Tuesday, October 17, 2017

The Getaway 5K and 10K is Coming to St Pete - Plus a Discount Code #SunFunRun

There's a new family friendly fun in the sun race coming to St Pete next month! The Getaway 5K, 10K, one miler and family Fun run will take place November 5th at Albert Whitted Park.

Following the race will follow the Sun Fun Run theme with a beach-themed post-race celebration. You can expect live music, food, beverages, vendors and a play area for kids. Plus the series is donating to Feeding Tampa Bay to assist in building back the food banks in the areas after the recent  hurricanes.

Discount Code!
You can save 15% off the registration with my Getaway 5K discount code: Blog357! Click here to register for the The Getaway 5K

The Getaway 5K & 10K Medal
You know I am all about the bling. This one is one of the nicest 5K/10K Medals I have seen. It's larger than most Half Marathon medals I own and doubles as a beer opener, which has a magnet on the back!

Getaway 10K Race Perks:
1/4 zip, sweat-wicking pullover jacket, with thumb-holes and an embroidered logo
Getaway 10K Race Medal

Getaway 5K Race Perks:
Race event t-shirt
Getaway 5K Race Medal
Benefiting
When signing up for the Getaway race series, you can make a donation to Feeding Tampa Bay. The Getaway series is matching donations and will assist on restocking the foodbanks across the bay after our recent Hurricanes.

The Courses:
All courses will have the same start and finish line in Albert Whitted Park! The courses run along Tampa Bay with beautiful views of the water with Tampa in the distance.

Getaway 10K Course
The timed 10K run will start and finish at Albert Whitted Park. The route will travel an out-and-back course in beautiful, downtown St. Pete. Participants will run along the water, past the 5K turnaround point, before returning to Albert Whitted Park for the finish line and the post-event party. The 10K will have three water stops on course with water and Gatorade product. All ages welcome!

Getaway 5K Course

The timed 5K run will start and finish at Albert Whitted Park. The route will travel an out-and-back course in beautiful, downtown St. Pete. Participants will run along the water before returning to Albert Whitted Park for the finish line and the post-event party. The 5K will have one water stop along the course. All ages welcome

Family Friendly Fun!
I've been blessed to do many races over the past years including international and the majors. One of my favorite experiences however was a small town 5K which I did with my family. There were about 25 of us, ranging in ages of 2 to 70. Some walked, some ran and some pushed strollers. Overall, it was the best time I've had on any race course in quite sometime. It was all about the experience.

This is a great opportunity to check out a new race series, collect an amazing medal and bring home some gear. Registration prices will go up soon. Remember to use code Blog357 & Click here to register for the The Getaway 5K.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Carnival Steakhouse on Carnival Conquest, Sneak Peek of Carnivals new Steakhouse Menu

Whenever we book a Carnival Cruise, the first thing I do is make reservations at Carnivals Steakhouse for our first night at sea. Having a delicious, memorable experience is the best way to to kick off your vacation.
The Steakhouse on Carnival Conquest is an additional fee of $35 per person. This will get you a starter, salad, main entree and desert. Not a bad deal at all!!

If you're a wine lover like yours truly, I strongly suggest booking your meal on the first night as they offer a free bottle of house wine OR half off any bottle of wine. That's right friends - this lovely bottle of 2012 Silver Oak only set me back $55. Carnival Steakhouse is the proud recipient of the coveted Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator Magazine, bestowed upon approximately 2,400 restaurants each year.

STARTERS
For our starters, I ordered the Ahi Tuna Tartare. It was delicious dices of sashimi grade yellow fin tuna belly, full of flavor and I would absolutely recommend this to anyone who loves tuna!
Gabe got the Beef Carpaccio which consisted of thinly sliced raw beef tenderloin and shaved Parmesan cheese. This particular one had unadvertised truffle oil on it - um yes please!!!!! I stole a small bite and it was fantastic.

SALAD/SOUP
Carnival Steakhouse will allow you to substitute a salad for an additional starter and Gabe did just that with the Lobster Bisque with Vintage Cognac. My husband is a lobster bisque connoisseur and said this was top in his book (I agree 100%).
I went with a Classic Caesar Salad which was prepared at table side. It had the perfect amount of flavor and not too much dressing. This was not a soggy salad my friends!

ENTREES
While I was very excited about dining in the Steakhouse, I had one problem....I am not eating steak at the moment. I didn't turn vegetarian or anything like that - but steak and I haven't been the best of friends lately. So instead of ordering my go to at the Steakhouse (surf and turf), I ordered the Australian Double Cut Lamb Chops and for the first time in a while, I was thankful for my steak aversion. This was hands down the best lamb dish I've ever had!!!!!
Gabe ordered the Cowboy Ribeye, a 18oz monster piece of meat. It surprised us a bit when we were told the recommended cooking temp was Medium - this was to do with the amount of marbleization. Gabe was very happy with the outcome of a cooking temperature we would typically never order.

For our deserts, we both ordered the cheesecakes to-go which I may have had for breakfast the following day. Never, I repeat, never skip the dessert. They offer it to go and many of the cruise ships have mini fridges in their rooms.
Overall, this was a fantastic meal. On this sailing, I overheard a people people say they wouldn't pay additional for a meal since the food on the ship is free. However, if you're a fan of going out to dinner, this experience is well worth the minimal cost. We've spent over $200 for a meal that wasn't near this quality and quantity. Plus the dining room is just like a normal restaurant and you have a nice quiet night to yourselves.

Lastly, Carnival is in the process of revamping many of their menus, steakhouse included. I was able to snag pics of the new Steakhouse Menu to be rolled out over the next few months.
I was happy to see they kept the Tuna Tartare. There are quite a few new additions and modifications to the starters - the Beef Carpaccio is being replaced by a Bone Marrow & hand cut Beef Tartare. There are now Oysters (!!!) but most impressive is on the entrees - 10oz A-5 Wagyu!

I WILL be over my steak aversion by the next time I cruise on Carnival. What do you think about the new menu offerings?

Special thanks goes out to Carnival for hosting me and my husband on this cruise. I was not compensated to write this post and all opinions are my own.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Carnival Conquest Recap and Photo Tour

Hi friends! My husband Gabe and I just got back from our 6 night cruise on the Carnival Conquest. We had an amazing time spending our 3rd wedding anniversary at sea and creating new memories together.

The Conquest has one of my favorite layouts of the Carnival family of cruise ships. I cruised her sister ship (the Valor) a few years ago and love the ease of all the amenities. There is quite a lot to do while on the boat.

Activities: 
The Carnival Conquest has two pools and a large slide located on the Lido deck.

Aside from the main pool on the lido deck, the other pool is the Sky Pool which had a retractable roof covering the pool and two hot tubs when it rains (which it did nearly everyday).
I wasn't so sure about the retractable roof when I first saw it but it became my BFF on the rainy day at sea! Along with the various pools you can also play putt putt golf, basketball, win at the Casino, rent books or board games from the library or participate in a variety of cruise organized activities.
You also must watch a Dive in Movie at Sea - they provide the popcorn and two movies nightly under the stars. We watched Guardian of the Galaxy II which made me regret not naming our kitten Groot.

Dining:
One thing is certain - you won't go hungry on the Conquest. I am all about specialty dining at sea and choose my cruises based on what is offered.
I was thrilled to learn that The Conquest had a Steakhouse, Guy's Burger Joint, Blue Iguana Cantina, Seafood Shack, Ol Fashioned BBQ and Sushi at Sea.
On our 6 night cruise, we had dinner once at the Steakhouse, once in the main dining room, enjoyed Chef's Table on our anniversary, two dinners at Seafood Shack and one night eating sandwiches, soaking up the too many margaritas we consumed in in Cozumel.
I strongly suggest all cruisers to at least book the Steakhouse one night. Here's a pro-tip that I talk about frequently - book your Steakhouse on night one at sea. You can choose between a free house bottle of wine or get 1/2 off any bottle - this delicious bottle of Silver Oak only set me back $55!
If you are a foodie, please try to get in the Chef's Table. You have to book this far in advance - and I finally got to experience it after 5 failed attempts. It was one of the top dinners I have had. I will be doing a blog post on both of these dining experiences.

Bars:
There are quite a few bars on the Carnival Conquest with an abundance of talented bartenders. I never get the drink of the day and you'll rarely find me with a frozen drink.
Instead I love the martinis and craft cocktails found on the ship. The Conquest had my favorite watering hole, the Alchemy Bar along with Red Frog Rum Bar and Blue Iguana Tequila Bar where we purchased a pitcher of margaritas to go along with my Taco salad and Gabe's burrito (not pictured).
We also spent a lot of time at the Sky Box Sports Bar this trip. We even got on the boat first thing so we could catch some Sunday football! Be warned, this place gets BUSY during football season. Be prepared for a crowd and get there early for a prime seat.

I must mention that on this trip, I did not buy the Carnival Cheers package. When my best friend and I go on cruises, it makes sense to do this - but being my husband isn't a big drinker, I couldn't justify the spend. So we brought on one bottle of wine each that is allowed by Carnival and I bought extra bottles at half off on night one at the steakhouse. Not buying the Cheers Package actually worked out in my favor this time.

Balcony Rooms:
We stayed in a Balcony State Room on the 6th floor and ended up switching rooms after the first night due to an AC problem. Carnival was quick to move us, without us asking for a different room.
Our second room was on the 9th floor right in the middle of everything and we loved it. The photos below are from our original room but they looked exactly the same.
The room was 220 SqFt and we never felt cramped for space. The couch converted to a bed if you had a larger family. The room featured a mini fridge which we were very thankful for!
Most cruises, I watch the sunset with a glass of wine. This cruise, I woke up on my own and caught my first sunrise at sea! All I wanted to do was relax on those 6 nights and I got just that.

Ports:
Carnival adjusted quite a few of their itineraries after Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria.
Ocho Rios, Jamaica
Ours was impacted and our new course brought us to Ocho Rios Jamaica, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands and Cozumel, Mexico.
Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands
While I was looking forward to experiencing three brand new ports (Ocho Rios, Dominican Republic, Turks and Caicos) I was excited to share Cozumel and Grand Cayman with Gabe.
Cozumel, Mexico
The Conquest currently sails out of Fort Lauderdale to the Caribbean, Bermuda and the Bahamas.

Decor:
The Carnival Conquest designer Joe Farcus used the works of the French Impressionists and other 19th century French artists for the ships decor.
Most of the art you see throughout the ship are from popular artists and you will recognize their work within the murals. Gabe and I are both art collectors and love going to museums so we both enjoyed the murals throughout the ship.
Speaking of art - we attended the first art auction, won a piece of art and spent a lot of money on some Daniel Wall pieces. That's another story for another day!

Spa:
Carnival Conquest spa offers a large variety of treatments and offer specials throughout each day. We planned on getting a couples massage but ended up passing on it this time around.
However, we did visit the gym a few times which you access through the spa. Along with tons of treadmills and cardio equipment, you will also fine a sauna and steam room that are free to use.

Overall, we had a great trip on the Conquest. The staff was super polite and attentive. Although it was raining, the seas were calm and I never got seasick once (whoop!!!!!). Everything we had to eat was really good and I may be on a Guy's Burger Joint detox as I type. I am already dreaming of my next Carnival Cruise!

Special thanks goes out to Carnival for hosting me and my husband on this cruise. I was not compensated to write this post and all opinions are my own.