time for the cruise!
Miami Travel Blog› entry 4 of 6 › view all entries
A cruise is just so not me! That and all-inclusives are at the complete opposite end of the spectrum of the way that I prefer to travel. However, when I checked out the prices to fly the three of us down, it actually worked out to be cheaper to go by a cruiseship, and just get off halfway (you pay for the whole trip, but it was still more advantageous)! Plus, the luggage limits keep getting lower and lower on planes, and there's no limit on a cruise, as long as it fits in the cabin. And I thought that it might be easier for the boys to just run around, rather then spend all day in planes and airports. So here we are, ready to join the big-hatted, white socks-with-sandals masses that are boarding all these huge ships.
Carley came in pretty late last night, and then of course we had to stay up late chatting. We ordered up ridiculously priced room service for breakfast, and then took the boys for a swim. I had all our bags down in storage except for a small one, so it was pretty easy to pack up and get down to sort out the shuttle to the cruise ship dock.
Once at the dock, we had our bags put into the spot where they get taken to load on the boat, some tip money for that- a definite necessity, no way we could manage all that stuff by ourselves, especially with the boys! Then we found where to line up for our boat, the Carnival Valor. One super-huge lineup, and then another! Kept a steady stream of snacks going to the boys, so they were pretty good. So glad Carley was along, so I could take Deo to the bathroom without having to lose our spot, and schlep all our carry-ons and Auri! Probably took a good couple hours to get through the lines and finally to our cabin. Which was not as described (on the phone they said there would be a cot for Deo, and a crib for Auri- there were just the two single beds, with bunks that came down). Anyway, we decided that the two bottom beds would be put together for a big bed for the boys and I, and Carley would have one of the upper bunks. Auri probably wouldn't stay in the crib anyway, and that way there would be more space to move around.
Also found a little surprise on our cabin floor, just under the bed. A pair of women's underwear- how disgusting! So much for a high-class cruise. We bagged the offending garment, and delivered it to the head porter, who said he was sorry, they didn't have much time to get the rooms ready in between trips (?- you'd think they could do better than that! I wrote a letter of complaint several months later, about that and a few other things, and they answered with an apology, and $100credit for use on-board, but I don't think we'll be repeating the cruise experience- now that Spirit flies to San Pedro Sula, we can fly down cheaper).
Got settled, had a much-needed drink from the minibar, and went for a walk around. Not quite the easy time I imagined with the boys. They were pretty wired, and there were so many people everywhere, I didn't want them getting in the way. And then there were some areas that I had to watch to make sure they didn't do anything dangerous. The playroom was only open specified hours, and for under 2 (Auri was 23 months at the time), you had to accompany them, and only very limited hours (early morning, when the ship was at port). It wasn't until day 2 that I discovered the kiddypool, a definite saving grace! Less than knee deep, so the boys could play by themselves, while I sat in the sun (Carley needed some time away from our chaos). And there was lots of empty deckspace nearby, with a high railing, so the boys could play there too, with some of the toys we brought along.
Meals were pretty easy, there were so many options. We kept them out of the diningroom the first night, thinking buffet would be simpler, but we decided to try it night two, which was formal night. It actually was easier, since we didn't have to balance food plates and children. Just had to keep them entertained while the food was prepared. Went so well we did that the next night, too.
After dinner, we went for a moonlit stroll on the upper deck. Then time for bed. Except when we got back, the cabin wasn't made up. So the porter said he'd do it right then, and we took the boys for another walk. Same thing happened the next night, we just told the porter to forget about it, and went to bed without the room being freshened up. Put a DVD in the laptop, so the boys would settle down in bed. I think Carley and I fell asleep as fast as they did the first night!