Welcome to part three of the Sunday feature on my blog The Officer Wife Series Travel & Cruise Tips Q & A. As you know I travel the world on a cruise ship with my husband, who is an officer on a cruise ship. This is why I thought this would be a fun Sunday feature with my friends that also are officer wives.
Let’s see what travel and cruise tips Leah has for you.
Where is your favourite place in the world?
HOME! Sounds corny, but when you travel a lot, home is the best! It is where we can be ourselves and there are no expectations.
If I had to answer based on my travels, then my answer is #1. Paris, #2. Barcelona. I love art and both these cities deliver in such diverse ways from the high-end Louvre in France, right down to the Ramblas and street performers in Spain.
What is your favourite cruise?
I did the Canary Islands over a summer contract and I loved exploring the volcanoes and riding camels. My favourite type of cruise is one that involves a lot of excursions with interesting things to do and explore.
For example, I had never tried wine from the Canary Islands before and was intrigued with how they put each plant into a half moon hole, which is protected by a mini-rock wall. And the wine is fantastic!
What is your favourite part of cruising?
Being surrounded by water and seeing dolphins swim and jump beside the ship.
How many countries have you been to?
I’ve lost count. Mostly, I have travelled Europe and the Caribbean. I stopped pinning maps years ago. It’s not the destination; it is the journey that counts.
What are the beauty products that you cannot travel without?
Clarins Sunscreen and Shea Butter Face Wash. Lancome’s Bi-Facil Eye make-up remover. MAC under eye concealer and Smashbox Photo Finish Primer, which is awesome because we take a lot of photos onboard.
A good hair conditioner is essential also because the water onboard is hard on your hair. Anything else, I can usually buy in the spa or gift shops onboard.
Do you have any packing tips?
Oh, do I! I separate my clothes by colour and then put them into groups and inside plastic bags. This way, if something leaks in my bag, my clothes are protected. I also put anything I cherish into a carry-on. Designer shoes, etc.
I have had costume jewellery stolen out of my bag while in transit, it is so maddening! If you love it and would be upset if it was gone, toss it into your carry-on.
I also put all cords for electronics in my carry on too. Even if I won’t need them right away, what a pain if I had to run around looking for a cord to recharge my device?
Also, buy a TSA approved lock and just before checking my bag, I take a photo of it with my phone. This way, if I don’t speak the language in my country of destination and my bag goes missing, I can just show them the photo.
I also keep a copy of my itinerary, ID and email address inside so if the tags get torn off there is still a way to identify that the bag is mine.
Do have any travel tips?
Yes, please do your homework. If you are going somewhere new, try to research as much as possible about the place. I see far too many people who expect to get spoon-fed everything and when something goes wrong they blame the travel agent or tour operator.
They cannot read your mind and are not obliged to tell you that the museums in Italy are closed Mondays. The better informed you are, the better your experience will be.
Do you keep healthy or eat what you like when travelling onboard?
A little of both. Everything in moderation is ok. I usually sail for two or three weeks and the food is quite rich and upsets my stomach if I overdo it.
I love American Hamburgers and will treat myself to a few of those because I cannot get them in Italy. But otherwise, I eat a lot of salads and fruit.
I bring my own tea bags because I am very particular about my morning tea! Alcohol also hits you harder at sea and so moderation is key when the ship is rocking!
Do you exercise when onboard, if so what you do to keep fit?
I hate the gym but I love the outdoor running track. I love walking and will often start my day up there. I also do stretches and play tennis when there are facilities onboard and at times will try to set up a match ashore if I know of a court in the port of call.
What do you do with your time onboard?
My number one priority is to spend time with my husband when he is not working. I am there to see him and I think he appreciates it when I make an effort to get dressed up for formal nights and greet guests with him.
I’m a social person and it takes some of the pressure off him when I am by his side chatting with guests. When he is not in guest areas we are like a normal married couple. We watch movies in our cabin and eat popcorn!
I’m an active person and so I only sail twice a year for two to three weeks at a stretch. When I’m onboard, I follow his lead. If he isn’t tired, we will catch a show or if he doesn’t have boat drills we will hit a favourite beach ashore. But, I make sure not to put too much pressure on him to entertain me too. His job is intense and he needs to be alert and attentive. People’s lives depend on him!
When he is in meetings or on the bridge, I read a lot of books. Sometimes I will go ashore alone and rent a bike and just explore. I’m an artist, so I also paint in the cabin or out on the deck. I bring my paint supplies with me and will often give paintings away to the crew and people I meet while sailing.
Follow Leah on her very entertaining lifestyle blog about life in Italy and her travels: ‘Help I Live With My Italian Mother in Law’ at www.helpilivewithmyitalianmotherinlaw.com
Leah also has a book out called ‘Dirty Words’ that is a great vacation read! You can download it on Kindle or order the paperback on Amazon.
I hope you enjoyed reading part three of the Officer Wife Series with Leah. She offered some great cruise tips and next week you can read more Q & A’s with another officer wife.
Read more travel and cruise tips with officer wives:
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Love Lucy x