We had a long run in taking cruises as our summer vacations with my sister and her family from July 2009 to July 2015. It all started with Carnival Glory in July 2009. I’ve mentioned in several other blogs that when vacationing with others, it becomes extremely important that all are compatible. Our continued outings are clearly indicative that such is the case for us. Add the fact that the children are great together, a winning recipe for fun in the sun.
The cruise left from Port Canaveral, Florida and our duty was to ensure arriving there before the ship sailed. Standby in the month of July is practically impossible, but we are always up for a challenge. Montreal was full so we planned to drive to Toronto and try our luck there. Driving during the night was tiring and after a quick 45 minute snooze at the rest area, we see a sign indicating parking for Pearson airport. Unload our bags, change our clothes in the parking lot and voila the expedition starts.
We all make it to Atlanta but on the second leg, we go to Orlando while Robert and his family fly to Tampa. We both rent our cars and drive to Port Canaveral.
Party is reunited and a feeling of anticipation and excitement fills the air. Spend the night at the hotel, return our rentals and away we board the Carnival Glory.
Upon entering the ship and noticing its grand lobby, it is a pleasure seeing the children in awe. Vacationing with your children is so important from when they are young for the older they get, it becomes all that more difficult to schedule everyone’s time.
Being on a ship does have its own routine but daily incidents that happen continuously make our suppers full of laughter how we reminisce of them all. For the first 3 days Robert and I were drawn to this little piano bar that featured a performer named Russell. As we kept seeing him sitting on his stool day after day, and coincidentally playing many songs we loved, we decided in asking for a picture with him. His voice projected deep notes that subconsciously our minds registered a man of a larger stature. Come to our complete dismay, when he hopped off his stool, we lost sight of him behind the bar. We had to actually raise ourselves to see him from our stools. Like clockwork, the moment he stepped down, Robert and I looked at each other and burst out laughing.
One port of call on this cruise was Belize. Seeing it was one Caribbean Island we haven’t visited before, we decided to take a horse buggy and gallop around town.
We were all very saddened to see the poverty and at times we did actually feel unsafe. Run down homes, corner stores locked up with steel bars and a police station that seemed vacant for years. Talk about feeling safe!
It turned out well, but the more we visit places around the world, the more Canada stands out as being one true great country to live in.
We tender back to our ship and as routine is common on cruises, we head for supper with the family. We reminisce of the days adventure and even celebrate Milena’s and Robert’s birthday.
Besides supper for evening’s entertainment, we relax in lounges and kill time before the major Las Vegas production shows in the main theater. The productions are so well choreographed that keeps everyone on the edge of their seats. Actually, except Anna. Like clock work, the minute the long hand reaches 9, she is a walking zombie.
Nassau and Costa Maya were other ports of call that we visited and as more people are cruising, the ports are being renovated to offer side cafés, pools, restaurants and kiosks. In Nassau, we decided to visit Cabbage beach. We take a water taxi which includes a small tour showing us the affluent homes of such celebrities. We also pass by the Grandiose Atlantis resort. We disembark, walk through some store huts and hike away to the beach. Follow the crowd and voila, beautiful white sand and turquoise water awaits.
While the children are enjoying their time in crystal clear waters, they come across a lady that looks exactly like Rihanna. They actually believed it was her, until they go ask and was explained this happens often. Oh well, they did believe it at first!
Cruising offers many forms of entertainment and suits different people with different activities. With the immense sizes of these floating villages, one would have a hard time being bored. 2009 was the real start of our cruising days because the comfort, entertainment and value for the dollar was hard to beat. Besides, our children really enjoyed it and were able to dress up every evening. Walking along the ship deck in total darkness, stars lighting up the sky, music causing excitement at center pool area and ocean water being curled away from the ship made the evenings all that more enticing.
On sea days, we’d rush for deck chairs and line up worshipping the sun while every so often take a run at the food concession stands. With the sun shining down, we had to make sure to apply sun screen every few hours. Luckily for me, I had my own personal lotion applicator. Alessia.
As soon as we can catch an unexpected cloud with full rain storm, it can dry up 10 minutes later with no sign of wetness anywhere. Needless to say, we all got caught one afternoon and dashed for shelter.
The fun continues with the girls meeting friends, playing mini putt, dressing up for the evening festivities and exploring the ship with some freedom. This form of vacation was growing on us and truly enjoyed the experience.
While onboard the cruise, we plan a best return option and head to Tampa to fly back to Toronto to pick up our car. We end our vacation by driving another 6 hours back to Montreal. Well worth it!