Cruising

On Camera: Expedia x Disney Cruise Line

Sea days expedia disney cruise line

[trip style = sun + luxury + cruising]

A few months ago I sailed aboard a Disney Cruise with Mr. and Baby Styler. It was a complete vacation for our little family because it combined Mickey-caliber family time with yacht-fabulous adult time.

--> How we {successfully} paired trip styled child x adult travel in one trip: photos / article / video. <--

Having worked on a cruise ship and sailed on many others, I'm really behind what Walt does at sea. So, when Expedia asked meas part of my ongoing relationship with themto host a video they were doing in partnership with Disney Cruise Line, I dashed from Vancouver to Orlando faster than you can say "Ahoy, Matey." 

Hosting one of six videos in a series about big questions people ask about cruising, such as "how to maximize the first day" or "how to stay healthy onboard," I presented the reel about "making the most of days at sea." My topic was the perfect Trip Styler fit since I LOVE sailing the ocean blue and taking advantage of all the onboard facilities {aka - the myriad of trip styles wrapped up in one ship}, in addition to the on-demand soft-serve ice cream. 

Video: How to Make the Most of Sea Days on a Disney Cruise {View this video}

Behind the Scenes Snaps

[photos via the Expedia x Disney Cruise team above: @NVRguys  @LeBrunsOnTheRun @MidlifeRoadTrip]

Photos :: Best of 2015

best of 2105 trip styler

[trip style = all]

"Hah-llo from the other side" {2016 being other side} - Adele

Every new year I take an inventory of the prior year's travel triumphs. What inspired me. The places that gave me butterflies. Hotels I'd visit again {and again}.

Thinking back to 2015, I traveled a lot with the fam-jamsans sacrificing stylevisiting nearby locales and far-flung islands. Because I'm quite choosy with my travel, I'd do many of these trips again. Here are the best.     

January 2015 // Tofino + Ucluelet
When I made the 5-hour ferry + car trip from Vancouver to Tofino {a.k.a. Canada's wildest version of its West Coast}, I was reminded what a 24/7 immersion in nature does for the soul. Hint: It soothes it. Couple this with a year-round surf scene and some of the world's most consistent waves plus a sandy bottom, and Tofino is a town one must taste at least once in their lifetime {or more often}!

Hanging at Ucluth beach with the entire Trip Styler clan {including Dog Styler} in Ucluelet, BC.&nbsp;

Hanging at Ucluth beach with the entire Trip Styler clan {including Dog Styler} in Ucluelet, BC. 

About to enjoy some locally roasted morning coffee in Ucluelet at  Wya Point Resort .

About to enjoy some locally roasted morning coffee in Ucluelet at Wya Point Resort.

Watching surfers about to brave the waves at Cox Bay in Tofino, BC.&nbsp;

Watching surfers about to brave the waves at Cox Bay in Tofino, BC. 

Learning to surf with Roxy-sponsored surfer Catherine Bruhwiler of Tofino Paddle Surf.&nbsp;Read more about it in my article,  Surfing the Canadian Coast , in the Expedia Viewfinder.

Learning to surf with Roxy-sponsored surfer Catherine Bruhwiler of Tofino Paddle Surf. Read more about it in my article, Surfing the Canadian Coast, in the Expedia Viewfinder.

Dog Styler, hanging with his surf buddies.&nbsp;

Dog Styler, hanging with his surf buddies. 

The perfect perch to take in the sand and surf view: The master bedroom in a Beach House at  Pacific Sands Beach Resort .&nbsp;

The perfect perch to take in the sand and surf view: The master bedroom in a Beach House at Pacific Sands Beach Resort

March 2015 // Santa Barbara
I'm not sure how it took me so long to visit Santa Barbara, the coastal town 90 minutes from LA. Now, all I know is I'd like to winter there. 

Sunsets like this almost every night. Swoon.

Sunsets like this almost every night. Swoon.

The lobby of  The Goodland , a So-Cal stay that channels the Pacific Coast's easy-breezy beach vibes in every space. &nbsp;   

The lobby of The Goodland, a So-Cal stay that channels the Pacific Coast's easy-breezy beach vibes in every space.  

 

Halibut with Israeli couscous at Outpost, a farm-to-table eatery in The Goodland.

Halibut with Israeli couscous at Outpost, a farm-to-table eatery in The Goodland.

Chilling with Baby Styler by the pool at The Goodland.

Chilling with Baby Styler by the pool at The Goodland.

La familia in Santa Barbara. Read about Santa Barbara's new wave of trendsetters in my article,  Santa Barbara Beyond the Break , in the Expedia Viewfinder.

La familia in Santa Barbara. Read about Santa Barbara's new wave of trendsetters in my article, Santa Barbara Beyond the Break, in the Expedia Viewfinder.

April 2016 // Maui + Lanai
What started as a week-long work trip to Maui morphed into a three-week tour of the Valley Isle, plus a two-night jaunt over to Lanai. Because, the tropics.  

Maui: Introducing Baby Styler to the joys of the Pacific Isles.&nbsp;

Maui: Introducing Baby Styler to the joys of the Pacific Isles. 

Maui: Enjoying the cabana life, included in your room rate, at the Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea, where we stayed for five nights. Read about the  joys of traveling with a baby  at a hotel that specializes in {cool} family travel and has more baby gadgets than even Will + Kate would need!&nbsp;

Maui: Enjoying the cabana life, included in your room rate, at the Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea, where we stayed for five nights. Read about the joys of traveling with a baby at a hotel that specializes in {cool} family travel and has more baby gadgets than even Will + Kate would need! 

Maui:&nbsp;I never thought doing the Road to Hana was in my wheelhouse due to my very delicate motion sickness. However, I lived to tell the tale with Mr. Trip Styler's oh-so-careful caressing of the steering wheel and brakes. Here's how  I conquered my car sickness  on one of the most breathtaking journeys in the world.&nbsp;

Maui: I never thought doing the Road to Hana was in my wheelhouse due to my very delicate motion sickness. However, I lived to tell the tale with Mr. Trip Styler's oh-so-careful caressing of the steering wheel and brakes. Here's how I conquered my car sickness on one of the most breathtaking journeys in the world. 

Maui: Run, don't walk to the Fairmont Kea Lani,&nbsp;Maui for the oishi sushi (a deep-fried spicy tuna roll) in Ko restaurant,&nbsp;and a  space-age escape to Willow Stream Spa , where I highly recommend the K-Lift, a NASA-developed anti-aging treatment.&nbsp;

Maui: Run, don't walk to the Fairmont Kea Lani, Maui for the oishi sushi (a deep-fried spicy tuna roll) in Ko restaurant, and a space-age escape to Willow Stream Spa, where I highly recommend the K-Lift, a NASA-developed anti-aging treatment. 

Lanai: The beach at the Four Seasons Lanai, one of my favorite hotels on PLANET EARTH {which just went through an extensive top-to-bottom reno} and is one of the most picture-perfect properties I've ever visited {photo via resort}.

Lanai: The beach at the Four Seasons Lanai, one of my favorite hotels on PLANET EARTH {which just went through an extensive top-to-bottom reno} and is one of the most picture-perfect properties I've ever visited {photo via resort}.

Lanai: If you think this pool at the Four Seasons Lanai is incredible, just imagine the new free-form version debuting Feb. 1st, 2016.&nbsp;

Lanai: If you think this pool at the Four Seasons Lanai is incredible, just imagine the new free-form version debuting Feb. 1st, 2016. 

Lanai: Sweetheart Rock. One of the most incredible places in the world to see the sunset.

Lanai: Sweetheart Rock. One of the most incredible places in the world to see the sunset.

Lanai: The sunset from Sweetheart Rock.

Lanai: The sunset from Sweetheart Rock.

Lanai: Dining at NOBU Lanai, the only NOBU in the world to source greens from its own onsite garden.

Lanai: Dining at NOBU Lanai, the only NOBU in the world to source greens from its own onsite garden.

Lanai: A glimpse of the new rooms at the Four Seasons Lanai {photo via resort}.

Lanai: A glimpse of the new rooms at the Four Seasons Lanai {photo via resort}.

July 2016 // Italy
Discovering a land where the wine flows like water. Life is enchanting when you drink it in from a beach club carved into a cliff beside the Tyrrhenian Sea. 

Rome: But first, coffee. Learn how to make Italian espresso in  this video .

Rome: But first, coffee. Learn how to make Italian espresso in this video.

Rome: Seeing the Colosseum, built from 72AD-80AD.

Rome: Seeing the Colosseum, built from 72AD-80AD.

Rome: While this photo is not best-in-class, the experience is: A  Walks of Italy  pasta-making class in a chef's studio towering over the Eternal City. Bottomless Prosecco included!  See the video here .&nbsp;

Rome: While this photo is not best-in-class, the experience is: A Walks of Italy pasta-making class in a chef's studio towering over the Eternal City. Bottomless Prosecco included! See the video here

Rome: The wonder of St. Peter's Basilica

Rome: The wonder of St. Peter's Basilica

Amalfi: Picturesque gelato...

Amalfi: Picturesque gelato...

Capri: and cappuccino...

Capri: and cappuccino...

Capri: and snacks, a.k.a.  aperitivos...

Capri: and snacks, a.k.a. aperitivos...

and bars...&nbsp;

and bars... 

Serving this...

Serving this...

Capri : and beach clubs...

Capri: and beach clubs...

Ischia: and beaches...

Ischia: and beaches...

Ischia: and beach boys,&nbsp;aka Mr. and Baby Styler...

Ischia: and beach boys, aka Mr. and Baby Styler...

Ischia: and spring-fed pools { Terme Manzi }...

Ischia: and spring-fed pools {Terme Manzi}...

Amalfi: and my FAVE Trip Styler family pic complete with Baby Styler's tongue sticking out!

Amalfi: and my FAVE Trip Styler family pic complete with Baby Styler's tongue sticking out!

September 2016 // Sonora Resort
Only an hour by float plane from Vancouver, Sonora Resort is a Relais & Chateaux slice of Canadian paradise where wilderness commingles with award-winning cuisine and curated comforts {more on this coming soon}.

Canada: Where even the float planes are called beavers.

Canada: Where even the float planes are called beavers.

Spending some solo time in the spa's alfresco hydrotherapy circuit, included in every stay.&nbsp;

Spending some solo time in the spa's alfresco hydrotherapy circuit, included in every stay. 

Meet my new BFF {who I loved from afar}: A baby grizzly bear!

Meet my new BFF {who I loved from afar}: A baby grizzly bear!

A coho salmon I caught {and got to bring home}!

A coho salmon I caught {and got to bring home}!

Weighing my salmon on the scale in front of the resort.&nbsp;

Weighing my salmon on the scale in front of the resort. 

September 2016 // Disney Cruise
Think Disney, then think luxury edition. Of all my forays into Mickey-themed getaways, the voyage at sea is the most elegant. Think: A ton of fun activities for families plus a nursery for tots {or kids' clubs for 5-and-up} and adult-only areas {spa, bars, restaurants}.

Baby Styler having a blast in the bath-warm water at Castaway Cay, Disney's private island in the Bahamas. See the whole experience in video here .&nbsp;

Baby Styler having a blast in the bath-warm water at Castaway Cay, Disney's private island in the Bahamas.See the whole experience in video here

The adult-only spa. Parents: If you have tykes old enough to do the kids programs, get a spa pass for the whole cruise!

The adult-only spa. Parents: If you have tykes old enough to do the kids programs, get a spa pass for the whole cruise!

Drinks on Deck 13 while Baby Styler sleeps in the nursery.

Drinks on Deck 13 while Baby Styler sleeps in the nursery.

October 2015 // Hawaii
On Hawaii Island, cascading waterfalls, rainbow-hued botanical gardens, roadside coconut stands and lava landscapes come standard with every stay. And you don’t need to travel far to find them—at any time, every one of these otherworldly sights is less than an hour away. Add in a fish- and farm-to-fork scene made possible by the sea-to-summit topography, and it’s plain to see why life in the Pacific is so palatable.

For the snorkeling in crystal clear water

For the snorkeling in crystal clear water

For the pools {Fairmont Orchid}

For the pools {Fairmont Orchid}

For the nature encounters à&nbsp;la paddleboard

For the nature encounters à la paddleboard

For the Baby Styler kisses

For the Baby Styler kisses

For the sunsets

For the sunsets

For the beach-perfect selfies { find out how to take a great family selfie here }!

For the beach-perfect selfies {find out how to take a great family selfie here}!

November 2015 // Mexico
We visited the Riviera Maya {I can reveal why soon} and fell in love with Grand Velas, our posh all-inclusive stay. From there, we crossed the country to the Pacific side to spend time with family in Punta Mita. 

The zen pool, aptly situated in the Mayan jungle, at Grand Velas Riviera Maya { read about Grand Velas here }.

The zen pool, aptly situated in the Mayan jungle, at Grand Velas Riviera Maya {read about Grand Velas here}.

The chic {and included} room service at Grand Velas Riviera Maya.

The chic {and included} room service at Grand Velas Riviera Maya.

Walking on water...kinda...at Grand Velas.

Walking on water...kinda...at Grand Velas.

Baby Styler learning how to walk and play soccer {at the same time} on the beach in Punta Mita.

Baby Styler learning how to walk and play soccer {at the same time} on the beach in Punta Mita.

Sunset in Punta Mita.

Sunset in Punta Mita.

[All photos by @TripStyler unless otherwise specified]

The $2 Beach Bag

[trip style = sun + beach + all-inclusive + cruise]

Bagging the right beach bag is key to traveling light and in style. It took me over a year to find the perfect one: my fold-flat navy and white striped Baggu, but recently I found a close second that rung up as $2 at the till.

I didn't mean to be disloyal to my tried-and-tested Baggu, but in a moment of last-minute packing desperation {at 11pm before a 3.45am wake-up for a recent flight to Maui}, the cute, already-in-my-purse and virtually weightless $2 bag shown above and below won. It helps that it matches my favoured beach cover-up. After highly successful debut in Maui, the $2 bag came with me to Puerto Vallarta last weekend as well.

Will I give up my trusty Baggu for the cheap and weightless thrill that is my newest travel obsession? Not a chance, but when space is limited and cutting down on even the slightest bulk is helpful, the cheapie bag will be my travel BFF.

Buying A $2 Beach Bag I purchased my bag{s} at Daiso, the two-storey Japanese you-didn't-know-you-even-needed-that store that sells everything from water dumbbells to fako iPhone cords to collapsible dog bowls. Located in Richmond, BC {near the Vancouver Airport}, plan to spend an afternoon because 10 minutes won't cut it. You have to uncover its weird and wonderful wares in hefty time chunks, and while you're at it, grab a bubble tea. {I wish this pic showed more of the bags, but there were some cool prints. I got the upper and mid left red and blue bags. No Daiso or like stores in your area? A) you'll have to visit Vancouver, or B) bag a bag online.

Mah-jor Disclaimer Though the bags are lightweight and have the general-ish shape {NOT PATTERN} of a grocery tote, I'm not suggesting you interpret my advice as "I'm just going to bring my President's Choice or Trader Joe's grocery sack on vacation." No grocery bags allowed for travel!!! Finding the right beach/plane-to-pool bag takes time, so I'm just giving you a variety of options and ideas along the way.

Related How To Bag A Beach Bag Fashion Friday :: Life's A Beach

[photos by @tripstyler]

Bag A Beach Bag

[trip style = beach]

{Editor’s Note: Check out the contest we’re running in partnership with Expedia right now! Tweet a pic and the hashtags #freedom & #expediafindyours for a chance to win a trip to aruba or $250 Expedia travel voucher.}

The perfect beach bag is like the perfect pair of jeans, hard to find and has to fit your {preferred} trip style{s} and lifestyle.

Six months ago I was on a one-year mission looking for just this: a stylish, beachy-casual, fold-flat beach bag. I found the one in Portland, made by a company aptly named Baggu. Huge bonus: it's cool, well made and inexpensive {I paid $22 for mine}!

Baggus work for the everyday. Baggus work for the beach. Baggus work for the pool. Baggu is a NY-based company that started in 2007 as a sewing project by a mother-daughter duo. Five years later the company has expanded beyond the at-home sewing machine to produce: 1/ reusable do-anything/go-anywhere/fold-into-a-tiny-pouch nylon bags and small backpacks 2/ strong canvas bags {my fave & my beach bag} and small backpacks 3/ leather bags .....plus a bunch of other products to hold life's portables, all at reasonable prices.

Beach season is here, and winter vacation season is six months away. With this, here are four things to consider when trying to bag the right beach bag: 1/ Does it go from plane-to-pool in style? 2/ Does it fold flat? 3/ Is it washable? 4/ Is it casual enough that you don't mind mind getting sand on it?

Related Content Seven Ways To Beach Chic Summer Style With Heidi Merrick Crush :: Clare Vivier Carryalls

[photos of Baggus put together by @tripstyler]

Chasing Summer At Sea

[trip style = cruising + spa]

Who: Trip Styler What: A repositioning cruise aboard the NCL Pearl  When: Last week Where: Vancouver to LA with stops in Astoria, WA {cancelled due to treacherous seas} and San Francisco, CA Why: Fall mini break How: RepositioningCruise.com

Sailing from Vancouver to LA I had one goal: chase summer in the direction it's migrating: South.

We were off to a good start. Passing by Vancouver Island, I opened my balcony door to a rush of lukewarm air and was taken by this dramatic sunset with the flare of fall's hottest colours---nougat, camel, purple and charcoal {according to the Fall 2011 Pantone Colour Report}. As we crept southward between 4 and 40km off the Pacific Coast, aside from a picture perfect day in San Francisco, the weather didn’t usher in an extended summer as hoped.

Thank goodness I stumbled upon the ship's spa the first day at sea and found out about the one-week pass to the thermal baths, sauna, steam room and heated ergonomic loungers. When I learned there were only a limited amount of passes sold---120 for a 3,000-passenger ship---I became a regular seeking serenity now. The spa was my poolside; all that was missing were the mojitos. I'd have to settle for apples and chilled water. {Trip Styler Tip :: Whether you're at a resort, all-inclusive or on a cruise, it's imperative to do a self-directed or staff-led tour on the first day of your arrival. Don't make the same mistake as I have in the past, discovering the resort's hidden gems on day three of a four-day trip. You could miss opportunities like the spa pass!}

I’ve never sat in an over-water sauna---at sea nonetheless---until this cruise. Unless I discover a glass-ceilinged sauna that sits at the base of the Grand Canyon or suspended from the top of the Eiffel Tower, nothing will compare. Its dry, woodsy heat mimicked the mid-day heat of the Arizona desert, and when I wanted a break there was a 14-degree Celsius cold plunge pool that I only braved up to my ankles.

As a form of indoor tanning, I lay on a heated, green and blue mosaic-tiled lounger that fit the contours of my back as if it were made for me by a tailor. The gentle heat was so soothing that between snoozing, magazines were the only reading material my eyes could focus on with big pictures and minimal words. To wake up after the heat-induced power tanning session on the lounger, I took a dip in the body-temperature water therapy pool with enough jets to power a 747 and yet another horizontal, contoured relaxation area that sent bubbles upward massaging the legs, back and neck.

After spending the better part of my at-sea days heating up, cooling down and lounging Finnish-style in the spa, it was the last day of the cruise. Ironically, the sun had just made an appearance, glistening off the peaks of the gently wavy sea. Chasing summer {mostly} accomplished, thanks to the spa and the San Francisco sun.

Related A Steal At Sea Fashion Friday :: Buoy Oh Buoy Sailing In The Whitsundays Travel Trends :: Larger Than Life At Sea Travel Trappings :: Cruising Essentials Royal Caribbean + DreamWorks = Smart Cruisin’ with the Fam

[photos by @tripstyler]