It’s taken awhile to get thru all the pics but here we are, a post about our recent vacation. It was kind of impromptu in that we only booked/planned it 3 weeks in advance. I had vaca I was going to lose and we both had deadline/launches that we had to dodge so we settled on a date that was just a few weeks shy of Noah’s second. There are some great benefits and drawbacks to this.
First, the details of the trip. We flew to Miami (noah in our lap – huge benefit #1..not having to pay for a seat for him) and hopped on a Carnival cruise ship destined for the Bahamas (and a few other ports). Super excited to have a balcony room (a must have with a toddler) and only one full day on the ship before we hit the first port we set off. Here’s where the drawbacks of being just two weeks shy of your 2nd birthday come in. He was pretty much ineligible for any of the kids programs on the ship…well, not pretty much…he was point blank. We were able to use the kiddie club between 8am and 10am before the programs started and that was it. Plus, he’s not potty trained so the pools (even the splash pool) was off limits. I won’t lie, we cheated a little the last day on the ship. Noah had already done his dirty bidness so we figured it was safe to let him splash in the wading pool…no one even noticed.
In the end the no pools thing wasn’t a huge deal. We had oceans in all three ports that were fair game (and honestly, he hated the sand which made the oceans a little challenging but we’ll get to that) but I think next time we’ll wait until he’s potty trained (and therefore older than 2) to cruise so that he can take advantage too. We did a lot of running around the decks of the ship to burn off steam. He seemed perfectly okay with that, DH and I however, were very tired.
We got to our first port – Grand Turk and hopped off the ship as early as they would let us. We needed land and an open area for Noah to run. Too bad it was all pretty much sand and he’s still terrified of sand. I eventually coaxed him into playing but only if he was on the lounge chair or on a towel. Oh well, small victories.
DH lugged along an inflatable raft that I chastised him endlessly about it. I couldn’t believe he’d bring this ridiculous thing the whole way along for the ride expecting to have Noah in it while we hung out in the water with him. And this is where I eat my words because in the end, it was the only freakin way we got him in the water. It worked out perfectly. Noah was in his little PFD, sitting atop his raft while DH and I took turns snorkeling. I admit now that it was a genius idea that worked just as well the second day in Half Moon Cay (Noah even zonked out and took a little snooze while we hung in the water…sooo perfect!).
Port 2 was a private island – Half Moon Cay and was a tender port therefore making it harder to get back and forth to the boat (you had to take a little boat from the big boat). Once you were on the island you were there for good (or at least until you wanted to go back to the boat for the day…it wasn’t worth making more than one trip back and forth). Fortunately they catered to us on the island and there was really no reason to go back until it was actually time to leave. We still hadn’t won any battles between Noah and the sand phobia but with a few fruit snacks I did manage to get him back on the raft and into the water. I even tried to lure this kid into the sand with the prospect of a trip down a waterslide….no go. He was not having it.
Port 3 was Nassau and by then we’d had enough of the beach and trying to get Noah to like it. We decided instead to head over to Atlantis and pay for the aquarium tours (since Noah loves fish). SOOOOOOOO worth it! Probably the best $80 we spent the whole trip. We spent all day on the grounds of Atlantis visiting the 9 or so aquariums they have set up there – loving each more than the last! By the time we were finished we were all exhausted and perfectly happy to head back to the boat a bit early. Noah napped great and so did I!
Dinner most nights was trying. He’s your typical toddler who can’t sit still for more than 4 seconds. We did dinner in the formal dining room just three times out of the 5 and only with the help of the wait staff, a huge bottle of milk, and fruit snacks. The staff would take him for a quick walk (always in our eye sight) while we scarfed our meals or perform magic tricks to keep him happy. They did a wonderful job. There was one night where Noah crashed early and we were able to put him in the stroller and actually go see things. Otherwise we were asleep in the room with him by 9…not a bad thing, just not what you’d expect to do on a cruise with great night life.
All in all it was a great trip and we really enjoyed ourselves. We were well rested and had just the right amount of sun by the time we made it back to NoVa. There are things we’ll do differently next time (taking the grands, waiting until they’re potty trained, etc..) but nothing that ruined the trip for us.