The Best Vacation Ever {Part 3}

Part 1 and Part 2!

Friday, July 8th

The first of two consecutive days at sea. The day consisted of eating (duh)…


…walking around by myself…




Christie and her dad got 1st and 2nd in the mini golf competition!

…the Men’s International Belly Flop Competition (as ridiculous and hilarious as it sounds), and some other random activities. But the highlight by far



If you don’t know about them, they’re a married couple who sing together, and they’re pretty famous. Daliza and I saw them in concert two years ago in Orlando!

Here’s how this went down:

I’m walking along the “Boardwalk” with my friend Monica and her parents. I catch Carissa (the girl pictured above) from the corner of my eye walking with her parents. I do a double take and see her famous tattoo on her arm, but I’m not 100% sure it’s her. Monica and her parents don’t know who Us the Duo is, but they encourage me to see if it’s really them (after 30 seconds of “ahhhhh I don’t know…it’s fine…I won’t go…but wait…”).

I decide to stalk Carissa for a minute, and in less than 10 seconds I see Michael (her husband with an unmistakable curly man bun) sitting at the tequila bar, ordering some daiquiris. I go in for the kill:

I’m so sorry to bother you, but are you Us the Duo? (I knew it was them for sure at that point, but I thought it was polite to ask anyway.)

They introduce themselves (as if I didn’t already know their names, haha) and we all hug. Carissa’s dad takes a couple photos for us, and my cheeks are TREMBLING as I smile for the photo. What I feel like:



They ask for my name twice and say, “Hopefully we get to see you around the ship again!” I cry inside.

A quick couple small slices of pizza before a 2.5-hour show that afternoon.


Now, it was not my intention to stalk Michael and Carissa (I’m a fangirl, but I try to be cool, ya know), but my parents coincidentally grabbed seats right next to Us the Duo and their families for the matinee showing of Mamma Mia! I came in late because I went to the bathroom, so when I saw that they were right there, I freaked out.

a) It’s Us the Duo again.

b) They definitely think I’m stalking them.

c) I had to squeeze past them in the aisle, probably smelling a little bit like sweat and ocean spray.

I got to chat with Carissa’s dad though, who said my parents are amazing dancers (he saw them at the club the night before lol).


should have changed out of my athletic clothes // peep Michael and Carissa doing their social media celebrity thing


nervously playing with my pinky ring

I have to take a second to thank Madre for loving taking photos as much as I do and thus for capturing these special moments.

Anyway, Mamma Mia! was Broadway quality and so fun to watch!

After a 16 minute workout at the fitness center, I showered for that time of day again…DINNER.


Royal Seafood Salad for appetizer


Thai Chicken


Classic soufflé with vanilla Grand Marnier sauce

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shared a couple bites of Ben’s baked Alaska

I’m a new fan of soufflé! I think the table shared one order of prime rib that night as well. I had a couple bites, and it was divine. This vacation assured me that I’m not becoming a vegan anytime soon.

Later that night, we went to two game shows that were wildly entertaining. My parents turned into different people during those game shows.

At around 11pm, my parents headed to the Dazzles club for some more dancing, so Ben and I joined them. Guess who walked in on me while I was doing the Macarena with only one other little boy on the dance floor???




I kinda sorta danced the Electric Slide with them later. At the end of the night, my family got to meet them and chat with their family as well. Me all night in my head: “Is this real!?!?”
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Michael’s mom wanted to hop into the photo!


“He dislocated his shoulder on the FlowRider.”


Michael and Carissa are incredibly down to earth and easy to talk to! (p.s. they’re tight with Tori Kelly NBD.)

What a top-notch way to end a Friday, am I right?

Saturday, July 9th

Last day on the cruise 😦

I decided to go way out of my comfort zone for breakfast and get mostly savory foods, including something called “vegetable upma”— some sort of grain with vegetables and spices. I loved it!

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also pineapple + split a blueberry muffin with mom

I somehow got lost from everyone when we split ways after breakfast, so I spent some time planning out these blog posts and writing thank you letters to some of the crew members who served us the whole week. Eventually, I went to lunch and rock climbing with Monica and my uncle.

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Took some groovy photos with Mort the squirrel (“jungle rat/mouse lemur”) from the movie Madagascar.


Over at the fitness center, I did an impromptu cardio workout on the bike for 30 minutes while Monica and Ben cheered me on. When they left, I stayed to do an upper body and core workout.

Our last dinner of the cruise was delightful and as epic as the first dinner we had on the cruise.


scallops and chorizo


roasted turkey with brussels sprouts, carrots, potatoes apple bread dressing (!!!) and cranberry sauce added on the side later


warm apple strudel a la mode

The night ended with a game show based on “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?”, where Ben went up for only one round because neither he nor the audience knew the shape of a British twenty-pence coin.

(It’s a freaking heptagon, by the way.)

We stayed in the same venue afterwards to spectate some superstar karaoke. Holy talent on that ship!

And finally, dancing at Dazzles as our last huzzah! With our friends Us the Duo, of course (I promise we were there before they arrived…although I left and came back after Ben called me that they were there. I’m creepy, I get it).

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This was the singer at the Dazzles nightclub all week. She and her husband and their band are super talented! It was actually so sweet to see Michael and Carissa cheering them on from the dance floor like fans too.

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I want to go to their Dublin show so badly this fall, but they’re sold out!

In case it wasn’t obvious, this cruise was the experience of a lifetime. Thank you to all who made it happen, especially my parents ♥︎



Sunday, July 10th

We had our last breakfast on the cruise at 6 am before disembarking.


My family went to Mass before we met up with our friends in Miami for some tourism and lunch.

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Miami Beach

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walking in 92 degrees at 10 AM should not happen more than once a year


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Farmers’ Market beauties


a parking meter that accepts change for feeding people who are homeless!

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fresh rolls, lettuce wraps, and green papaya salad for lunch

Our families parted ways after lunch and a sweaty walk back to our cars. Four hours of driving later, dinner was Greek!


falafel to share


chicken salad for me

Ben and Jerry’s awaited us the freezer (you can’t out-dessert me).


a few spoonfuls from each 🙂

Monday, July 11th

Pop and I had a 4:30 AM wakeup for our flight back to New York. Madre kindly dropped us off at the airport, where I had a salad with walnuts, tomatoes, mandarin oranges, and blue cheese for breakfast (my brain was not functioning quite right at that hour, and I really wanted veggies).


In flight snack:


I slept the whole flight, not surprisingly. Back at home in NY, I did a quick 12 minute workout before showering and heading to a full day of work!

Back to reality, and I cannot complain at all.

These were some looooooooong recap posts. I’m keeping these posts as my “vacation diary”, but I hope you guys enjoyed reading too!

So tell me:

Have you ever run into a celebrity unexpectedly?

Have you heard of Us the Duo?

Do you like soufflé?

Have you seen your parents become different people in a different setting?


21 thoughts on “The Best Vacation Ever {Part 3}

  1. I loved hearing about your vacation! It sounds and looks like you all really had an amazing time (even with your brother’s incident!). Now you have me looking even more forward to my cruise next month! I’m glad that you are back though because I definitely missed your blog posts while you were gone. Have a great weekend!

  2. Yes I have heard of Us the Duo and I cannot believe you got to meet them/make friends with them! 😀 What an unexpected but awesome part of your cruise! I don’t think I’ve ever run into a celebrity before… but maybe I have! I don’t know who many celebrities are so it’s quite possible that I’ve run into one and just not known it! 😛

  3. Gosh, all of your food and adventures look PHENOMENAL. I’m confident I would eat to the point of death on a cruise. I see wonderful food and I’m all, “I NEED TO EAT THAT!”

    Can we talk about how awesome that beach workout vid is that you posted? I wish I had your HIIT skills! Ha

    It looks like your summer is off to an amazing start!

  4. Ohmygosh, Alison, I was dying with laughter at your commentary on bumping into Us the Duo, because it was e.x.a.c.t.l.y. how I would respond and think if something like that ever happened to me. Which it hasn’t. I prefer to think it just hasn’t happened yet. 😜 That’s the best kind of “celebrity sighting” though, where you run into them not at one of their events and get to interact with them apart from the hundreds of other fans. It’s especially thrilling when they are just as cool in person as they seem from a distance. 😉 Sounds like you had a phenomenal vacation; what’s memorable trip!! Thanks for sharing it with us!! 💜

  5. Hey! Your trip looks to awesome, from the activities to all that yummy food! I love all-inclusives but really struggle with the “all-inclusive food” I know you were active during the activities and that you did do some shorter workouts but how did you manage anxiety (if you had any !) from eating more than normal and perhaps being more relaxed and less active than normal?! I just came back from a weekend vacation of eating a bit too much,and not having much opportunity for active movement of any sort and the anxiety killed me?! Did your week away affect your weight? Any tips?!

    • Hi, Tanya! If I’m 100% honest, I didn’t have any anxiety about all the food on vacation. I knew I was eating more, but I also knew that it was just for the week. I focused on how my stomach was feeling as I ate, and it helped that the dinners were so stretched out. But if I had any “anxieties” (if you could call it that), it would be geared more towards making sure I was getting in a workout of some sort during the day. Whether that was walking on land or going to the gym for a quick workout, I wanted to be able to sweat at least once during the day. Not because I wanted to burn off the calories necessarily, but because movement actually does make me happy and more able to enjoy sitting for a lot of shows and such. The number one thing that helps me cope with those kinds of anxieties though is to truly enjoy the company and the vacation itself. There are so many fun things to do that you don’t usually get to do, so being present and thankful and taking those opportunities can help take your mind off of the stress of the extra food/lack of exercise. You practice healthy habits all year round, and a week or so with slightly less-than-normal practices will not hurt, I promise 🙂

      And I’m a firm believer that weight is just a number, but I did happen to lose weight after vacation, which I attribute to the lower level of stress on vacation.

  6. Please don’t hate me for admitting that I’ve never heard of Us the Duo. I -have- heard of Mort from Madagascar though 😉 And seriously… your vacation looks incredible. THE FOOD. Omg the food. I’m pretty sure I’d be tempted to do nothing but eat if I ever went on a cruise. Possibly only leave if there were monkeys to play with ❤

  7. Okay, so I just finished binge reading all three post and WOW.

    Firstly, I spent some time googling what options we had here for cruises and they FAILED. It’s only around Australia and we had no fun on board antics. I can’t believe you injured Ben- You just wanted all the attention didn’t you 😉

    I love how the band was on board- My friend used to work for a Disney Cruise and she met the Jonas Brothers (the irony) and his entire family. It was during their Disney days too, which makes it even funnier. I think you and Daliza should follow their lead and seek out online stardom.

    Now the food…the FOOD. I am so impressed- I also admire the quality of it and the courses. I don’t like souffle’s ever since an unfortunate incident in which I opened an oven before the cooking time had finished. Fail Whale.

  8. I’m so jealous!! I would LOVE to go on a cruise! They look WAY too fun and according to my friend, they ARE! My next NY musts are The Lion King on Broadway, Bunna Cafe and Little Choc Apothecary! If I go on a cruise, I also HAVE to visit Asia!

  9. Ahhhh! Your cruise posts are making me miss the only one I’ve done: Alaska with my family last summer. Couldn’t get enough of those breakfast buffets and the nightly three course meals! It felt like we were on an entirely different planet.

    I remember being paranoid that I was eating way too much. It helped me to remember to be grateful for the opportunity to just be on a cruise and be surrounded by people I love. Can’t wait to go on another one–planning on something Mediterranean!

    • I did an Alaska cruise with my mom and brother a long time ago too! Such a gorgeous and interesting place. I want to go back! I think the best thing to do is just be thankful for everything on the cruise— that helps me the most with those kinds of anxieties.

  10. I’m so behind on your blog, Alison, but I’m kind of happy about that because it allowed me to read your recaps all at the same time. I love cruising. I haven’t been on one in years, but ah this takes me back. The chocolate cake. The buffets. The rest. It looks like such a fantastic time! I missed reading your wit. Seriously, Alison, you are my favorite! All right. I’m headed back to catching up on your blog 🙂

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