Happy New (Blog) Year!

After a (longer than expected) work-induced hiatus from blogging, I finally sat down today to write one more blog post of 2018 – and set out some goals for blogging in 2019, so I can try to keep myself accountable.

Now that I’m back to work full-time as a college professor, and adding in a part-time gig as a travel agent booking cruises, I’ve found it pretty difficult to find time for the blog. But you know what? Plenty of the other wonderful cruise bloggers I’ve “met” over the past year have full-time jobs and more, and they manage to get it done. I need to do better – and in 2019, I will!

I have a few concrete goals for 2019:

  1. Blog more about my 2018 travels. I took some amazing trips in 2018, largely for the point of blogging about them…and really I didn’t do as much as I could have. Look for more posts about my back-to-back transatlantic cruises and my Norway cruise and first time on P&O Cruises (which I wrote about for Sandra and Chris on their blog Brits on a Ship), among other things.
  2. Post more of my cruise ship pictures, from 2018 and before. I put together a photo gallery of my pics from Norwegian Bliss and I could do so many more of these! I think I’m a little overwhelmed by the sheer amount of pictures I have, to be honest!
  3. Write more blog posts with advice for cruisers based on my own experiences. I have a few of these, mostly written to help me in my travel agent business. There’s my series on getting to various ports and my set of posts on pre-cruise planning, among others. But I’m sure there’s more I can write about, if I just sit down and think about it!
  4. Keep up with my 2019 travels. I’m excited to have three cruises planned already – a B2B Southern Caribbean from San Juan in January 2019, and a week-long trip on Allure of the Seas with my best friend in March 2019. I’ve been a little ambivalent about Royal Caribbean’s megaships in the past, so I’m eager to try the experience again and to see what my friend thinks of it, since she’s only been on smaller ships before.

I’m also looking to post on my Instagram account (@_nerdytraveler) more often. If you’re not doing so already, I hope you’ll follow me there and on Twitter (also @_nerdytravler). Happy cruising in 2019 and beyond!

Majesty of the Seas Live Blog: Day 3

Day 3 was our port stop in Nassau, which I’ve been to about four or five times in the last year. As a result, I wasn’t totally gung-ho to get off the ship right away, which made for a nice relaxing (and productive!) morning.

I woke up early and chugged a cup of coffee before heading to a 7 am class in the fitness center. (I told you I was one of those early-morning people!) The class was at the same time as our sail into Nassau, meaning that I would miss my opportunity to take some pictures, but that was ok. After the class ended around 8 am, I sat on the deck and drank a couple more cups of coffee before going back to my room to shower. It was a beautiful morning for Nassau, fairly cool and not nearly as humid as I was used to encountering at this stop, with some clouds keeping down the heat.

I spent the morning writing blog posts and enjoying the quiet of the ship. I’d heard from some frequent cruisers that many of them don’t even get off the ship in Nassau because they prefer to enjoy the day on board, and I can see why – the venues were uncrowded and the pool deck was fairly unoccupied. We were parked next to the Liberty of the Seas, an unusual sight to see in Nassau since this ship usually does Western Caribbean routes out of its home port of Galveston.

Photo Dec 06, 8 22 46 AM

Around noon, I wrapped up my writing and headed to the Windjammer for some lunch. I had thought about trying out the Johnny Rockets on board, but decided instead to be healthy and opted for a big salad from Windjammer along with soup and a sandwich from the Compass Deli. (I understand that the Compass Deli might not survive the next round of refurbishments on Majesty, which are scheduled for early 2018, which is a shame!)

After lunch, I grabbed an ice-cream cone and lounged for a bit on the blissfully quiet pool deck. Around 2, I decided it was time to head into town, so I went down to the cabin and collected what I’d need for the day. The port in Nassau is incredibly convenient to the downtown area, and to make things even better, we were parked in the very closest berth to the terminal building. Without a crowd of departing cruisers to slow me down, it only took me about 10 minutes to go from my cabin on the ship to the main street in Nassau.

My first stop was my favorite place to go when I’m in port here: the Pirate Republic Brewery. Friends, I’m a bit of a beer snob, and I’m here to tell you that their brews are not just surprisingly good for a brewery in Nassau, they’re flat-out good, period. I started with a flight so that I could sample some of their new seasonals, then switched to my old standby, the Island Pirate Ale (IPA, get it?). I found a nice couple who were on the Liberty, and talked with them for a while as we drank our beers. I made a stop in the brewery’s excellent gift shop to bring back a present for the hubby, who didn’t get to make this trip with me.

It was getting a little late, but I decided to walk a little more around Nassau before heading back to the ship. I found myself at an Irish-themed bar called Shenanigans, which was near the end of Bay Street, the main shopping street. I found in talking to the bartender that they had only opened a few months ago, and the bar certainly had two important elements: good wifi and cold air conditioning. I paid a lot for my Guinness ($11!), but if wifi and a cool place to sit down are what you’re looking for, this is a good place to stop. (Just don’t get the Guinness – I think the other beers are cheaper.)

As I finished up my beer, I realized that it was nearly 5 pm – and my dinner time was a 6! Overall, I’ve enjoyed having the early dinner seating on this cruise, but it can cause one to adjust the schedule somewhat, especially on port days. I headed back to the ship, but there was only one problem – after all that beer, I was getting sleepy! I made a beeline for the Windjammer and filled up two water glasses all the way to the top with ice, then filled them with coffee. Hey, it’s not the best iced coffee ever, but it works! I happened to catch a lovely sunset on deck while I drank my iced coffee and listened to the reggae sounds of the house band.

After recharging, I got changed for dinner, then headed to the dining room. I stopped at a bar on the way to dinner to use one of my Crown and Anchor deals to buy one, get one free on a glass of wine for dinner. Well, two glasses of wine, to be honest – which I then proceeded to combine into one very full glass. I got a few looks from my dinner companions!

After dinner, I planned to visit the casino for a few minutes, then head up to a vantage point to watch our departure from Nassau. Well, as it turns out, I should have just skipped the casino entirely, because I wound up losing back all my winnings from the first night (and then some) – but there’s always today, haha! And to add insult to injury, we sailed away earlier than scheduled (that happens sometimes when all passengers have gotten back on board, especially for a late evening departure), and I missed that too. By the time I got up on deck, the lights of Nassau were just a speck in the distance off the back of the ship.

Oh well! I decided it was as good a time to any to head back to my cabin for the night. (It was definitely better than heading back to the casino!) I watched a bit of a basketball game on TV before turning in around 10 pm. Another early night, and no one to tease me about it. I was thrilled!

Read Day 4’s blog here.

Let’s try this: My first live blog

Maybe it’s because I’m a bit of a cruise addict, but I love reading live blogs on sites like Royal Caribbean Blog, Cruise Habit, and CruiseRadio, among others. In a live blog (sometimes called a trip report), the cruiser posts a rundown of each day spent on the cruise – what he/she did, ate, drank, etc. Some of these can be rather extensive, and they give you a really good idea about what life is like on the ship and in the ports being visited.

I had a mind to do a live blog for our Pacific Coastal cruise in September, but due to a number of factors, it didn’t happen. In part, I felt bad telling my husband to leave me alone once a day so I could write and post a blog entry! So upon embarking on my first solo cruise, a live blog seemed to be the thing to do.

I’ll be leaving on a 4-night sailing of Royal Caribbean’s Majesty of the Seas today, Monday December 4, and hope to post on the blog every day this week telling you what my days at sea (and in port) consisted of this week. It’s my first time giving this live blogging thing a try, so bear with me!

Our cruise leaves from Port Canaveral and visits CocoCay, Nassau, and has a day at sea before returning back to Florida. I’m excited to return to Majesty of the Seas after our short Bahamas cruise on her last August. I’m looking forward to hanging out (and writing blog posts!) in her lovely public areas — and mostly I’m looking forward to NOT having one of her tiny inside cabins!

Read Day 1’s blog here.

Welcome to the Blog!

There are a ton of travel blogs on the Internet – and many of them are great! But you don’t have the time to read them all, or to do the searches and research to find the best and most reliable advice on your next travel destination.

That’s where I come in.

I’m Jessalynn, aka the Nerdy Traveler. For years, I’ve been an avid traveler; my passport has stamps from some of my favorite destinations from Barcelona to Curacao and from Dublin to Slovenia.

I’m also a PhD and a college professor. Along this journey, I’ve done a lot of research – and I’m using those skills to find and bring together information for you in this blog. My blog posts will not only follow my travels and give you my advice on visiting those spots, but also link you to other blogs where you can read and learn more.

I hope you’ll follow me on Twitter and Instagram (@_nerdytraveler). You can always visit my main web site, The Nerdy Traveler, for more information about me and what I do. Happy travels and thanks for reading!