Cruising – A Different Type of Vacation

Have you ever gone down a waterslide, ridden a roller coaster, rock climbed or tried walking across a tightrope hundreds of feet above the ocean? Sounds crazy, right? But a vacation cruise allows you to have these sorts of adventures and more! With so many of us planning our next vacation after such a long time dealing with COVID having shut so many things down for so long, I encourage you to take a look at all that cruising has to offer.

With over 50 different cruise lines available with over 320 different ships to choose from in the world currently, there are TONS of options for every type of traveler. There are cruise ships that sail in the ocean and ships that are solely built for cruising along rivers. Cruises can be as short as 2 nights or, currently, the longest cruise is 274 nights and offers its passengers a trip around the world, literally.

I recently had the opportunity to take a short cruise out of the nearby port in Long Beach, CA and visited Catalina, CA and Ensenada, Mexico. It was a great adventure, as I had never been on a cruise before. Before your cruise even starts, you decide what type of cabin you want, and there are lots to choose from, everything from an inside cabin, an ocean view, a balcony or different types of suites. What you choose depends on your preference and also on how much money you want to spend. Many people think cruising would never be an option because it’s too expensive, but there are cruises available for less than the cost of a hotel per night, if you really look for them. You might have to be flexible on your accommodations, however.

Once you are on the cruise there are so many things to do. Whether you like sitting around relaxing by the pool, playing Bingo or trivia for fun prizes, watching a show, or even playing basketball or miniature golf, there will always be something fun for you to do. There are special areas just for kids and teens, broken up by age group so you can meet others on board your age. The rooms have activities geared towards the specific age group including games, activities and video games and special parties. There’s also a variety of restaurants on board including a buffet, a main dining room or even special fine dining restaurants where you pay an additional fee, otherwise most food is included, which may result in you eating way more than you normally do in a day.

Sometimes you choose a cruise just for the cruise itself, and sometimes you choose a cruise for the ports you will visit. My family chose our destination just as a fun getaway right before school started back up, so it was a little bit of both, just to experience what a cruise was like and to visit a few places. Once in port, you can explore the town on your own or take a tour to a location that interests you. Every person who goes on a cruise will have a different experience based upon your likes and dislikes, so next time you don’t know where you should head out on vacation, check out all of the available cruising options as a different kind of vacation, especially if you’ve never experienced one before. You won’t be disappointed!

A Trip Around Lake Erie

Summer has just begun and now that Covid is clearing up many people are taking their long-due vacations. For vacation this summer, my family and I decided to go for a trip around Lake Erie which is one of the 5 great lakes in the northeastern part of the United States. During our time there we drove through 4 different states and a different country.

We decided to start by taking a four hour flight over to Cleveland, Ohio and from there we took a short drive to Cedar Point. Cedar Point is an amusement park in Ohio that my dad has been wanting to go to for years. We spent a couple days there, then went on a ferry to a little island called Put-in-Bay. Put-in-Bay is a village on South Bass Island in the middle of Lake Erie about a mile from Sandusky, Ohio. We spent a day there driving around in a golf cart and exploring the island. While the island is very small, it houses a US National Park called Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial which is a memorial to those who fought in the Battle of Lake Erie in the War of 1812.  After we got back to the mainland, we went to another amusement park called Kings Island in Mason, Ohio, and we spent another 2 days there.

After fully exploring these fun places in Ohio, we packed up and took about an 8 hour car ride towards Toronto, Canada. At the US/Canadian border we were stopped by border agents who asked us many questions about where we had come from and where we were going. They also made sure we had properly completed the ArriveCan app information which is an app required to enter Canada now due to COVID. We stayed in a small suburb of Toronto called Vaughan where Canada’ Wonderland is located.

All 3 of these amusement parks are owned by the same company that owns Knott’s Berry Farm here in Orange County. While the idea is the same, ride rides and eat lots of food, the environments and the experiences at each park were quite different. I enjoyed them all in different ways. When we were done with our amusement park thrills we headed over to Niagara Falls where we went on the Maid of the Mist which is a boat that takes you right up to the bottom of the falls. While they do provide you with ponchos our entire family still ended up getting soaked.  After Niagara Falls, we drove all the way back to the Cleveland airport through Pennsylvania and back to Ohio, then flew all the way back to California. It was a great adventure with a lot of new experiences including the theme parks and multiple thunderstorms unlike anything we have in California. While I enjoyed it greatly, it’s nice to be home.

Summer Plans

With the end of the school year coming up, I’ve begun planning my summer break. With the stress of finals still looming but reaching an end, you begin to wonder what you’re going to do for the next three months. Of course, there is the usual hanging out with friends, going on family vacations, and soaking up the sun. But when the heat gets too hot and you can’t be outside any longer, I look for fun options that keep me in the house.

Of course as an avid reader, my first thought is to start reading. Now I find this not only fun but beneficial. Oftentimes when I head out on summer vacation, I don’t do anything “academic” for those three months and then come back to school feeling unprepared for the first few weeks. However, with my plan of reading this summer, I hope to not only find books that I love but also ones that will keep me at the level I was when I left school so I can come back ready to learn.

As I head into my last year of high school, I hope to continue this love of reading over all my summers as I know school only gets busier and busier from here. So when planning your summers, make sure to keep in mind any books that you’ve been eyeing as well as ones that haven’t come out yet. When you’re looking for something to keep you busy but isn’t in the sweltering heat, make sure reading is at the forefront.

-Danielle B.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Getaway by Jeff Kinney

Diary of a Wimpy Kid is probably one of my favorite series, but Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Getaway made it official. This book is like all the other books times two. It shows the Heffley’s true nature as a clumsy, ridiculous, frazzled family. It is similar to The Long Haul, but different at the same time. The book also features some new, funny characters that increase the humor in the book a lot! This book also has a lot more interesting twists and turns than 1-9.

One thing that makes this book interesting for me is that it does not take place in Greg’s town at all. Most of the books feature Greg in his hometown, so this book helped mix it up a bit. Most of the characters the other books generate are not that likable or funny, their main purpose is to be stupid. But the characters this book makes, are always funny! Another good aspect of the story is setup. The book gives us a nice back round story on how Greg and his family get into this trip. This is a very good book overall, and I recommend you get it.

Jeff Kinney’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Getaway is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library