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My First Carnival Cruise with Permission to Hustle

My first Carnival cruise was on the inaugural Permission to Hustle  Retreat at Sea.  It brought together 40 women entrepreneurs for five days of learning and fun and was actually my first cruise, ever! Thanks to Carnival Cruise Line for providing a discounted rate to attend this conference.

Permission to Hustle Retreat at Sea

This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase through these links, a small commission is earned so I can save for my next adventure and tell you about it.

Why Did I Never Cruise Before?

I'm going to start at the beginning if you don't mind. You see, for as long as I can remember, my family and friends have begged me to go on a cruise, and to no avail, my answer was always a resounding “no.” The movies that scarred me forever were Jaws and Titanicsolidifying my thoughts to “Boats sink and sharks eat you.” There also seemed to be news of poor folks stranded in their rooms due to breakout illnesses, so I just assumed as a person who easily succumbs to motion sickness, if sinking, sharks or virus didn't get me, seasickness would surely be reason number 254 why I would never go on a cruise.

The Invitation That Changed Everything


Audrey Vera Permission to Hustle Carnival

photo credit: Permission to Hustle

So, what was it that changed my mind to forego all fears and take my first Carnival cruise, ever? That would be the amazing ladies behind the Facebook group Permission to Hustle. I am part of a small Mastermind group led by Audrey & Vera and when they first mentioned they were thinking of doing a retreat at sea, I was on board; no pun intended here. It was shared that this event was going to remain small, full of women entrepreneurs comprising of both bloggers/influencers and small business owners seeking to support peers while furthering goals for success. I have much respect for these women, their daily hustle, and willingness to openly share their successes and failures to help others.

Making Friends in the Middle of the Ocean

Friends Made at Permission to Hustle

One thing that probably scares me more than sharks (well, maybe not more than sharks) is being in a scenario where I don't know anyone. When looking at the list of attendees, I realized I only knew maybe a handful of ladies, a few others I've only known online, and the rest were complete strangers. I've never even heard of their blogs or businesses. I am friendly, but I am also an introvert/extrovert, so making small talk is something that always makes me feel a bit awkward. I knew that in order to expand my circle of friends, I would need to step out of my comfort zone and put myself out there. The amazing part of this retreat, was learning everyone else was there to do the same, so conversation was easy and relaxed,  welcoming and open.

You know that saying “Your vibe attracts your tribe?”  Well, my hesitations of feeling awkward were for naught because of every single woman at this retreat. Everyone was truly amazing and after so many heartfelt conversations made me realize I need more women friends in my life.



My First Carnival Cruise Helped Me Grow


My first carnival cruise at Sting Ray City


My first Carnival cruise was exactly what I needed and when I needed it. I learned so much from the amazing speakers about affiliate marketing, podcasting, Pinterest, keywords…and so much more. Nuggets of information shared freely. I especially learned so much through an open-forum discussion we all had one afternoon and side chats over lunch or a cup of coffee that has kept my head buzzing ever since.

There really has been no way for me to find the exact words to convey how much this entire experience has meant to me. I've tried to find them, however, they continue to elude me. My heart was searching for those who would see, hear, laugh, encourage, and be kind with no other agenda or expectations. This Permission to Hustle trip was nothing short of magic.

Carnival Cruise Evening Sky

I hope to return to a future Permission to Hustle retreat. If Audrey and Vera can get me on my first cruise, I would pretty much go anywhere to participate in this amazing event!

Have you ever gone on a 5-day cruise for a conference? Where did you go?

PTH Retreat at sea

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Kara Miller

Sunday 14th of October 2018

It totally was MAGIC!! I am so on board for the next trip with you. So happy we got to meet and so glad you went on your first cruise!

Kelly Pugliano

Sunday 14th of October 2018

It really was, wasn't it?! I never knew a cruise could be so fun- and I am so very happy to have met you too!! I really wish I had joined you for that slice of pizza- that was one dish I did NOT have on our trip! Next trip for sure- and we will scope out some good eats to enjoy and catch up. xoxo

Lily Ashley militaryfamof8

Thursday 11th of October 2018

I am SO SO SOOOOOOO happy that you opened up and offered a hug when I posted how anxious and afraid I was. To see that I wasn't the only one having anxiety and fears was such a comfort and helped me see that I was amongst REAL Women.

The cruise and retreat were amazing, the lessons learned were priceless, but the friendships I have made have no words to describe them.

I adore you!!!

Kelly Pugliano

Thursday 11th of October 2018

Oh, Lily, you my friend are such a ray of sunshine! You really light up a room! It is amazing what can happen when you start taking walls down- such beautiful friendships grow and I am so honored to call you friend. Love and miss you to pieces! xoxo

Lisa @ Crazy Adventures in Parenting

Thursday 11th of October 2018

Gahhhh, I miss you so much!!! Can we go back now?

Kelly Pugliano

Thursday 11th of October 2018

I miss you too!!!! I wish this could be an annual trip with ALL of us...such a magic group. xoxo