Allure of the Seas – Pre-cruise Tips and Recommendations

We ubered to Port Everglades 2 hours prior to our official checkin time.  Cost of uber was $5 and we tipped the driver another $5 because he complained about sitting in port traffic and could have been out driving.  I am sure that was his tactic and we fell right into it.  Suckers!!!!

The security at the port is very tight.  It is like crossing into a U.S border.  There are cops and security guards everywhere.

Pre-Cruise tips and recommendations below:

  1. If you need to fly into Fort Lauderdale, fly in the night before.  There have been incidents where people’s flights were delayed and they ended up missing the cruise and had to find another way to catch up with the cruise at the next port.  Who wants to start a vacation with that kind of stress?
  2. Do go to the port early.  It is crowded and chaotic there.
  3. Do bring some small changes to tip the luggage people.  The included prepaid tip on the ship has nothing to do with these luggage crew.  Our luggages were brought on board very quickly after we had checked in.  Not sure why some online posts say it might take all day for the luggage to deliver to the room.  Maybe for another cruise but it wasn’t the case here for us.
  4. They are NOT as strict with checking liquor brought on board as they claim to be.  Each room is allowed 2 bottles of champagne or wine.  We bought 2 bottles of wine and a creamy expresso macchiato liquor bottle.  We were told that liquor isn’t allowed and could be confiscated.  Well, we decided to take our chances on the liquor bottle.  I hid it in my checked in luggage and guess what, it was still in my luggage when it was delivered.  Yay! No need to use Listerine bottle and food coloring to hide any liquor.  No one inspected how many bottles of wine we had carried with us either when we went through the security line boarding the ship.  I think we each could have brought on 2 bottle of wines and would still be okay.  In any case, I would not recommend to abuse this laid back system though.  We probably were just lucky.
  5. Do make reservations to shows and dinner ahead.  Ahead means as soon as you book your cruise, start picking out shows and make reservations to the 2 formal dinners as soon as possible.  It was quite a task to try to book/schedule all the shows around dinner time.  All shows were sold out quite quickly.
  6. We booked our excursions ahead as well.  People had said it’s cheaper to book excursions on the islands with the locals but we chose not to have to worry about that as our time on the island is limited.
Allure of the Seas
Allure of the Seas

Review – Embassy Suites by Hilton – Fort Lauderdale

We decided to travel to Fort Lauderdale the day before our cruise to protect ourselves from any flight delays or cancelations.  We stayed at the Embassy Suites by Hilton not only because it is close to Port Everglades but also within walking distance to all the restaurants and shops.

Uber transferred us from airport to hotel at a reasonable $7. Taxi and airport shuttles were too costly options we didn’t consider.

Overall, the hotel was sufficient .  However, I would probably not return for various reasons below.


  1. Steep price.  I honestly think $220/night is outrageous.  We did get a living room with a desk and a couch but that was a useless space for us.
  2. The front desk person was rude.  We had requested for an ocean facing room at the time of booking (which was about a month prior) and were told that we would get the room.  Showed up and got a pool facing view.  When we tried to explain to the front desk person about our request, she told us nothing else was available in a sarcastic voice.  Found out I would not be able to get the Hilton Honors points for this stay and would also have to pay for wifi since we booked via Expedia.  The point is that the front desk person made me feel like booking via Expedia was a mistake and I could sense her unwelcoming attitude.
  3. Noise.  I could hear my neighbors talking on the balcony and could feel the door slamming shut every few mins.


  1. Close to Port Everglades for cruise departing.
  2. Walking distance to restaurants and shops.  We walked to the wine store and stocked up for the cruise.
  3. Happy hour with free drinks and light snacks.
  4. Former First Lady Hillary Clinton was at the hotel for a campaigning event.
  5. Free continental breakfast.




Aloe Vera Hair Mask

I have been trying aloe vera hair mask for the past month.  In the last couple of years, I have been using natural home made products whenever possible.  Don’t get me wrong.  I do still use drug store/department store products.  I am not an all-organic extremist, yet. 🙂

Aloe vera has a lot of health benefits.  A search on Google on aloe vera benefits will yield tons of results so I am not going to repeat them here.  I will concentrate on the hair growth benefits as that is what I have been testing on my hair.  Aloe vera is full of natural vitamins and enzymes that can directly promote healthy hair.  I started this mask to see if my hair will grow faster.  I usually cut one leaf directly from the plant and slice off the white teeth on both sides of the leaf.  After the white teeth have been removed, slice the leaf into two halves right in the middle of the gel part then rub the gel directly into scalp.  Massage the scalp for 30 min and leave it be for another hour before wash it off.

I will do an update in a couple months.  Unfortunately, I didn’t take a before picture when I started this process.  🙁

Aloe Vera
Aloe Vera

Day 1 – Back to Yoga

Summer is here FINALLY!  Bye bye winter!  Hello to pool season!

In the last month or so, I have been really motivated to get my six-pack abs back.  However, I am not a hard-core-hitting-the-gym-every-day person.  My outlet is dancing.  I want to be more flexible with my joints so I can get better at body isolation/movements for Salsa and Bachata dancing.  This is the main reason I have decided to start doing yoga again.

After a looooong 4.5 years hiatus from yoga, I went to a yoga class at the Lorna Jane’s store in West Village in Dallas.  Oh boy, how inflexible I am now.  We did Vinyasa Yoga.  The room was kept at 75F but it felt like 100F.  I was dripping sweat all over the mat.  Ew! I really need to sanitize the mat next time after (and before) I use it.

I like the class; and best of all, it is free.  I plan on coming on a regular basis and be really better at this (again).

If you haven’t heard of Lorna Jane activewear and sportswear then you are missing out.  Her yoga/workout clothes are as good, if not better, than Lululemon.  The quality is incredible.  Check out for yourself.

Lorna Jane’s West Village