Cruising the Greek Isles | I’m Back – With Lots to Share!

Empty Nest Blessed by Suzy Mighell

woman standing at the rail of a cruise ship dressed in floral top and silver jeans

I’m back, and I missed you all soooo much! I hope you followed my trip on Instagram, and especially on my Instastory. We started our cruise in Venice and spent the past few weeks cruising the Greek Islands (with a few other fabulous spots in between!) and having a blast! It was technically my vacation, so I didn’t post while I was gone. (I did, however, negotiate ???? to get permission to post on Instastories. It was such fun to share all of our adventures with you!) If you missed my Story posts, you can go to my profile page on Instagram and tap the Highlight buttons that say “Cruise” and “Cruise 2” to check out my posts. I filled up the “Cruise” highlight with 100 photos, so, being the over-poster that I am, I simply added “Cruise 2” so that I wouldn’t have to delete anything! ???? It’s going to take me several posts to tell you all about it, but today I’m going to start by telling you how we planned it, where we went, and why we chose a cruise.

cruising, cruise, riviera, cruise in the riviera, italian riviera, french riviera, Mediterranean cruise
Our ship, the beautiful Oceania Riviera a mid-sized ship, with room for 1280 guests and 800 staff. (The size allows it to access ports that larger cruise ships cannot.)

Why a Cruise?

When our kids were younger, we took them on a few cruises on mass-market cruise lines. We loved unpacking once, food choices to please everyone’s palate, and lots of fun activities both onboard and in ports. Two years ago, when we were planning our big 30th-anniversary trip, we knew we wanted to go to Italy, but the idea of planning all of the details of where to go, stay and eat just overwhelmed us. We’re those anxious and neurotic travelers who tend to get worked up about every little detail. (Raise your hands if you think we sound like super fun people!) So we opted for a cruise.

When it came to planning, we knew we needed help. Enter Cruise Specialist Tom Pecena from Ahoy Cruises. We read about Tom in a local publication and knew his knowledge and experience would be perfect for helping us plan that special vacation and calm the savage beast of our neuroses. He was wonderful! Tom helped us plan every aspect of our journey, from flights and airport transfers, to tour guides and shore excursions. We that trip around the Italian and French Riviera so much, we decided that cruising would be how we would see the world from then on! (Neuroses, be gone!) Last year, we cruised the Inside Passage in Alaska, and this summer, we decided to do Greece.

Two years ago, when we started planning that first trip, we knew we wanted a premium, “grown-up” cruise line now that the kids were not with us. After telling Tom our preferences for dates, itinerary, and filling him in on my dietary restrictions, Tom recommended Oceania Cruises for us. Pricing on Oceania includes airfare, free internet, free dining at specialty restaurants (six!), complimentary soft drinks, bottled water, coffee, tea, etc., free 24-hour room service, and more. Unlike other premium cruise lines, inclusive pricing does not include alcohol, which makes it a great value. (Beverage packages are reasonable and readily available, however.) Two foodies started Oceania, and it’s known for its incredible cuisine – prepared under the guidance of Executive Culinary Director, Master Chef Jaques Pépin. Tom also helped us select our stateroom, giving us valuable insider information about the best deals and locations on the ship.

This time around, we selected a cruise that started in Venice and ended in Athens and in between visited ports like Dubrovnik, Montenegro, Kusadasi (Ephesus) in Turkey, as well as many of the gorgeous Greek islands like Santorini and Mykonos. In a later post, I’ll go into more detail about all of our ports and what we did in each one. I’ve also got posts planned on cruising tips and tricks, (including how to snag a seat at the Captain’s Table, and how to cruise without gaining weight!), and the outfits I wore on our cruise. Stay tuned next week! In the meantime, lots happened while I was gone, and I wanted to catch up with you guys on a few of the things I missed!

Did I Miss Some Kind of Big Sale? Or Was That Two?

In full-on bad blogger mode, I missed not only the Early Access part of the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale, but I also missed Amazon Prime Day! (It couldn’t be helped, as the itinerary we wanted was only available these specific dates.) With all the (ahem!) over-hyping out there about both of these sales, I trust you did okay without me!


That said, today is the first day that the Nordstrom Sale is open to the public and I wanted to add my two cents! I’ve got some inside information and a few secret tricks to share with you if you’re ready to shop. (Even if you’ve already shopped, you’ll probably find it interesting.)

Nordstrom Anniversary Sale – Public Access

The big Nsale opens to the public today, and there’s still lots of great things in stock or restocked.

Hot Sellers Every Year  (Hop on these fast if you’re interested because they’ll sell out!)

  • Barefoot Dreams Cozy Cardigans – They’re the softest things ever! Think ahead for gifts.
  • Hunter Boots – These beauties are a great deal during the sale.
  • Tory Burch Handbags – I especially love this crossbody because it’s the perfect size and a great price! This Tory tote is also a fantastic deal for a sleek office or travel look.
  • Spanx Faux Leather Leggings – I bought these two years ago and I love them! They provide a slightly dressier look than these Zella Live In High Waist leggings, which I also own and love! They have a handy dandy side pocket for your keys or cell phone that you’ll appreciate in the winter months when you’re walking your fur baby. ????
  • Wubby Fleece Pullover – This is the softest pullover known to man! Your college and adult kids will love this, and so will you! Plan ahead for Christmas!

Best Sellers During Early Access This Year (Hot off the presses! Here’s some secret, inside info!!!)

Suzy’s Nsale Picks

Thanks to travel with limited WiFi and jet lag, I haven’t shopped yet, but I will be this weekend (once I get to my destination that is!). Yes, I’m traveling again this weekend! ???? More on that at the bottom of this post! Here’s what I’ve got my eye on:

Be sure to check out the jewelry deals HERE because they’re always good. I love this Pave Disc Pendant Necklace!

  • I’ve had my eye on Bony Levy stackable rings forever, and this might be the year I break it to Bob! (Ya know, since they’re on sale and all…)

Also, don’t miss the beauty deals HERE.

  • I was a late adopter, but now I’m obsessed with my GloPRO! If you’ve wanted to try it, this price is EXCELLENT!
  • This Slipsilk Pillowcase is what I use every night to prevent sleep wrinkles!

Suzy’s Secret Nordstrom Anniversary Sale TRICK!

Everybody gets all worked up about the Anniversary Sale, but did you know that some of the best deals during the sale are actually in the CLEARANCE section of Nordstrom’s site? DO NOT LEAVE NORDSTROM’S SITE WITHOUT CHECKING IT!!! Seriously, people!

Here are just a few examples of what you’ll find:

Amazon Prime Day

Did you know that Amazon had it’s most successful Prime Day ever this year? They moved $5.8 BILLION worth of merchandise! I hope you all shopped and got some great deals. Be sure to check out the Empty Nest Blessed page on Amazon to see my summer reading list, my latest fashion finds, and great gift ideas. I update it constantly!

A Few Other Sales to Check Out

ANN TAYLOR | 50% off sale styles and 40% + 10% off full-price styles.

ANTHROPOLOGIE | 20% off sitewide for Anthroperks members (free to join)

BANANA REPUBLIC | Last call sale up to 75% off.

CABANA LIFE | Take 30% off SELECT summer prints with code SUNNYSTYLE.

J.CREW | Their sale stuff is on sale! Up to 75% off with code WHOA.

TALBOTS | Their famous Red Hanger sale is on! Up to 50% off regular prices.

TARGET | I heard on the Today Show this morning that Target has gone slightly crazy trying to get some of the Amazon Prime business for themselves. Check out the deals HERE.

What’s Up Weekend?

I may be crazy, but the way the schedule worked out means that I’m jumping on a plane this morning to head out to Georgia! I’m going to meet our daughter and drive back to Dallas with her early next week. She’s been working there doing summer stock the past few months, and I’m thrilled to get to see her perform in both Mamma Mia and Crazy for You one last time before we head home. She’s got a quick turnaround before her next contract, and she and I will be heading up to Colorado after only three days at home! She is absolutely the most fun person on the planet, so be sure to follow my Instastory to check out our crazy adventures!








P.S. You can reach Tom Pecena from Ahoy Cruises at 214-761-1968 or via email at [email protected]. (He doesn’t have a website. Dude is old-school. LOVE THAT!!!) He seriously knows his stuff.

P.P.S. Several of you have asked if this cruise was a sponsored trip or if I was being compensated by Oceania Cruises. The answer is no. (I wish!) Bob and I paid for everything ourselves, and Oceania doesn’t even follow me on Instagram! (Although they should! Hellooooo, @oceaniacruises! I’m right here!!!) As always, I would never do a sponsored post without revealing it to you. ????

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Suzy Mighell

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  1. Hi Suzy,
    Excellent post! I love the details of your trip planning! Thank you also for your tips about the Nordstrom sales! I love to wear name brands but hate to pay the price and with your suggestions, I can save some money! Very exciting! Looking forward to more posts about your lovely trip, Do you know yet where your daughter will be working in Colorado? I live in Littleton and would love to take in a show. She is lucky to be spending late summer/early fall here because it is my favorite time of year here, (Actually, I love Colorado year round.)
    Have a safe and fun weekend with your daughter!

    1. Robben,
      Thanks for your sweet comment! I’m so glad you found my tips helpful and I’m so grateful to you for shopping via my links! That helps me keep Empty Nest Blessed going!???? Becca will be doing a tour that is out of Creed Repertory Theater. She’ll rehearse there for awhile, then hit the road! Thanks again for your comment! Happy weekend! xoxo Suzy

    1. Aw Suzanne, you are the sweetest! That means a lot
      coming from you! Thank you for shopping with my links! That really means a lot to me! xoxo Suzy

  2. I completely agree about Steve Madden shoes. I bought a pair a couple of years ago and made myself wear them through the season. Enjoy your weekend with Becca!

    1. Shannon,
      So glad you agree! They’re always pretty cute, but I think he makes them for high school girls whose feet can withstand anything! Hahaha! Thank you, sweet friend! Saw Cheryl Gochis at an event last night and loved catching up with her! Miss you!!! xoxo Suzy

  3. What a wonderful post. Can’t wait to hear more about the cruise. I am of Greek decent and vacationed every summer as a little girl. I’d love to take my family on a more comprehensive trip that takes in the beauty of the coast in a minimal amount of time. After all, my adult children don’t have all summer to tour Europe ( although that is something to strive for). Kalosorisate.

    1. Corinne,
      Thank you so much for your comment! I am working on that post, but since I was spending time with my daughter this weekend and we’re driving back to Dallas Monday & Tuesday, things will take a little while! Know that I started it and I’m going to get it out ASAP! ???????? xoxo Suzy

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