I was never one to spend a lot of money on luggage. I did enjoy having a spinner carry on, and ones I have owned before got the job done – but they were falling apart after just a couple of trips. Screws were coming loose, wheels weren’t rolling as well, you get the point. I saw an add for Away Luggage earlier this year, and made the plunge. I purchased the luggage in early March, and have used it a few times since then. Most recently, the trip to Aruba. I purchased the Bigger Carry-On. Away has two different carry on sizes. The bigger one technically still fits overheard bins, though when I was on a couple of much smaller, regional flights, by bag did have to be gate checked – but most bags had to go under.
So, let me tell you about this luggage. (This is not a paid post in anyway. I promise.) I love it. The biggest feature of Away is the integrated battery charger, which is easily removable if requested by your airline. (Which will happen!) The battery is designed to charge your phone up to 5 times – which is more than enough for one trip, home and back, in the airports.
The bag its self is super cute, I purchased the pink color. It is a very soft pink, really feminine. The wheels roll with ease and the bag feels like a high quality one. Inside the bag there is a lot of thoughtful design. There is a laptop/ipad sleeve, attached to a compression system to help making packing easier. There is a mesh zipper allowing you to separate what you are packing, along with a detachable, waterproof laundry bag. The bag has an integrated, TSA approved lock too!
Overall, I really love this piece of luggage, and honestly, it is big enough for most 3 – 5 days trips without having to bring another piece of luggage!
In my last post, I really didn’t talk about the ship at all. I felt this deserved its own post. I’ve never been on a cruise before, so I didn’t have any idea what to expect. I’ve had friends and family that have been on cruises and they loved them. I booked the trip on a whim, and just knew that I needed the cruise to only span a week, no more than Sunday to Saturday, and I wanted to go the end of February, early March.
That’s how I ended up on Empress of the Seas, Royal Caribbean’s smallest ship. (See photo above.) The ship only has 10 decks, and one small pool. I’ll start this off with the food. The food was amazing. Most mornings, we had breakfast at the Windjammer cafe, on deck 10, which was a buffet style breakfast. The coffee could have been better, I wasn’t a big fan. There were endless options for breakfast. One morning we had the “brunch” which started at 930 in the main dining room. The presentation here was really nice, the food was also good, but we were seated with other random people who walked in the same time we did, at tables of 8. Brunch included one free mimosa, which was nice. In the end, we decided to not go here again for breakfast, the Windjammer fulfilled our needs.
Lunch on the ship was at the Windjammer, buffet style. It was served from 1130 – 230, which was plenty of time and worked with our schedule. Food was good, there were many options of what to eat. The Windjammer also served afternoon snack buffet before dinner. For dinner, we always ate in the main dining room, but we did MyTime dining and ate at 7:15 nightly. We were able to sit at a table by ourselves, which was nice. We had the same waitstaff each night, which I loved. Each night was a different theme, such as Italian, American, Greek, etc. I enjoyed all the meals, and our waiter even brought us over additional entrees or appetizers.
The windjammer also served dinner, which we didn’t partake of. I honestly preferred dinner being served versus buffet. There were two specialty restaurants which you could eat dinner at, reservations required and these were additional costs. The cafe also served a late night snack, which we also didn’t try.
Overall, I really enjoyed all the food. We had the all included drinks package, so we made good use of that too.
Entertainment. The ship had a theater, and every night there was a show. They would have two different seating times, due to guests eating dinner. We went to nearly every show, and enjoyed them. The comedian was by far my favorite, he came back a second night and did an adults only show that was later, and it was hilarious. During the sea days, the ship did have something going on all the time, but we didn’t always do it. We did watch the competitions near the pool mid day, but thats about all the entertainment we participated in. We did go to the casino on board, and somehow I managed to walk on board with no cash and leave up $80.
The Room. Our room was incredibly small. Which was expected. When I booked, I didn’t realized I had booked an obstructed view. I wanted a window, and the price was good. We lucked out. We were on Deck 7, which had lifeboats in front of the windows. Our window was between two lifeboats, so we had a great view out the window. There wasn’t much room to move around the room, and the bathroom was incredibly tiny, but we made it work. Here’s some photos of what the room looked like. Though, on a cruise, we we’re there just to sit in our room.
The rest of the ship. The top deck did not have enough placed for people to sit. On the sea days, there just weren’t enough chairs for those on board. Which was incredibly frustrating. The first day at sea, we were able to snag a seat. The second we weren’t. And the most frustrating part was seeing people not in chairs, but towels and books were there, so clearly, someone was saving their seat. The pool, very small, was always crowded during sea days, we never even got to enjoy it. The jogging deck, which also had outside seating, was also full. We ended up sitting inside sadly.
So, overall, I enjoyed the cruise. The staff aboard were amazing, and everything was a smooth process. I just wish there were more places to enjoy the sun on sea days! I did book a cruise for next May, a 7 day alaskan cruise with Royal Caribbean, but aboard Ovation of the Seas, one of the newest ships by Royal. Until next time!