Back in January, DW and I had a funeral to go to. On our way home, we stopped at a Zaxby’s for lunch. We laughed later that night, that a funeral and Zaxby’s felt like a date, since it was in fact, the first meal we’d had without kids since Tucker’s arrival in August. The real kicker though, was that my two brothers-in-law were with us, too.
DW & I decided right then that we stink at having date nights and that we were definitely making a mommy-daddy trip happen this year to make up for it! :)
We decided to book a cruise and have been looking forward to it all summer long.
The summer was busy, like always, and the only time that worked for us was mid-August. It ended up being the perfect way to end Summer though. We had lots of family time and fun with the kids during the summer and we wrapped it all up with some alone time.
When we first lined it all up, the kids were going to spend part of our trip with my parents and then part of it with my in-laws. After my mom’s burn accident, we knew there was no way they’d be able to keep the kids. Pappy & Nie-Nie came through in a big way and assured us they’d be fine to keep our little herd for the entire trip.
We left early on Thursday morning for the 5 hour drive to Miami. For some reason there aren’t many short cruise options in the summer months. DW and I have both done the 3 day to the Bahamas cruise several times and we wanted something a little longer and a different destination. The only option that worked during the time we could go was to leave out of Miami, so that meant a little road trip, too. Most of the time, though, the road trip is half the fun, so we were game.
The neatest thing happened the day before we left. It was DW’s birthday, so that made it even more special- but I got a call from the cruise line to say they’d had a last minute cancellation and they’d like to offer us an upgrade. When we booked, we booked on a budget and went with the least expensive interior cabin we could get. We ended up getting upgraded to a balcony suite with a sitting area. It cost us a little extra, but was a fantastic deal and so worth it.
We found our room, face-timed the kids and then got some lunch and hit the pool deck for some sun.
The worst part about a cruise is the safety meeting – being all bunched up in other people’s personal space is the worst in my book. I don’t like touching strangers and ANYONE breathing on me (with the exception of itty bitty baby breath from my own four kids) gives me the heebie jeebies. We survived it though and then got ready for dinner.
All of the cruises we’ve been on have been in large groups. We’ve never been on one with just the two of us, so we were a little nervous at how our dinner seating would go. We were crossing our fingers for a table for 2 or at least hoping we wouldn’t be sat with a big family or group and be the odd couple out. We ended up getting sat in a booth with a young couple from Virginia. It was awkward at first, to say the least. There’s nothing like a pirate coming through the dining room to cut the tension though.
The next morning we woke up well before the roosters, because that’s just who DW is. We had breakfast and saw the sun come up. I wasn’t complaining because we were first in line for the buffet and anyone who knows me knows my distaste of a buffet. I was thrilled to see that they had a crew member serving the bacon, though. Nobody was touching the tongs but him. Two thumbs up, Carnival. We watched the ship dock in Key West and were literally the 3rd couple off the boat. Neither of us have ever been to Key West, so we were excited that this was one of the stops on our cruise.
We walked around down by the dock, down Duval Street and all the way to the Southernmost point, which was nothing like I’d always pictured it.
We spent the rest of the afternoon laying out on the deck and got in a nap. I told DW if he was going to wake me up before the sun came up, he was going to have to take a nap with me later. :)
It was the formal night, so I thought we’d stop and get one of the professional pictures taken. I think it was impossible for the photographers on the ship not to make us look like dorks. I mean, don’t get me wrong, we’re dorks- who took many-a-selfie on our balcony.. exhibit A:
But when we tried to get them to take a picture of us, this is how the ended up turning out…creepy. They won’t just let you stand there and be normal. They had to have DW tilt his head and hunch down so that our faces were touching and move his hand and me “pop” my toe. I mean come on. We’d NEVER stand like this for a picture. We laughed so hard at all the ones they took…and didn’t buy any. (which is why this is a picture of the picture and its bent at the bottom so we look really short legged) ha.
The next morning, we decided to have breakfast in the dining room. Great choice and we did that the rest of the trip, as well. After breakfast, we went to the main deck to watch the boat dock in Cozumel.
The water was so blue.
The water was SO salty. Saltier than any other water we’ve ever been in. I’m not sure if it was the time of year or just that part of the ocean.
We were also shocked at how many people didn’t know how to swim and booked this excursion. I’m pretty sure if I didn’t know how to swim I wouldn’t feel comfortable being dumped out in the middle of the ocean to snorkel. There were people kicking and flailing and holding on to other snorkelers, it was crazy. DW & I stayed way away from the group. He was impressed that I stayed with him and I even went under quite a bit this time. I’m not the strongest swimmer, and I’m a huge scardey cat. DW is the opposite- he jumps in with no fins, goes straight down and tries to touch every fish and creature he can.
After an hour of snorkeling, the catamaran took us to a private beach. Along the beach there were floats, kayaks, paddle boards and a ton of water inflatables that we could use. We laid in the beach chairs for as long as DW could stand – laying out isn’t his thing, and I knew the next day was a Day at Sea and I’d have plenty of lay out time then, so I suggested we go climb one of the slides. Totally not something I’d usually do, but it turned out to be a lot of fun.
Once we made it back to docking area, we did a little souvenir shopping for the kids and then got back on the boat. It was after 8:00 before we made it back, so we missed our dinner in the dining room. We got pizza from the pool deck and decided to stay up and go to the midnight Mexican buffet. It ended up being a major disappointment and we wished we’d just gone to bed.
We had Sunday brunch in the dining room and it was probably our favorite meal of the entire trip. (I don’t really understand the people who go on and on about cruise food… I mean, yes, there’s unlimited bacon on the breakfast buffet and one night you get a lobster (I ordered two the night we had them! :), but the food has never been impressive to me (aside from the 24 hour soft serve machine…) anyway, we really enjoyed brunch and then got a great spot on the top deck to lay out. This was the hardest day for DW, he was bored out of his mind. I so wish I had packed him a book or something- neither of us are big readers, but I think it would have helped him pass the day along. Ha. I did go down the water slide with him – and got the sinus cleaning of my life.
They sang lots of great songs and of course, I sang along. :)
After a final breakfast in the dining room, watching the ship dock in Miami and disembarking, we were on our way through the Miami tunnel and headed HOME!
We had such a great time. There is nothing like a few days away. Especially when you have little ones who take up so much of your time and energy. It was so fun to just get to worry about the two of us…no diapers, or snacks, no sippy cups or hands to hold other than each others. I did my hair and make-up every day. It was so nice to actually wear jewelry and shoes with heels – to have time and energy to be more thoughtful and kind to each other….so many times it’s divide and conquer when you have small children and once they’re taken care, there’s just not much left for anyone else. It was just what we needed right when we needed it. Of course, the only thing better than getting away, is coming HOME. (Especially to the three littles who run us ragged.)