Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a wonderful 2013 and that 2014 has even better things in store for everyone.
Reflecting back on the past year, I’m picking my favorite post from each month to highlight in this blog.
New Years Day 2012, I had not planned to post anything. While reading other people’s blogs I noticed that most had some sort of blog reflecting their favorite blogs of the past year. As the day went on and I read more I decided I had really missed the boat on that one, and that I should write something for New Years Day too. My New Year’s post of last year was the first blog I wrote and published all in one go. Most I write several weeks to several months in advance. Some I write offline while on a cruise, then put together with photos as an actual blog before publication. Somehow though I thought the impromptu blog turned out quite well and liked that I could highlight a variety of adventures all in one blog.
It is now February 2013, and in my usual plan-ahead style I’m choosing my best of January blog, for which I have chosen the 2012 New Year’s Day post, titled Best Shore Excursions. I enjoyed every adventure highlighted in that blog.
January was a pretty prolific month for me, I also published a couple blogs about Carnival Breeze – Hasbro The Game Show and Red Frog Pub, one from Norwegian Pearl called Bowling On A Cruise Ship, and several blogs from other categories –How to Make a Towel Bear, The Grilled Cheese Pizza Sandwich, and The Land Yacht.
In spite of the fact that we were working on moving to a new town several hours away, I still managed to post my weekly blogs in February. It’s hard to pick a favorite since they all remind me of two wonderful cruises, but I have to go with Cruise Ship Decor on the Norwegian Pearl. The outside of the Pearl graces the banner of my blog, and the inside is just as lovely so it’s nice to highlight it. I had so many pictures for that blog I put most of them in a slideshow.
Other blogs published in February include Palma de Mallorca, Spain, A Tragic Week for the Cruise Ship Industry (the second post I wrote and published all in one go), Teppanyaki Restaurant on the Norwegian Pearl, and Carnival Breeze Galley Tour.
Choosing my favorite blog for March came down to a toss-up between How To Fold a Towel Penguin and Beggars of Spain. Towel animals are a huge part of My Cruise Stories blog. Not only is the penguin the cutest one so far (in my opinion anyway,) it is also the first one where I had to do my own video of folding the animal rather than using one of a cruise ship stateroom steward folding it. Because the photos in that blog aren’t my best, and the fact that I’m not used to being on camera really shows in the video (particularly when I said flippers instead of wings) I went with the Beggars of Spain for the best of March title instead. It is the first one that is about the people we encountered in an area, and we encountered some very interesting people in Spain. Unemployment is high there and they have to do something to make a living, and some of them come up with some quite creative ways. Some of the comments did say these people are actually called Buskers rather than Beggars.
March postings included blogs about Norwegian’s private island, Great Stirrup Cay and the damage it sustained during Hurricane Sandy. Easter fell in March in 2012, so that month also included a recipe for Easter Egg Candy Cookies.
April blogs posed a tough choice. Do I pick the Chocoholic Buffet on the Pearl or The Rain in Spain in Malaga? Much as I love chocolate buffets, I had to go with Malaga because that one was such a fun blog to write. People really seemed to enjoy reading it. I think my personality shines through in that blog more than in most due to the entertainment we found there in ordinary things like stoplights and crosswalk signs.
Other posts in April included a Bridge tour and Interview with the Captain on Carnival Breeze, and Bars on the Norwegian Pearl.
May brought another hard decision. Towel animals are an ongoing main feature of my blog and I haven’t highlighted one yet in this blog. Should I pick the one about How to Fold a Towel Pigeon? Or go with Norwegian Pearl Behind the Scenes Tour? We always enjoy behind the scenes tours on cruises and this one was particularly comprehensive so I decided to pick it. There’s still half a year left to pick a towel animal.
Other blogs posted in May included an Interview with Head Cruise Director John Heald about the Best Places on Carnival Breeze, and Carnival Breeze Comedy Brunch.
We had so much fun at Mystic Mountain in Ocho Rios Jamaica, how could I not pick that for my favorite blog in June?
Other posts in June included Accomodations on Holland America Westerdam, You Can Do Your Own Laundry on a Cruise, Dunn’s River Falls, and Carnival Breeze Waterworks.
One blog I posted in July got such a big response from readers, and more views than my average blog so I have to let the readers decide this month and go with Miracle Chocolate Cake. What’s the miracle? A cake with no flour, no sugar and no milk or butter that tastes great and is not diet food!
Other great blogs in July that never got a chance for the top spot include The Family Cruise, Food on the Norwegian Pearl, and a Tour of Grand Canary Island – which got reposted in Bucket List Living Magazine!
I tried for years to convince my parents to take a cruise with us, so when they finally scheduled a cruise on the Westerdam with other relatives I had to tag along. My mother chose a shore excursion to Glacier Gardens, and much of the family joined in. This is the sort of excursion I probably otherwise would have overlooked when making plans, but it was inexpensive and most of the family took it. The dogsledding I wanted to do was outrageously priced so I went too. I was quite glad I did as Glacier Gardens is quite unique and definitely worth seeing.
Other August blogs included Mendenhall Glacier from the Westerdam cruise, Grand Cayman from the Pearl, Bars on Carnival Breeze, and How to Fold a Better Towel Seal.
Gluten free cooking has become a part of my life due to having two sisters on gluten free diets. Cruising to Alaska on the Westerdam with one of them gave me great insight into the ins and outs of Gluten Free Cruising. This blog is so packed with helpful hints for anyone cruising on a specialty diet, how could it not be my top choice for the month?
Other interesting blogs from September include Snorkeling on Palancar Reef, Full Speed Ahead on Mount Roberts Tram, and Five Days at Sea
October it seems was pretty much all about food. I had Miracle Spice Cupcakes as my Halloween Blog, and also Holland America’s Pinnacle Grill and Food on the Carnival Breeze. The only non-food blog that month was Playa Mia Beach Park. Actually we did eat lunch there so even that blog had food mentioned. Tough choice here, do I go with Pinnacle Grill where I had a wonderful dinner with relatives on a very enjoyable family cruise, or Food on the Breeze? The deciding factor on this one is the fact that the Food on the Breeze blog contains the recipe for the Spaghetti Carbonara served at their Italian restaurant, Cucina del Capitano. That spaghetti was not only one of the best cruise ship meals I’ve ever had, but one of the best meals anywhere. I tried the recipe at home and liked it there too so the recipe became the deciding factor and the best blog of October goes to Food on the Carnival Breeze Cruise Ship.
After our first visit to Saint Martin when we knew nothing about it, we couldn’t wait to get back and see Maho Beach, which we hadn’t known existed prior to our first stop there. We waited so long to see this very unique place how could it not be my favorite blog in November?
Though my other November blogs never stood a chance of getting picked for the favorite, that doesn’t mean they weren’t worth reading. Thanksgiving brought two holiday blogs with a recipe for gluten free pumpkin muffins and a towel animal I’ve had many google hits from people looking for with how to make a towel turkey. Other November blogs: Holland America’s Greenhouse Spa and Norwegian Pearl at the Dock.
Christmastime brought two Christmas blogs this year. a recipe for delicious Dark Chocolate Amaretto Truffles, and How to Fold a Towel Reindeer. Since the reindeer is my own creation and also one of my best ever towel animals I’ve chosen that for December’s best blog, though the truffles are definitely worth making.
Other December blogs include an interview with John Heald on Things to Do and Best Kept Secrets on Carnival Breeze, How to Find Cheap Cruises, Cruising Glacier Bay, and MSC Divina.
The highlight of the year in 2013 for my blog is the towel animal page, which makes it easy to find instructions on how to fold any towel animal published on this blog at a glance.