely happens since we only cruise once a year all together). Anyway, we got over it. We're in better spirits and as many of you know, I don't dwell on the bad for too long (but I did dance on my soapbox for a few hours, hehe). Nonetheless, life has taught me a lesson I share with my friends a lot. You know it's never the problem that's the issue, but it's the perspective you have and take towards the problem. Even when the DJ stops the music, keep grooving because life is one big party that never stops... that is if you want to join in! Note: The title of this article and use of the term "backhand" as used above are used for humorous purposes and not meant to be interpreted as a threat or any related actions to Carnival Cruise Line or any of its affiliates.
  5. Many of you may remember a post I wrote earlier in the year talking about one of my cruising, elastic best friends. Yeah, those swimming trunks are still around as a high seas sure thing for me, but I almost forgot to tell you all about another one I have. If you follow me on Twitter or watched a few of my YouTube videos, you may already be hip to which BFF this post is about. I am a HUGE hot sauce LOVER! If you didn't know, hot sauce and I have a thing going on (let's just keep this between us, okay?)! I douse it on just about everything - popcorn, spaghetti, and even fried alligator (yes, I do eat fried alligator)! It also adds a nice kick to a sandwich I have from time to time. I'll never forget when my family and friends sailed Carnival Glory at the peak of summer this year; I showed up a little late to the dinner table one night BUT for very good reason - I turned back to my cabin to get my bottle of hot sauce (I don't play)! And I'm glad I did because that bottle of hot sauce got passed around more than the salt and pepper! LOL You can even see my bottle of hot sauce likes to photo-bomb photo shoots onboard, too! One of the main reasons I LOVE sailing from ports closer to my home - Baltimore, New York and Norfolk - is the very reason that I don't have to fly. Meaning I can bring my bottle of hot sauce without extra drama, ya know? Now don't get me wrong, I love flying , but I'm not a fan of the liquid ounce restrictions. When I fly, I pack light so I never have to check my bags (which means everything I bring has to get through security... including the liquids) Many may find it inconvenient not being able to bring an expensive bottle of cologne, that "special" bottle of shampoo or even a bottle of hot sauce... oh wait, did someone say hot sauce? LOL Yeah, I always shed a tear when I have to part with my bottle of hot sauce for a few days... but the FIRST thing I start doing once I'm on "the other side" of security is the hot sauce collection raid! When I went on my last cruise, a coworker of mine knew I was gonna need/want my hot sauce while away, so she went to a fast food joint and grabbed a few extra packets of the addictive stuff for me. Then it hit me: that's how I'll get around this! So now I literally hit every fast food restaurant inairport concourses collecting hot sauce with NO SHAME to ensure I don't have to go without it when sailing the high seas... ever! I know... it's odd... it's strange... but it's me! Stay tuned for an introduction to another cruising BFF of mine soon! Keep cruising and grooving until we talk ship again! Much love always--Shon.
  6. Hey, y'all! If you read The Ocean Escape (my other blog) on Friday, then you would have seen I had a "big reveal" to make this past weekend of a cruise ship I would be on. If you followed me on the numerous social media sites I have over this past weekend, you may have noticed I broke away from Baltimore to visit, tour and have a blast on Norwegian Breakaway! It was so much and yes, she is truly all that and then some! I got to sample food from five of the specialty dining facilities onboard, as well as from the Garden Cafe (Norwegian's version of Lido). The coolest thing was walking around Ocean Blue on the Waterfront (an area of the vessel) and running right into a hot dog cart - how cool is that? I have a super funny video of some New Yorkers "shunning" me for putting ketchup on my hot dog which apparently is crime in the Empire State (they thought I was from Florida because apparently that's what people from Florida do...)? I may have even tried getting Norwegian Breakaway's Godmothers, the Rockettes, to let me do the can-can with them? Okay, that was all in my head. I also got to check out the spa, gym, water park (which is Spongebob themed for the Nick lovers), ropes course and even the ice bar! There's so much to share, and I don't have all my pictures and videos edited at this time, but they will be forthcoming - I promise! Norwegian Breakway was truly everything I thought she would be and then some. Innovative. Revolutionary. Gorgeous. Any word you can dish out to describe a ship, she's that, the bag of chips on the side and free drink to compliment the combo! Be sure to keep it locked to my Twitter Feed, Youtube Channel as well as Facebook and Instagram sites for so many pictures, videos and a cruisetacular insight about this fantastic vessel! Also, while in New York, I was able to see Aida Cruises' AIDAluna in port and got some video and pics with and of her as well! Lots of great content is on the way, so don't change the cruise channel just yet! Until we talk ship again, keep cruising and grooving!
  7. And here we are in another week of the year... in fact, this is the 43rd week of the year (but I'm not counting or anything, hehe) and you've let me go all this time without having this conversation. It's really cool getting to meet many readers of my blogs. Many times, some want me to show them some dance moves, many believe I hate Royal Caribbean for some odd reason (still not sure how this one started), and then there's the world's most popular question, "Shon, what's your favorite cruise ship?" I've answered this question in an interview I did back in January of this year with Cruise Line Talk and named 3 ships as my favorites: Norwegian Epic, Norwegian Star and Carnival Breeze. Today, I'd just narrow that to Carnival Breeze and Norwegian Epic. No offense to the Star, but Epic and Breeze are truly my favorites at the moment! I haven't been on any of the Voyager or Oasis class vessels with Royal Caribbean, so I can't speak from those ships' perspectives (but all my friends who have never shut up about 'em... ever LOL - and that's not a bad thing)! Let's not even begin to talk about the Quantum class ships! Many of you may remember I toured Norwegian Breakaway last month and guess what? I'll be sailing her twin sister, Norwegian Getaway at the top of 2014! And let's not forget my 16 day adventure on Grand Princess approaching in just under 2 months! So with all that said, there are plenty of ships who could captivate the top spot in my heart... but for now, Epic and Breeze will sail at the number one spot. So what are your favorite cruise ships? Why do you like those particular ships more than any other vessel? I'll share the details as to why I like Carnival Breeze and Norwegian Epic in my next update so stay tuned for that! In the meantime, share with me your favorite high seas' resorts - I'd love to know which ones you may suggest I try, too! ? Until we talk ship again, keep cruising and grooving! Much love always--Shon!
  8. I may be all smiles in this pic, but there is a side of me that comes out from time to time that includes arms-folded, inverted eyebrows and an attitude ready to usher you into the ocean . I wear a smile with every out-fit I put on - especially when a cruise ship is involved (who wouldn't?)! But there is a point when not even a cruise ship can keep a smile on my face and it has to do with people. After 30 cruises, I still am amazed that I am blessed to enjoy a traveling luxury - such as a cruise ship - as often as I do. You know I thank God every time I board a ship because I could have easily been the unfortunate man on the sidewalk asking for money or a meal. I just stand amazed! I went from not having a lot to now being able to be spoiled like a prince. I remembered my first cruise like it was yesterday. I just about couldn't hold myself together. The food, the cool people and most importantly the beautiful, sacred connection I was able to find with The Lord. I soon hit this weird phase in my cruising history. You start talking about the paint job the ship needs, the color of the carpet and even how slow the cabin stewards are at getting you a fresh towel. You begin reaching a point where you become a ship snob and boy did I used to be one! You complain out this... and that. Then you start comparing this ship to another ship and wish it was bigger, or not as many people or pray for more activities to do. Well if you were like me, a few years ago, I have two words for you: SHUT UP! Your negative attitude is poisoning the fun that's supposed to be experienced onboard! Take it from a guy who used to RUN HIS TRAP about everything wrong... it doesn't help anything. Honestly, you're traveling in style complaining about some food when there's a kid in Haiti who is wondering the streets right now trying to find food, shelter and protection from predators. Like really? But that hamburger could be less burnt though? Right... If it could, go get another one. Gosh, you act like you haven't paid for the food. You have world class crew members working for YOUR amusement. They leave their family and friends behind for months at a time to hear you complain because they didn't turn down your bed twice in a day? They do not get paid enough to feel both a Caribbean breeze and your hot breath. One is enough and it ain't the latter. Do you even turn down your own bed down at home twice a day? Oh and you must use like a million towels at home too right, because the cabin stewards needs to change them everyday? Put yourself in the shoes of those who are less fortunate than you. The people work non-stop around the clock, for YOU. It would be nice to give them a break every now and then you know? I started meeting with my cabin steward the day I get on and tell them straight up - I don't need turn down service, in fact, I don't need day time service. Just give me the daily activities agenda and and high-five every time I see ya! I am tired of hearing about the things YOU hate about a ship. What is there to hate? You have literally 5 star everything compared to the girl who was just captured and forced into female prostitution. The mouths of complaining and nit-picky cruisers is THE thing I hate about cruising! Please, if you're going to complain, just run back to your cabin and tell someone who will actually care (they'll be looking at you in the mirror). Now I'm not saying you should not rightfully speak up when something like theft of your belongings or something fatal happens and the cruise line is at fault. By all means, please speak up when necessary, but know that you not getting chocolate on your pillow at night is no excuse to just hear yourself bark. Save your breath for all the screaming you'll do at the sailaway deck party! Give it a go. Be a global citizen who understands and tries to help those who've been working for 14 hours straight feeling exhausted and still wears that smile like nothing's even wrong. Stop complaining. Shut up because nobody gives a cup... of coffee! Until we talk ship again, keep cruising and grooving. You know you're cruisetacular for reading and I have nothing but love for ya!
  9. Hey, everyone! I hope you all are doing well and have been enjoying life! I haven't blogged in about a month and I want to just get on and give a cruisetacular hello! I am okay and all is well - I promise! I'm currently on a personal break from all things cruise, but promise to return hopefully sometime in late May. Be sure to enjoy all the content that's currently out there and I'll be back with more new cruisetastic stuff FYA (for your amusement)! Keep smiling, let your laughter erupt the sky and always do things BIGG! Much love--Shon.
  10. And it's a great day to be cruising from the Port of Baltimore! Hello, everyone! It feels great being back after a nearly 2 month hiatus. I missed you all and hope everyone has been in nothing but cruisetacular spirits! Never have I been more proud to be a resident of the great state of Maryland! We're home to the Superbowl Champions, the best crabs in the world and the recently refurbished Grandeur of the Seas! This past Friday - May 03, 2013 - MD's Governor Martin O'Malley (D) proclaimed the day to be state-wide Royal Caribbean Cruise Day! How cool is that? It was with great enthusiasm I accepted an invitation from Royal Caribbean International to join in for the festivities that would be taking place at the Port of Baltimore (which is conveniently only 15 minutes from my driveway)! Here in Baltimore, we have seen tremendous growth in our annual cruise passenger numbers! We began with seasonal service back in 2004 with about 30 cruises a year that took 60,000 passengers on high seas adventures. Today, the Port of Baltimore sees approximately 100 cruises a year (96 slated for 2013) with 240,000 passengers sailing through the number one cruise port in the Mid-Atlantic. The Port of Baltimore is the 11th biggest cruise port in the United States and 20th in the world! In addition to that, the Port generates about 90 million dollars in revenue for the State of Maryland and 200 direct jobs. And if any of you have been here, you know the port literally sits right on I-95 - making it the best free advertisement around! Now that's what I call cruisetacular! In her 48 million dollar face-lift, Grandeur of the Seas was given new dining options to bring her food offering to eight - something unheard of for a ship her size (which is great)! She also was given a new pool-side big screen for your viewing pleasure as well as upgraded areas for toddlers, kids and teens! The Solarium onboard, which is adult only and also saw an enhancement, truly helps the mature cruisers find the perfect escape while on the ship.The highlight of the improved Grandeur of the Seas is the Centrum Wow show which takes place in the ships centrum (some of you may call it the atrium). Oh, and did I mention RCI have her all new carpet and furniture? She's truly a new ship with enhancements that'll truly fit everyone who sails aboard - including YOU! Grandeur of the Seas sailed from the Port of Baltimore seasonally from 2004-2009 prior to her return in 2013. Friday, May 03 marked her first cruise from Baltimore in about four years - the voyage was a seven night cruise to Bermuda; featuring 3 days and 2 nights docked at Kings Wharf. Today, she currently offers the most diverse list of sailings from the Mid-Atlantic with a port of call line-up to include Bermuda, the Bahamas, Florida, the Eastern Caribbean, Canada and New England. With new features, amazing voyages and plenty of room for you and your family, this ship has enough splendor and charm to share with all those who walk up her gangway. For more information on Grandeur of the Seas or the itineraries she will sail, cruise on over to her very own webpage on Royal Caribbean's website. And if you want to see more pictures I captured from RCI Day here in MD, I've posted them all to Cruise Man 3000's Facebook Fan Page! I've also added exclusive behind the scenes videos on my YouTube Channel, too! Until we talk ship again next Monday, keep cruisin' and groovin'! You're cruisetacular for reading!
  11. Carnival Triumph re-entering U.S. waters in Mobile, Alabama. Photo Credit: gCaptain What happened was truly unfortunate. The conditions on-board I can't even begin to fathom -- from having no air conditioning, to the exposure many had to bodily waste, and having to use bags as lavatories truly could evoke testing times... but let's look put things in perspective. This was an incident that falls back on Carnival Cruise Line 100%, no doubting that. But Carnival handled this like the crisis management pros they are.Carnival Conquest, Carnival Elation and Carnival Legend --who also sail Western Caribbean waters-- were dispatched to aid Carnival Triumph with food, supplies and even transportation of passengers with pre-existing medical conditions that needed assistance. They gave everyone their money back, transportation back home and post-cruise hotel arrangements, motor-coach bus service and even additional monetary compensation for this disaster. Did I mention Carnival's CEO Gerry Cahill flew to Mobile, Alabama, boarded Carnival Triumph and personally apologized to the passengers and crew in person, can you say cruise hero? Truly amazing! Now Here's My 2 Cents... One report I read stated there were about 45 people on-board who had Bible Study and said the encouragement they had in their time with the Lord while stranded at sea, gave them hope that they would return back home just fine. I was so elated to hear of this because as a cruiser who has also been on ships where catastrophes have happened and being a follower of Jesus Christ, I know there's is something special and incomparable that happens between people and God while on the high seas. I've been on ships where engines have stalled, ocean waves have turned violent, passengers have died and had medical emergencies and hurricanes have shown their ugly side. But the one thing I know works and has helped me in my time of peril while at sea, is prayer to and worship of the Lord. It may sound crazy to some, but to me it's an innate reaction. Whenever I'd hear that "unknown" noise on a ship, see waves come closer than I was planning, or hear the Captain come over the PA system with a late night announcement, I do just what I was taught growing up -- stop, drop and pray! I've learned in my life that unexpected problems is not the issue, but WE are. Stop hoping for your problems to change and YOU change -- change your perspective, outlook and decide to speak encouraging and positive words over your situation. God set the Isrealites free from Pharaoh and wanted to take them into the promise land He had for them... then they wandered in the wilderness for a whole 40 years. Why? Because their attitude and mindset put them there! God knew their mindset wasn't ready to take on the enemies they'd have to battle for full possession of the Promised Land so instead of leading them the way of 11 days, they kept making donuts in the desert for 40 whole years. Now I am in no way saying that the mindset and attitudes of the persons on-board Carnival Triumph caused this incident to happen, but I do think had an optimistic and positive atmosphere been birthed, both on land and at sea, their deliverance could have come sooner than it played out. I'm not negating the harsh conditions aboard the passengers experienced, I'm not suggesting that this cruise was a good one, nor am I saying these people shouldn't be mad with Carnival about what happened. But what if the 45 people who gathered for worship turned into 450 or even all 4,000 people on the ship, standing together in praise and worship; making the best of their conditions and keeping a positive mindset awaiting a miraculous happening. And on the contrary, what if all the sources bad-mouthing Carnival and this cruise turned their hot air into prayer (yes, this includes the media). What could have happened? Could you imagine? Millions gathering in prayer and not pointing their fingers? I could keep going on with this BUT, I'm glad to say it's over, see everyone disembark fine and get back to living life as they know it. They're all back safe and sound -- with Triumphant bath robes! Photo Credit: NY Daily News Some of y'all think what I just said is crazy, "off the deep end" or even unreal. But I do believe that when we band together in courage and faith, hoping for the impossible, God will honor that act. So next time all hell breaks lose instead of getting worked up and looking for someone to blame, begin to pray and trust God to make the impossible possible. For with man, things may look grim, but with God ALL THINGS are possible! Next time you hear of a high seas tragedy, stop bad-mouthing and being a negative Nancey, but start believing the best -- your negativity won't help anything, but your positive thoughts will be infectious and be more beneficial than you'd know. That's my piece and I'm sticking by it. Until we talk ship again--Shon!
  12. My first cruise of 2013 is nearly 72 hours away! I can smell the sea water, see the ship in my head and envision the cruisetacular adventure that awaits me this weekend aboard Norwegian Jewel! The gitty feelings and excitement seem to never leave me. Ever since my first cruise nearly a decade ago, I still get that pre-cruise rush and words can't describe the euphoria I feel at moment, but I suspect it will only become greater as Friday gets closer and closer. This will be my 29th cruise, 12th with Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) and 2nd on Norwegian Jewel and I believe this time around Norwegian Jewel will even be sweeter. I was blessed to enjoy sailing her inaugural voyage from Miami, Florida in 2005. But I feel this time around, it will be more rewarding. I'm bringing along my best friend from my college years who has never been on a cruise. What better way to break in my 2013 cruising streak than with NCL and my BFF? I think she is a little more excited than I am and you know what... that truly makes my heart leap for joy! It's such a good feeling to be able to bless someone who's never cruised before with what I'm dubbing as one of the most cruisetastic weekends ever! I already handed her the run down, "Bring your white for the NCL-famous White Hot Party; have your mouth ready to eat at some amazing restaurants; and don't be shy when it comes to dancing (because you know I'm ready to shake my groove thing)!" Y'all know I love to get my dance on when on the high seas and it's great to have a pal tag along who also shares a love for cuttin' a rug, deck and then some! So the cruise is completely sold out, but I've got a little room for you to tag along! Follow me on Twitter (@CruiseMan3000) for updates live from the ship! I can't wait to share the awesome adventures in store for us this weekend and come back with many more funny high seas stories I know y'all will join me in with many laughs! Do you still get excited about your upcoming cruises like it was the first time? Have you brought along cruising-novice friends to sail with you? Did they like it? Are they more addicted to cruising over you? What are your thoughts on sailing a ship more than once? Let's talk ship until I sail-away this weekend! For more coverage on this cruise and my previous voyages, check out my updates on The Ocean Escape by CM3K! See y'all next Monday with my post cruise recap!
  13. Let's go back a few years when I sailed Norwegian Sun from Miami. Great ship. Amazing cruise. It was the morning I was supposed to disembark the vessel and I was a little sad. You know how after you have such a great time on a cruise, you don't want to leave? Yeah, that feeling was hovering over me like a cloud. In fact, another cruise was awaiting me that afternoon.This was the first time I decided to do a back-to-back cruise. You see, as soon as I disembarked Norwegian Sun, I was jumping in my rental car, driving north and boarding Regal Empress for a cruise to the Bahamas from Port Everglades. Very rarely do I remember my hunger pains (because I don't miss a single meal) but I vividly remember this day -- I was incredibly hungry! I got up, showered, dressed and made a b-line for the breakfast buffet. Things were going great. I got a table on the patio area, aft of the ship, had a nice a Miami breeze caressing my bald head and Mr. Sun (the real guy, not the ship) was having fun coloring me because I could sense the blackness of my skin getting darker with each minute -- but it was greatly welcomed! So I had my food there, enjoying everything from fruit to pancakes and even a piece of smoked salmon, but I still longed for something "extra." Then I remembered I got a glance of something on the buffet I have been eating ever since I was a child: cinnamon buns. Cinnamon buns are my guilty pleasure and since I was on vacation, I thought I'd indulge in one... or two. Plus, the sun was having too much fun with my skin (I thought I'd give him a break). So I got in line at the double-sided buffet, keeping my eyes on the pan that had the cinnamon buns in it. Mentally, I was already downing like two. As I got closer and closer to the pan, I realized the number of cinnamon buns started becoming less and less. I began praying, "Lord, please let me just get one. I just want one." My turn was next! Finally, I'll get to have one! And guess what? There was exactly one cinnamon bun left in the pan! So I grabbed the tongs, situated my plate and then... then... another pair of tongs comes into view. I couldn't believe what I was seeing. From out of nowhere, this older gentlemen, reached across two pans of food and placed his tongs RIGHT ON TOP OF THE ONLY CINNAMON BUN LEFT! Was this really happening? I had a decision to make: I could be the good Christian guy my mom raised me to be, or I could be the hungry Black man getting what he wanted at any cost. Well, since my mom wasn't around, and since my stomach started singing loudly, I decided to go for it. I looked at him. He looked at me, then he opened his tongs and clasped them around the cinnamon bun. I thought, "This guy CAN'T be serious, can he?" So I got my tongs and clasped it from the other direction... and began pulling it back. Next thing I know, the cinnamon bun is back in the pan and we keep pushing each other's tongs back. The people in line were laughing and I uttered, "This ain't funny! You don't know the code? Well let me break it down for you: S-T-O-P! You never come between a hungry Black man and his food! Didn't your momma teach you?" After saying that, the laughs reached new heights and I notice a crowd spectating this happening like it was the SuperBowl. Needless to say, I won the tongs battle and the man was so angry, he threw his tongs on the ground. Yeah! Who was hungry now? It wasn't me! But he should have known better not to challenge "Hungry Black Man 3000!" So I enjoyed my cinnamon bun, cleaned up my dining area and headed off the ship knowing if another person ever decides to challenge me with tongs on another cruise ship, they'll meet their match... and they better pray I'm not ravenous! So bring it! But seriously, don't you think that guy was rude? Reaching over those pans to get into the cinammon bun pan, then putting HIS tongs on [what was about to be] MY food! The nerve of some people! Good thing I did the Christian thing. Well, until next Monday's post, y'all have a cruisetacular week!
  14. Hey, everyone! Thanksgiving is coming upon us quickly and boy am I excited! Last year I sailed Carnival Breeze's inaugural sailing from the U.S. and she was truly a blast! I did the untraditional approach with dinner for Thanksgiving last year and ordered... wait for it... wait for it... FRIED ALLIGATOR! Yum-o! Now I know some of y'all just looked at me like I was crazy but hey, when you slab a little hot sauce on it, it tastes just like chicken! It was so in good in fact, I had two orders of it! Any gator eaters in the house? So while everyone was eating turkey on the ship (which I actually am not that big a fan of), I was chowing down on some gator (and I could go for another round this year)! Typically, the Ford Family does not do things traditionally. Many of our Thanksgivings have included Papa Johns, seafood spreads and even going out to an all you can eat (or at least try to, haha) Chinese buffets! Once we started incorporating cruising into the mix that's when it got super cool! Ever since the high seas have become holiday home-stays for us, it's just been great! No one complaining about going to "that one's house," no clean up and most importantly, no one has to cook! Have you ever spent the high seas with your family and friends for a holiday like Thanksgiving? When planned well in advance, it's honestly the best way - in my cruisetacular opinion of course - to spend special gatherings where family and friends are at the heart. If you've never done it.. DO IT! Doing with your family is honestly the best! I want to thank all of those who have served for this country and honor them on this Veteran's Day 2013! A special shout-out to my Grandpa Howard and Uncle Rob (pictured above) for taking to the front lines! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! Share the love today, y'all and let the Vets know we love and appreciate them and their families! This country wouldn't be the same without 'em! Y'all have a cruisemazing week and you know what to do... keep cruising and grooving until we talk ship again! Much love--Shon
  15. So how'd you get started cruising? Do you remember the ship, line and ports of call you visited? I know I do... just like it was yesterday! I can't believe it has been nearly ten years ago, but I sailed Carnival Imagination to Belize and Key West from Miami, Florida. Oh, and what a cruise it was! The food, people and did I say the food? I was a wee little lad when I first cruised and Imagination would have never been around if my mom didn't take her first cruise the year before. She went with a bunch of her girlfriends and had a blast! But I noticed the strangest thing when she returned. Besides the sun burn, loads of sovuneirs for her one and only (yeah, that's me) and the amazing pics she shared, her stories were so mezmorizing. She told me everything! "Shon! They had this... and that. Oh, and one night they did this... and that. You would have really loved it!" I hung onto every word like a good, attentive child (because I never did any wrong, hehe). Then she started going in-depth about the kids programs and I really started having a fit! I was at a lost. I thought she went with a bunch of adults? How did she know so much about Camp Carnival? Was this a set-up? Nonetheless, she REALLY got me going then and I begged and pleaded and prayed and hoped and begged some more until she finally gave in and took me on my first cruise! So, mom and I sat down and narrowed our cruise selection to three ships--Carnival Fascination, Carnival Imagination or Carnival Triumph--and she let ME make the final call (how nice of her, right?)! Well, the rest is history. Now nearly 30 cruises later, I'm still sailing the high seas! From Costa Cruises to NCL and even MSC, I have found that momma truly does know best. So if your mom tells you that a cruise is something you'll love, you better listen because you never know. You may go from vacation lover, to passion sharer, to enjoying an addiction worth living for! Until we talk ship next week--Shon! Can't wait a week until my next blog post? Cruise on over to The Ocean Escape which is the other blog I author with cruisetacular goodness! Your ships await!
  16. So have you heard the cruisemazing news? I am super excited for this week because on Thursday I'm gonna be chatting it up with all about one of my favorite destinations of all time: BERMUDA! Last Tuesday, the secret was no longer and just in case you missed it you can read the official announcement (see it here). Want some inside information on what I plan to talk about? Want to see the questions? Well... I'm not going to give any spoilers, but if want a preview... NAAAAAAAAW, I can't do that! BUT I can say I can basically call Bermuda my third home, after any cruise ship of course! I've cruised there twice and have a third planned cruise there in 2014. Honestly, it's like THE premiere summer cruise destination for folks who aren't feeling Canadian, want to fly to Europe or Alaska or are worn out by what's in the Caribbean Sea! I'll be sharing links to some of my pictures, videos and so much more coverage I have from the island which is conveniently located east of the Carolinas in the Atlantic Ocean. Want to know what you can do for free? Want to know WHY a ship has to dock there for three whole days? Wonder if the Bermuda triangle rumor is just hype? Want to see the pink sand beaches there in Bermuda? Well be sure to sign up for the Cruise Chat session happening this Thursday, June 20, 2013 beginning at 8:00pm. I hope to see all of you there! Let me get my thoughts organized so I'll be ready when we talk Bermuda all night on Thursday! Who's ready? I know I sure am! Join me and the cruisetacular, Bermudian fun! See ya in a few days! Participation limited to members only (it's free to join). To access the chat room click the following link: Cruise Chat LIVE!
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