Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Cruisin'-Part I

Thursday, September 8
Although our sick-cation was not over by any means, Thursday marked the official beginning of our VA-cation. With our tummies still rolling, we packed our bags, complete with a week’s worth of diapers, and took off for Port Canaveral around noon.

Before twins, we could usually make the trip in just around 9 hours. With sick twins, sick parents, and one brave grandma, the trip took right at 12 hours. By the time we unloaded the car at the hotel, any thought I’ve ever had of having more children had been left behind at one of the 57 rest stops we visited along the way.

Marty held out hope that Friday would bring better health and renewed energy for his much-anticipated visit to Universal. I just hoped we would all recover before the boat set sail on Saturday.

Friday, September 9
Friday morning found us all a little more rested but still not feeling theme-park ready. We made the call to scratch the trip to Orlando for a day of rest.

After breakfast, the babies went down easily for a nap. I used nap time to sanitize all of our belongings once more.

We survived a high-chair free lunch at a great local deli. Back at the hotel, since none of us felt up to enjoying the pool, we did our best to entertain the babies with the toys we had packed and with occasional walks outside.

The rest of the family arrived around noon, but most of them avoided our room like we had an awful stomach bug. Oh, wait. We did.

We didn’t take it personally, and we gladly offered a squirt of hand sanitizer to all who entered.

On Friday evening, we enjoyed some shopping in Cocoa Beach before having pizza for dinner.

We turned in early, hoping to bank some extra sleep for the next day’s big embarkation.

Saturday, September 10
While I worked to get everyone packed and out of the room, Marty and the babies took the new camera and headed out to catch the Delta 2 rocket launch.
Around noon, we met to wait for the shuttle to the port. After a long wait, a short ride, and another long line, we were finally inside the terminal where the babies walked through a metal detector all by themselves for the first time ever.

From that point on, boarding went pretty smoothly, as we strapped the babies back in and rolled on board to our new home for the next seven days.

During boarding we learned that, due to Tropical Storm Maria, our itinerary was being changed from the Eastern Caribbean to the Western Caribbean. While it was somewhat disappointing, we were just grateful to be on vacation and to be feeling almost well—finally.

After taking in the spectacular view from the Atrium, we cruised the Lido deck before heading to our room.

Our room was small, especially with the added crib, but the babies didn’t waste any time discovering every nook and cranny, including the door stop, the closets, drawers, and most dangerously-- the mini bar.
After settling in, we were relieved to learn that the muster drill did not include putting on the life jackets and standing out on deck. Instead we gathered in the disco for safety instructions where the babies proceeded to chew off their identification bands.

Around this time, we received another important update from the cruise director. Due to the ever-changing weather situation, we were now clear to proceed with our original itinerary to the Eastern Caribbean. Great news!

We napped a bit before heading to dinner in the dining room. As we walked towards the waiting high chairs, I pretended to ignore some sideways glances from several child-wary diners seated near us. “Yes, we paid full price for them, so, yes, they will be eating in the main dining room every evening. And, no, they will not be eating chicken nuggets.”

They enjoyed trying foods off of the big people menu—fresh fruit, grilled chicken, steamed veggies, more fresh fruit, and a special treat—orange sherbet.

They loved it.

Marty had his dessert later—a late night of Blackjack in the casino—while the babies and I went to bed early.

Sunday, September 11

As we walked onto the Lido deck Sunday morning, an unusual somberness pervaded the otherwise noisy crowd. The jumbo screen played news shows with September 11 remembrances. My mind traveled back to ten years earlier, and with tears in my eyes, I hugged my family extra tightly.

With a renewed sense of patience, patriotism, gratefulness, and zest for life, I walked off the boat in Nassau so thankful for my many blessings.

While the babies didn’t love the glass bottom boat ride as much as I had envisioned, I enjoyed holding them and taking in the beautiful scenery and nearly perfect weather.

As our tour guide pointed out the vacation homes of celebrities such as Oprah and Michael Jordan, I decided that I could retire on an island and just live in one of their garages.
After our tour, we strolled down the main shopping street in Nassau before returning to the boat for lunch and naps.

We were up in time to dress for the first formal night, and Drew and Emily were a hit in their coordinating black and white outfits. Drew loved his suit so much that he didn’t want to take it off when it was time to go to bed.

We eventually wrestled him into his pajamas and were able to get both babies nice and asleep before carrying them down to Camp Carnival for a little late-night babysitting service.

As a mom who has just been able to leave her babies at daycare, I have to say I was very impressed with Camp Carnival and its staff. With a camp cell phone in hand, we headed to the adult comedy show and then the casino before going back to retrieve our still-sleeping babies.

Before going to sleep, I hugged them tightly once more.

Stay tuned for Cruisin'-Part II.


Beth said...

I'm so glad you were healthy again by the big trip!
So far it sounds like a fun time.

Drew in his little man suit? Too much! He is so precious. Emily is getting so big! She is beautiful.

Can't wait to hear more. I've still never done a cruise, but would love to give one a try. For now I'm living vicariously, so keep the good times coming!

Sarita said...

looks like a great time! I have never been on a cruise! I want to go on 1! Without kids

JDaniel4's Mom said...

They look so cute all dressed up! How cool that they had late night babysitting.

Brad Jenkins said...

Pictures with kiddos and booze are always fun - and I think we have the same teapot I see on the floor. :-)

Well done on the dining room experience and avoiding the children's menu. Those menus scare me a little.

Anne said...

Lovely photos.Great that everyone started to feel well enough to enjoy!

Olusola said...

Your family is truly beautiful. You're blessed and making me long for my own family cruise

Just Another Mom of Twins said...

WOW! You guys are such troopers...sick and all! I know I already said this but I am LOVIN' these posts...

I am so excited for part III!

Kristen said...

Finally! I'm getting some time to read about your vacation.
First - I'm so thrilled!!! It looks awesome!
Second - I love the pictures. I'm thinking of taking the kids and ... it looks so much fun!
Third - This really sums up the whole - "why take your kids on vacation when they are young" argument. They might not remember it - but you will..... and now you have pictures and words so they can re-live it with you.

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