Here’s the thing about cruising – it’s like five vacations rolled into one package. Or in our case, three vacations rolled into one package. (Unless you want to lump New York in there and then it’s four, but you get what I mean).
You have the cruise itself, then each port of call. And where else can you have so much fun while getting there??
I’m telling you, if you have never taken a cruise, I HIGHLY recommend it. And it’s not as expensive as you think it is. When you take in the cost of a hotel room (cabin), WITH food, WITH entertainment, WITH babysitting (the cruise camps are awesome programs for children keeping them busy while you go do your own thing – and this includes programs for pre-teens and teenagers), THEN the cost of traveling TO the ports of call, well … you have one heck of a deal.
It makes traveling places FUN. (Not to sound like an infomercial or anything).
Our favorite part about cruising, and all four of us concur on this, is the food. The guys LOVE being able to eat at anytime. I love that the guys can eat at any time. This means, I don’t have to stress about finding someplace to eat, and then getting grumpy about having to pay an arm and a leg for it. If you’ve ever gone on vacation and struggled with the “where are we going to eat” question, then you can appreciate what I’m saying.
This was our third time on a cruise, the boys’ second time. We sailed on the Valor last year, the Glory this year. The Glory is the Valor’s sister ship so other than the (gaudy) decor, everything was pretty much the same – we didn’t have any trouble getting around. (Though we continue to get mixed up no matter how many times we’ve cruised).
Kevin and I have a theory about the decor on these cruise ships – we think the company must get the rejects or overstocks on fabrics and other items and use this stuff on their ships to save on cost. I mean otherwise, do they really PAY someone to decorate their boats like this on purpose?! Wow.
Though I love everything about cruising (well, except for the seasickness part, but that can be knocked out with a Draminine or two), I think my favorite part is leaving the port. There is something SO EXCITING about being on the deck of the ship and watching the city you just navigated like crazy in order to make the boat on time get smaller and smaller.
But this departure was my favorite, I think. We had a bird’s eye view of New York’s breathtaking skyline.
The only time we actually SAW the Empire State building while in New York.
There’s a sense of anticipation and your nerve endings start tingling with adrenaline because you know you have DAYS of fun and adventures ahead of you – it’s hard NOT to get excited.
See that large white ball near the tail of the boat in the above picture? We were standing on that same deck, only toward the front of the boat and to say it was a tad windy? Would be pretty accurate. 😀
Another reason I love cruising is because we’re forced to sever all ties with the world. Our cell phone service stops working and there isn’t any Internet. Wait, scratch that, there’s an Internet Cafe that you’re welcome to use on the boat, if you don’t mind paying $25.00 for ONE hour of service.
Seriously. Only, that’s nothing compared to what it was last year – $60.00 for one hour. Oh yes, yes it was.
This means that the boys? Have nothing better to do than actually TALK to us. I love it. It’s so nice to have their full attention and I can’t tell you the number of times they’ve surprised me with things they’ve said or an opinion they had about something that I didn’t know before simply because we were all too distracted to listen to each other.
I honestly think that’s the number one reason why I love cruising so much – it gives us a chance to bond as a family and I hope the boys are taking some pretty awesome childhood memories away from these trips so they can wistfully sigh as they retell the stories to their children.
We relaxed and goofed off our first day at sea. This was exactly what Kevin needed to recuperate from the whirlwind that was New York City. The boys played video games. I mentioned before they have clubs for the kids – they have three, actually. They have Camp Carnival for kids 2 – 11, Circle “C” for tweens (12 – 14) and Club O2 for kids 15 – 17. If you have social kids (I do not), your kids will love these clubs. They have all sorts of activities that the kids can get involved with and it gives them a chance to make friends their own age on the boat instead of hanging out with boring mom and dad.
While the kids played video games or hung out in the cabin, Kevin rested on deck
and I cuddled with my Kindle.
This cruise was different for us. The last two times, we cruised to places down by the Equator so it was hot. So hot, in fact, that I had had to edit the sweat stains out of our vacation pictures. (True story).
But this time, since we were sailing toward Canada, the temps dropped and we actually had to wear jackets at one point. In fact, about four hours out of New York, we ran into some dense fog. So dense, in fact, that we couldn’t even see the water. While standing outside, and leaning over the railing.
It was really strange. To top it off, the ship blew it’s fog horn every five minutes so it was sort of an eerie feeling. Though it was still warm, the air was cool, like outdoor air conditioning. It was quite pleasant (initially, too long though and it was chilly) and quite a different experience for us.
Kevin took a video. Listen carefully, you can hear the fog horn in the background. And note the people out in bathing suits – it was an odd juxtaposition of warm and cold.
I also made a short video about our first day of cruising:
I mentioned that we were going to go play the slot machines, we did. We allotted $10 and when that $10 ran out? We’d stop. That lasted for five minutes and I’m sad to report, we did not win that BMW. *sniff*
I’m seriously thinking about taking a cruise to no where one of these days. We all really love just hanging around the boat and relaxing. It’s so nice to be waited on, to have food readily available and to have entertainment decks away.
One of these days, we might just do that.
Next stop? Saint John, New Brunswick.