Go See Do Photography

A Lot of Travel, A Little Bit of History, and a Whole Bunch of Photos

Tag: Cruise (Page 1 of 2)

Cruise Planning Tips

Ship at Sunset

Sunset on Norwegian Gem

It is quite possible that I enjoy planning a trip as much as the trip itself. Planning and research makes the anticipation of a trip so exciting! Alright, you used my tips from last week to book your cruise. Now, what?

Gem in Nassau 19/100

Norwegian Gem in Nassau, Bahamas

1. Buy trip insurance. Trip insurance is something I never really thought about before, but for a cruise it is incredibly important. If you get sick and have to be evacuated off of the ship, your health insurance will not usually cover it. You don’t want to end up with thousands of dollars of medical bills that could’ve been prevented with a $100 insurance policy. I really like the options on insuremytrip.com.

2. Find out what travel documents you need. Are visas required for any of your ports? Do you need to renew your passport? It can take weeks to get a new passport so you don’t want to put that off.

3. Set a flight alert on Hopper. I love that Hopper searches for flight deals for me and lets me know when is the best time to book. It frees me up to think about other parts of the trip that are much more fun!

4. Research the ship. Read about it on the Cruise Line’s website. Cruise Critic also has lots of ship reviews to help give you an idea about what your cruise  is going to be like. Figure out what needs to be booked in advance. Can you book dining or shows before boarding? Is it necessary to book it in advance?

5. Research the ports. Cruise Critic has great port guides that tell you everything you need to know about your ports. What are the most popular things to do in each port? What currency do they use? What language do they speak? How safe are they? This will give you an idea about if you want to explore the port on your own or if you should take an organized excursion.

Evening on Deck

Evening on Carnival Valor

6. Start looking for a hotel or pre-cruise stay. I think by now, you know I’m a huge fan of AirBNB. If you are driving to the cruise port, look for a hotel that offers free parking for cruise passengers. That could save you a lot of money!

7. Book your excursions. Finding the perfect excursion can be a little overwhelming. Do you want to book through the cruise line or do you want to use an outside company and save some money? For our upcoming cruise, we got a $50 shore excursion credit through NCL, but even with that, they were significantly more expensive than Shore Excursioneer on the cave tubing in Belize City. For our Costa Maya day, we booked through NCL because we have a limited time in port and I was worried that an outside company won’t get us back to the ship in time. If you book a shore excursion through an outside company, make sure you let them know what time you have to be back on the ship. Most of them have a guarantee that they will get you back to the ship in time, just like the cruise lines. This is how they make money so they will do everything they can to make sure you don’t miss the ship.

Skyline Sailaway 14/100

Sailing out of New York Harbor

8. Book onboard activities. NCL opens up their dining reservations 60 days before sailing. If you are not planning on doing any specialty dining you probably don’t have to book anything in advance. They do reserve some times to be booked onboard, but to get a table at the busy times, it doesn’t hurt to book in advance. For the larger ships, you can even book your shows online ahead of time. This is my first time on a mega ship, so I will let you know how that goes!

9. Pack. Ok, you don’t want to do this too far in advance, but you can start planning what you want to bring before you actually start to pack. Maybe you have to go shopping. That’s always fun! Space is limited in cruise ship cabins, so you do not want to overpack. Think about how many formal nights there will be. How many swim suits will you need? What will you wear on sea days or in port? I’ve been trying to find a good Caribbean Cruise packing list and I haven’t been able to find one I like. I may have to post mine after this cruise!

Thanks for stopping by! Did I forget anything? Let me know in the comments! If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram, and Flickr! You can purchase prints on Etsy and Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. For information about our new Guided Photography Tours, visit GuidedPhoto.com.

Choose Your Cruise

Carnival Valor in Ocho Rios, Jamaica

It’s the time of year where it’s hard to get the motivation to get outside and take pictures. It doesn’t help that this has been such a weird winter with its temperature fluctuations and winter storm after winter storm. Planning for our upcoming cruise is the only thing keeping me going right now.

Our cruise is getting close and I think we have everything booked. We have booked our flights and our pre-cruise stay. We’ve made our specialty dining reservations and booked our shore excursions. I think all that’s left is packing our bags but it may be a little early for that.

In all of my planning, I think I’ve learned a thing or two about picking and planning for a cruise and I thought it would be a good idea to share! Here are the steps I use to pick my next cruise!

Atrium on Carnival Valor

1. Think about when you’d like to cruise. As a teacher, my travel times are limited to times when it is busier and more expensive to travel. If you have more flexibility, you can get great deals and avoid the crowds. Hurricane season tends to be the cheapest time to travel, but be prepared for itineraries to change to avoid storms.

2. Think about where you want to go. The Caribbean is one of the most popular cruise destinations and because of three availability of cruise ships in the Caribbean, it tends to be cheaper than other destinations. Cruises to Alaska are big in the summer months, as well as Mediterranean cruises. My absolute dream cruise is a Hawaiian islands cruise.

3. Think about what kind of atmosphere you’d like on your cruise. Are you looking for something formal? You may want to look at Princess or Celebrity lines. Are you looking for something more high energy? Check out Carnival. Do you want something more laid back? Check out Norwegian.

4. Think about the size of the ship. Smaller ships tend to be more intimate while bigger ships have more options in dining and entertainment.

5. Think about your stateroom. How much time are you planning on staying in your stateroom? If you’re only going to use it for sleeping, you can save money and go with an inside or oceanview cabin. If you plan on spending more time in your room, you should splurge for a balcony cabin or a suite.

Towel animal on Carnival Valor

6. Book your cruise. Typically, the best deals are found booking way in advance or waiting until the last minute. Of course, if you don’t live near a cruise port, booking last minute means higher flight costs, so keep that in mind. Cruise fares are typically the same no matter if you book them through a travel agent or straight from the cruise line. So, once you find your cruise, unlike airfare, shopping around is not really going to save you money.

Thanks for stopping by! Be sure to check back next week when I give more cruise planning tips! If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram, and Flickr! You can purchase prints on Etsy and Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. For information about our new Guided Photography Tours, visit GuidedPhoto.com.

Cruise Countdown

NCL Gem
Its been a few years since our last cruise and finally we’ve got a cruise on the calendar! Its still over 450 days away, but it feels good to have it booked! I’ve never booked trip this far in advance and I don’t know what to do with myself. I want to work on planning, but its really too early for that.

We are sailing the Norwegian Getaway which is one of their newest ships and it will be our first cruise on a megaship. The cruise is sailing from Miami to Roatan, Honduras; Harvest Caye, Belize (Norwegian’s new private island); and Costa Maya and Cozumel, Mexico. This will be my first time in Central America and Chris’ first time in Mexico. I am excited to go back to Miami and to explore some new and exotic locations! If you have any advice for any of the ports or cruising on a megaship, please leave me a comment!

About the Photo:
This shot was taken on the Paradise Island ferry from Nassau, Bahamas. One of the funniest things about our last cruise was boarding in New York, the ship looked tiny when compared to the surrounding skyscrapers (and the megaship docked next to it). But, when we pulled in to the small Bahamian Islands, the ship looked massive! It was very cool to get to float by and get some detail shots of the ship!

Camera Gear:
Nikon D3100 with 18-55 kit lens, handheld

Date Taken:
June 18, 2015

Thanks for stopping by! If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram, and Flickr! To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page.

Cruise Dreaming II

Great Stirrup Cay

As the school year winds down, my stress level winds up. While I am looking forward to our summer road trip, I am going through serious cruise withdrawal! Oh, how I would love to be lounging on Great Stirrup Cay listening to the sound of the waves, without a care in the world! I think its time to start planning my next cruise!

About this Photo:
This is really not my most artistic shot, but I wanted a shot of this rock for my cruise scrapbook. So, I took this shot on my way back to the tender, after all the tourists were done posing for the ship photographers. This was a single RAW exposure done in Lightroom.

Camera Gear:
Nikon D3100 with 18.0-55.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens, handheld

Date Taken:
June 17, 2015

Thanks for stopping by! If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram, and Flickr!

Chris Corner #4: The Verrazano Narrows

Verrazano Narrows Bridge in Morning Fog by Christopher Mowers on 500px.com

Last summer, Ashleigh and I had the joy of taking a cruise on the Norwegian Gem out of New York.

Not only was cruising out of New York great because it is a relatively short drive  for us compared to Florida, but it was incredible to sail from a pier in Manhattan. These views were unbelievable.

Most of the pictures we got in New York Harbor were from our departure. The weather was outstanding. The thing that was really difficult though was that everyone else was also outside trying to get pictures. We decided we would get up early on our arrival day and try to get pictures with fewer people on deck.

One problem- the weather didn’t think this was such a great idea. Seriously, we didn’t get much. I don’t know how on earth I managed to capture this image, but I’m glad that I did.

 

About the Photo:
I took this photo at 55 mm, f/4.5, ISO 200, from the Promenade deck of the Norwegian Gem. I captured this photo the day that we drove home from New York, and on that car ride home, listening to the Improve Photography Podcast, heard all about the new dehaze slider in the lastest Lightroom release. I used that same dehaze slider on this photo with excellent results.

Camera Gear:
Nikon D3100 with 55-200mm f/4-5.6 lens.

Date Taken:
June 21, 2015

Thank you for reading. You can see my best work on 500px and can also find pictures of the “trying my hardest to be good at this” type on Flickr or Pixoto.

Also, be sure to like the Go See Do Facebook Page, and follow Ashleigh on Instagram and Flickr! Check out our Gear page to see inside our camera bag!

Wordless Wednesday: Winter Blues

Gem in Nassau

2015: Year in Review

New York Skyline

2015 really was a big year for me. About this time last year I decided to make photography a big focus for 2015 and I did. I started this blog, which has been a big motivator for me to work on my photography. To look at the stats and see that my photos are being viewed all around the world has been very enjoyable for me. I dedicated my summer break to improving my photography and I managed a photo a day project. This year, I realized that portrait photography is actually fun and something I’m not too bad at. I had my first three portrait shoots this year. I’m trying to keep this blog on the topic of nature and travel photography, but if you are interested in my portrait photography please visit MowersPhotography.com.

This year, I also had an amazing cruise vacation! I fell in love with Norwegian Cruise Line and ever since I got home I’ve been dreaming about getting back to sea! Sailing out of New York was truly an amazing sight and it may have been my favorite part of the whole cruise! I have been telling everyone that will listen to me that if you haven’t been on a cruise before, you have to try it! In my opinion, it is the absolute best way to travel!

Thank you for stopping by and being a part of my blog journey this year! It has been a lot of fun for me and I can’t wait to see what 2016 will bring! Maybe I’ll start sharing my portraits here, we’ll just have to wait and see! As always, if you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram, and Flickr!

Wanderlust

Ryndam in Key West

Its that time of year that the weather is getting cold and all the leaves have fallen off the trees here in Michigan. Its that time of year where the urge to Go, See, and Do really starts to get me again! I’m not planning anything major in the near future (we’re saving for a Mediterranean cruise in 2017), just a little weekend trip somewhere not far from home. I was thinking, I need an app that will let me input my location and how far I’m willing to drive and it will tell me all the places I could go. And guess what? I Googled it and it exists! Check it out: How Far Can I Travel

This shot was taken at the cruise pier on Key West. I think I’ve mentioned here that my first visit to Key West was on a cruise ship. That day, we were the only ship in port. I was shocked when I made it back to the keys and there were three cruise ships docked in Key West! I think it is safe to say that when the ships left that day, the island had half the people it had midday!

Thanks for stopping by! If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram, and Flickr!

Why I Cruise

Ship at Sunset
A photographer I follow on Facebook recently posted about an Alaskan cruise he took. He said it was a fun family vacation but it wasn’t great for photography. This got me thinking about why I love cruising:

  • Value – For one price you get luxury accommodations, transportation, great food, and world-class entertainment
  • Multiple Destinations – Go island hopping or visit several European cities and only unpack once
  • Relaxation – Days at sea with no set plans? Count me in

Cruising does not allow you to get as deep into a location or give the flexibility to catch sunrises or sunsets in port. I have to say, there is something about a catching one from the ship! And I love how cruising gives you a taste of a location without having to commit; if you don’t like a port, you can get back onto the ship. If you fall in love with a location, you know where to plan your next trip!

Thanks for stopping by! If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram, and Flickr! If I’ve convinced you, there are many sites to browse cruises, but I recommend Priceline Cruises.

Wordless Wednesday: Skyline Sailaway

Skyline Sailaway 14/100

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