Monday, September 12
Monday was our first full day at sea, and we were up early for a great breakfast in The Gathering, the ship’s buffet. The babies loved the never-ending supply of fresh fruit!
From 8-10 on sea days, Camp Carnival is open for family playtime. Parents are welcome to bring their children and use the facilities free of charge. We took Emily and Drew and had a great time letting them run free. Drew learned to climb on the toy slide, and he had so much fun going up and down. He hasn’t stopped climbing since! Emily loved the giant foam Lego pieces and the various table toys. Grandma Vivian and Great Grandma Nettie joined us, and it was so good to see the babies being showered with their love and attention.
Since Drew was now a pro at sliding, we decided to take him down the kids’ slide. He loved it—almost as much as he loved just sitting in the water at the bottom of the slide.
After lunch, we returned to the room for naps, and I learned that even when on vacation with a room steward, there is housekeeping for mommy to do. In a room as small as ours, organization was critical. By Monday, it was time to straighten things up and help all the lost items find homes. Then there was a bit of baby laundry that just couldn’t wait until we got home. Even so, chores on vacation don’t seem quite so bad.
After naps, we headed out for a little Bingo on the Lido deck, a walk around the track, and some browsing in the ship’s shops.
Everywhere we went, we heard, “Twins!?” or “Oh, look. It’s the twins!” We were either famous or infamous--maybe both.
My sister took the babies back to her room for a few minutes to give me a break, which I felt was pretty safe since she didn’t have a Diet Pepsi with her. When I came to pick them up, I learned she had found a new way to be the over-indulgent aunt—she had painted Emily’s toenails. Her first pedicure—and I wasn’t even there.
At dinner, our fabulous waiters had the babies’ fruit waiting, and that night, the lady at the table above us finally smiled at us.
Now Camp Carnival groupies, we took two sleeping babies for another night of supervised sleeping while we joined the rest of our group at another late-night comedy show. But, not too late, though…tomorrow we docked in St. Thomas.
Tuesday, September 13
Due to a detour to avoid the storm, we arrived in St Thomas later than anticipated, so we didn’t get off the boat until 1:00. To compensate, the boat would stay three hours later, meaning we wouldn’t set sail until 11:00pm.
Right off the boat, we got a taxi to take us to Coki Beach. We enjoyed the open air cab ride through the winding, narrow roads (even if our driver seemed to be going a little too fast).
At the beach, we rented chairs, which did a great job of holding my stuff since I never had the chance to sit down.
The babies enjoyed the water and especially the sand. They ate so much sand we joked they would be pooping bricks by the next day.
We decided to rent jet skis for a 30 minute ride around the island. The babies stayed with the sand and three watchful grandmas while Marty and I acted like kids.
When we finished, the guy we rented them from was nice enough to let my dad take a free spin. Very cool…
After the beach, we browsed in the shops by the dock before deciding to take a ride on the Sky Lift. It was a little pricey, even with the kids riding free, but after making the ascent to the top, I can definitely say the view of St. Thomas at night was definitely worth the $28 ticket (which also included a tasty Bailey’s Bushwacker).
The bar was lively, the drinks plentiful, the view spectacular, and the entertainment, well, pretty entertaining if you like pirates eating and twirling fire.
We were back on the boat well before 11:00 and were pleasantly surprised to find our phones had service. Yay for the US Virgin Islands! A Facebook status update closed out a pretty perfect day.
Wednesday, September 14
As we walked out on deck Wednesday morning in St. Maartan, we were greeted by beautiful waters on one side of the boat and the biggest cruise ship in the world, the Oasis, on the other. Wow. And, I thought our boat was big!
We found a cab driver who would stay with us for the whole day and take us wherever we would like to go. Let’s go, Joe!
We started our trip with Joe with a narrated, air-conditioned tour of the island, complete with complimentary beer, rum punch, and water. Do we have to get out??
We toured the Dutch and French side of the island before stopping for a shopping break on the French side. Of course, I had to have an espresso even if I was wearing a swimsuit and sweating to the 80+ degree heat.
Our next stop was Orient Bay, a beautiful beach filled with restaurants, cheap beer, and lots of watersports. Oh, and a nude beach on the other side of the rocks…
The highlight of Orient Bay, though, was by far, the parasailing I did with my dad.
Those who know my dad know he is a walking medical miracle. Part of me wants to tell him he shouldn’t jet ski, zip line, or parasail. Another part of me knows it is all of these things that keep him vibrant, full of life. He isn’t afraid to live his life—fully. I am so lucky to be here for the ride.
We shopped during our last few hours on the island, and for the first time during the whole trip, I actually bought something--a sandwich, a Christmas ornament, and a bracelet for my mom. Parasailing with my dad and hugs from my mom—those were the best gifts of the day.
Come back tomorrow for the last installment of Cruisin'.