Tag: <span>tips and tricks</span>

Watching the Super Bowl on a Carnival Cruise

Watching the Super Bowl on a Carnival Cruise

What can you expect if you are on a cruise over Super Bowl weekend? Below, you can check out the Carnival Fun Times for our recent cruise on the Carnival Sunshine over Super Bowl Weekend. Also, check out my video (linked below) where I talk […]

Tips and Tricks for Sailing From Charleston, SC

Tips and Tricks for Sailing From Charleston, SC

We recently sailed on the Carnival Sunshine for a four-day cruise to the Bahamas out of Charleston, SC. The port in Charleston does things a little differently than any other port I’ve experienced, so I wanted to share with you a few tips and tricks […]

Best Budget Buffet in Las Vegas

Best Budget Buffet in Las Vegas

We’ve been going to Las Vegas since around 2006. A lot about the way we do things has changed, but one thing about our Las Vegas trips has remained consistent — we ALWAYS go to the Feast Buffet at the Red Rock Casino for lunch at least once. It’s, in my opinion, the best budget buffet in Las Vegas!

I always say — when you are visiting a new city, go where the locals go. And, on our first trip to Las Vegas, the locals said to go to the Red Rock. The Feast has also been voted β€œBest Buffet” by the readers of the Las Vegas Review-Journal!

The prices for the Feast are listed below. These are the prices you will pay with a player’s card (Boarding Pass) that can be easily picked up from the players club desk at the casino before getting in line. All you need is an ID to get one and it can save you a few bucks on lunch!

Mon – Fri – 8am – 11am

Mon – Thurs – 11am – 3:30pm; Friday – 11am – 3:00pm

Sun – Thurs – 3:30pm – 9pm
Boarding Pass Gold+

Prime Rib and Shrimp. 3:30pm – 9pm

Saturday – 8am – 3:00pm; Sunday – 8am – 3:30pm;

It’s under $20 per person even for Brunch – which is almost unheard of for a buffet of this caliber. The food is fresh and delicious — and consistent! I hate when I find a buffet (or restaurant, for that matter) that was really good, but it was only good because I went that specific day for that specific meal. And, when I go back, they didn’t have anything they had before and it’s not as good. We never get that with the Feast.

I should clarify a question I most certainly will get asked. What about the other Feast Buffets at the other Station Casinos? I have tried most of them, and I feel like they are different. I haven’t liked any of them as much as I lie the Red Rock. Go figure. Last year, we tried the newly renovated Feast Buffet at Palace Station and were disappointed. This year, we went to the A.Y.C.E buffet at the Palms and were also left a little disappointed. It’s the Red Rock that always keeps me coming back!

What’s your favorite budget buffet in Vegas? I’d love to hear about it in the comments section below! I’m open to trying new ones. We did try the buffet at Aria this last time. While it was good, I probably wouldn’t have liked it as much if I didn’t have a 2-for-1 coupon!

Norwegian’s Oceanview Villa at Great Stirrup Cay

Norwegian’s Oceanview Villa at Great Stirrup Cay

On our recent trip onboard the Norwegian Sun, we had originally booked a small cabana for our day at Great Stirrup Cay. After meeting with the concierge, he talked us into booking an oceanview villa. Looking back and knowing the day we had, I’m so […]

Updated Top 10 Cruise Essentials for 2019

Updated Top 10 Cruise Essentials for 2019

It’s been a couple of years since I discussed my top cruise essentials here on the blog. So recently, I decided it was about time to revisit the topic and update it for 2019. If you’d rather watch the video, check it out on my […]

MSC Preziosa Aurea Spa Thermal Pass

MSC Preziosa Aurea Spa Thermal Pass

On the two MSC cruises we have taken – one last year on the MSC Divina and one this year on the MSC Preziosa – we have paid for the thermal spa pass in the Aurea Spa for the week. I’ve always like the idea of going to a spa on a cruise. The flyers they send around to all the cabins are so very tempting. However, I just couldn’t stomach the high cost of just an hour or so in the spa!

When we’ve booked cruises in the past, I’ve perused the spa offerings before we got on board to see if there were any deals to be had. Usually, there isn’t. I’m not about to spend upwards of $200 to use the thermal areas on ships like the Norwegian Escape. For example, I can purchase the thermal spa pass on our 6 day cruise in the fall on the Norwegian Bliss for $229. I think I’ll pass.

Enter MSC Cruises’ Aurea Spa…

Last year when we booked our Mediterranean cruise on the MSC Divina, I once again was perusing the spa offerings. I landed on the thermal pass for only $79. What?!? Is this a misprint? A typo? Did someone forget a number? Needless to say, I booked it.

msc preziosa aurea spa

What Did it Include?

I’m going to focus this section on the Aurea Spa onboard the MSC Preziosa. It had more to offer than the MSC Divina, and I have pictures to show.

Included For Everyone At No Cost

Upon entering the Aurea Spa, the reception desk and gym will be directly in front of you. To your left, you will see the juice bar. These areas can be used by anyone on the ship without paying for spa access.

Included In the Cost of The Thermal Area Spa Pass

Upon your first visit to the spa, you will need to visit the Aurea Spa reception desk. They will take your cruise card and verify your purchase (if you purchased online). On the MSC Preziosa, they placed a small red sticker on my card to make it easier to show on my next visit.

After that, you will visit a second desk within the glassed in spa area. It will be to the left beyond the seating area around the reception desk. Once there, the spa staff will allow you to check out a robe for the week. Make sure you verify and watch them check the robe in and out to make sure you don’t get mistakenly charged for it at the end of your cruise. We had to turn the robe in before 8 pm on the night before our departure from the ship. If you get your robe dirty, you change exchange it for a clean one at any point during the week.

At this desk, you can leave your cruise card with them in exchange for a key to a locker in the changing room. At the end of your spa time, return the locker key to this same desk to get your cruise card back.

Locker Room

We usually came already dressed in our swimsuits. However, the locker rooms had changing areas as well as showers if you needed them. Clean towels were also provided. Once you finished with the towels, a dirty towel hamper was located next to the sink area.

msc preziosa aurea spa locker room
msc preziosa aurea spa locker room

Relaxation Room

Outside the locker room and down the hall was the thermal area. It includes the relaxation area, saunas, steam rooms, and frigidarium. When we went, the relaxation area was usually pretty crowded. You know how people drape towels over chairs on the sun decks and save chairs for hours on end. Yeah, they do that in the spa as well. So, I can’t say that I know how comfortable (or uncomfortable) those stone loungers are. But, there is a large window in the room with floor to ceiling glass, and they have a beautiful view of the ocean going by.

Tip: If you are entering any of the saunas or steam rooms, make sure they are on. If you see the temperature displayed on the LCD screen at the door, they are on. If not, hold in the button until it starts. It might take a little while to get hot (especially in the sauna), but don’t be like me sitting in a sauna that wasn’t even on. πŸ˜‚

Steam Room, Saunas, Frigidarium

The steam room and saunas are great for relaxing your cares away. I’m sure they are great for other things (i.e., removing toxins from your skin), but all I wanted out of it was the relaxation aspect. The frigidarium, however, left a lot to be desired. I expected it to be super cold in there and it just wasn’t. Even after coming in directly from the sauna, I didn’t feel like it was cold enough. There was “Sonic ice” coming out of the ceiling, (If you’re Southern, you’ll get that reference. πŸ˜‰), but even that did’t help it feel colder in there. Needless to say, we didn’t spend much time in there.

Is it worth it?

Ultimately, you’ll have to decide that for yourself. Be sure to pay attention to what your ship offers in the thermal area, because the ships do have different offerings (even within the same class of ship). For the Divina, it was only the relaxation room, sauna, and steam room. For the Preziosa, it was all those plus the cold room. Our cost for the week was $79 per person. Other ships may offer more, but that would also up the price. For example, the MSC Seaside offers access to the lasso pool, heated stone loungers in the relaxation room, salt room, snow room, steam light therapy, saunas, and speciality showers with hot cold breeze mix. But, those extra offerings are going to affect the price ($190 pp last time I checked).

You also need to decide how much you will use it. For our cruise on the MSC Divina, we were in port every day and the spa closed at night at 9 pm. Some nights, it came down to “Do we want to go to the show or the spa?”. Usually we were so tired from touring around that day, the relaxation benefits of the spa won out over going to the shows. If you have more sea days like we did on the MSC Preziosa, you will get more use out of it.

If you think the thermal area is something you would want to do on our cruise, I highly recommend purchasing the pass online before your departure. The pass that I paid $79 for online beforehand was $129 once onboard.

Have you done the thermal area pass on a cruise? What about specifically at MSC’s Aurea Spa? Which one was your favorite? Did you do the thermal area on one of the bigger ships and it was life changing? Or, did you feel like it was even worth it? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

msc preziosa aurea spa thermal pass
Tips for Train Travel in Germany

Tips for Train Travel in Germany

On our last trip to Europe, we ended up flying into Frankfurt and taking the train to Hamburg to embark on our cruise on the MSC Preziosa. It was just a lot less expensive to fly into Frankfurt and we don’t mind taking the train, […]

Top 5 Picks for Anti-Theft Bags for Travel

Top 5 Picks for Anti-Theft Bags for Travel

If you’re looking for a handbag recommendations for what to take when you travel, most people will suggest an anti-theft bag (especially if you are heading to Europe). If I’m honest, I think that these bags shouldn’t be relegated to just travel. Some of these […]

Eating Gluten Free on Delta Airlines

Eating Gluten Free on Delta Airlines

In the past when we fly to Europe, we’ve flown American Airlines. It’s just been easier. We live in Charlotte, and since that is an American hub, we generally can get better deals than with the other airlines. This time, we found a deal to Frankfurt through Delta and decided to switch it up.

delta gluten free

Requesting a Gluten Free Meal

Previously, I haven’t requested a special meal on the plane. I always forgot to call, didn’t want to be a bother, and just decided to make do. It doesn’t do me any favors, and the past two times we’ve flown to Europe, I’ve gotten there with a belly ache.

This time, I was perusing around in our Delta reservation, saw how easy it was to request a gluten free meal, and decided to jump on it. You can still request meals by calling Delta customer service at 1-800-221-1212. But, I found it much easier just to add it to our Special Service Requests under “My Trips” on the app and once you’re logged into your account on the website.

I could obviously only request a gluten free meal for the legs of our flight that provided a meal. For us, that was the flights from JFK to Frankfurt and from Frankfurt to Atlanta on the way back. On our other two legs to and from Charlotte, only a snack was offered. For us, it was Cheez Its which are not gluten free. No other option was available.

cheez its

My Experience During the Flight

Once onboard for both flights, the flight attendant confirmed my request with me and then put a sticker on my chair so the other attendants would know who to deliver the special meal to. They did hand out these menus to everyone onboard (including me), but it didn’t apply to me other than the scheduling.

delta food menu
delta food menu
delta food menu



On the flight there, our pre-arrival meal was breakfast. I was served an Udi’s gluten free bagel (no cream cheese or butter) with a banana and orange juice. Again, I’ve had Udi’s bread and bagels in the past, but it was so dry (especially without any condiments) it was almost impossible to eat.

delta gluten free breakfast
delta gluten free breakfast


Our pre-arrival meal on the flight from Frankfurt to Atlanta was a small lunch. I was served a roasted tomato and cheese frittata. It was pretty good. No complaints.


My entree for both flights was a chicken dish. I wish I had remembered to take a picture of what I got, but I was starving and completely forgot. On the way there, it was barbecue chicken with sweet potato mash and (I think) carrots. I was also served a salad with raspberry vinaigrette dressing and fruit for dessert. I also received a gluten free roll and butter. It was the hardest, driest bread I’ve ever eaten in my life. On the way back, it was chicken again with mashed potatoes and a vegetable (that I don’t recall what it was). Again, I got a salad with ranch dressing and fruit. This time, I didn’t get any bread. No big loss.


Like I said before, the snack service was always a drink and Cheez Its. No other option was available. On other flights, Delta has offered a gluten free snack mix or gluten free pretzels, but I’ve been told that Delta is no longer offering that option.

gluten free delta snack mix

On the flight from Frankfurt to Atlanta, there were two other opportunities to get snacks. During the time when the other passengers were receiving a warm cookie service, I was served gluten free crispy breadsticks with a Nutella-like dipping sauce and an apple. The ice cream that was served later was a chocolate Magnum mini bar which are gluten free and I was able to eat with everyone else. I was definitely relieved! Who wants to miss out on the ice cream service?!? I actually ate two bars, because right before we landed and the bars were starting to melt, the flight attendants were asking people to eat them. Don’t mind if I do. πŸ˜‰

magnum mini bar
Photo by Deanne Revel

So that was my experience eating gluten free on a couple of Delta flights. I appreciated being able to get a gluten free meal. And, I especially appreciated getting to my destination without feeling sick!

Have you ever eaten gluten free on Delta or another airline? I’d love to hear about your experience in the comments below!

Getting Our Home Ready for Travel

Getting Our Home Ready for Travel

It’s time to go on a big trip. You’re super excited. You’re all packed and ready to go. But wait, is there something you’re forgetting? For me, I do almost as much to get our home ready for travel as I do to get myself […]