the lowdown on msc cruises

MSC Cruise Review

While we were living abroad, we booked a week-long Mediterranean cruise with MSC Cruises. Since we had never heard of this company prior to moving overseas, we were skeptical about their low rates and strange boarding/departure schedule, but went with them anyway and had a great experience. I’ve heard other opinions — especially when it comes to their Carribean cruises — but I liked it a lot more than past cruises with Royal Caribbean and Carnival. So, if you’re wondering about cruising in Europe, here’s the lowdown on MSC Cruises.

The Lowdown on MSC Cruises

We were scheduled to take a cruise with B’s parents during their visit in Scotland, but because our field assignment got extended an additional six months, we were required to send our passports back in for a different visa and it took forever. Since we were passport-less for a month and a half, we had to cancel a few trips including a week in Paris and our family cruise. Even though we were extremely disappointed and I may or may not have shed a single tear, MSC worked with us to cancel our spring cruise and rebook in August for our anniversary. We were worried about having to pay an insanely high rebooking fee, but they were reasonable and easy to work with. Plus one for MSC.

The Lowdown on MSC Cruises

The original cruise was with the Splendida out of Barcelona, Spain and we rescheduled to the Sinfonia out of Civitavecchia, Italy which is just outside of Rome.  Our stops included Rome, the Amalfi Coast, Tunisia, Ibiza, Palma, Marseille, and Genoa. The most convenient part of cruising with MSC is that they have a continuous board/departure schedule at every stop during the cruise — so instead of traveling all the way back to Civitavecchia at the end of our cruise, we were able to plan an early departure in Genoa, Italy to explore that area and head to Venice afterwards. This helped us plan the ultimate Mediterranean anniversary trip!

MSC Cruise Line

The entertainment was my favorite part about the ship. Instead of the usual cheesy shows you can sometimes get with other cruise lines, the shows were aimed towards adults and there was a lot of dancing and singing. Like, really, really awesome dancing. I used to teach dance in high school and was in complete awe of these people. Their outfits were also on point — although the women didn’t leave much to the imagination. I’m sure B was perfectly fine with that. ;)

While surfing the Internet for MSC reviews (because I’m a curious one), I found  a lot of complaints about the food. Honestly, I loved it. My husband and I are big fans of fresh fish, salads, and all things cooked in olive oil, so we ate a lot. And didn’t even feel disgusting afterwards which usually happens when we take a cruise. We did have problems with rude Italians cutting the buffet lines ALL THE TIME, but that will happen when you’re on a cruise ship with a ton of other people.

Best Cruise Line

Like other cruise lines, they had games like Bingo going on in some of the bigger community rooms, plenty of fruity drinks for all, and a variety of excursions. The excursions were a little pricey, but completely worth it. We booked an excursion at every stop and our favorites included the guided tour of the Amalfi Coast and a boat trip in Palma where we swam in the very chilly Mediterranean Sea. Our time at sea was also a blast because we did some shopping on the ship (they had everything), chilled by the pool, and ate a ton.

MSC Review

So, that was our experience with MSC cruises in the Mediterranean. It was relaxing and we didn’t feel like children were crawling all over us.

MSC European Cruise
MSC European Cruises

Have you ever been on an MSC Cruise?

       
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Filed Under: Travel14 Comments

photographing weddings

I survived photographing two weddings this month! I had the opportunity to second shoot a wedding in Alexandria a few weeks ago and absolutely loved the classic feel. Then, I photographed an outdoor wedding at a fruit farm in Berryville, Virginia over the weekend. It was a rainy and chilly day, but luckily the rain let up just in time and the clouds made for some wonderful shots. It’s crazy how lighting can give photos a totally different feel.

Here’s a peek at some of the images.

Bridal Portrait Ideas DC
Virginia Wedding Photographer
Virginia Wedding Photographer
DC Wedding Photographer
Alexandria Wedding Photographer VA
Alexandria Wedding
First Look Ideas
Morrison House Wedding
NOVA Wedding Photographer
Top Wedding Photograpers
The Morrison House
Washington DC Wedding Venues

And the rustic/country wedding:

Bridal Portraits
Bridal Party Poses
Bridal Party
Photographing Weddings
DC Wedding Photographer
Groomsmen
Groomsmen Ideas
Photographing Weddings
Vineyard Wedding
Married
Photographing Weddings
Wedding Party
Photographing Weddings

What have you guys been up to lately?

       
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Filed Under: Photography, Voyage Photography Studio16 Comments

sunday supper at the jefferson

I always enjoy sharing tips when it comes to restaurants and accommodations in DC. Even though we’ve just moved back to the area after being all over the place, I still have my go-to restaurants and hotels whether it involves an impromptu date night or weekend staycation in the city. Last month, B and I had to opportunity to experience Sunday Supper at The Jefferson and I’ve been suggesting this dining experience to everyone who will listen. The Quill at The Jefferson has a swanky, but relaxed vibe and the food is phenomenal. Oh, and the cocktails, too. Yep, you should try one a few of those. I can honestly say that they have some of the best drinks in DC (and I went to a lot of happy hours while working on the Hill).

Sunday Supper at the Jefferson
Quill Bar Jefferson
Best Drinks in DC
Best Bar in DC

If you’re unfamiliar with Sunday Supper at The Jefferson, it’s the most affordable high-end dining deal in Washington, and for only $35, you’ll receive three courses and a glass of wine to boot. The menu includes sentimental favorites from your mama’s kitchen (but much more refined), and changes each week and isn’t announced by the chef until that day at noon. Now isn’t that a wonderful surprise?

The Jefferson Hotel DC
The Jefferson Hotel

One of the hotel representatives told me: “The Sunday meal is a tradition we are in danger of forgetting, whether we are simply too busy or just don’t have the kitchen know-how to produce. Fortunately, The Jefferson’s culinary team takes special delight in re-creating these favorites, with perfect pairing options for each meal.” I completely agree with this and was excited to try their menu.

Our three course meal began with a Panzanella Salad containing heirloom tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, and garlic vinaigrette. It was light and refreshing, and the perfect amount of food. I especially loved the toasted piece of bread on the side, but Brandon wouldn’t let me have his share. Rude.

Sunday Supper Quill

The main course was a showstopper because of the scallops cooked to perfection. They were wrapped with speck and served with caramelized spring onions, baby corn, french beans, and truffle veal reduction sauce. Oh, god… the reduction sauce. It was the most magical thing I’ve ever tried at a restaurant and I was tempted to lick my plate.

Sunday Supper DC

I shouldn’t have eaten the dessert because I was already at my maximum capacity, but no one turns down lemon vanilla custard. Especially when it’s served with crunch caramel speculoos and pear ice cream. This course was fantastic as well.

Restaurant Deals in Washington, DC

We washed everything down with a nice white wine (2013 Christian Lauverjat Sancerre Perle Blanche) and ended the night with a custom cocktail created at the Quill bar. Then we retreated to a comfortable room at The Jefferson while dreaming about our next Sunday Supper experience, of course.

Enjoy Sunday Supper from 5-10 pm every Sunday at The Jefferson Hotel in Washington, DC. And be sure to invite me.

The Jefferson DC
1200 16th Street NW
Washington, DC 20036

       
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Filed Under: Food, Sleeps and Eats, Washington DC10 Comments

recent photography sessions

I figured I’d share some of my favorite pictures from recent photography sessions since I’ve been so MIA lately. Not only has business been picking up finally since moving to this area, but I’ve been able to double my lens collection with photo shoot funds. If you’re into photography, you know how exciting that is. Especially since I was able to pick up a macro lens before the weddings I’ll be shooting this month. Creative ring shots? Check. It’s like Christmas in September/October!

I also invested in a larger camera bag for all of my wedding gear. This Epiphanie Brooklyn Bag will carry most of my lenses and my speed light, and then I’ll keep my ONA Bowery Camera Bag for travel. The Brooklyn Bag is really massive so when I leave on Saturday for Alexandria, it’ll look like I’m heading off to my first day of school. I’ll make sure Brandon snaps a photo for my Instagram account.

As you can see, I’ve had a couple of newborn sessions. I’m becoming less awkward when handling infants so that’s a plus.

Recent Photography Sessions
Recent Photography Sessions
Recent-Photography-Sessions-3
Recent Photography Sessions
Recent Photography Sessions
DC Newborn Photographer
Photography Sessions
Senior Photographer
Senior Photographer Virginia
Portrait Photographer
Couples Photographer
Engagement Photographer
Engagement Photographer
Wedding Photographer
Wedding Photographer
Maternity Photographer
Maternity Photos
Maternity Photographer DC

And you get the point. What have you been up to lately?

       
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Filed Under: Photography, Voyage Photography Studio10 Comments