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We Decided To Swap South Florida For Snowfall

I have lived in South Florida for over twelve years. There is a reason for that— I HATE cold weather!

A few weeks ago, my family and I were invited to the Ritz-Carlton Lake Tahoe for the Kia Sorento Family Winter Adventure. It was going to be four days of winter fun with all of our friends at Kia. My wife and daughter had never seen snowfall, and we always love hanging out with our Kia friends, so we packed our bags, and decided to swap South Florida for snowfall.

Kia Sorento Family Winter Adventure

We Decided To Swap South Florida For Snowfall

When I was a kid, my family moved to Tulsa. I saw my first snowfall when I was eleven-years-old. It was so exciting and beautiful. They let us out of school early, and when I got home, I played in the snow until it was almost dark.

The next morning, my dad made me go out and shovel the walkway. That was my job until I was eighteen. It sucked! I started to see the downside of cold weather almost immediately. Rarely was there that perfect day involving winter weather. It was wet, freezing, messy and did I mention the ice storms? I got to spend one Christmas in front of a fireplace for two days because the ice had snapped the power lines and the entire city had no power. YAY cold weather!!!

I wanted my girls to experience their first snowfall. So, I decided to put away my snow-phobia and give all things winter another try.

When we arrived at the Reno Airport, we were given the keys to a 2017 Kia Sorento, and we began our trip up the mountain. I had never driven a Sorento... DAAAAMMMMMNNNN is it nice! It’s like “Treat Yo Self” nice (I’ve been watching a lot of Parks and Rec lately). The heated steering wheel and panoramic sunroof had me excited about doing a little exploring before we got to Tahoe.

Kia Sorento Family Winter Adventure

Kia Sorento Family Winter Adventure

The drive up the mountain didn’t disappoint!

Kia Sorento Family Winter Adventure

Kia Sorento Family Winter Adventure

Kia Sorento Family Winter Adventure

After taking advantage of some family photo opps, we arrived at the Ritz-Carlton Lake Tahoe. It was everything that I had imagined.

I felt like I was driving up to a dream that I had once had. Beautiful, yet not intimidating. Huge, yet it still had a cozy, warm feeling. Also, in my dream, the person who checked us in had a British accent… AND THEY DID!!!!

Kia Sorento Family Winter Adventure

Kia Sorento Family Winter Adventure

The first morning we all decided to go outside and just play in the snow. I was hoping that no one would ask me to shovel the walkway. My snow-phobia was coming back! Once I got out there and threw a couple of snowballs, I started to have fun. My daughter had even more fun plotting how to hit me with a surprise snowball attack.

Kia Sorento Family Winter Adventure

Then we started making snowmen, and I was really getting into it.

Kia Sorento Family Winter Adventure

We had an absolute blast!

Kia Sorento Family Winter Adventure

Then we went and drove snowmobiles up a mountain, and I damn near broke out into the Macarena.

Kia Sorento Family Winter Adventure

I had snowmobiled before, but the scenery that I experienced was probably one of the most beautiful things that I have ever seen.

My snow-phobia had melted away (I had to go there. Don’t judge). I took a lot of cool videos while we were snowmobiling. The snowmobile instructor REALLY didn’t like me… he was ready to banish me from the mountain because I wouldn’t stop taking photos and video! I tried to give him a hug to make up, but he ran off into the forest. Poor guy probably hasn’t come back out.

Here’s a video of our first day in the snow.

That first day in Lake Tahoe was just an appetizer. The next couple of days we enjoyed every kind of outdoor winter activity that you could imagine.

Kia Sorento Family Winter Adventure

Kia Sorento Family Winter Adventure

Kia Sorento Family Winter Adventure

Kia Sorento Family Winter Adventure

Kia Sorento Family Winter Adventure

The family and I have been all over the world, and we’ve seen some pretty amazing stuff.

As we were getting on the plane to come home, my daughter looked a little sad. I asked her what was going on, “I don’t want to leave. That was one of the best trips we have ever been on.” My wife and I agreed with her 100%. The Kia Sorento Family Winter Adventure was everything we could have hoped for and more.

It was hard for me to go out of my comfort zone. But in the end, it was SO worth it. We experienced many “firsts” and created some new memories. To all my friends laying on the beach right now. Don’t be afraid to swap South Florida for snowfall. It’s totally worth it!!

Special thanks to Kia for hosting my family on the Kia Sorento Family Winter Adventure. All opinions are my own.

Carnival Is Giving Us All A Chance To Say, “Viva Cuba!”

Cuba has always held an allure for me. Many years ago (1990-something), I was invited to a private party in Miami. The event was being thrown by a magazine that was specifically geared towards twentysomething Cubans in America. That night I learned a lot about Cuban culture. I ate amazing food that was simply fantastic, heard stories that had been passed down through generations, talked to people that were missing loved ones who could never leave and I found myself yearning to visit this country. Near the end of the night, the band that was playing, stopped a song and boldly yelled the phrase, “Viva Mexico!” The man who owned the magazine, walked to the front of the stage and asked the lead singer to bend down to talk with him. After a few seconds, the lead singer, eyes wide and seeming a bit nervous, cleared his throat and yelled… “Viva Cuba!” The crowd went nuts and the rest of the night was a party like none I had ever seen. I’ve been trying to get to Cuba ever since! Now, I might finally be able to make that happen. Carnival is giving us all a chance to say, “Viva Cuba!”

 Carnival Cruise Line — has now received approval to sail to Cuba.

Carnival is Giving us All a Chance to Say, “Viva Cuba!”

 Carnival Cruise Line — has now received approval to sail to Cuba.

 

Following the history-making launch of cruises from the U.S. to Cuba on Carnival Corporation’s Fathom brand last year, the company’s namesake and largest cruise brand — Carnival Cruise Line — has now received approval to sail to Cuba.  The Cuban capital of Havana will be added to select Carnival Paradise voyages from Tampa beginning in June 2017.

The overnight visits to Havana will be featured on 12 four- and five-day cruises aboard Carnival Paradise departing from the Port of Tampa starting June 29, 2017, providing vacationers with a rare and exciting opportunity to explore this fascinating and previously off-limits destination.

Four-day cruises will depart June 29, July 13, August 24, September 7 and 21, and October 5 and 19, 2017 as well as May 3, 2018 and include a daytime and overnight visit to Havana. Five-day voyages will depart August 14 and 28, September 25 and October 9, 2017, and include a daytime and overnight visit to Havana as well as a stop in either Cozumel or Key West.

Carnival Paradise guests will be able to choose from a range of exciting shore excursion experiences that showcase Cuba’s vibrant culture and majestic beauty, along with the island’s warm and friendly people and centuries-old architectural landmarks.

“Cuba is an island jewel unique from anywhere else in the Caribbean and we are thrilled to have this rare opportunity to take our guests to this fascinating destination,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line.  “The opportunity to visit Havana, combined with the fun, relaxed ambiance and wide variety of amenities and features offered on Carnival Paradise, will make for a truly one-of-a-kind vacation experience,” she added.

 Carnival Cruise Line — has now received approval to sail to Cuba.

Aboard Carnival Paradise, guests can enjoy an array of amenities and a full schedule of daytime activities and nighttime entertainment. A variety of dining options include two full-service main dining rooms and expansive poolside choices. The ship also features a 12,000-square-foot Spa Carnival health and wellness facility and an exclusive Serenity adults-only retreat. Popular family-friendly programming includes Seuss at Sea in partnership with Dr. Seuss Enterprises and featuring the Green Eggs and Ham Breakfast with The Cat in the Hat and Friends and fun, supervised activities for kids in three age groups.  Four swimming pools and a 115-foot-long water slide are additional features.

The visits to Havana comply with regulations of the U.S. Department of Treasury that permit travel operators to transport approved travelers to Cuba to engage in activities as defined by the U.S. Department of Commerce, Office of Foreign Assets Control.

The new voyages can currently be booked via travel agents or by calling 1-800-CARNIVAL.  

The cruises will also be available on carnival.com. Please note that a passport is required for cruises that call in Cuba. Additional information on all special requirements for these voyages can be found on carnival.com.

3 Things I Love About the Carnival Vista

This summer I spent ten days on Carnival’s newest ship… Carnival Vista. It was one of the best experiences my family and I have ever had. The ship itself is ridiculous. It was obvious as soon as I stepped on board that Carnival spared no expense. There is literally something for everyone, and that’s not including the amazing ports that you will visit during your cruise.

Carnival Vista

Here are 3 things I love about the Carnival Vista

The Food

I’m not even sure where to start with this one. Trying to figure out where to eat on Carnival Vista is like trying to figure out which present you’re going to open up on Christmas morning. My mind just can’t take it— It’s all so good!

Put pen to paper and have a plan of attack. My family and I decided that everyone would get a dish from each restaurant during our meals. That way we were able to try (crush) a little bit of everything. Try to experience all of it. It will be a highlight of your cruise.

  • Seafood ShackTry the clam chowder in the bread bowl.
  • BlueIguana CantinaMake sure to get a breakfast burrito.
  • Guy’s Burger Joint I’ve had all of the burgers. They’re all killer!
  • Cucina del CapitanoTwo words… Spaghetti Carbonara. (Mic Drop)
  • JiJi Asian KitchenPork belly, pork belly, pork belly.
  • SteakhouseThe filet will melt in your mouth. Add a side of creamed spinach to really set it off.
  • Bonsai SushiThere is nothing on this menu that isn’t great. A perfect place to have appetizers or a snack in between all the other great meals you’ll be having.

Guy's Burger Joint on the Carnival Vista

Seafood Shack on the Carnival Vista

Bonsai Sushi on the Carnival Vista

JiJi Asian Kitchen Pork Belly on the Carnival Vista

The Red Frog Pub and Brewery

There are a lot of great places to grab yourself a drink, but this is by far my favorite. A Key West inspired getaway that features drinks, live music, bar games and fresh brewed beer. Yep, you read that right… I’ll give you a moment to process this. FRESH BREWED CRAFT BEER ON A SHIP!!!! I’m assuming I’ve given you enough time to get over the initial shock.

RedFrog Pub Brewery on the Carnival Vista

Colin Presby (@TheRealPresby on Instagram) is the Brewmaster who has taken on this challenge and successfully brought three great craft beers to the Vista. He’s a very humble character, with a big smile and a passion for what he does. Brewmaster Colin has crafted three very distinct beers that will appeal to almost every beer lovers palette. Whether you are a hardcore beer snob or someone who is just looking for a cold glass of suds to enjoy on vacation, the RedFrog Pub and Brewery has something for you.

  • ThirstyFrog Port Hoppin’ IPA has obvious hoppy notes with a refreshing taste of citrus. It’s great for any lover of IPA’s or someone who is looking to get a great introduction to what the IPA beer boom is all about.
  • ThirstyFrog Caribbean Wheat is a Belgian Style ale that has an unfiltered look and is flavored with coriander, orange peel and other spices. This is perfect for sipping on a warm,sunny day. Or like the title refers to… On a Caribbean beach.
  • FriskyFrog Java Stout is rich, with heavy coffee notes and smooth as silk. All of the beers are wonderful, but this was the one that I found myself enjoying port after port. I would’ve bought a keg and taken it off the ship if they would have let me!

Here’s a video that showcases the Brewery Tour that can be purchased on sea days.

Destinations on the Carnival Vista

Spain, France, Italy, Turkey and Greece. It was the best itinerary I have ever experienced. Beautiful is the only word that sort of comes close to what we saw. Here’s a video that will show you what I’m trying to put into words.

The Carnival Vista is now at the port of New York City, NY and will be going to some gorgeous destinations in the Eastern, Western and Southern Caribbean. After it’s brief visit in New York City, the Carnival Vista will be headed to Miami. That itinerary will feature Grand Turk, La Romana, Belaire and Aruba. Go to Carnival.com for all of the booking information.

Atlantis is Perfect for All of Your Celebrations

A few years ago, my family and I got the chance to stay at Atlantis, Paradise Island, Bahamas and we absolutely fell in love. We weren’t there for any particular reason other than really wanting to visit Atlantis. The one thing that I did notice was that were a lot of large groups of people doing a ton of celebrating. Wedding parties, Birthdays, Anniversaries and everything in between. It became very obvious that Atlantis is perfect for all of your celebrations!

Atlantis, Paradise Island, Bahamas

Here are some of the amazing things that Atlantis, Paradise Island, Bahamas has to offer for your next celebration.

  • World’s largest open-airmarine habitat
  • Aquaventure Water Park

Atlantis, Paradise Island, Bahamas Aquaventure

  • 11 unique pools private beaches
  • An 18-hole golf course
  • The largest casino in the Caribbean
  • 21 restaurants
  • 19 bars & lounges
  • The massive Aura nightclub.

Atlantis also offers a multitude of unique and original accommodations, including the iconic Royal Towers and the stylish Cove Atlantis.

We were first drawn there by the amazing Aquaventure Water Park and the destination itself. We returned because they have something for everybody. You love beautiful beaches? They got ’em.

Atlantis, Paradise Island, Bahamas

Are you a foodie and looking for a new culinary experience? You have twenty-one options. Do you and your friends want to celebrate a special day and get your party on? The biggest casino in the Caribbean is waiting. Are you looking for gorgeous seal life? They have you covered. 

Atlantis, Paradise Island, Bahamas

If you’re ready to make your next celebration one to remember. Click here and Atlantis, Paradise Island, Bahamas will help you put together a package designed just for you.

What Are You Waiting For!?!