Saturday, April 28, 2018

Forte Et Gratum (or Spring Break Recovery)

The title of this post is my high school's motto: Strength and Grace. I returned there on Thursday morning for my 20th high school reunion this weekend, and it's fittingly put me in a reflective mood. It's also made me realize I need a whole lotta forte and massive amounts of gratum right about now!

My parents met us when we disembarked from our cruise last Saturday!
Re-entry from vacation is always a bit rough, but this time around following our 10 day spring break trip I quickly repacked to go to Ohio, then next week I'm off to California where I'm speaking at Mom 2.0 followed by a quick jaunt to Seattle. At some point I'll have to do a video to describe the nauseating drama that took place at the start of our trip (it'll definitely make a compelling Toastmasters speech too), but for now a few highlights from our trip...

We selected the Carnival Magic for the kids' 2nd surprise cruise. We picked this ship since it was a 2.0 (aka upgraded ship) and had a couple, new-to-us ports. Nia definitely started noticing that we were packing an awful lot and started questioning why we had SO much luggage, but we reassured her it was just for Disney World. I caught the moment we surprised the kids on video:

You may have noticed the Disney Cruise ship in the video - that was the Fantasy. We were asked a lot this year if we'd be taking a Disney Cruise again and after our first Disney Cruise last year on the Wonder, this time around we opted to return to Carnival for two reasons: 1) unbeatable value and 2) wider range of activities that appeal to adults as well as kids.

Now about the ports...

Our first stop was Cozumel, Mexico which I've been to once before with Uka (remember the EPIC moped drama?!) and then again with my mom to Paradise Beach which we ended up going to this time. The water was too choppy to play on the obstacle course so we stuck mostly to the pool..

Next, we went to Belize City, Belize - Uka and I had been enjoyed cave tubing here on our first cruise but this time we opted to just stay on the ship since exiting involved tendering and there really wasn't anything there compelling to do with kids. Plus it was nice to have a nearly empty ship since we got to hang out and explore together. 

Our third port was Roatan, Honduras where we hailed a taxi and headed to a secluded beach in the West End. A couple hours there was all we needed! 

Our final port was Costa Maya, Mexico - we had never been there before and since it was a very early port we decided to sleep in and just hang out in the free pool right at the port. Uka enjoyed a water volleyball game and the kids splashed around in the free inflatables. 

A bit of perspective...

This was my 5th cruise: my 3rd on Carnival, our 3rd cruise with the kids and our 2nd, 7-night cruise as a family. We really do find a 7 night cruise lets us feel fully relaxed and immersed in the total cruise experience. We happily lost track of time, and it was the best. feeling. ever. (AND unplugging as well!). 

Our next big family trip will be hopefully returning to Puerto Rico next year since it'll be mine and Mr. Lovebird's 10th wedding anniversary and from there we're thinking for the next family cruise we'd like to return to Royal Caribbean (our very first cruise experience!) and class it up a bit in a few years when the kids are older. Annnnd when it comes to future Disney plans, let's just say "aloha..."

Have you ever gone on a family cruise or considered going?