Thursday, February 28, 2013

Get Fit With the My Fitness Pal App

Get Fit With the My Fitness Pal App
Collaboration with guest writer Amanda Ali (@amandaanne86)

I hate the term DIEt, it is a word that has many negative connotations associated with it and to some it is synonymous with the words starvation and struggle.

When you decide to lose weight, tone up or eat healthier the best way to think about it is by associating it with a lifestyle change and healthier choices rather than a gruelling fad diet that is less likely to bring about positive results.

The My Fitness Pal App may seem like a tiresome counting calories tool at first glance but it isn’t. Counting calories may not sound like fun but this fitness app goes a lot further than merely counting calories. Even if weight loss is not your main objective and you just want to improve your eating habits then this app can help.

What you can use the program for:

Weight loss and identifying poor eating habits:
For weight loss this app is useful because it helps you put your eating habits in blatant perspective. When you start reading labels, tracking what you eat and how much you are eating it is a real eye opener. If you have gained weight or if you have unhealthy eating habits and are unable to lose weight then this app will show you if your meals are the culprit.

The foods the average person consumes especially while eating out have tons of hidden calories, sugar, fat and a lot of sodium. Even some low fat items may be loaded with sugar to compensate for lack of flavour.

How to get the App:
Although there is a free app for this program on smart phones and tablets you can also download it to a desktop computer for free.

Getting started and setting goals:
Once you get the app you will have to begin by setting goals. The app will ask you to input your current weight, your goal weight and how much weight you would like to lose. The app will then suggest how many calories you should be consuming in order to achieve your goal weight. You can adjust you calorie intake at any time if your goals change.

Recording your calories:
Once you have set your goals you can begin recording. Recording what you eat and how many calories you eat is actually rather easy with this app. Most of the foods you buy at the grocery store have serving size information on the back and how many calories the food is per serving. The app also has a search option that includes many grocery store and restaurant food items that will come up when you search.

If the food you are eating does not come up (for instance a certain brand of cereal) you can add the food yourself directly from the information on the back of the box and store it under the “my foods” category for the next time you eat it.

Nutritional Information:
One of my favourite things about this app is that it tells you how much carbohydrates, fat, protein, sugar and salt you consume and you can adjust these categories online based on what you would like to track. On the homepage of the app there is also a “see nutrients” button which allows you to see a more thorough break down of your daily nutrients.

Creating meals:
The app will also allow you to create and save meals which are helpful if you eat the same foods frequently. This feature saves time so you can easily pull up your meals and add them to your food diary without having to input the foods again.

The app will also bring up your frequently eaten foods and meals for all of the categories: breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks and it will allow you to record how much water you drink throughout the day.

Working out is also important in maintaining a healthy lifestyle and if you are burning calories you should also be eating more. The app has a section where you can add your workouts so that when you burn calories the app will automatically add the calories you burn to your daily caloric allowance.

Tracking your Progress:
The app will track your progress and give you an estimated weight loss based on your daily food intake. It will also show your progress by allowing you to add the pounds you have lost and track them on a graph.

Keeping you Motivated:
If you have trouble staying on track with your healthy lifestyle you can join this program with your friends or family. The app will allow you to send messages to each other, check each other’s daily food diaries, and see how much your friend has worked out. If you or your friends have not logged in for a while the app will display a note urging you to send messages of encouragement to each other.
Your friends will be able to see your progress but they will not be able to see how much you weigh.

If you do not want to join with others you can do the program by yourself and your profile will remain private.

Success: Our Stories

Amanda’s experience:
I have lost 50 pounds and counting with the help of this app. I have been using it for over a year and a half and it has trained me to become a good judge of how many calories and fat many foods contain, so that most days I can keep track of what I eat without having to use the app.

It does become tiresome after a while, but I always return to it when I’ve stopped using it and feel like I have gained some unwanted pounds as it has proven to be very useful.

The online version should be updated and the tools for searching, adding and editing foods should be improved. The online version is less user friendly than the app.

My experience:
I think this app is great at putting our meals in perspective. It helps teach proper serving sizes and helps you learn to distribute your calories wisely and make the most of your meals.

I think the food database could be a bit more extensive to include more brands and it would be easier if the app converted measurement for you so that you know exactly how many grams of rice is in a cup or how many grams is in a cup of cooked pasta because sometime food packages give you the information for the foods before they are cooked.

I also think the app has the ability to be a bit addictive and I do think that people should use the app but not become obsessed over everything they eat. It is great to use the app to track meals and calories but you should not let tracking calories consume you to the point where you cannot go out and enjoy a meal without worrying about exceeding your limit. People should understand that there will be times when you eat a bit more poorly or that when you do have a slice of cake it isn’t the end of the world and it is okay to indulge once in a while.

I have lost 16 pounds using this app. I began using it after I got back from two cruises in a 3 month span and hadn't been eating very healthy. I lost all the weight I gained on the cruise and I will keep using the app because I like that it encourages me to eat proper portions, more nutritious food and I can track my goal of drinking more water.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Being Prepared When you Travel

The Dos and Don’ts of Traveling, What to Pack in your Carry-on Luggage
When most of us travel we are usually thinking about the fun that is ahead and the much needed rest and relaxation that is in store for us. But how many of us consider the possibility of our luggage not arriving at our destination with us?

There is nothing worse that visiting the luggage carousel at the baggage claim and not seeing your bags but this is something that occurs regularly.

I had this unfortunate experience on my last trip to Phoenix and Vegas and I was without my suit case for almost 3 days.

This post is about being prepared for the possibility of lost or delayed luggage.

What to keep on you:
The first thing I should mention is to make sure all important documents are on you at all times. Most airlines allow you to carry one small personal item such as a backpack, a small bag or a purse in addition to your carry-on bag. Documents such as ID, credit cards, health insurance policy cards,  Visa, passports, money, airline tickets, and hotel, car and other reservations you have made should be with you at all times and NOT packed in your checked baggage.

Also make sure to have your baggage claim tickets on you. These are provided when you check your luggage in before your flight. These tags will allow the airline to link your missing or delayed bags to you and may also help them track your bags.

The first items I would suggest packing in your carry-on in case of a mishap with your checked baggage are any electronic devices you may need. These include cell phones, I pads, Lap tops, e-readers, cameras and any other expensive devices that you do not want to lose.  It is also handy to take all the batteries, chargers and cords for these devices in your carry-on bag as well.

If you have any personal medication that you must take regularly then make sure to pack them in your carry-on bag.  I don’t take any prescription medication but I do carry a bottle of Advil on me just in case I or someone traveling with me needs pain medication.

I would never suggest packing valuable items such as jewelry in your checked luggage. If you want to take such items carry them in your carry-on or personal bag so you can keep tabs on them at all times otherwise I would suggest leaving them at home.

Make sure to use the safe when you arrive at your destination hotel if one is provided to lock up any expensive jewelry or electronic devices. 

 Clothing and extra clothing in your carry-on:
When you are travelling make sure to wear comfortable clothes and shoes especially on longer flights.

If you must attend an important meeting or event upon your arrival at your destination I would suggest packing an extra change of clothes and shoes in your carry-on suitable for the occasion, plus another outfit for every day wear. Even if you do not have any special events to attend if your luggage is lost or if the bags are delayed you may be without them for a few days so pack at least two extra outfits suitable for the climate you will be in. Include undergarments and socks for a few days.

Personal items:
You can always purchase a few toiletries when you reach your destination providing that you are in a country that sells your preferred brands. I like to avoid the hassle and pack a few essential items such as:
A toothbrush
A travel size tooth paste
A travel size deodorant
Bar soap
Small bottle of cream
Small bottle of hand santizer
And you can also bring small travel bottles of other liquids you may need and pack them in a small ziplock clear plastic bag.

There are restrictions on liquids at airport security so make sure you adhere to the guidelines. There are also other security restrictions so make sure you are aware of them if you do not want certain items to be confiscated. 

Ladies if you can go without makeup then more power to you but if you have blemishes, dark circles ect and you want to look fresh the next day then I would suggest packing your essential makeup items in your carry-on.

When my luggage was sent off without me and I was stuck without my bags I was very happy to have my makeup with me because no matter how tired and miserable I felt without all my things I looked fresh and awake. I didn't have to sleep in 3 day old makeup and walk around looking like I got hit by a bus because I had everything I needed. If you have liquid foundations put them in a ziplock bag. I also take a small pack of makeup wipes in my carry-on so I can clean my face at night.

Identifying your luggage:
In case your suit case is lost or delayed I would also highly suggest writing down all of your contact information on a piece of paper in clear legible handwriting and putting that right on top of all the items in the luggage you are planning to check in. This way if the luggage ID tag on the outside of your bag comes off you will have this back up sheet on the inside and the airline will be able to return your bags.
On the sheet include:
-Your first and last name
-Your home and cell phone number
- Your home address
-Your email

I would also suggest making a note or having a good idea of what you have in your baggage in case you have to make a lost baggage claim. The more detailed you are the better.

Damaged baggage:
Luckily for me my suit case was located and sent to my hotel but it was damaged beyond repair. My suit case was expensive and I had only used it 3 times prior so I was very disappointed in the state it was returned.

Make sure when you get your baggage whether it be at the airport in baggage claim or when they return your lost or delayed bags that you inspect the luggage before leaving the airport and make a damaged bag claim if need be.

I hope this post was helpful and that you consider being prepared for all possibilities while traveling.

Bon Voyage! 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Naked 2 Eye Shadow Palette by Urban Decay

My love of eye shadow 
 I am going to come clean and confess that among loving all makeup I have a slight obsession with eye shadow. My love of eye shadow began back in Junior High and since then I have been experimenting nonstop with different looks and techniques. Needless to say I was very excited to try out these eye shadows by Urban Decay.
The Naked palettes by Urban Decay are very popular and have become a staple in many Beauty Guru's makeup collections including my own. These palettes are very versatile with a combination of beautiful shimmery shades and subtle matte shades that can create gorgeous looks for every occasion.

 Many women tend to over pack when traveling and if you are anything like me then narrowing down what makeup items get to board the plane with you is a small feat.The Naked 2 is the palette I tend to grab when I go on vacation or weekend getaways because it can replace many of my other palettes and it can create soft day looks, as well as sultry looks for a night out. For more info on how to pack makeup for travel please click HERE
Naked 1 vs Naked 2 the reviews:
My Naked 2 palette
The original Naked palette
 The Naked palette contains warmer, darker and more neutral tones and the women who seem to favor this palette are women with medium to dark complexions. 

The Naked 2 palette has cooler colors, that are a bit lighter but still rather neutral and it seems to be a favorite among women with medium to lighter complexions. Both palettes however compliments a wide range of skin tones which makes them both a great purchase.

The palettes are $60 each and you receive 12 shades with quite a lot of shadow per slot. They are nicely pigmented, and when paired with the Urban Decay Primer Potion the shadows pack a bold punch of color and lasts all day without creasing.

Differences in packaging:

photos from
 I prefer the packaging of the Naked 2 because it has a hard sturdy outer shell that appears more durable especially for travelling. The first Naked palette has a soft suede like exterior that has a reputation for becoming quite dirty and difficult to keep clean. 

The Naked 2 also has a larger mirror which is ideal for doing makeup on the go, however I do prefer the magnetic snap closure on the first palette which seems less fragile.

Deciding between palettes
If you don't want to purchase both palettes then the best way to decide between them is to head to your local Sephora and swatch them both. It really comes down to personal preference since both palettes can flatter all skin tones.
The colors

In the Naked 2 I like the range of neutral blending colors like Tease (5th from the left) which works well to blend into the crease as well as the darker crease color called Busted (second from the right). I also like that there are beautiful highlight colors such as Foxy (1st on the left), for a matte brow bone highlight as well as Bootycall (3rd from the left) and Verve (4th from the right) for inner corner highlighting.

The matte black is a nice addition to the palette because it can darken up any of the colors, add definition to the crease and can be used damp for seductive smokey looks.
 All the shimmery colors are great for all over lid use or to highlight the brow bone. The only color present in both palettes is Half Baked (2nd from the left), which is a beautiful gold color and my favorite shade in the palette. I would have liked to see the color Naked in the first palette repeated in the second but you can purchase many of these colors separately.

Pairing with other palettes
The Naked 2 Palette also works well paired with other eye shadow palettes because the colors compliment other hues. Here is a look I did using the gold color Half Baked with a coral color from Inglot.
The brush: 

I was disappointed in the brush that came with the palette. One side is a flat eye shadow brush for all over lid application and the other side is a blending brush made with synthetic material. The brush is not fluffy and soft which would have made for easier blending and application; instead the bristles feel more like plastic and don't have much flexibility.
The lip gloss:
I would have preferred the primer potion that came with the Naked 1 palette instead of the small lip gloss. The gloss is very transparent and a tad sticky.

If you haven't gotten your hands on these palettes yet I would definitely recommend heading to your local Spehora to check them out. 

Monday, February 25, 2013

Olay Pro X Advanced Cleansing System Review

Olay Pro X Advanced Cleansing System Review

photo from this was
There are many facial cleansing systems on the market these days, but not all of them are equally as effective. I have been interested in getting a cleansing system for some time now because exfoliation no longer works well for me. For some reason my skin has changed in that it is now more sensitive to certain ingredients and sensitive to any abrasive cleansing, certain devices and facial scrubs. Although my skin has become more sensitive I still want the deepest clean possible and I want my skin looking its best.

*The device is very small which makes it easy to store and convenient for traveling.

*The price for the device is only $29.99 which is very affordable.

*The brush heads are incredibly soft which makes it great for sensitive skin as it does not cause irritation.

*The brush replacements are only $10.00 for two brush heads.

*This product cleans my skin wonderfully and leaves it feeling soft and supple.

*Olay recommends that you use their cleansers with this device but it works well with most facial cleansers.

*The device is water proof so it can be used it in the shower.

* The biggest issue I have with this device is that it is not rechargeable. It takes 2 double A batteries which you will have to keep replacing as long as you have the device. Since I use the device for only a few minutes before bedtime and batteries are cheap it doesn't affect the fact that I like the product.

*The product comes in white which isn't the best color when you are trying to clean and remove makeup. I’m the kind of person that likes aesthetically pleasing things so I would have liked the option of choosing from a few more colors.

* The device has two speeds and I would have preferred at least 3 speeds. I also do not think the highest speed setting is quite fast enough but it is still very effective.

*The device comes with an Olay exfoliating cleanser in a small sample size. I did not like the cleanser it came with because the exfoliating beads were a bit too abrasive in combination with the rotating motion of the brush head and I did not like that the cleanser did not really foam up or coat my entire face.

*The device does not come with a pouch to carry it in or a holder to rest it in which I think would have been very handy to have.

My overall impression:
I would definitely recommend this product to people who want a good cleansing device. The device has some small faults but it does what it claims and I like how smooth and clean it leaves my skin.

To check out my review on the Clarisonic please click HERE

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Las Vegas Travel Guide

Las Vegas is popular for its night clubs, flashy shows and celebrity performances but if you decide to do more tourist type sightseeing on the strip this post will list some things you can do.

Even if you decide to go to Vegas and you don’t plan on sitting in a smokey casino there are still a lot of things to see and do if you are travelling with family. 

Here are some of the photos I took and some of the things that I did while I was in Las Vegas recently. 

The Bellagio Hotel:
The Bellagio hotel is one of my favorite hotels on the strip. The Lobby of the hotel is colorful and beautiful. Like many hotels there is a vast array of shops, hotels and casinos for your enjoyment and entertainment. I would recommend taking the time to stroll around the grounds and enjoy the sights.

The Bellagio Fountain:
The Bellagio fountain is a spectacular show that is a must see if you are in Vegas. Fountain show times can be found online.

The Bellagio Conservatory:
The Bellagio Conservatory  is another must see stop in Vegas. The conservatory is open 24 hours a day and boasts a beautiful array of lights and flowers which coincide with certain festivals throughout the year. We were there during the Chinese New Year display which was aromatic and colorful.

The Bellagio Lobby:
Caesars Palace:
This hotel seems like the largest on the strip. The hotel has many restaurants, lounges, clubs and casinos. The decor and the grounds on the property are beautiful so I would recommend visiting.

The Forum Shops Caesar's Palace:
If you want to do some shopping while in Vegas then the Forum Shops are a nice way to do it. This mall has high end as well as more conventional and affordable shops and the decor is designed to make you feel like you are walking through an outdoor city.

The Venetian Hotel:
In terms or architecture this hotel was one of my favorites because it made me feel like I was walking down beautiful Italian streets. 

The Venetian not only looks like a portion of Italy along the strip but you can actually take a gondola ride through the faux rivers around the hotel. The ride cost about $19 dollars per person for a 10-15 min ride.

Treasure Island hotel:
If you want to check out some free shows while in Vegas then check out the treasure Island hotel. The Sirens of TI show is free and right on the street. It includes a fire display, dancing, fireworks and a sinking ship!
Senior Frogs restaurant is also located in the Treasure Island hotel and they frequently hand out drink coupons and play good music so check that out while you are there. The restaurant is also equipped with a pretty lively dance floor.

Paris in Vegas:
If you are like me and you haven't yet been to the "city of love" then you have a chance to visit a smaller version of Paris. 
New York New York Hotel:
Vegas' miniature version of New York is a another great place to visit.
The Luxor Hotel:
Since there is Paris and New York in Vegas why not Egypt as well. The Luxor hotel is designed in an Egyptian theme that is unique to the strip.

The Mirage Hotel and Volcano:
The Mirage is yet another beautiful hotel to explore. The volcano that erupts in front of the hotel is an exciting display of fire and water.

The famous welcome to Las Vegas Sign.
You've seen this sign in countless movies and videos so why not stop by and take a photo in front of the sign while in the city. The sign is located on the very far South end of the strip right before you get to Mandalay Bay and all the other major hotels.

The Fashion outlets of Las Vegas:
This mall is a great place to shop if you are looking for a wide range of fashion.

Mandalay Bay Hotel:
This hotel is one of the first hotels you will see on the South end of the strip. This hotel is massive so if you want to see it be prepared to walk a lot. The hotel also has an aquarium attraction and shark tank which costs about $40 dollars per person.

Transportation and how to get around Vegas:
The way we chose to get around Vegas was by renting a car. We actually drove from Phoenix into Nevada through the desert which was a very scenic drive that I would recommend if you have the time and if you are flying into Phoenix, if not here are some other modes of transportation. 

On Foot:
The best way to see the strip is to stay centrally located and walk but keep in mind that there is a lot of walking if you decide to do the entire strip by foot. The strip is aprox one mile not including the long walks through each of the massively impressive hotels, so be prepared to give your legs a workout and wear comfortable shoes.

FREE trams:
There are three free trams that run along the strip and will help cut down on your walking time.

1. One tram connects Mandalay Bay, Luxor and Excalibur hotel that are located at the South end of the strip.

2. The other tram connects Bellagio, City Center and Monte Carlo in the Middle of the strip.

3.The third tram connects the Mirage Hotel to Treasure Island which is also in the middle of the strip. 

The Monorail:
The monorail costs $12 per person for a one day pass and longer passes are also available for an additional cost. This rail will take you from MGM Grand at the South end of the strip all the way to Sahara at the North end of the strip. With this option you can stop off at all the hotels along the way.

The Duce bus:
The Duce is a shuttle bus that runs along the strip and goes from one end to the other. The daily rate is $8 per person per day or $16 dollars for a two day pass. The stops are located at the corner of almost all hotels along the strip and the buses are almost always jam packed with travelers so don`t expect a comfortable seat  to be available very often.

The Wax:
The Wax which is the West Airport Xress bus will take you from the side of the Tropicana Hotel to the airport. You can use the Duce pass card to also take the WAX bus. If your hotel does not have a free shuttle and you do not have a car then taxis can be costly. .

NOTE: (using the Duce and WAX to get to the airport) the bus and shuttle drivers may not give you the most reliable and cost effective methods to get to the airport if you don`t have a car so here is one way.
-You can take the Duce from your hotel (if your hotel is on the strip) then get off at New York New York Hotel and cross the street to the Tropicanna hotel. At the side of the hotel there will be a bus stop for the WAX which you can then take to the airport using one pass card.

There are an abundance of cabs located on the strip always ready to take you where you need to go. Cab costs can add up if you are travelling a lot.

Car Rentals:
There is a car rental terminal that is located  7 minutes drive from the airport. If you book ahead of time car rentals can be quite affordable and will allow you to travel further than the strip. Make sure you find out about parking costs at your hotel. There is also a parking lot by the Fashion Show Mall located by Treasure Island where you are able to park for free and walk. There is also a lot in front of the Four Season Hotel on the South side of the strip located behind the fast food restaurants where you can park for free and then walk.

when booking your hotel make sure to check and see if there is a charge for a resort fee which some hotels do charge.

While in Vegas we didn't try many different restaurants but one of my favorite and which we ate at 3 times was Serendipity. Serendipity is located in front of Caesars Palace and is a famous restaurant that originated in New York City. The food was affordable and I liked the variety especially for lunch and dinner. The desserts were wonderful and the portions are large. The restaurant is famous for their frozen hot chocolate which comes in a variety of flavors. I would recommend the onion rings with parmesan cheese, the pizza and the sandwiches

Frozen hot chocolate
Onion rings and pizza

 Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville:
We also went to Margaritaville located in the Flamingo hotel. The atmosphere in this restaurant is very casual and there are performances while you dine. The food is good and they have a pretty good variety. I enjoyed the pasta and if you go with a large group I would definitely recommend trying the volcano nachos and the brownie dessert with ice cream for sharing.

Things to do off the strip:

The Hoover Dam:
The Hoover Dam is located close to the border of Nevada and Arizona. The terrain around the dam is beautiful and mountainous with rolling desert hills. It is definitely worth the short trip to go see the dam and take some photos.

Red Rock Canyon:
We had planned on taking a day trip to the Grand Canyon which is 4.5 hours away from Las Vegas but we ran into some snow squalls that made the drive at a 5,000 feet elevation almost impossible. Instead we decided to go to Red Rock Canyon which is about a 30 min drive from the strip and it was incredible! If you are going to Vegas and you have time for some sightseeing this Canyon is a must see. The landscape is breathtaking and each turn on the road that is cut through the canyon just gets better and better.

Fermont Street:
Fermont street is located in Downtown Las Vegas and the street boasts a beautiful light show. There are bars and restaurants that are as affordable as they come and portions of the street are canopied by a huge screen which projects a colorful music display every few minutes. I would recommend strolling down this street and having some dessert or a drink while you sit and watch the lights light up the entire block.

Weather report
Since we chose to visit Vegas in February the weather was a bit chilly. The average temperature in the day was about 12-15 degrees Celsius and in the night it was about 3-8 degrees Celsius. There was also a snow storm in the desert and on the way to the Grand Canyon so we didn't make it there. I would recommend taking a warm jacket if you are going to visit during the cooler months and even equip yourself with a scarf and gloves for extra warmth. The good thing about travelling to Vegas at this time of the year is that there is less traffic both pedestrian and vehicle. 

If you don't like the cooler weather then I would recommend traveling in the summer months when the temperature can get up to 25-38 degrees Celsius.    

 Be aware of your surroundings and stick to the well lit and well populated tourist areas. I would also recommend that if you are planning on going downtown and to other areas not to carry important documentation such as passports and valuable items on you.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Princess Cruises, Princess Cays, Curacao and Aruba

In December 2012 my family and I decided to go on a cruise to escape the cold Toronto winter. I have always wanted to cruise aboard Princess Cruise Lines because I have read many good reviews and I expected excellence in service, food and amenities. They did deliver on some of my expectations but failed in other areas.

Fort Lauderdale

First we stayed in Fort Lauderdale which had nice beachs with lots of restaurants and shops.

 Being Food Network fans we just had to stop at the Primanti Brothers restaurant for their famous pizza and sandwiches which were delicious. The pizza was good and they didn't skimp on the toppings but the sandwiches although tasty were a tad dry.

We also went to the Fort Lauderdale Beach Park and took a drive down to Las Olas which is a great area to go shopping or to stop for dinner.

Leaving the Port
 The views leaving the Port of Fort Lauderdale were beautiful.

The Cruise:
As with many cruise lines there were good and bad aspects of our experience aboard the Caribbean Princess so lets begin with the good.
Ship Atrium
The atrium was also where the International cafe was located which was open 24 hours and had a variety of sandwiches, deserts, salads and coffee. During the day they had live performances in the atrium including magic shows and bands

The ship was decorated beautifully for Christmas and the party in the atrium complete with a balloon drop and Soca music was a lot of fun. However there were a lot of older people on this cruise unlike Carnival Cruise Lines and Norwegian Cruise Lines so if you are looking for a younger more upbeat vibe then this may not be the cruise for you.

One of the things I loved the most about the ship was the back deck of the ship. The views from the back of the ship were beautiful and the pool was often the least crowded of the several they had on board. This was a great place to lounge during the day and have a drink.

Sky Walkers night club on the ship was one of the nicest designed night clubs I have seen on the seas thus far. The club is situated on the highest floor of the ship and hovers above the water boasting panoramic views of the ocean.
To access the club you must take the moving walkway enclosed in glass which takes you high above the ship's decks and into the night club. The only bad thing about this club is that it seems wasted on the older population aboard the ship. Most nights the night club was quite quiet and there weren't many people there. If you cruise with a group of people you can have a good time at this club otherwise the atmosphere is quite boring and the music is a bit old school.

Movies under the stars at night outside on the deck was a nice way to spend part of the evening. Staff came around to provide warm blankets and popcorn and the movies they screened were quite recent.

The ship does have an adult only area called the Sanctuary which is not included in the price of the cruise and which you can enjoy for an additional fee.

The theater on the ship was nice and the shows were very upbeat and entertaining. I enjoyed them more than the Carnival musicals which seem very repetitive. The singers and dancers were quite young and very talented.

Other aspects of the ship that I liked included afternoon tea, the pizza and ice cream bar, the lounges, trivia games and deck space

Princess Cays
The first stop on the cruise was a private Island called Princess Cays which is owned by Princess Cruise Lines. Princess Cays is located in the Bahamas and it has beautiful beaches. The cruise ship provided a barbecue lunch although the food wasn't very good and we had to eat aboard the ship.

The next stop on the cruise was Curacao which I was very excited to see. Curacao was my favorite stop on the cruise. The town was very colorful and pretty, the beach was nice and the town had a great night life. I loved the live Latin music, the outdoor patios and the famous blue Curacao liquor. Curacao is an island I would like to visit again to spend more time at the beaches and more time enjoying the night life. The only issue we had here was that it was difficult to navigate the roads. We rented a car and the street signs and roadways were a bit tricky.

The last stop on the cruise was Aruba. Aruba is a beautiful island with great beaches and many local markets. I enjoyed the interesting architecture and the numerous tourist stands outside of the cruise port. On one side of the island you will find the most populated beaches, restaurants and a chain of hotels. On the other end of the island it is rather quiet with lots of cacti and beaches that had rougher water and a lot of garbage and debris. I would definitely recommend staying on the tourist side of the island. Even though I liked Aruba I expected a bit more out of the island itself.

Over all the cruise was a lot of fun, the stops were all beautiful and I would consider visiting all the islands again in the future. 

The biggest downside with  Princess Cruises was the food. The food was bland and void of flavor and many dishes were extremely salty. There weren't many dishes I actually enjoyed on the cruise and I had to pre-order special meals in the dining  room because I did not care for the menu options. The staff were very accommodating with the menu substitutions but even then the food wasn't very good and I found myself eating the same few things almost every day. The Pizza was by far the best thing I ate on this ship along with the sandwiches at the International Cafe but aside from that none of the food impressed me. 

The service on the ship was rather good, the staff was very friendly, the amenities were rather standard although this ship did have a couple more pools. The design of the ship was nice, the colors were neutral and the ship layout was very convenient. 

Celebrity Cruises has had the best tasting food thus far compared to the other cruise lines I have been on. 

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