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Beach Reads: Mental Health Awareness Month

In:
13 May 2022

Spring is turning into summer, and the temps are heating up. As we head off onto our summer vacations, let’s pick some books to read! Does anyone remember those library summer reading programs?

Woman reading on a beach

There’s no better time to read than a cruise, when you can kick off your shoes, grab a drink of choice, and settle in with whatever book you’ve been saving for just this opportunity.

Does this sound like a good idea to you? We have some recommendations perfect for all you May cruisers (and everyone else, too)! Pack one or two of these books in your suitcase or on your tablet for your next vacation.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and so the books I have picked out for you all touch on some kind of mental illness. Most of us are affected by mental illness in one way or another:  we may know someone who suffers from the effects of disease or we ourselves battle illness. Either way, learning more about mental health helps to reduce the stigma surrounding these disorders and allows us to remove barriers to empathy and care.

I’d love to hear in the comments which book you chose, or if you have a favorite read for Mental Health Awareness Month that wasn’t mentioned!

Fiction

  • Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman:  The story of a teen with schizoaffective disorder, and the chaotic delusions he lives with on a daily basis.
  • Everything Here is Beautiful by Mira T. Lee:  Miranda tries to protect her sister, Lucia, who is fiercely independent. When Lucia’s schizophrenic disorder forces her to yield to it, Miranda tries to rescue her, but only Lucia can decide if she wants to be saved. Can the bonds of sisterly devotion protect them both?
  • Under Rose-Tainted Skies by Louise Gornall:  A soft teen romance that gives a very accurate view of what it is like to have OCD and Agoraphobia.
  • Made You Up by Francesca Zappia:  Because of her schizophrenia, Alex never totally knows what is real and what isn’t. So when she meets Miles, he seems too good to actually be true. She’s not prepared for normal.
  • The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath:  This one is a classic for a reason. If you’ve never read it, this is a good time to add it to your list. Sylvia Plath’s masterpiece perfectly encompasses her character’s breakdown and the dark corners of the psyche.

Non-Fiction

  • Darkness Visible by William Stryon:  A memoir of depression from a Pulitzer-Prize winning author. This book lays bare the realities of clinical depression and the difficult recovery this disease demands.
  • Scattershot by David Lovelace:  Four out of the five people in the Lovelace family have bipolar disorder, and David Lovelace shares the eccentricities of their family portrait.
  • Agorafabulous! By Sara Benincasa:  Comedian Sara Benincasa shows us what it is like to be terrified of the world outside, and how to confront some of the more awkward and challenging aspects of adulthood in her hilarious memoir.
  • Welcome to the United States of Anxiety by Jen Lancaster:  Why is everyone in the USA so anxious? Comedic author Jen Lancaster is here to help us all out of that stressful pit. Maybe. 
  • Our Numbered Days by Neil Hilborn:  You may have seen Neil Hilborn’s poetry when it went viral across Facebook several years ago. Since his debut of “OCD”, he’s had many others make their way across the web. This collection features several of those, along with others you’ve never heard before.
Book and a beach

Are you someone who likes to read when you get on board your vacation cruise? How many books do you usually pack? What are you reading for Mental Health Awareness Month? We’d love to hear all about it in the comments below!

Books to pack in your beach bag

In:
11 Apr 2022

It’s finally Spring! That means warmer temperatures, sunny days, and vacation. I don’t know about you, but for me, nicer w also means more time to read the kind of books I can relax with;  the kind of brain candy that gives me an escape from reality. 

Woman book beach bag

These kinds of books are perfect for cruising, because I can pick them up and put them down as often as I need to as activity allows–though let’s be honest, once I really get sucked into a story, it’s SO hard to put it down! A quick wave at the bartender for another Gin & Tonic, and I’m a very happy cruiser. 

I’ve picked out some pretty fun novels for you this month:  some romance, some fantasy, some suspenseful thrillers. Pick out a few and head down to the Solarium to spend a day with the characters. Don’t forget to pack the sunscreen, and let me know which books you liked!

Romance

Woman reading book on Kindle
  1. Tempting Taste by Sara Whitney:  Any series that has Cinnamon Roll in the name has to be delicious, right? This one begins with a grumpy baker clashing with a self-assertive PR wiz. Can they work together, or will the salt vs sweet be too much to balance?
  2. The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang:  When Stella, a woman more inclined toward math and algorithms than romance, needs to gain experience in the dating world, she hires escort Michael. Maybe she can get some data on dating from him that will help tilt the scales in a more logical direction.
  3. A Daring Arrangement by Joanna Shupe:  The first in Shupe’s Four Hundred Series set in the Gilded Age of New York City, we meet a Lady in a hurry to find a match. However, that particular match must be an absolute terror, so her father will refuse so she can marry who she wants instead. Unfortunately, the man she picks is up to good, instead of the evil she wanted.

Fantasy

Beach at La Romana
  1. The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss:  Thought of by some as an adult version of Harry Potter, this is the story of the most notorious wizard in the world and how he came to be. Born in poverty, he found his way into a school of magic, and became a legend.
  2. The City of Brass by SA Chakraborty:  Travel to Cairo, to a magical world filled with enchantments. Nahri accidentally summons a djinn warrior, and finds that the myths of her childhood are not just the stuff of legends, and that actions do, in fact, have consequences.
  3. Written in Red by Anne Bishop:  When Meg, a seer, shows up in Lakeside Courtyard, the community doesn’t know what to do with her. She’s not one of the Others, those that live there. But Simon Wolfgard has an instinct to protect her, even though there is significant risk involved. Is she prey, predator, or someone worth protecting?

Suspense/Thriller

Book beach
  1. The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova:  Follow the history of Dracula back through a historian’s clues and letters. Can you save her father from impending doom?
  2. The Secrets We Kept by Lara Prescott:  Literature lovers will appreciate this spy thriller based on a true story during the Cold War. Two secretaries are pulled from the CIA typing pool for a top secret mission. This mission, should they choose to accept it, is to smuggle Doctor Zhivago out of the USSR so that it can be published.
  3. Leave the World Behind by Rumaan Alam:  Vacation is supposed to be relaxing, but when Amanda and Clay rent a vacation home on Long Island, things don’t go as they plan. The home’s owners show up in the middle of the night, there’s a crisis in New York and they need to escape. Can the two families trust each other isolated in this rural house, cut off from everyone else?

What have you been reading lately? Do you make more time for reading when the weather warms up? What sounds good from this list? Share in the comments!

Cruise Reads: Women's History Month

In:
21 Mar 2022

As you stroll along the pool deck or promenade on a sea day, you’re bound to see people stretched out with a thick novel, engrossed in some kind of story.

Book beach

There’s something about a cruise that brings out the readers in so many of us. Most likely, it’s because we are away from the distractions of reality:  no work, no stress. We aren’t vegged out in front of the TV or running kids from soccer practice to Girl Scouts. Suddenly, all that time we’ve been planning to “make” to read is in front of us.

There’s no better time than a cruise, when you can kick off your shoes, grab a drink of choice, and settle in with whatever book you’ve been saving for just this opportunity.

Does this sound like a good idea to you? We have some recommendations perfect for all you March cruisers (and everyone else, too)! Pack one or two of these books in your suitcase or on your tablet for your next vacation.

Couple in Solarium

Last month, we read books by black authors for Black History Month. I hope you all found something wonderful! Please share with us in the comments what you read.

Because March is Women’s History Month, we are going to focus on the lives of women from around the world. 

Fiction

  • The Red Tent by Anita Diamant - Those familiar with the bible story of Jacob from Genesis will recognize Dinah’s voice as she tells this ancient story of womanhood. Meet Rachel and Leah as they show us what it was like to be a wife in the time of the Old Testament.
  • The Testaments by Margaret Atwood - The sequel to Margaret Atwood’s famous Handmaid’s Tale. It picks up fifteen years after Offred’s ending, and so we are hearing testimonies from three handmaidens. Definitely read the first book if you haven’t yet! (The TV show on Hulu is pretty terrific too!)
  • Cilka’s Journey by Heather Morris - For those who like to read about WWII, this one is a must. Cilka is rescued from Auschwitz when she is 18, but the Russians accuse her of helping the Nazis, and so they send her to a gulag to be imprisoned again. This is a follow-up to The Tattooist of Auschwitz.
  • The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson - Head to Appalachia in the 1930s, and meet a traveling librarian who rode on horseback to deliver books to her mountain patrons. This story not only discusses the difficult subject of poverty found in Appalachia, but introduces us to the Blue Fugates of Kentucky.
  • VOX by Christina Dalcher - Half the population in America no longer have a voice. The government passed a law that women can no longer speak, hold jobs, read or write. But Jean is on a mission to protect herself and her daughter.
Woman reading her kindle

Nonfiction

  • We’re Going to Need More Wine by Gabrielle Union - Actress Gabrielle Union brings us in to her devastating story of sexual abuse, by talking with us as dear friends gathered on a couch sharing a bottle of wine. 
  • Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls by Jes Baker - This book breaks down the barriers of our language of self hate, and how society portrays and discusses weight in media. 
  • Pure by Linda Kay Klein - Take a look at purity culture within the modern Evangelical church, and how it affects young girls today. How are those who grew up in the church deconstructing from the mindset they were raised in, now that they are adults?
  • I am Bacha Posh by Ukmina Manoori - It is tradition, in Afghanistan, that if a man has many daughters, but no sons, that one daughter will be chosen to live as a boy so that errands can be run without persecution. I am Bacha Posh is the story of one girl’s journey as that chosen daughter.
  • The Girl with Seven Names by Hyeonseo Lee - Due to the terrifying dictatorship of North Korea, Hyeonseo Lee had to flee her home at a young age. She had no idea how long she would be separated from her family, but knew she had to get them out too. 

Are you someone who likes to read when you get on board your vacation cruise? How many books do you usually pack? What are you reading for Women's History Month?

We’d love to hear all about it in the comments below!

Books for Black History Month to read on your next cruise

In:
15 Feb 2022

As you stroll along the pool deck or promenade on a sea day, you’re bound to see people stretched out with a thick novel, engrossed in some kind of story.

Reading a book on the beach

There’s something about a cruise that brings out the readers in so many of us. Most likely, it’s because we are away from the distractions of reality:  no work, no stress. We aren’t vegged out in front of the television or running kids from soccer practice to Girl Scouts.

Suddenly, all that time we’ve been planning to “make” to read is in front of us. There’s no better time than a cruise, when you can kick off your shoes, grab a drink of choice, and settle in with whatever book you’ve been saving for just this opportunity.

ebook reader

Sound like a good idea to you? We have some recommendations perfect for all you February cruisers (and everyone else, too)! Pack one or two of these books in your suitcase or on your tablet for your next vacation.

The link for each book contains an affiliate link, which means I get a commission for purchases made. There is no additional cost to you

Fiction

  • River, Cross My Heart by Breena Clarke:  A young girl tragically drowns in the Potomac River, 1925, and shapes the rest of her sister’s life.
  • Rebel by Beverly Jenkins:  Looking for romance? Head on down to New Orleans for a good old fashioned love story. When Valinda’s school is destroyed, an architect (and a captain!) steps in to help her as part of his mission to rebuild the city. 
  • The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas:  16-year-old witnesses her best friend killed in a police shooting, and it’s up to her to speak up about what happened. Angie Thomas has also written two other incredible novels:  On the Come Up and Concrete Rose
  • Binti by Nnedi Okorafor:  For those who prefer SciFi! Binti has been accepted into a prestigious university in space, but it means leaving everything she knows behind, and entering a war with an alien race.
  • Breath, Eyes, Memory by Edwidge Danticat:  If you’re going to the Caribbean, especially Haiti, I highly recommend something by Edwidge Danticat. This one is about a girl who immigrated to New York with her mother, but then returns to native Haiti, and witnesses the strength and power of the women there.

Nonfiction

  • The Black Count by Tom Reiss:  If you love The Count of Monte Cristo, then you should read this one. The biography of General Alex Dumas tells the story of the man that his son, Alexandre Dumas, used as a muse to write some of the most classic heroes of all time.
  • Just as I Am by Cicely Tyson:  Autobiography/Memoirs of Actress Cicely Tyson. She details her childhood, her early career, her love affair and eventual marriage to Miles Davis, and much wisdom that she’s gained in 96 years.
  • Redefining Realness by Janet Mock:  Memoirs of Janet Mock, detailing her experiences of her youth. Mock grew up poor, multiracial, and trans, and provides great insight on how vulnerable it can be as a marginalized person in America.
  • All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M Johnson:  Personal Essays from LGBTQIA+ activist George M Johnson, as he explores coming of age while being Black and queer.
  • You Can’t Touch My Hair by Phoebe Robinson:  Comedy Superstar Phoebe Robinson shares an essay collection about what it's like being a Black woman in America.

Are you someone who likes to read when you get on board your vacation cruise? How many books do you usually pack? What are you reading for Black History Month? I'd love to hear all about it in the comments below!

Welcome to the Royal Caribbean Blog

In:
03 Jun 2010

Welcome to the start of the Royal Caribbean Blog.  This is an unofficial and unbias look at the Royal Caribbean International Cruise Line.  This blog is written by fans of Royal Caribbean and cruising in general and it's meant to be an opportunity to document, discuss and celebrate cruising aboard the many Royal Caribbean ships found around the world.

Our Commitment

The mission of this blog is to provide interesting posts regarding various topics of the Royal Caribbean International cruise line and the ports of call it serves.  We promise to provide these stories to you consistently and without being influenced by Royal Caribbean itself.  The importance of being unofficial and independent is crucial to any good blog, and we resolve ourselves to maintaining the integrity of this site by standing by this rule.

This site is for you

Above all else, please feel free to take part in this blog and be a part of the community we're building here.  While we enjoy writing about Royal Caribbean and talking about it a lot, we want this to be a communal effort and you should feel free to be a part of the community we've established here.  This includes you sharing your thoughts and concerns on any and all of our posts as well as contributing useful, interesting and provocative thoughts to the site itself.  Our doors are always open to comments, criticism and suggestions so please feel free to voice your thoughts.

Thank you for checking us out and we're eager to get things underway.  Hope to see you "on board"!

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