Gosh. Once again I am behind on my posts. Let's rewind back to November to our big family vacation, which at this point seems forever ago. After Andy passed away last February Bryan's parents decided they wanted to take all of us on a family vacation. We figured out schedules (mainly our crazy schedule) and landed on Thanksgiving week for the big trip. Finally trip time rolled around so we packed up our bags...
And headed on a week long cruise!! We were so excited for this trip; especially the kids. Not only was this going to be their first cruise; they also experienced their first flight. Yes I know, hard to believe none of our kids have ever flown before. You guys know we always go to the same place for vacation and it is super easy for us to drive to Florida so up until this trip our kids have never flown anywhere. On top of that it was a trip with the grandparents, aunt, uncle and cousins. Hooray! We sailed on Royal Caribbean's Harmony of the Seas, which is a monster of a boat. There was so much to do we didn't get a chance to do everything!
There were 3 stops during the cruise. Our first stop was Labadee, Haiti, which is an area owned by Royal Caribbean. It was beautiful. We lounged on the beach, ate lunch and scheduled some time at the aqua park. Our time in the aqua park was only an hour and at first I didn't think it was going to be long enough, but I assure you an hour was plenty of time. Between the swimming to each slide, trampoline and climbing wall to actually climbing/pulling yourself onto each slide, trampoline and climbing wall it was a pretty good workout, but so much fun! We have several GoPro videos of our time in the aqua park, but those are on Bryan's computer so maybe I'll get around to uploading some of those and sharing them eventually.
Our next stop was in Falmouth, Jamaica and it just happened to be my birthday! Not a bad way to spend your 43rd birthday. Sydney requested that snorkeling be one of our excursions so that's just what we did in Jamaica, plus a little more. We boarded a catamaran boat and off we went to snorkel. Snorkeling was great, but didn't seem long enough. With that said I had to cut my snorkel fun short because I ended up getting stung on my bum by either an urchin or fire coral. It hurt so bad I swam back to the boat just to make sure I was okay. After some research I am pretty positive I brushed up against some fire coral and let me tell you...it was so painful. We've been home a month and you can still see where I was stung. It looks like I was branded! After snorkeling we headed to a beach with a Margaritaville. I was pumped about this because Margaritaville has amazing nachos, but sadly this wasn't an actual go in and sit down Margaritaville. It was a little hut serving jerk chicken, meat pies and margaritas. The strawberry Margarita was pretty tasty I must say, but the jerk chicken was just blah. While lounging on the beach we did some line dancing and when I say "we" I mean, Amy, Jason, Bryan and I. The kids laughed at us and even took some GoPro video of it. Sydney found all of this to be hilarious. After some beach time it was back on the catamaran to go back to our gigantic ship. The ride home was a blast! I'm not sure if Honey and Papa enjoyed the loud music on the way back, but Amy, the kids and I were loving it. We were some of the first ones out on the "dance floor" dancing our little hearts out and by the time we got back to our ship you could barely move there were so many people dancing. I would like to think it was our amazing dancing that brought everyone to the par-tay, but it was probably the DJ. On second though...it was definitely us. haha! There is video of this, but said videos are on Bryan's computer.
I may or may not share ever share them.
Ridiculous. Thanks for the pic Amy!
Cousins who can stretch together stay together.
Boat dance party!!
The last stop on our trip was in Cozumel, Mexico. Our excursion in Cozumel was incredible. We swam with a 13 year old female dolphin named Princess. Let me tell you the excursion was way better than I expected. It was an amazing experience and I recommend anyone on the fence about spending the money to do it. Totally worth every penny! I was a little worried about the habitat the animals were kept in, but it was a lovely place. It was huge and it was out in the ocean so it was as natural as you can get for animals being kept in captivity. The trainers were wonderful and you could tell the animals were all very well taken care of and loved. During our visit each of us got to ride on the dolphin's belly and then we were pushed by the dolphin on a boogie board. We each had one-on-one time with the dolphin as well...dancing, kissing, etc. You were not allowed to bring your own camera, but they did have someone taking photos of everything we did. Of course after wards they sell you on the pictures and of course we had to buy every single last one of them because hello...up close and personal with a dolphin. Oh and we got to "swim" with manatees too! If any of you do decide to do this excursion know the photos are very expensive. Amy and I split the package for us to get all the photos and my portion was $200.00. (Excursion through Dolphin Discovery).
The area you see in the background was where we had our dolphin session. As you can see it's a very large and open area.
Ezra won for fastest speed on the boogie board. Princess probably didn't think she was pushing anything. Haha!
Way to step out of your comfort zone Honey! You were a good sport!
These guys just wanted to eat lettuce and chill. They have texured skin and were really blubbery.
This picture shows our boat compared to another one that pulled in next to us while at port.
On our days at sea we spent time by the pool, on the water slides, the flowrider, the rock wall, eating, playing putt-putt (or putt-hole as Ezra calls it), etc. We saw the play Grease and watched an amazing aqua show (diving, dancing, acrobatics, etc). The trip was wonderful and our kids absolutely loved it.
I have to send a huge THANK YOU to my in-laws for taking us on this incredible trip. It was truly awesome, but really what we enjoyed the most was spending time with family and not feeling rushed. I'm not sure if we can talk Honey and Papa into cruising again, but maybe we can talk Amy and Jason into cruising with us in the future. Now that the kids got a taste of the cruise life I am sure another cruise will happen.
Date night at Jamie Oliver's. Delicious!