This past October, over Columbus Day weekend, I visited the lively city of Barcelona, Spain. I say lively, because we were forced to stay an extra week because of protests going on right outside our apartment. For most of this trip, we went to rehearsals at the opera house, and ate dinner at some fabulous restaurants. The protests began on Sunday, two days after we arrived, in small amounts. People would yell in the streets and hold up signs. As the days went by, the protests became more dangerous and disruptive. People were throwing smoke bombs, eggs, flour, large metal objects, etc. at the police, which made things very tense. The big day, the general strike was set for Friday. When the day arrived, millions of people arrived from all over Spain to protest and strike against the Spanish government. The protests were massive, covering most of downtown Barcelona. Although we had to spend a few extra days, this experience was truly special, as we got to witness a country coming together over a common cause. Even though things got violent on occasion, things were not terrible, and my mom and I were not in immediate danger. If you ever have a chance to visit Barcelona, be sure to check the news first, and pack some extra clothing so you won’t be buying more!
This past September, I visited the marvelous city of Tokyo, Japan. While we were there, we had wonderful weather, and tons of things to do. The most enjoyable thing probably being teamLab borderless, located by the port side of the city. This is a unique experience filled with unbelievable art and projections. It’s hard to describe, your have to see it to believe it. We walked through markets, saw temples, and interacted with the Japanese people wherever we went. The thing that stuck out to me the most was the overwhelming kindness that was shown by the people who live there. Even on the busy subway, there is a waiting system for those getting off the train and those boarding. I will attach some pictures that will illustrate what we saw and what we did. If you ever have the chance to visit this wonderful city, be sure to take it all in, because you’ve never seen anything like it before.
For my first entry, I wanted to give some travel hints, tips, and some of my experiences of my all time favorite enterprise (that will probably take over the world), Disney! Last summer, I was convinced by a very eager friend of mine to go on a Disney Cruise with her and my family. It took a lot of asking and planning, but it finally happened! We embarked on a seven night, eight day cruise that was absolutely magical (no pun intended)! The only problem was, I never got to write about it. This summer, our cruise was so enjoyable, our two families decided to go on another cruise, only it was four days longer!
Here are some tips, tricks, and suggestions about the cruise line, or DCL as Castaway Members call it!
Try to see everything on the ship! – They are HUGE!!! There are so many interesting tidbits about the ship that you can learn from just asking a Disney Cast Member. From the architecture, to the carpet, there are so many fun things to see!
Pick the earlier seating for dinner! – I know it’s so hard to leave the pool, cafe, port, basketball court, spa, dance party, character greeting, etc. early, but you will thank me! The first time we embarked with DCL, we took the earlier seating and loved it! This most recent cruise, we chose the later seating, and although it bought us more time at the places we liked to spend our time in the afternoon, the earlier seating was by far the better option. Reason being, that if you want to do anything after dinner, the later seating will make you, well, late!
Keep up with your Cast Members! – When embarking on both cruises, both my friend and I made friends with some of the Cast Members on board. It is really fun to follow around a Cast Member that you like for the whole day. If you see them and interact with them a few times on the ship, they will be sure to remember you, and also pick you for special roles in their game shows, karaoke, charades, etc.
Go to the spa!!! – This is a must on DCL, especially because it is kid friendly! But, if you want to get a prime appointment at the time of your choosing, be sure to head right to the spa before doing anything else on the ship when you embark. Those spots fill up so fast!
Be on the lookout for characters! – When sunning by the pool, eating lunch at Flo’s Cafe, shopping on Deck 3, or even just sitting in the Main Lobby, it is not surprising to see characters wandering around the ship with their respective Cast Member. Just yell out their name, or approach them nicely, and they are always happy to take a spontaneous picture! No need to wait in line for Character Meet and Greets!
Decorate your Door! – Decorating your stateroom door is a MUST on DCL. Families can hang pennant flags, purchase customizable magnets, and even buy decorations in Sea Treasures on Deck 3! I will link some Etsy sites that will be sure to make your decorating a whole lot easier!
If you have children, or kids if you’re reading this, go to the Kid’s Clubs! – These clubs are an awesome way to make friends while you’re on the cruise! Children from infancy to age 17 are encouraged to participate in these one of a kind clubs that combine the fun of Disney and the magical memories that can be made with new friends. They will be sure to entertain for your whole journey!
Last but not least, embrace being on a boat in the middle of the ocean! – When I went on my first cruise, I was shocked by not being able to see anything but water for miles and miles. Being disconnected for days at a time was a concept that everyone has to get used to, but with Disney, it’s much easier. Embrace your situation, and do everything there is to do on a DCL cruise. Don’t let your disconnectedness to the outside world get in your way of connecting with your family, and even possibly your newfound friends. You will be sure to make amazing memories that will last a lifetime.
Hi! My name is Isabella Kunde, but people usually call me Izzy. I’m a redhead, and I’ve been traveling the world since I was six months old. My father’s occupation is being a professional opera singer. His work has taken me to some of the most interesting places with the kindest people you will ever meet. This blog is about my travels, and tips to help you all make your next journey your best yet! I hope you enjoy, Redhead En Route!