Monthly Archives: February 2013

No-Brainer Travel Moment

Today is National No-Brainer day so I am taking this time to think back on my biggest travel “no-brainer” moment. This got me thinking of all my past trips and future ones as well. I would like to say that picking my best one would be hard, but it really wasn’t.

The best “no-brainer” travel moment would be my honeymoon. We decided we would use my wife’s parents timeshare and go to the Big Island of Hawaii. This would prove to be the trip where I fell in love. You would think that, since this is my honeymoon, I would have already been in love. While this is absolutely true, I am talking about another kind of love. The love of a travel destination that still burns strong to this day, Hawaii. It is a love that me and my wife still share. It might not be as strong of a love we have for one another, but it’s still a love that makes me want to move there every winter.429 ft. Akaka Falls

Hawaii is such a magical place! The scenery is beautiful, the weather is great, and the Aloha spirit is something you can not explain in words. it starts with the laid back atmosphere. When they tell you things run on “island time”, they mean it. Don’t go there and try to hurry through things and why would you? Your on vacation in paradise! You can read more about how I feel about Hawaii in an earlier post: I Have a Mistress.IMG00235-20120214-1601.jpg

Do you have a “no-brainer” travel moment? If you do please share it with us in the comments. We all love to travel and hearing about other people’s travels. Who knows you may make your favorite travel destination someone else’s favorite.

Categories: family, Hawaii, travel, vacation | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Is this the Best Benefit of Cruising?

As I continue to talk here about how Cruising is a good way to travel with friends or a group of friends, I want you to think back to your last trip you planned with some friends. Was there the issue where a couple of you wanted to go one place while some others would rather go someplace else? How about when you get almost set on your destination and one in your group says they won’t go if you decide to go there? These are all real challenges in planning a group vacation.ncl_Olympics_Family_Ball

Now for some good news, cruise ships travel to different ports on the same itinerary.  In fact, this is what most people find appealing about cruising in general. There is no need to pack and unpack several times. Also there is no need to go check in at the airport and spend most of your day flying to another destination. Your vacation time is valuable, If you want to see a couple of different destinations why would you want to spend a day each time sitting in a boring airport. Instead you can find yourself at sea on a ship full of fun and relaxing activities.

7Day_WCarib_Jewel_2013 (2)

Itinerary courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line

How does this help with planning your group? Lets look at a sample 7-day Western Caribbean itinerary from Norwegian Cruise Line.  With this itinerary, if someone in your party doesn’t really want to go to Montego Bay, a few days later you will be Belize City. You don’t have to get off the ship in each port if you don’t want to but you may miss something you haven’t thought about before. Who knows, you may like the port you thought you would hate the most! I am sure if you ask Danielle AKA: @CruiseMiss of CruiseMiss Cruise Blog, she will tell you there have been a few ports that surprised her.

When you figure out what itinerary and dates work well for your group, you may want to get a travel agent involved. When you book a cruise as a group you may be able to get special amenities like for example: onboard credit, bottle of wine in your stateroom, or even a cocktail party for your group. To get theses it helps to have a travel agent familiar with booking groups. These benefits are not always available by having everyone book through the cruise line’s website on the same cruise. Your travel agent will work with you to get you the best value. They will also help you get prepared for your cruise, especially if you are the group leader.

Cruising with a group of people can be a very rewarding way to travel. Being able to see multiple destinations while having something for everyone to stay busy with is a big bonus.  With this in mind I would love to invite you to come on the Cruise Family Reunion and have a great time with a group of cruise lovers, experts, and bloggers. Oh and by the way, we are all a bunch of nuts and this cruise is sure to be a heck of a time.

Categories: Cruise, family, travel, vacation | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Meet Allison Mathews

Allison(@GirlFriTravel on Twitter) is one of the hosts for the Cruise Family Reunion, a fun-filled three day cruise with cruise experts and bloggers on the Norwegian Sky. I wanted to get an interview with her so you can learn more about what drew her to traveling and cruising.

Allison Mathews

Allison Mathews

Allison’s blog, Girl Friday Travel, is her place to share her family’s travels and encourage all to jump on a car, bus, train or plane and see the world! You can also find Allison on Pinterest and Facebook.

Getting to Know Allison

Where are you from originally and where do you now call home?


I am originally from Huntington Beach California and now live near Nashville Tennessee by way of Tampa and Boca Raton Florida.


How long have you been a travel blogger?


Not long, about 6 months, I decided to leave my job to be stay at home mom and thought that writing a blog would give me something creative to do.

Is there anything you have learned in your 6 months of travel writing? Anything that you can give to help others who have been thinking about starting a blog?

There are a couple of things I have learned.  One is to make connections with others bloggers on Twitter and Facebook.  It really helps to read other blogger’s blogs and see what they are talking about.  It helps with the creative process.  The one thing I struggle with the most is writing every day, I am the worst procrastinator, but I am trying to overcome it.

What recourses have you used to help make your blog better?

My husband, the GEEK, is helping me use the key words etc to tag my blogs better so that they get picked up better via Google.

How did you become so interested in travel and writing about it?

 I have always wanted to travel, but my family never went far on our vacations. Mostly we camped in Northern California.  In my teens I went to NYC with my Theatre Group which was awesome! Then finally I took my first big trip to Paris when I was 24 years old and I loved it!  That was it, I was hooked, I wanted to go everywhere I could. 

 I decided to write about it when I realized I was reading a lot of travel blogs and I though gee, I could do that. I think I have something to say and I also wanted to share my love of travel. 

Where have you been and what destinations were your favorites? And why?

 I have been to 40 of States in the USA, including Alaska, all over the Caribbean including  Belize and Honduras, Canada; Nova Scotia, British Columbia and New Brunswick,  Mexico both the Yucatan Peninsula and the Mexican Rivera.  I have also been to France, Spain, Italy and Croatia.  So I have been around, thought I realized I am not as well traveled as some.Venice, Italy

 Probably my favorite destination is Barcelona, I love that city, it was the perfect balance of old and new and I just felt at home there. My family and I are heading back there in March as part of a Canary Island Cruise that includes Madeira. We also plan on going to Gibraltar on this trip, so beside a return to Barcelona, we do get to visit new and exciting destinations.

Allison and Family in Barcelona

Allison and Family in Barcelona

What content can reader expect to find in your blog?

 Generally, I share my family’s experiences while traveling.  We have a young son, so I hope I share some of our approach to traveling with children. I also like to try to share tips or thoughts about travel and hope that they help others who wish or are traveling to the destinations we have been.


 How many cruises have you been on?

 17 total cruises to date. I have sailed with Carnival, Princess, Holland America, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity and Disney. 

 For our Canary Island Cruise we I will be sailing with Norwegian and then sailing them again for the Cruise Family Reunion Cruise this July. So very soon I will be up to 19 total.


What was your favorite cruise? Why did you like this one more than your other cruises?

 That would have to be a tie between our 12 day Mediterranean Cruise and our 14 day Southern Caribbean Cruise. 

 Both had their highlights

 – For the Mediterranean Cruise it was sailing into the Grand Canal of Venice. Venice was a place I had always dreamed of going and to sail in and be able to see it in all its grandeur from our balcony was thrilling. All of our ports were new to us and it was fantastic to visit so many fabulous ports.  Plus the Carnival Magic was an awesome ship.  It was perfect for us as it had lots of things for our then 7 year old son to do.  So after a long day of sightseeing he could run off some of his energy on the Ropes Course or the Water Works Park they had on board. It was the best of both worlds.

 – For the Southern Caribbean Cruise, we were on board for both the Christmas and New Years Holiday and it was also BC (Before Colin).  We were sailing on the old Noordam with Holland America and it was a smaller ship.  Besides going to many ports we had not yet been too, it was the Holland America crew and the people we met that really made this one special. We were adopted by three couples, all in their 70’s and 80’s and they treated us like their Grandkids.  We met the Captain one night and from then on were included in his circle each evening and even got to dine with him one night.  It felt like we were on the Love Boat, except he was not Captain Stubing. Plus Celebrating New Years at Sea was fabulous. It is really just good memories.


Do you have a cruise line that you like more than others?  Why?

 As per my previous answer, we have sailed several of the major cruise lines. I would be hard pressed to say which one we like the most. 

 We have sailed Carnival the most as we have found them to be priced well and they have severed us well in regard to kid activities. Colin, our son has been sailing with us since he was 3 (he has 10 cruises total) and Carnival seemed to be the right choice. I know that some would not agree with me on this point, but we have not had a bad sailing on them. Colin on the Magic's Rope Course

 BC – We liked Holland America a lot, mostly because the still have the Old World Charm of Cruising.  The service has always been good and we really enjoy the care they provide.???????????????????????????????


What are you most looking forward to with the Cruise Family Reunion?


I can’t wait to meet my Cruise Family, who have been fabulous tweeter friends and wealth of knowledge regarding cruising and traveling.  I am also looking forward to meeting everyone else who decided to join our motley crew and I am sure they will also have lot of expertise to share as well.   I am also looking forward to some #TWANCING!

You mentioned meeting friends on twitter and their wealth of knowledge involving travel, what is the one thing that stands out as something you have learned from twitter? 


I have found some great sites and blogs from Twitter Friends.  Fashion sites, wine and food sites and other interesting sites.  One twitter friend wrote a blog about doing carry on for their trip instead of packing your whole closet.  This inspired me to try it for my family and you know what it was awesome!  We didn’t have a ton of luggage and our son was able to hand his suitcase with no help.  We had plenty of clothes of our 7 day cruise and we are not going back to the big suitcases.  We are planning on doing carry on only for our Cruise to the Canary Island.  I am also making my mom do carry on only for our trip to Austria this May.  I am a total convert and probably would not have try it if it was not for my Twitter friend.Friends_overpack.jpg


What would you say to someone who is thinking about going on the Cruise Family Reunion but isn’t sure if they want to?


Join us – There will be fun, sun, great new friends to meet and you too could become part of the Cruise Family. Come on you know you want too….

Any thing else you want other people to know about you and your blog?

I am no expert nor am I the best writer out there, but I am truly excited about traveling and hearing and learning about other people’s travel experiences.

 I am also one of those people who love to help others with their travels.  I have met so many people via Twitter or Cruise Critic etc that I have been able to share knowledge about places I know.  So if you have question about any where I have visited or lived, drop me a line.  I am happy to help provide you with the info you are want to help you have the best time where ever you go.

I must also mention that 99% of the photos on my Blog are by my husband Eric, he is my ACE the Photographer.  You can follow him on Twitter @CruiseList

Categories: blogs, Cruise, family, travel, Uncategorized, vacation | 2 Comments

Cruising, A Good Way to Stay Friends While Traveling?

In my previous post –Traveling with Friends – I took a look at the things that I have learned about traveling with another couple. I mentioned how sometimes you may want to do different things than the others you are with want to do. I briefly mentioned my next trip which will be with a larger group of friends who I met through twitter and being in the cruise/travel industry. This trip, the Cruise Family Reunion, will be a group cruise hosted by a group of cruise experts and bloggers that call themselves the Cruise Family. The Cruise Family is extending an invitation out to anyone who wants to travel with them.

Since I am going on this cruise I thought I would share with you some of the reasons that make cruising a good choice when you want to travel with friends.

There is a full range of choices in stateroom categories.

Everything from inside to multi room suites that can sleep 5 or more people so everyone in your group can find the type of accommodation they need. For larger families there is in most cases the option of getting connecting staterooms. This way you can have enough room and still have the family together but you need to book early to make sure you can get the connecting rooms.

Plenty of activities on board so everyone in your group can find something they want to do!   

Cruise ships have so much to do onboard. Many have kids programs to keep the kids busy so the parents can have some time to themselves. The programs are divided into age groups and provide the kids with fun activities.

Camp Carnival on the Carnival Miracle

Camp Carnival on the Carnival Miracle

Adults can spend there time in the spa, casino, or hanging out in the lounges. Many cruise lines offer an adults-only retreat to escape the bustle in other areas of the ship.

Rendering of The Sanctuary on the new Royal Princess

Rendering of The Sanctuary on the new Royal Princess

Everyone can enjoy the pools and everything in the sports complexes. Many new ships feature waterslides and other expanded water activities. There are also the theaters and some with game rooms. If you’re into a quiet atmosphere you can check out the library area and find a book to read. And in this digital age most now have Internet cafes, but you need to pay for the Internet usage.


Royal Caribbean's FlowRider

Royal Caribbean’s FlowRiderMany options of places to eat means you all don’t have to eat together.

Many options of places to eat means you all don’t have to eat together.

Cruise lines are adding alternative dinning venues on virtually every ship. For the most part, gone are the days when you and whole group have to pick a time to eat in the Main Dinning Room. Now everyone can eat at places they want when they want. Most major lines also offer a version of “my time” dinning in one of the dinning rooms.

These are just 3 reasons why a cruise works well for traveling with other people. In another post I will continue with some more. As a reminder you can join the Cruise Family on the Cruise Family Reunion this July. This is sure to be one of the social events of the year.

Categories: blogs, Cruise, family, travel, vacation | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Announcing Brooklyn Annemarie Nehmer

I want to announce to you the latest member of the Cardinal Cruise and Travel family. For the last 9 months my wife has been pregnant with our second daughter. So after the long wait Brooklyn Annemarie Nehmer has arrived.



Brooklyn was born on at 4:01 am on February 5th, which also happens to me my wife’s birthday. How is that for a birthday gift? She weighed 8 pounds and 6 ounces and was 21 inches long. I forgot just how small a new infant is.


Mother and daughter are doing good and can’t wait to get home. Taylor, the 2 year old big sister, is ready to help mommy and daddy take care of young Brooklyn.

Categories: family, news, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | 6 Comments

Traveling With Friends

How many of you have travel with friend or family before? It can be great sharing a vacation with other people. It can help just having other people to be around and talk to when there isn’t as much going on. Another couple people to play games with when the sun goes down, if you’re staying in a place with not much nightlife. Yes traveling with friends and family is fun and rewarding. Even good things, however, can cave some downfalls.

life-quotes- , how to live , meaning of life

On a recent trip, my wife and I traveled with another couple to Hawaii. We had a great vacation and were happy to share “Paradise” with other people.  There were a few things we did learn about traveling with friends though. These are not what I would call huge issues but more like small things that would make a difference in how well you enjoy your vacation.


  1. Spend the money for a second car.  There will be times when you want to do something different from the other couple.  Maybe you will want to take your significant other out for a romantic dinner or maybe you want to spend a day at the beach while the other couple wants to go hiking. Those are great times to have a second car.
  2. If you plan on sitting around at the pool the whole day, make sure you communicate that to the others and that they are on board with it. If you let them know this, they can make plans to do other stuff while you sit at the pool
  3. Make sure you let the others know what to expect when they get there. Everything from climate to how much everything will cost. You don’t want to spend a week with someone who has just freaked out about how expensive everything is and wants to save money on everything.
  4. Have a good time and keep an open head about things. Don’t get frustrated by all the little things. You are going on vacation to relax and have a good time, don’t let the small things ruin your vacation.

While we did have those times that the little annoyances got to us, we loved traveling with another couple. You don’t realize how nice it is to have another set of people to talk to or run ideas by.  The trip we took was to the Big Island of Hawaii, a place known to be in bed soon after the sunsets, so it was great being able to share a place we love with friends. Is there anything you have learned about traveling with friends or family? Please share what you learned in the comments to this post.

This July we will be traveling with friends again. This time we will be cruising, which is a perfect way to travel with friends. With so much to do aboard the ship, you can do as much or as little with them as you want. We will be taking part in the Cruise Family Reunion, a cruise organized by the cruise family, a group of cruise experts and writers that met on twitter.  The cruise family would love for you to join them on this exciting and sure to be the social cruise of the year. Visit the Cruise Family Reunion website for more details.


Categories: Air Travel, Cruise, Hawaii, travel, vacation | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Liebster Award

Woohoo! Marian, from The Travel Shop Girl blog, nominated me for the Liebster Blog Award. This is a blogger’s way of saying “You’re one of my favorites! Good job!” (Liebster is German for “favorite”). Thank you Marian.


Here are the rules of the Liebster Award:

  • When you receive the award, you post 11 random facts about yourself and answer 11 questions from the person who nominated you.
  • Pass the award onto 11 other blogs (make sure you tell them you nominated them!) and ask them 11 questions.
  • You are not allowed to nominate the blog who nominated you!
  • Make sure the blogs you choose have 200 or less followers.
  • Include a link to the person who nominated you & let them know about your post

Here are the 11 facts about me. I hope these don’t bore you too much, since I am not the most interesting person in the world.

  1. I am a farm boy. I grew up on a family farm and still work on the farm. We grow vegetables to sell at the farmer’s markets in the Madison, WI area.
  2. I am married to a wonderful woman and have one daughter. As I am writing this, I literally have the phone next to me because my wife is due any day now with my second daughter.
  3. Even though I live in Wisconsin, I HATE cold weather!
  4. I love anything that has to do with the outdoors! I am not happy when I am trapped inside. This could be why I hate winter (refer to #3).
  5. I am really hard on cell phones! I used to have a tendency to run cell phones through the washing machine. I found out that a clean cell phone doesn’t work as well as it did before I washed it. Also if you refer to #1, I work in an environment that isn’t good for cell phones.
  6. I am a cheapskate! I am always looking for ways to save money. I like to call it being frugal.
  7. I am a “people watcher”. I like to sit back and watch the crazy things people do.
  8. I love to play poker. I have always loved math that I can do in my head and making my mind work in everyday life. Some of this may have to do with fact #7 as well.
  9. If you follow me on Twitter, you may know I tweet a lot about rum. While I do like rum, I rarely drink anymore. When I was younger, drinking got me into a little bit of trouble and I realized that the trouble wasn’t worth the fun.

10. I am captivated by the water.  From the ocean to the smaller lakes around here, I love anything that has to do with the water.

11. I like to figure out how things work. If I can, I like to tear things apart just to see what makes them work.

The 11 questions asked of me by Marian

1. Favorite mode of transportation: Airplane, train, ship, boat, car, or something else?

This is a hard one. While I hate the whole logistics of air travel, the places I like to travel to, are accessed the easiest by flying.
2. If you could pick anywhere in the world to live for the next few years, where would it be and why?

This one is really easy for me. Those who know me know I am absolutely in love with Hawaii.

The smaller Kahuna Falls
3. What big trip do you have planned for 2013?

The one thing that I am really looking forward to is the Cruise Family Reunion.  We are cruising with a group of cruise experts/bloggers on the Norwegian Sky this July. We would love all of you who are reading this to come along with us on this fun-filled trip. Visit for more details on this event of the year.

4. What’s your favorite travel app?

The one app that you HAVE to have on your phone if you like to cruise is ShipMateApp. This app has everything you want to know about cruising.

5. Do you prefer snowy destinations or warm weather destinations and why?

Warm weather destination is my choice. Refer to the #3 fact about me above.

6. How many languages can you speak?

Only English.

7. Would you rather fly Business or First class and spend less on your hotel or resort or fly Economy class and spend more on your hotel or resort?

Save the money on economy and spend it on the resort. You spend more time at the resort so why not splurge on it.

8. Do you generally pack your bags for a trip well in advance or right before you leave?

Right before I leave. I am a procrastinator like that!

9. Best cruise advice for your readers?

Just go and have fun! You are going on vacation to relax so go and have a good time.

10. Have you ever traveled somewhere that thought felt like “home” more than home did?

Yes, in Hawaii. I feel so at ease in Hawaii and would love to make that home.
11. Are you an early riser or do you prefer to stay up late?

I am an early riser. With a kid I like to get up early and get stuff done before it gets hectic when everyone wakes up.

Now the questions for my nominees:

  1. When did the travel bug bite you?
  2. What destination have you travel to that you could travel to over and over again?
  3. What activity have you done on your travels that what out of your comfort zone?
  4. Name one thing that you hate about traveling. Why?
  5. What tops your travel bucket list? Why?
  6. What have you learned about yourself because of your travels?
  7. What foods have you ate during your travels that you never would have eaten at home?
  8. What advise would you give to others who want to become travel writers?
  9. What destination do you have no desire to travel to?
  10. What is the one thing you cannot travel without?
  11. If you could take a “travel newbie” with you, where would you take them?

Once again I would like to thank Marian for nominating me. It was a ton of fun! Now, here are my nominees. I hope you all take this on and have as much fun as me.

Allison (@GirlFriTravel)

Pola  (@jettingaround)

Colleen (@TheTrvlPrincess)

David (@BrooksCruiseSvc)

Scott (@ScottLara1961)

Shannon (@CajunMama)

Cathy (@Addict2Cruises)

I am going to break the rules on the next few. They have more than 200 followers but I really like these blogs.

Leah (@L_e_a_h)

Lola (@LolaDiMarco)

Ana (@mrsoaroundworld)

Categories: Air Travel, blogs, Cruise, Hawaii, travel, Uncategorized, vacation, waterfalls | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Blog at