Tag Archives: Travel

Travel Diary | Eastern Caribbean Cruise – 1

Hi all,

Cruise mojito wrap maxi dress hijab

Vacay has to begin with a mint mojito in hand!

Over the December break the husband and I went on our first ever cruise together to the Eastern Caribbean.  We sailed with Holland America’s ship Nieuw Amsterdam, and traveled to Grand Turk, San Juan, St. Thomas and Half Moon Cay ports over 7 day’s.  The cruising experience was quite relaxing and worry-free for us that we felt our vacation was well-spent. We would definitely love to sail to other ports in the future and try out other ships.

cruise orange wrap maxi hijab

Oh & a pina colada too!

Holiday cruise hijab red maxi skirt chambray

Walking around the pool area while listening to live steel-drum music

cruise lunch sea view Holland Amercia

Lunching at the buffet-style dining “The Lido” while enjoying the sunny ocean view

Here are some snaps from our “cruise day’s” which included two formal nights, shows, and special decor since the cruise took place during the Holiday’s.  Our first night on the cruise was spent trying to figure out how to navigate around the ship, figure out the dining areas, showroom, pools, etc.  It is quite amazing how much there is to do indoors that we almost had to make an effort to go out on the ship’s deck to enjoy the sunshine/pool areas.

Holland America cruise afternoon tea

Enjoying afternoon tea with the husband. It became a tradition for us to enjoy tea everyday at 3pm. So fancy!

Holland America Nieuw Amsterdam captain toast

Captain’s welcome toast and first formal night

Caribbean cruise formal night

My dashing husband getting ready to eat some yummy food!

Cruise hijabi formal night outfit

Carefully deciding between all the entree options

muslim couple on holiday cruise

The happy couple! We ate at the Manhattan Dining Room for our formal dinner’s

We decided to sail with Holland America mainly due to the fact that it fit our dates of travel, ports we were interested in, fit our budget and lastly was geared more towards adults/couple/mature cruisers rather than families/kids/college crowd.  The Nieuw Amsterdam ship is well-kept, constantly cleaned/maintained, is one of the newer/renovated ships, and what we truly appreciated about the ship was that majority of the staff on the ship was Muslim!  It was so nice to arrive to our cabin on the first day to be greeted with “as salam u alaikum” by our room steward, and then throughout our days on the ship to be greeted in the same manner by several workers several times a day.  In addition, whenever we wanted recommendations on what items were “halal” they always gave great suggestions.

Nieuw Amsterdam NY theme atrium muslim couple cruise

NY themed atrium and holiday decor that was not over-the-top-in-your-face

Holland America cruise review

The carpet in the elevator changed everyday so we made it a habit to take a picture with it everyday

Our room was cleaned several times a day, all our important papers/itineraries would be set out during the turn-down service, we never had to complain about getting extra towels/toiletries, nor did we have much trouble with our order during dining regardless if we went to the buffet or sit-down dining rooms.  At times at the buffet if we arrived late some of the items would not be available but there were always other choices for us to try.  As far as the food goes, it was decent American food, with huge salad bar, sandwich station, burger’s, entrees, desserts, to so much more that there were stations that we never even got a chance to try.

sting-ray towel animal

A towel animal was left every night during turn-down service along with the itinerary for next day

holiday cruise outfit hijab

Waiting in the Blues lounge for the live music to start. This became our go-to place after dinner every night. It was one of our favorites on the cruise.

Nieuw Amsterdam blues lounge

One of the live performer’s at the Blues lounge who was amazing along with the band!

Holland America recycled percussion show

Recycled Percussion was a great interactive show that was performed live one of the nights

cruise recycled percussion show

Umair was called up on stage during the show to “monkey” around

They had a few paid dining rooms, which we didn’t opt for trying out because we felt satisfied with the “non-paid” options, however one of the paid restaurants, Tamarind, had complementary lunch everyday so we did try that out one day it definitely was a nicer experience with a modern fixed menu.  The items on that menu were not items you could have gotten at the non-paid dining.

cruise muslim couple outfit

2nd formal night photo-op

cruise hijabi outfit maxi

Photo-op session before lunch at Tamarind’s bar area

Tamarind cruise lunch

Fancy salad for lunch at Tamarind

One of the port days we had early morning arrival, thus requested room-service for our breakfast.  We had filled out the menu the night before, and then selected the time slot we wanted delivery and our food arrived in the morning during that time.  We did hear of complaints from a few cruisers that they were not happy with the room service because it was quite delayed, and the items that they requested didn’t arrive, however that was not the case for us.  Room service is my jam!

hijabi cruise outfit maxi dress

Ocean breeze and the endless sea

We booked a window cabin that had a partially obstructed view, and while it was obstructed the window was a floor to ceiling window that allowed plenty of natural light to come through and gave us enough of a view to know when we were arriving land.  Our cabin was quite spacious with a king size bed, plenty of closet space, sitting space with small sofa, chair + table, and even the bathroom was decent size with vanity space for our toiletries.  Our cabin was located mid-ship on deck 4, where I felt would be the most comfortable to not feel motion or lots of noise.  While I did take motion sickness tablets the first day I didn’t feel the need to continue taking them throughout the cruise.

Niuew Amsterdam window cabin

Our room for the week

Holland America cabin

Opposite view of the room with closet, vanity + sitting area

Today’s review was mostly about the ship and overall experience.  In later posts I will share snaps of our time in Grand Turk, San Juan, St. Thomas and Half Moon Cay.  In addition, talk about our excursions and what we thought of each island.

cruise food veggie curry

The last night of our cruise was “international cuisine” night so Umair ordered the veggie + tofu curry – not bad!

Last year for our December break we visited Colorado, and despite the cold we had a great time with all it’s picturesque beauty at Rocky Mountain National park, Loveland skiing, and Vail for New Year’s eve.  Check out our gallery here until you wait for part 2 of our cruise snaps.

Thank you so much for visiting and do let me know places you have cruised to or if you are planning to take  a cruise soon in the comments below!  I read each and every comment.

muslim couple holiday cruise

Last night on the cruise in the Manhattan Dining Room

Umair’s Sweetheart,

Travel Diary | Colorado – 2

Us at Vail Village on New Year's Eve.

Winter love at Vail Village on New Year’s Eve.

Peace be upon you

This is a continuation of travel diary from Colorado (more snaps in last post). This post will feature our wonderful time in Vail, where we spent New Year’s Eve, and breathtaking snaps from Garden of the Gods which was in Colorado Springs.

Walking around Vail Village

Walking around Vail Village. It was a beautiful mix of Disney World and Swiss Alps.

Vail was full of skiiers!

Vail was bursting with skiers!

Us going up the mountains in Vail on a scenic gondola ride.

Us going up the mountains in Vail on a scenic gondola ride.

Beautiful mountain scenery

Beautiful mountain scenery

Panoramic view of the breathtaking mountains in Vail.

Panoramic view of the breathtaking mountains in Vail. (click to enlarge)

Taking in the view before tubing down the mountain.

Taking in the view before tubing down the mountain.

This tubing area was located at 10,000 ft. elevation.

This tubing area was located at 10,000 ft. elevation.

An ice skating rink in Vail Village

A pretty ice skating rink in Vail Village

Enjoyed walking around to take in the dreamy views

Enjoyed walking around to take in the dreamy scenery

Lots of tourists & shops in Vail Village

Lots of tourists & shops in Vail Village

Garden of Gods

Garden of the Gods

Breathtaking red canyons. It's hard to believe that these canyons are so close to snow covered mountains. (click to enlarge)

Breathtaking red canyons. It’s hard to believe that these canyons are so close to snow covered mountains. (click to enlarge)


SubhanAllah – how pretty!

Kissing Camels

Kissing Camels

In front of Kissing Camels

In front of Kissing Camels

If you look closely you will see two men, one is on top of the canyon and the other is hiking up. Kind of gives you a perspective on the size of the rocks.

Us posing with the formation Three Graces

Us posing with the formation Three Graces


Just beautiful!


Courtesy of the husband for these candid shots!


How amazing are these! Called Cathedral Spires

Just being silly!

Just being silly!

How amazing are these Siamese Twins

How amazing are these Siamese Twins

The Siamese Twins beautifully frame Pikes Peak-- look closely behind us

The Siamese Twins beautifully frame Pikes Peak– look closely behind us

This rock formation wasn't mentioned on the guide, however to us it looked like a praying man. What do you think?

This rock formation wasn’t mentioned in the guide, however to us it looked like a praying man. What do you think?

Thank you visiting!

Travel Diary | Colorado – 1


Peace be upon you

Over the winter break the husband and I visited Colorado. We explored the charming state and all that it had to offered – we weren’t disappointed. Here are a few snapshots of our trip. I will be dividing it up into two post – this one will have snaps from our time in Denver, Georgetown, Loveland ski area, and our visit to the famous Rocky Mountain National Park!


A local mountain biking in Denver. This sport takes major dedication. We were impressed.


The husband testing out the frozen lake where many locals were ice fishing and having a picnic.


Many locals and tourist were ice racing on this frozen lake. We thought they were crazy! Yes, those are jeeps…on a lake!


The husband suiting up to go skiing in Loveland.


I look like a big blueberry in this ski gear. We couldn’t take snaps while skiing due to all the gear we ended up with only one snap of us. Boo hoo!


The beautiful ski area during sunset.


Rocky Mountain National Park


Map of places to visit in the Rockies.


Beautiful snow covered mountains and me.IMG_1698


The husband and I and the snow covered mountains.




Up close and personal with wildlife at the RockiesIMG_1781


How pretty is this!


Pictures don’t do just to the beauty of Colorado.

By the way, Happy New Year! I know I’m a little late but my year doesn’t start till February- mainly because it’s a special month for the husband and I and of course there’s Valentines day! Celebrations all month long for us!

Also, I will only be posting when time permits. I have lots of fun things to share, however grad school keeps me pretty busy so most times I just don’t get time to put together these posts. Lastly, the blog will be going through some “construction” Insha’Allah will keep you all posted.

Thank you for visiting!!!

Miami Panorama | South Point Park & Memories

Happy Tuesday everyone!

Today I’m skipping the usual Tempting Tuesday post and featuring a panorama I took in Miami at one of my favorite parks. South Point park holds a special place in my heart because it was the place the husband and I had our engagement photo session. I have lived in Miami for a long time and it was only when our photographers suggested the spot did I come to know of this somewhat hidden gem. It’s definitely a sophisticated area compared to rest of South Beach, and to me a romantic spot.

While on my vacation this year I highly suggested South Point park to my family and friends visiting from out of town. While visiting the park with my family and friends this time around I missed my husband (since he flew into Miami closer towards the wedding festivities), because I couldn’t help but think back to the wonderful pictures taken around the park and the beautiful memories we had created.

I did hesitate approaching the park with my family and friends thinking to myself that perhaps I’m the only one who finds the park beautiful because of my connection to it, however to my relief everyone was mesmerized by the beauty of the park. And to top it off everyone enjoyed gelato at the delish and chic 4D, which was also featured in our engagement photo session.


Is there a place that you visit that always brings beautiful memories to mind? Please comment and share.

Thank you for reading & visit again tomorrow!

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© Ayesha and Umair and AnUblog, 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material and pictures without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ayesha and Umair and www.AnUblog.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. All opinions expressed are solely of Ayesha and Umair of www.AnUblog.com

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