Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Disney Cruise 2016!!

 What an amazing fun filled vacation week! We booked this Disney cruise almost a year ago, so the kids had forgotten that we were going. I was so excited to try to surprise them. You have to be real careful with Jackson because he is very observant! The Monday before we left, I gave Kendali a list of things to pick up including sunscreen and bug spray. Immediately when Jackson saw the bag of sunscreen he became suspicious. He thought we might be trying to trick him with a surprise. I tried to play it off that it was just on sale, but he didn't really buy it. We had to fly out to Miami on Thursday since our cruise left that Friday. Since we were going to be away for Valentine's Day, I had the kids presents waiting for them at the table that morning.
 As soon as Jackson came down and saw the Valentine's stuff, he knew his suspicions were correct! We told them we weren't going to school and heading to the airport! I gave them the option of telling them now where we are going or waiting. At first Jackson wanted to wait, but then he needed to know!
 My little reader reading his card. I am just so proud of how far he has come in his reading. He is now reading 3rd grade chapter books with little problem!!
 Beckett was most excited about all the candy :)
 Off to the airport! Our timing was much better this time and we didn't need to run, but the kids were so excited!!
 We went with our great friends the Moffetts. We landed in Miami and it was a beautiful 75 degrees! The kids really wanted to swim at the hotel, but the water was freezing! They kept telling us it wasn't cold but they would never keep their feet in too long!
 I thought this was cute. Jackson and Maggie sharing a bowl of rice.
 The next day we headed to the ship! Beckett could not believe that was the boat we were getting on! He kept calling it a hotel. We were lucky in that we were one of the first people to board the ship, so we really had a full day on the ship with very few people. :)
 First thing the kids wanted to do was go swimming! Here is Beckett showing me how he can swim. :)
 There was a water slide on the ship that was loads of fun!
 Our room had a Verandah, which I would highly recommend! It was so beautiful to sit out there in the mornings and evenings.
 Jackson's favorite part of the cruise was by far all the sporting activities. He played soccer everyday multiple times a day. Like father like son. Unfortunatley, I didn't take any pics of the soccer.
 There were a lot of characters on the boat different days. The only one my kids wanted to take a pic with was Goofy :)
 Each night we had a little towel animal on our bed. Jackson loved seeing what animal it was each night.
 This was another favorite of the cruise. The hot tub! My kids love themselves some hot water! I wonder who they get that from?
 Sam and Jackson after a swim. We had a a couple days where the seas were a little rough. The water in the pool was almost like a wave pool. The water would sway and they would look like salmon trying to swim upstream and then it would sway the other way and they would catapult across.
 They had different Disney movies playing all day long by the pool. Getting in some relaxation after a long day of swimming.
 Our first port of call was Grand Cayman Island. We had an excursion scheduled for that morning, which was swimming with dolphins and visiting a turtle farm.
 Love this girl!
 Feeding the turtles! You can't really see from this pic, but these turtles were massive!
 Family pic holding some baby turtles!
 Pretend kissing the turtles. Beckett refused.
 This one is just like his mommy and LOVES animals!
 Beckett finally picked up a turtle and tried to use it as a weapon to attack Jackson's turtle. Go figure.....we had to take him out of the tank. :)
 Next up was swimming with the dolphins. Jackson loved it and thought they were so cute. This was bittersweet for me because I did this same excursion with my sisters and dad 16 years ago. It really was the best vacation we had as a family and really made me miss him.  It was surreal seeing my children do the same thing that I did with my dad.

Beckett was unsure but with some bribing decided to participate.

 Hard to believe this was 16 years ago!! I may not have my dad anymore, but I have these wonderful memories. I really want to make sure my children have those same wonderful vacation memories.

After swimming with the dolphins, we took a short walk to see the beautiful water. This is Beckett's new pose whenever we take a pic....
 Family pic! Crazy story. As we were walking back, Beckett was in front of me playing on the rocks. An Asian couple approached him. I ran over to see what they were doing, and they snapped a pic with him. So weird!!!
 Pirate night! Super fun night on the cruise is the pirate party!! The kids get dressed up and there is dance party on the deck and fireworks. So fun!
 A special treat on the cruise was the kids discovering the shirley temple. Brings back memories of my Grandma Rigby making them for me and my sisters when we would go over there. :)
 Dance party! The show was really cute! Jack Sparrow shimmy's down a rope and then Mickey ziplines across the ship to save the day!
 This pirate is super serious!
 Best seat in the house!
 Fireworks! Amazing!!
 Beckett showing off his dance moves!
 Jackson's dance moves.
 This was probably Beckett's favorite part of the cruise.The nightly ice cream cone :). We had an additional exciting night on the cruise, as we actually rescued 12 cuban refugees who were in distress. They were floating on a raft held made from styrofoam and wood tied together with rope. There were 8-10 foot waves, so I am certain they would have died had we not picked them up. Apparently it happens all the time on cruises! We also picked up 2 Americans whose ship had lost power. Turns out they were actually fleeing the US and wanted by the FBI!! They were promptly arrested when we arrived in Miami.
 Our last stop was Disney's private island Castaway Cay in the Bahamas. It was amazing!! There was so much to do with the beach, obstacle courses, water slides, bike riding etc. This was probably my favorite day ever though it was the day that we had a little rain.
 By this time, Beckett was over my picture taking.
 Clear blue water!!
 Obstacle course in the ocean! Jackson was initially too scared to do it. For some reason, he thinks he is going to drown when he swims in the ocean. That meant mommy had to get in the water to take him to the course. Let me tell you that water was freezing! I got him there and he was able to get across!
After the run stopped, which only lasted a few minutes, we rented some bikes and rode to the observation tower. You can see the whole island from up there. Beautiful!
 Beckett with his picture face....
 We couldn't keep up with those 2!
 Beautiful boy with a beautiful view.
 The bike riding champs!
 This is the water slide. The water was really cold so the kids only did it twice, but they had fun!
 Shivering waiting his turn.
 Super fast!

 Such a great day!!

Pin trading with the Captains! I was not aware of how serious this can be. Apparently there are some really rare pins out there and these kids take it seriously! It was so funny to hear them negotiating!
 Jackson's bear on the towel bear!
My favorite of the towel animals.Love him!!

Our cruise was over, (Insert sad face)  but our vacation wasn't! We got off the boat and headed to our hotel on South Beach. It was beautiful and probably our most relasxing day. The kids played on the beach for 6 straight hours while the parents relaxed sipping cocktails. We had such a great vacation. Although we had an amazing time on the cruise, I think Beckett was still a little too young. Greg was pleasantly surprised and said he would do it again! Score! I think we will wait until Beckett is around 7 and Jackson is 10. I think that is really the perfect age for the cruise. The nightly shows were amazing, but started at 8:30 which was a little too late for Beckett. After a day packed with fun, he was exhausted by 6. Two nights he fell asleep on me at dinner.
 We did not leave the cruise unscathed! Disney does a great job with trying to keep the germs to a minimum. You are given hand sanitizer every time you enter or leave anything including the dining rooms, theater, and play areas. Beckett still got sick and spiked a fever the last night. Luckily, it was the last night, so we weren't quarantined. I was prepared with tyelenol,ibuprofen, zofran, and antibiotics, but the last night you put your luggage out so they can get it off the boat first thing. That meant I was searching the ship at 4:30 looking for tylenol. $7 later, I found it. We thought he just had a virus, but when we got home, he still had a fever and he had a rash all over his body. I took him to urgent care and he had Scarlet Fever from strep. Luckily, after a dose of augmentin, he was good as new!

Such a great week of family time! I live for these vacations and the memories that are made. I am already planning our next adventure!!