Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Our Cruise Highlights!

Our vacation started off with a 3 hour drive to the airport. Our flight was at 4:30 so we left at 11am-stopped at McDonald's and fed the kids on the way while they watched the new Tinkerbell movie. Jett never did eat, he fell asleep practically at the end of the driveway! The BIG highlight is that NO ONE had ANY accidents/puking the entire way there WOO HOO-We have come such a long way! We got to our meeting spot with our friend & babysitter Jamie around 2pm-went to another McDonald's there, pottied and had a snack break. Then we headed to THE PARKING SPOT to park our vehicles and get on the shuttle to the airport-which may sound easy but with 6 kids and a ton of bags...not so much. We packed backpacks full of "stuff to do" and luckily grandma sent a bunch of dum dum suckers-don't know where we would be without these as our flight was delayed almost 2 hours!

Here is Tori buckling Jett in for his first airplane ride! We got to our hotel in Tampa about 10pm-we were all exhausted and HUNGRY!!! We ordered pizza and retreated to our separate boy/girl rooms and crashed! We got up early, packed up and dressed, ate breakfast and headed out around 11am to start our cruise!Here are the kiddos in front of the beautiful Embassy Suites in downtown Tampa. Jett's trying to take a dip in the fountain
Here's Tori waiting to get on the ship!

Here we are during the "muster drill" This was required in case of any "TITANIC" type crashes or emergencies-very stressful with 4 toddlers!

Our first day was spent at sea-The water park and waterslides & 24 hour ice cream on board SAVED US! They were SO FUN!! 1 large waterslide and 2 small to keep the big kids busy and tons of water stuff for the little ones to play in that weren't too deep all while mom & dad lounged in our chairs in the sun AHHHHHH!

It wouldn't be a TRUE CRUISE experience without towel animals and an ice cream swan! The kids thought this was over the top fun!!

Our first port was Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands-BEAUTIFUL as you can see. We opted to leave baby baby Jett on board at Camp Carnival for a nominal fee. We took a taxi to the beach and just played in the sand & water for a few hours, it was truly gorgeous and FUN! The highlight was seeing Nick get buried in the sand by the kids!

Caty even found makeup in the Cayman Islands LOL! We ate then played in the water park on the ship the rest of the afternoon and as you can see that ocean wears ya' out!
That evening we got on our "fancy duds" and went to dinner in the dining room-just Nick and I. We left Jett with Jamie. We didn't even get sat down when our Camp Carnival special RADAR CELL PHONE rang telling us Wyatt was flipping his lid SO... there I sat at the table alone while Nick went to get him. We started in eating and RING RING there the phone went again and this time it was Caty-Nick again went to get her and take her to be with Wyatt and Jamie. Needless to say, our romantic evening didn't happen. Nick retreated to "the boys room" and I to "the girls room" and to bed we went anticipating our day in Cozumel. Surely that would go smoother right?

As soon as we got off the ship, it was BEAUTIFUL once again. This time we were pulled up directly to the dock where in Grand Cayman we were tendered in (meaning we had to ride a smaller boat to get to the island). We again opted to leave baby Jett on board with the Camp Carnival staff. We were bound and determined to let the kids swim with the dolphins but through Carnival this was very expensive. We decided to take a taxi to CHANKANAAB National Park and try to negotiate The Dolphin Discovery on our own AND......IT WORKED! Nick negotiated a more than fair price for our ONCE IN A LIFETIME dolphin experience! The little ones had a complete blast, they got to get in the water, dance with and get kissed on the lips by a real live dolphin! It was truly worth every penny!

Brendan met up with a pirate in Mexico-we thought he was a statue but he was REAL! VERY COOL! Nick walked and carried a lot of weight this trip-love those biceps! Here he is walking about a 1/2 mile with Myah on his shoulders and Wyatt in the front! OUCH!

The last day at sea was cloudy and not so fun so we stayed inside and ate and the kids went to Camp Carnival for their "going away" party! They decorated t-shirts, backpacks and the counselors decorated them! Aren't my 2 butterflies adorable? Caty and Wyatt opted out of Camp Carnival but Myah, Brendan and Tori LOVED IT and had a great time!
Overall, this vacation was extremely stressful at times but SO WORTH IT! Our kids would have never been able to experience something like this in their other lives and Nick and I teared up just thinking of it. Like I told someone else, everywhere we go is a bit stressful-(shoot going to Pizza Hut is a lot of work) and EVERYWHERE we go is a LOT of work but our kids deserve these fun experiences & we did it for them! No matter what vacation we would have been on, the results would have been the same-more times were felt being blessed than ever being stressed!

To see all the pictures from our trip click HERE!
I am SO READY to pack up and go again.... THIS TIME WITH ONLY MY HUSBAND!!!


Melissa, Multi-Tasking Mama said...

We went on a cruise last year and our kids favorite part was the towel origami! We even came home with the book of how to do it.

Stacey said...

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the pictures!!!! i've been wondering how your trip went. those memories will last forever. i am so glad you had fun. my favorite picture is of the kids crashed on the bed, twisted like pretzels, but not caring because they were so tired. that is a classic picture. glad you had fun!!! if you ever want to take a disney cruise, i can get you 40% off!!! :)