Saturday, July 16, 2011

The Cruise!!!

Okay, I think I have finally recovered enough to post about the wonderful and amazing time we had on the cruise!  Wow!

First let me say that I absolutely adored T's family...his parents were amazing and made us feel so welcome and like part of the family...his brothers and their families were great and we had a blast hanging out with them...and of course Shelly and Kaitlin I already knew, but I got to meet her other two adorable children.

Now, the biggest challenge of taking a big trip like this with 5 young kids is just trying to get there and get back with not only all the kids, but all of their stuff too!  Going through the airport with 5 kids, rolling their bags, making sure the girls have their extra bags, stuffed animals, and all those things is not an easy task...add in a change of planes and having about 30 minutes to feed them during that change...CRAZY.  But, I am happy to say we survived...albeit, maybe a little grumpily...but we did it!

We arrived in Miami after flying in on the red eye...and were just exhausted.  We met the family at a hotel and we crashed in T's parents room...thank goodness we got to sleep.  Next was the task of getting to the ship and on the ship...which we also managed to accomplish with not one kid falling overboard.  ;)  See photo below as we walked aboard.
The boat was simply beautiful.  It reminded me of a fancy Vegas hotel on the water.  As the girls and I got to our room, we realized the sleeping quarters were going to be, ummm, rather cramped...again, see picture below.
But, thankfully Judy paid us a visit and told us that there were 2 extra beds in the ceiling that they put down at night...whew...we were already trying to figure out who was going to sleep with little miss kicking monkey Claire Marie.

Our first island was Half Moon Cay in the Bahamas.  It was simply beautiful.  The water was so clear and the sand was so clean.  There were water slides for the kids too.  I will have to post pictures from there later when I am able to get them from T's camera.  The only problem with this beach was there was no shade what-so-ever.  But, we lucked out and found an abandoned life guard tower and decided to make it our home for the day...T's idea...yay!

The dinners on the ship were amazing...we had a party of 22, and because of a few last minute reservations for the cruise (that would be me)....we  had separate dining rooms.  This ended up being somewhat of a problem, but we were able to work around it and even have dinner as an entire group a couple of times.  For the most part it meant the kids had to eat alone a few times, which of course, they loved!  A few interesting things T and I tried at dinner...alligator fritters, frog legs, and escargot.

Here is a group shot of the family and shot of the kids having dinner alone one night. 
Next stop was St Thomas in the Virgin Islands.  This beach was probably our least favorite wasn't as clean and clear as the others.  It was still fun though and this is where the girls got braids in their hair.  Jenna got her bangs braided half way on her head, Kami got a wrap and a few braids, and Claire Marie got about 6 braids scattered over her head.  See photos below. 
While at St. Thomas, T and I got to leave the kids with Judy and sneak away for a nice, romantic lunch.  The cab driver recommended a place called Cuzzins and I have to say, the food was delicious!  The photos below are from the restaurant and one is a view of St. Thomas as we were heading  there in the shuttle to eat. 

Next stop was San Juan Puerto Rico.  This was my absolute favorite place.  What is funny though is that I spend no time with T in San Juan...he and the boys and some of the others headed for a tour of the rain forest, which I hear was amazing.  However, his parents, Christy, Shelly, me, and the girls all headed into San Juan to tour the fort and do some shopping!  I love shopping!  It was so HOT there, when we started walking about 1/2 block we were the hair went up.  The girls found a water fountain to cool off in.  Photos from San Juan are below.
Canon Balls!
T's Parents Dave and Judy
And the last stop was the island of Grand Turk.  This was T's favorite had shade and a really nice beach.  I think it was his favorite though because it was the only time he actually got me to get my hair wet and do a little snorkeling.  It was a fun day...and I was happy because I got to do a little shopping there with my mini me who loves to shop too (Kami).  Here are a few pics from Grand Turk.

And now, here are some more random pictures from the cruise...
T's sister Shelly and me
Happy Hour in Dan's Room
Megan's Birthday Dinner
The Cheese Cake Initiation
Don't Ask...

T's Brothers Joe and Dan
We had such an amazing time...the kids loved it and T and I loved it too.
Thank you T for taking the girls and me on this very special trip...we will remember it always.  I love you!  :)