To drive or not to Drive?? We played with airfare costs for about a year pre-cruise and just couldn't find a deal. It would of been between $2,500-3,500 to fly for the six of us + Rental Car. We went to Disney World, February Vacation Week 2013, and had similar trouble finding affordable flights so we drove to Florida for the first time ever. It went pretty smooth, and the family seemed to enjoy it, so we thought, lets try it again this year!
Our last Disney Cruise was in 2008, when we did the East-bound Panama Canal Cruise. (Trip report link in my signature) We had been meaning to get back, and originally had the Eastern cruise on the Fantasy booked for August 2013, but we pushed it back after never making any payments on it as we intended.
DW, age 36 loves all things Regarding Travel! Especially Disney Cruises!
DH, age 36 loves Disney as much as me and worked extra hard this year to get us here!
DS, 15 Lucky to get him on one more Disney Cruise, before he is too old to want to hang out with his parents!
DD, 14 Disney obsessed and read everything about our Disney Cruise for the last year leading up to it and was super excited!
DS, 11 excited to experience the cruise and actually remember it this time.
DD, 8 Totally immersed in Disney Magic and has had a count down for 2years waiting for this!
We left at noon to start off on our long drive to Florida from the Northeast. We stopped to fill up on our discounted gas using our Stop and Shop card, stopped by the bank, and hit a couple stores for a couple last minute forgotten items. We really hit the road at 1 pm. We hadn't had lunch yet, so within the hour, we stopped through the McDonalds drive through. I hate fast food, and I swore we wouldn't be stopping there again this trip. We made a couple gas/bathroom/stretch stops and had dinner at Applebee's on the NJ/PA border. Our plan originally was to stop at our hotel, The Drury Inn in NC around midnite, but due to our late start and a NY traffic jam (due to an accident that took hours to clear), we were late. Very, very late! We pulled into our hotel at 630 am. We asked for a late checkout for noon and we literally crashed! I set my alarm for 9 as they stopped serving Breakfast at 930. The two younger kids wanted to eat as soon as we arrived, but I promised to bring them before it closed. We were all out cold within minutes of getting into bed. The alarm for breakfast came all to quick, and I really wanted to ignore it, but I had promised the younger kids. My hubby wanted to be left to sleep, as he was the driver and needed as much rest as possible. I quietly woke up the younger kids who slid into their flip flops and we were out the door. I gently woke the older two kids and asked if they wanted to come, but they wanted to be left to sleep. We had a quick breakfast, grabbed 3 bagels and cream cheese for the sleepers, and went back to the room by 930. I Set the alarm for 11am, and fell quickly back to sleep. We had late checkout for noon, so as the alarm went off, we took turns at showers and got dressed for the day. We felt human again! We had a quick nap 3-4 hours each and felt refreshed for what it was. Disappointed our timing was off and we didn't get a full night, but what could we do? We were back on the road again at noon. We were booked for Residence Inn at Cocoa Beach. Because our timing was off, we were not going to make it to the hotel early enough to enjoy pool time, and dinner to watch the Magic leave port like we had hoped. Disappointed, we drove on. We stopped half way, for dinner around 5pm, in SC at a place we had dinner at, on our last trip to Disney World, and our first time driving, back Feb vacation week 2013. We remembered how good the food was, and it did not disappoint. We filled up on gas at this point as well. We drove on. And on, and on. It Poured! And I mean POURED!! All the way from SC through Georgia and into Florida. The roads were a mess and it was taking longer to get to our destination. We stopped shortly after getting into Fla. for gas, Starbucks for the hubby, and chocolate shakes for the rest of us at McDonalds as we all wanted something sweet. We pulled into Residence Inn around 1020pm. We had a suite for the 6 of us, everything looked nice. We wished we had time to enjoy the hotel but arriving so late, we did not. We pulled up all our luggage to the room and got into pj's. The kids enjoyed some WiFi and the hubby went to the gas station for some drinks. Then it was time for some sleep as Cruise Day was almost, ( Finally! ) Here.
subscribing..was on the fantasy april 19-26 as well
Don't count your DS15 out of future vacations. My kids are now 22 and 20 and still travel with us...especially on DCL cruises. They have let me know that they will always be willing to come along on our vacations. :)
Can't wait to read more!
We cruised with you as well! Looking forward to hearing your impressions of the cruise. Thanks for writing!
Cruise day had finally arrived!
Embarkation day; We woke up after a great night sleep, super excited for the day ahead. We had waited so long!! We woke up and headed to a wonderful breakfast at Residence Inn. The breakfast was really good. I was like a little kid, topping off my Belgian waffle with yummy toppings. After breakfast, we took showers and got ready for the day. We organized our suitcases and carry on with our electronics and liquor. We then left the Hotel at 1015 for the port.
DH dropped off myself and the kids at the curb and we checked our luggage. DH went back to the hotel to park and then catch the shuttle back to the port. We had the park and stay package at the Residence Inn. The kids and I waited in a long line waiting for entrance inside. Once inside, our youngest DD2, spotted Olaf immediately so we lined up for a pic with Olaf and then Minnie.
DH texted us that the shuttle was leaving the Hotel as we were finishing our Minnie picture. The kids and I then got in line to register for boarding. All our paperwork was completed at home and we got our turn at the counter as DH was arriving at the port. We had perfect timing as he got to the counter at the exact second it was his turn to be photographed. We received boarding #5, but the ship was already boarding #7, so we walked right on. We took the family boarding picture and then were announced by family name into the Atrium. It was a surreal moment. We had been anticipating this moment for so long, we kind of just froze and stared at the size of the ship! The difference in size from the Magic shocked us! After getting over our initial shock, we tried to figure out how to get to the pool. We eventually figured out where we were going, and we headed to deck 11 to the Mickey Pool to get some chairs. DH sat with our belongings, and the kids and I got in the minimal line for the Aqua duck!!
After the Aqua Duck, DD2 swam in the Mickey pool. DH and I took turns grabbing some Lunch to eat from Cabanas as DD2 swam. The kids got lunch at their leisure, grabbing food by the pool, and DD1 and I grabbed some hard ice-cream at Cabanas. The Older 3 kids rode the aqua duck again, and then the Boys played some basketball. DD2 continued to be a fish in the Mickey Pool right until they cleared the pools at 330.
We quickly checked out our connecting inside staterooms on deck 8 (8669/8671) and then went to the lifeboat drill. We had our drill inside, at the Tube, which was a nice change of pace, and then we headed up to the sail away party. DD2 wanted to be right up near the stage.
We started the Sail away party there, but then DH complained that he wanted to watch the ship actually sail away, so we went up to deck 12 mid-party but it was so crowded you couldn't see anything! As DD2 and I were struggling for a place to see, the party ends and the confetti shoots out right where we were standing only 5 minutes before. I was frustrated. I then look around to find DH and the other 3 kids who went off to find a railing to watch the ship sail, and with all the chaos, we couldn't find them even after taking a lap around. DD2 and I had planned to go to the kids club to register and attend open house and it was time so we just went there. In the back of my mind, I thought DH would meet up with me there as he knew that is where I was planning to go. After checking out the club and the BBB, DD2 and I went back to the room. We found the other kids and DH hanging out, resting. I started to unpack a little, as our suitcases arrived and it was a bit chlostrophobic with them in there. DH said for the first time, but not the last time this trip, never again will he sail in a inside stateroom. It was so small. Then I realized we were Running Late! We needed to change for the show and dinner fast!
The Welcome Show was not so good. We went out to deck 4 to watch the sunset before dinner. After the sunset, we had dinner in Animators Palate. Tonight was Turtle Talk with Crush. Our table was in the middle of the room, in poor position for viewing this, which was a disappointment. DD2 ordered the kid pasta for dinner, and hated it, as it was wheat pasta which she is not used to. We ended up ordering her the Adult Pasta after and she struggled with this as well. We met our Serving team, and our initial impression was that they were just okay, but they sure did grow on us during the week. DH, DS1 and myself were feeling pretty motion sick. We took Bonine in the room before dinner but DH just couldn't make it through dinner, he just felt too sick. He made it through the Appetizer but was in the room sleeping by the Main Course. DD2 was beyond excited for the kids club so we tried the club pick up during dinner at 915. I really did not care for this. They stand outside the restaurant for about 10 minutes waiting for any other kids and then I felt guilty/weird that she was out there alone without us while we were eating. I also worried about the walk to the club, and her getting lost from the group. It just caused me too much anxiety. I said Never again is she doing this and we didn't. After Dinner, the other kids and I watched, Think you know your family? We really enjoyed it, and had a few laughs. DD1 got it in her head that we had to be picked to do this, She tried hard, jumping and cheering to get picked but didn't. She then decided it was her mission to play this trip. I secretly hoped that would not be happening! After the family show, we went to the room for bed. DH was out cold. We had planned on the kids being in their clubs, and DH and I going to see Match your mate. I was really looking forward to this! I ended up being even more disappointed, as it was never offered again the whole week. After picking up DD2 from the club, she said she didn't like it that much and was ready to go. We had trouble getting her to try it again initially, but after this day, all her experiences were good. She didn't love it to the extent she thought she would. She told us pre-trip that she was going to live in the club and we would only see her at dinner. She ended up spending a few hours there a couple times during the week but not to the extent she was planning! She did better with the club/lab when we brought her for a specific event that looked fun in the Navigator. DD1 was excited for the Vibe. She went briefly the first night during the intro get to know you, but got anxious about the kids all being older and talking about college, so she left.
Sea Day #1
The Kids woke up and opened their Easter baskets. We had to wake up quickly and get dressed to bring DD2 to watch the Frozen Sing-along Movie at 8am. Like most 8 year old girls, DD2 is obsessed with the movie Frozen, especially the songs! She spends every day singing the songs repetitively! The 3 older kids did not want to tag along of course. After the movie, we met them at Cabanas for breakfast at 945. DD1 swam while we were at the movie and explored the ship. The Boys played basketball and DS1 sprained?? his ankle. It was very swollen. We asked him if he needed to go to the ship Health Service and he didn't think it was necessary. He broke the same ankle this past summer, so it was still pretty weak. He was certain it was not broken though so we decided to wait and see. DS 1 went back to the room after breakfast to rest his ankle and ice it. DH and I brought DD2 to see princess Minnie and Sofia in the Atrium. DD1 (who tried the Vibe initially) went to The Edge with DS2 and loved it!! She is 14, and having her brother helped her feel comfortable enough to let herself try and have fun. It was a much better fit. DH and I brought DD2 to Start the Mid-ship Detective agency, and after only doing a couple pictures/clues it was then time for the animation class with the whole family except DS1 who stayed in the room with his ankle. The class was fun and enjoyed by all. After the class, DD1 and DS2 went off to the Edge. We brought DD2 to get a photo with the white rabbit for Easter.
After visiting with the White Rabbit, we went back to the room to check on DS1. He was tired of being in the room, so he decided to hobble up with us to the pool deck for lunch at 2 , and we had pizza . DS1 didn't eat as he had room service, he just wanted to get out of the room. The Sun finally started to come out!! Finally!! It had been a grey, cloudy day up to this point. DH who hadn't tried the Aqua Duck yet, and DD2 went to get their bathing suits on and DS1 and I rested on a lounger on deck 12. DH and DD2 came back to take a ride on the aqua duck and they met up with DD1 and DS2 in line! They all got to ride together, while DS and I watched and got a photo as they passed by!
After the aqua duck DD1 and DS2 went in the hot tub and DD2 and DH went to the Mickey pool. DS1 went down to the Mickey pool to put his ankle in the water and I went up to shower and get ready for formal night. DH and the kids met me in the room half an hour later to get ready as well.
At 530 we went for photos in the lobby at the captains reception. The line for the staircase photo was really long, and DH and I had a few drinks while waiting in line. The kids had the non alcoholic version they were passing around. After pictures, we went to the Aladdin show. This ended up being the only show we went to all week! We had trouble fitting the shows in. Aladdin was awesome. DD2, especially loved it. After Aladdin, the whole family went to the family juggling act which we all enjoyed. The kids really enjoyed this! I think it was their favorite family show of the week.
After watching the juggler, it was time for dinner at Enchanted Garden. Here we are on day 2, and our waiter is already giving us the annoying "excellent" speech. That night I was freezing, and the Head waiter gave me a table cloth to place over my shoulders because I was cold. After dinner, we got a photo with Captain Mickey then went back to the room and changed for the Michael Harrison adult show. It was SO bad. Lame!! I was disappointed we finally made it out for an adult night and it was lame. DS1 and DD2 stayed in the room and went to sleep. DS2 and DD1 did the aqua duck at night then went to the edge. After the Adult show, DH and I attempted some laundry. We had trouble getting it to start. We had to call guest services for assistance. The kids came back to the room at 1230 then ordered room service while the rest if us were sleeping.
Thoughts so far on this trip.
Found out Anna from Frozen was not on board. Highly disappointed as we had expected she would be here from previous reports. We planned on a day at MK post cruise, but were unable to get a Frozen meet and greet fast pass, and there was no way I would be waiting in line for 3 hours for this!
It became apparent DS1 was too old for a Disney Cruise already this trip. With his sprained ankle, the only activity he had enjoyed so far, (basketball) had been removed for the rest of the week. His personality (shy) made it certain he would not attempt going to the Vibe.
Not many family activities for the teen set. He enjoyed the family shows/variety acts. He enjoyed being on vacation and spending time with his family, but many of the activities he was not interested in or were too young for him. It became clear this cruise would be our last Disney Cruise, at least until grand-kids.
Monday Sea Day #2
Pre- cruise, I had been on a ketogenic diet. I was already feeling the Carb overload and was bloated and feeling less energetic than usual. This morning, I woke up early and went to the gym. Running on the treadmill with the waves was hard. It became apparent that I have no balance!! I had been running 3 days a week for a couple months prior to the cruise trying to prepare for the Castaway Cay 5K. Before leaving on this trip I felt I had prepared pretty well to attempt this run. It became apparent running on this morning, that I was going to struggle. I was feeling pretty terrible from the way I had been eating, and I struggled to complete my running program. I knew that after a few more days of vacation eating, combined with the heat of Castaway, I was not going to do well. I decided to wait, and decide about the run later in the week.
Before heading to the gym, DH and I saved a couple seats at the Mickey Pool. He stayed at our seats and fell asleep. After the gym, we met the kids for breakfast at Royal Palace. We all loved the relaxed pace of breakfast here. We attempted to make it back here, before the end of our cruise, but we never did.
After breakfast, we went to the Mickey pool. DS1 stayed with us and iced his ankle. DD2 swam in the Mickey pool and went down the slide a million times.
DS2 and DD1 alternated between the goofy pool and the aqua duck and DS2 played some basketball on the sports deck. This was a beautiful, sunny day and the pool deck was a madhouse! The Mickey Pool was kid soup.
DS1 did the baseball draft at the Vibe. He had been really looking forward to this activity. It was the only Vibe event he went to. He said it was pretty lame though. After a few hours we decided to drop DD2 at the club for 1.5 hours and went to the adult pool to escape the madness. The kid pools were packed chaos. It was so bad!!! The Adult Pool was heavenly. I lied in the sun with a drink in my hand enjoying the silence. This was our 4th Disney cruise and our first time at the Adult pool. After a little while, we started to feel guilty being kid free. We went to pick up DD2. She had a good time at the club/lab this time. We saw DS2 and DD1 watching the chip it golf tournament in the lobby. We asked DD2 what she wanted to do. ? More pool time, Mid-ship detective agency, mini golf? She chose to try the Save the puppies case. We ran all over the ship until we finished the case. It was a lot of fun and a nice way to see the whole ship.
After finishing the case, we had to drop DD2 back at the club as we had mixology scheduled in the skyline lounge, from 4-5. It was organized on the dis- boards. We really enjoyed ourselves, it was a fun time. I volunteered to make the Raspberry Mojito, and DH volunteered to make the Bomb Pop.
After the class, we went to pick up DD2. We went back to the room and talked to the kids...? Go to the show and dinner or skip everything and hang at an empty pool and go to cabanas? The vote was unanimous and we changed for the pool. We did the aqua duck and hot tub with the kids and had some pool snacks. The turkey cranberry sandwiches are amazing! I want one right now. The kids really didn't want to miss their favorite show, so we rushed right from the pool to, Think you know your family. DD1 wanted to be picked more than anything so she jumped around screaming trying to get noticed. DD1 and I got picked! It was so embarrassing!! I cant believe I had to be up on stage, still wet from the pool, in my pool cover-up. DD1 and I successfully embarrassed each-other with our answers and made the rest of our family crack up in their seats.
After the show, we went to cabanas and had a light dinner. It was empty. We were maybe 1 of 3 tables in the place! At this point, we were all wiped! DH and I really wanted to go to the comedian juggler adult show but we were too exhausted so we went to bed. I wish we could of had a second wind and caught this show. I regret missing it! DD1 and DS2, despite being tired promised each other to ride the aqua duck at night. They went out and took a ride, meeting their favorite cast member, Saby. They ended up spending some time talking to him and he challenged them to ride more than 50 times and he would give them a prize. They ended up riding it 22 times that night, and every couple turns he would give them tips to make the ride more fun. Their goal for the rest of the week was to hit 50!
Great report so far! We will be on this same cruise next April. So looking forward to reading more....:goodvibes
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Subbing! My friend was on this cruise bit her kids are much younger than mine. Cant wait to hear the rest!
This morning we woke up early. We dressed for our tour in bathing suits and coverups. We headed up to a packed Cabanas for breakfast. After breakfast we took some pictures on deck 12, then got off the boat for our Bernard tour meet at 830.
Of course we forgot our towels. On past cruises they had them when you disembarked the ship. We headed to our meeting spot, when I realized we forgot them. I ran back to the ship and asked where I could get some towels. The cast member said Deck 11! I thought about trying to get up to deck 11 and back to the tour meeting spot on time and then decided against it. I became too nervous that I would be late. I headed back to the rest of my family, waiting with Tour #2, which was waiting to get on a bus. We waited at least 20 minutes, so I kicked myself for not chancing it, and running up to get the towels!
Our tour driver was DJ Dave. I boarded the van and immediately asked if there was a chance we could do Maho earlier in the day as I wanted to catch the KLM plane coming in at 1130. He said no, we would be ending our day at Maho. I was disappointed but expected this would happen. I emailed Bernard before leaving to see if this was a possibility, but just received a generic return email. I thought about switching to the Maho only, 4 hour tour, but decided against it. I didn't think the kids would enjoy a full day there, and as this was our first time on the island, we were looking forward to seeing a little more of it.
The first stop is usually an iguana farm, but it is under construction/ being moved so it was cancelled. The next stop was the Sea urchin man and outlook. The kids enjoyed holding his treasures that he pulled from the ocean. We climbed the stairs to the outlook and took some pictures of the view.
Our next stop was Orient beach/La Playa. We rented 4 chairs /umbrellas for 20$. 4 drinks were included from the bar. The rum punch had no noticeable rum in them. It was all juice. I bought a piña colada. There was a little alcohol in it, but the drink was just ok. The water was unbelievable. I could of spent the whole day here! Absolutely beautiful. I loved swimming in the clear aqua water. The waves were fun for body surfing. The only annoying thing about this beach, is there was no peace in the chairs we rented, as someone was constantly trying to sell you something. I would of preferred a inflatable lounger rental and lounged in the water, but I did not see a rental offered for that. Our 1 1/2-2 hours here ended too quickly. We had no towels to dry off, so we used the sun as much as we could and then put on our coverups.
Next, our tour headed to the French side to Marigot. We headed straight to the long line at Sarafinas. We loaded up on delicious treats to take back in our van. They were all amazing and delicious!
Our last stop was at Maho Beach. I was looking forward to this stop most of all.
We saw 2 commercial airlines land which was really cool. The kids were so freaked out about how awesome and scary this was to see. They definitely would not have lasted 4 hours here though. It was very hot, and very crowded! DD8 started to wilt in the heat and was begging to leave, and we were here only 45 minutes. DD14 tried to take her to swim, but there is a deep drop off almost immediately, and it was unsafe for a poor swimmer to play in. Just watching the 2 commercial airlines come in was amazing. It made me that more disappointed to have missed the KLM. If we ever visit this port again, I will take a taxi here to see the Jumbo Jet land and then taxi over to a beach for the rest of the day.
The Bernard tour was great and we had a lot of fun. It was a nice intro to the island. This tour would be perfect if it adjusted the order of the tour to see the mega jets land. Why can't they tour around the jumbo jet schedule?? The cars at Maho were very dangerous in this packed little beach. You had to be really careful with young kids. Our kids got really burned despite multiple applications of sunscreen! After our last stop at a lookout point with the Disney Fantasy, we headed back to the boat.
We stopped at the Guavaberry Rum booth and I had a delicious drink and we bought some rum for my DH's boss as a gift. We passed by a Coconut Smoothie stand, and the kids asked for one. They had little samples to try. The kids took a sample and almost spit it out. They were definitely not fans, so we passed on the smoothies.
We headed back to the ship and straight for the Mickey pool! DS11 and DD14 went straight to the goofy pool. DS 15 went straight to the room to ice his swollen ankle. We took a ride on the Aqua duck x 1 for all. DD8 and I spent some time in the Jacuzzi. We were really hungry by this point so we grabbed some pool food. I had some Pizza and a turkey cranberry sandwich!! So yummy!! I just loved those Turkey Cranberry sandwiches. DH went back to the room, and I let DD8 swim till Peter Pan ended, so another 40 minutes. The Mickey pool only had like 3-4 kids total so DD8 had a blast having actual room to swim!! Finally it was time to head back to the room. Showers for all and then we dressed for pirate night.
We had a photo with Pirate Stitch. We then went up to the Pirate party at 745. DD8 had a blast!! We visited the store on the pool deck and bought some lidocaine spray for DD14's sunburn and a swim shirt and face sunscreen for DD 8 to wear the next day.
We had dinner in AP with the pirate menu. We told our server we needed to get out fast to go to A Pirate Life for Me at 930 and he delivered!! We were out by 915!!
DS11 and DD8 were picked as deck hands on the pirate show. They had a blast!
Then we went to get a pirate Mickey pic in the Atrium.
After our photo we headed up to the already packed deck 12 for the pirate party and fireworks. This was beyond packed but we had a good time. The fireworks were better than we remembered them. When the fireworks were over, everyone was shocked to see another cruise ship setting off fireworks right next to us! Even the crew members looked shocked. I thought Disney was the only ship at sea to do this? DD14, DD8, DS15 and I walked back to our room via Cabanas, and the buffet was still going on so we grabbed a few desserts to bring back to the room. DD8 was super cranky and tired so I brought her to bed. DS11 and DH went to the theater at 11p to see the Avengers!
Today, was the day of the cruise I was most looking forward to. We woke very early after a late night and we were exhausted. After getting dressed for our excursion, we had a rushed breakfast at Cabanas. We had an early meet time of 745 for the excursion, Adventure Snorkel tour on the Sea Blaster. After our rushed breakfast, we took a couple pics out on deck and then headed to our excursion meeting spot.
While waiting in line for our excursion check in, I took our excursion tickets out of the envelope to get them in order. When I started to look through them, I realized that our family had tickets to 2 different excursions. The day excursion bookings opened pre cruise, I had booked the Doubloon Sail and snorkel to Turtle Cove for our whole family. About a month before the cruise, we looked at the Sea blaster description and read some reviews and thought maybe the kids would like the faster boat and 2 snorkel spots instead of just the one. DH and I decided to cancel the Doubloon Sail and snorkel and book the family on the Seablaster instead. Looking down at my tickets, I held tickets for DH and DS 15 for the Seablaster, and the rest of us held tickets for the Doubloon. I kind of freaked out. DH had run back to our room to get our licenses. Here I was standing in line with the kids completely freaking out internally. I get to the front of the line and explain to the staff that the website must of malfunctioned when we did the switch. On our end, it showed check marks next to our whole party for the switch. The CM got on the phone with the excursion desk and explained the situation. The reality was both Excursions were Completely Booked!!! There was no room to change. We either had to go our separate ways or cancel them both and do nothing. I became very upset. DH arrived as I was walking away. I told him what happened. He suggested just canceling our tours and figuring out something else to do. I had envisioned us as a family snorkeling with sea turtles. The kids and I were really looking forward to this, especially DS 15. I did not want to ruin the day for them, so I said let's just go our separate ways. I got really teary because I was nervous and upset. I was afraid to snorkel without DH's help with our DD 8 who can not swim and watching 3 kids by myself in the ocean with a mass of people. I put on my brave face and we split up. I headed to the meeting spot on our tickets for the Doubloon Sail and Snorkel. I felt bad after our separation. I held the bag with the towels, sunblock and camera. They had nothing.
The kids and I talked, and we decided, we would try to make the best of our day and try to have fun. The excursion was Awesome. The crew was great. We took a lovely, slow, boat trip out and the view was nice. They used this time to get everyone outfitted with the correct size snorkel, fins and life vest. I had DD8 practice her breathing with the snorkel, as she had never snorkeled before.
Once we arrived at our destination, we were one of the first off the boat. We were sitting right where you could jump off the boat, so I went first. I had taken a noodle for DD8 to use as well. She was next to jump off, and she got nervous up there without me, and it took a little time to get her down. DD14 and DS 11 followed. Once we were in the water, one of the crew members pointed out a turtle below us on the ocean floor. It was pretty deep water so it was far away. We put our masks on and took a look. We started to snorkel around the boat. There were several other boats around us and tons of people in the water. It took only 5 minutes for me to lose DD14 and DS 11. I was trying to swim holding DD8's hand so I wouldn't lose her, so we were swimming slower than I usually would. I started looking around frantically and screaming their names. I finally found DD14, and she swam ahead to find DS11, and brought him back to me. I explained the ground rules. I had just wasted 10 minutes of our hour in the water searching for them. I explained they needed to stay with me at all times and not to swim ahead. We got separated from our boat and crew who were giving a Turtle tour in the water. There were so many boats and people in the water that I could not distinguish who ours was so we snorkeled on our own. We snorkeled out to the reef and saw a ton of fish. DD8 stopped every 5 minutes and needed me to fix her mask, due to fogging, so we weren't getting a ton of snorkeling done. We took our time, stayed together, and had a nice time, but we didn't see any turtles by the reef. We decided to head back towards the boat to see if we could see some turtles. The swim was long and slow with DD8, but it gave us time to look for turtles, but we didn't see any. Once we got near the boat they announced it was time to go. The kids and I were disappointed. We really wanted to see a Turtle swimming up close. I was partly relieved to get back on. The responsibility of keeping track of the 3 kids in the ocean alone was exhausting. I was afraid to keep my head in the water too long, in fear of losing a kid. It was stressful. Getting DD8 back on the boat was a chore. She did not have the strength to climb up the ladder, even with me pushing her butt. She was also afraid. A very nice man, saw me struggling and asked permission to help and if it was okay to grab her and push her up. Yes Please! And Thank you! I was so thankful and relieved for the help. The day would of been much more enjoyable if our whole family had been together, and having DH's help, but, we had a great time anyways. We saw a ton of fish, Sea Urchins, a sting ray, barracuda, and one sea turtle. The boat ride out was beautiful and relaxing. The boat ride back was wonderful too. They played music, and passed out drinks and snacks. They continued to fill up my glass of rum punch. DD14 sat with her legs hanging off the boat and DD 8 fell asleep.
It was a really nice boat ride back, and the Rum punch was really good. We tipped our crew and climbed off the boat. We met the boys in front of ship. We exchanged stories of our day. Apparently our excursion was the better one. We should of never changed it to begin with. The boys excursion began just before ours. They walked off the ship and to the dock where they were supposed to board. The excursion boat didn't have a slip to pull into to allow everyone to board. DH overheard port security saying the excursion captain never called ahead to get a slip set aside. After about fifteen minutes of bickering, a fishing charter pulled out and allowed them to use his reserved slip. They snorkeled at Turtle Cove first, then went over towards St. John for the second snorkeling spot. DH and DS arrived back at the port just before noon. They waited by the Fantasy gangway for us to get back.
We headed back on the Ship to use the bathrooms, and then the boys ran up to our room and changed into shorts. We had tickets that we purchased on the Ship to visit the Paradise point tram. We took off on the short walk, and got our bracelets to get on. It was a cool ride up. I was a little happy from all the rum punch so I wasn't really nervous, but the kids were a little bit, especially, DD14. The view was spectacular and we took a bunch of photos.
We got a table at the bar and ordered the famous bushwacker for DH and I. We got the kids smoothies and we ordered some apps. DH and I had another Bushwacker. They came around trying to sell a photo they take of your party in front of a green screen at the entrance to the tram. DH, in his Bushwacker state, agreed to buy it. I haven't seen it since. The dark clouds started to roll in. We were having a really good time, but knew it was time to head back.
We went straight to our rooms and changed and had a nap. We enjoyed watching the inside port hole animation change. We ordered room service. We went to the show John Charles. It was not that good. We enjoyed another, So you think you know your family? We had dinner at Enchanted garden.
Most of us ordered the Turkey dinner. I did not enjoy it, and I was really looking forward to this meal. I love Turkey dinners. The stuffing was not good and the mashed sweet potatoes were not very good either. I Loved the cranberry sauce though. DH, DD8, and I had pics in the lobby after dinner with Pinocchio, Captain Hook and Tinkerbell. The other kids went straight to bed. We were all super exhausted. After the pics we went straight to bed!!
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