Thursday, January 4, 2018

Cruising on Christmas

{families showed up wearing matching t-shirts and mickey ears. we showed up with little sleep...we were a hot mess,  but i love how randi and i have the same head tilt and hip out}!

we did something a little different this year. december 22, we flew out to orlando. december 23, we boarded the disney fantasy for a seven day cruise.

this ship is HUGE. it has 12 decks, holds 4000 passengers {1500 crew, 2500 guests}, and is longer than the eiffel tower is tall. GIGA NTIC.

prior to boarding, we stayed the night at the hyatt in the orlando airport. {great time saver as the airport was a zoo...under construction}.  plus, they coordinate with the cruise line. they picked up our bags that morning and shuttled us off to port canaveral. once checked in, it was a waiting game, but they kept it very organized.

once on board we were able to get some lunch and explore the ship. after finding our cabin we were able to head to the top deck to join in on the farewell festivities.

 and we began our journey!

our first night on the ship was a little rough. we were tired and hungry. i, however, placed us in the late dinner seating {8:15}...thinking there would be less kids. nope. there were still lots of kids and it was LATE.
we did, however, have time to attend a show after dinner. it was a cute live show about the ship and all the fun that is offered on board.

we requested the earlier seating and they quickly obliged. no questions asked.
{the customer service and cleanliness were superb}.

{christmas eve - day 2}

first stop...disney's private island in the bahamas. we got to visit this island twice {coming and going}. it was our favorite stop because there were no other cruise ships...just us. it was beautiful and they catered to their guests. we snorkeled, rode bikes around the island and relaxed in the sun.

{this it also the day i began not feeling well...}
{the giant ship}

{my little sun-kissed christmas babies}.

dinner was better this evening {other than me not feeling well}. we dined at the earlier setting at royal court.
{christmas day - day 3}
 the flu hit me hard by christmas eve. i woke up freezing...with a high temperature. by christmas day i could not even move. taking a drink of water took too much energy.  i was achey, fevered, miserable.
not wanting to get sick too, my family tried to stay away as much as possible. they were able to explore the ship and see the new star wars movie. {that was a highlight}.

mr. c called the ship medical office. i was so worried they were going to quarantine me!!! they just took my info and told him where to get some medicine.

our room attendant {gara} was so sweet. he would check on me throughout those few days  and always ask mr. c how i was feeling.  our two evening servers {sayo and jaithip} were also kind and worried about me when i missed several dinners.

the next day, still feeling yucky, i drugged myself up with dayquil and ventured off the ship. we were in cayman and had not planned any excursions. {big mistake}. we had to wait to get on a small boat to take us to the island. the beaches were beautiful, but too crowded and the shops lining the port were junky and touristy. we decided to have lunch before we headed back to the ship. {another big mistake}. we ate at margaritaville. it was way too loud with horrible service. not a good way to end that island visit.
{cade and i decided we would visit cayman again....not on a cruise and away from the port}.

{my cowgirl in cozumel - day 5}

the next day we stopped in cozumel. 
i was feeling a little better. in fact, i got up and went to a stretch class with mr. c. i could barely make it through, but at least i was up and moving.
randi wanted to go horseback riding through the mayan jungle and the boys wanted to be in the water, so we split up. 
the drive to the ranch was beautiful and the ride on horseback was breathtaking. i have never seen so many magnificent butterflies. they were bright purple, blue, and yellow. there were indian lime trees {that only grow in southern mexico} that had the most incredible fragrance and ancient ruins attached to fantastic stories.
our guide was pretty cute too. {randi thought he was the most beautiful human being}. :)

{sites on our ride}.

{day 6}
 i woke up this morning and felt pretty good. i did some morning classes with mr. c {stretch, abs, cycle} and enjoyed a lovely brunch with him overlooking the majestic sea.

 the kids were still sleeping, so we headed to the adult only deck and lounged in the sun. {by the time the kids woke up they were pretty miffed that we were in the only area they couldn't be in}. we enjoyed our afternoon in the sun and even did a martini tasting before dinner. it was the first time all week it had been just the two of us. it was nice.
dinner was a little more formal. randi and i enjoyed getting a little more dressed up.
it was a lovely they all were. {well, the ones i attended}.
after dinner we watched a comedy show, buckets and boards. these guys sang, tap danced, played guitars and they were hilarious!

day 7 was again spent on disney's island. we debated whether we wanted to get off the ship, but cade {my beach baby} really wanted to play on the beach. we figured we were going to be lounging either way, so we headed to the beach. this time i just relaxed. cade played ball, snorkeled and never stopped. we boarded the ship again around 2 and had some nice down time before dinner.
randi and i showered and headed up to her favorite little nook to read for a while. her favorite spot was some couches near the cafe and tiffany's. {yes, this is the only ship with a tiffany's}. she said it had been her happy place all week...she could see the cafe,  tiffany's, and the christmas tree!

dinner that evening was at the animator's palate. it was amazing. we all drew characters when we first sat down. we watched disney cartoons throughout dinner {screens all over the place}. by dessert, our drawings were on the screens...incorporated in the cartoons! how did they do that?! it was pretty cool.
after dinner, we went back to our cabin and head a disney cartoon marathon. {we started with the princess and the frog...then i fell asleep}.

mr. c and i woke up in the middle of the night with the ship rocking! we looked out the window to find 15 foot swells! it was crazy.  i laid back down and tried to plan my escape route!! that was the only time we had much movement on the ship.

the next morning we had breakfast and headed to dry land! the disembarkation was much quicker than embarkation. they have that system down! not a single hiccup.
we then boarded the shuttle that took us to our disney resort {port orleans}.

{lovely poinsettias planted throughout disney springs}

{cade and the lego loch ness monster}

although we really wanted to get home...we stayed the night in orlando. the only way the airlines would change our tickets is if we paid $1400. no thank you.

so we explored disney springs. it was cute and we took a little ferry from our hotel, but it was freezing!! who knew florida could be that cold?!

we were all so tired and done with traveling...we ended up back in our room by 4. we ordered pizza and watch tv.
the next morning, we headed home. fortunately, i was able to change our tickets for the 31st. we were able to fly out that morning {versus 5:30 that evening} and they only charged me $75! plus, i was able to upgrade our seats at the gate.

it was SO GOOD to be home! mia was more than excited to see us and showered us with kisses.
we immediately unpacked. i started laundry and each of my loves retreated to their own space. {space they had not had in ten days}!

it was a nice trip, but would we do it again? no. absolutely not. we all decided we are not a cruising family. we loved being on the water and we had fun being together, but there were too many people, too much disney, too much togetherness, too long, too much too much! 
there is tons to do on the ship, but my kids would not participate in the teen activities {too cool for that} and mr. c and i were not in to hanging with the fellow adults. {i guess we are too cool too}! :)
the fact that i was on my death bed didn't help either. regardless, cruising is not our cup of tea.

we had lots of people rave about the cruise. "best vacation we had! you have to do it."  
i'm glad we experienced it. nothing negative happened. service was exceptional. cleanliness was impeccable. but. being on a ship with 4000 people won't happen again for this family!