We docked on Monday and I’m not sure how it got to be Thursday already but .. there it is!
If you missed my usual Words on Wednesday post yesterday and are wondering how the Mummy’s Summer Camp is going, I’ll talk more about that next week. I’m finding it a bit hard to get back into the swing of normal life right now. Plus I have been experiencing unpleasant, and unexpected, side effects from the cruise that made it impossible to sit at my computer, let alone try to string sentences together!
Ugh! … moving on!
How was your week last week? I feel like I haven’t talked to you in ages! One week off-the-grid was all it took! LOL!
It was a bit weird to totally unplug. Good! But weird.
In case you are new here, my family and I were on a Disney cruise last week, to Alaska, courtesy of Grandma and Grandpa who were celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary. The kids had a ball! Me? Um … that is a complicated answer!
I love all things Disney, really I do. What I do not love are cruises.
Yep, I’m in the minority in our family, but that’s the God’s Honest Truth! This particular cruise was to celebrate my In-Law’s Golden Wedding Anniversary as I said, and was generously paid for by said In-Laws (thank you Mom and Dad!) If it hadn’t been, I would have pressed for a land trip instead. Take us to Disneyland – or better yet, Disney World! Please! But my father-in-law doesn’t fly anymore so those sorts of trips are out.
But it’s not all bad .. really!
What’s good about a Disney Cruise?
1. Free Range Parenting
We practice as liberal a Free Range Parenting philosophy as we can during the summer. The girls are encouraged to get on their bikes and explore our neighbourhood. If they want a Slurpee they can get their own money and go up to the gas station to get one. If they ask first! As long as they have told me where they are heading and with whom, I let them.
But I know not all parents are as loose as me. To you I say, having the adding assurance that your children are confined to a boat so can’t really get too far from you, is fantastic! If you have children that love to explore and have the freedom to pick their own activities, but the thought of them running amok in a giant theme park makes you break out in hives, then this type of Disney holiday is perfect. There is very little chance of them falling over board, and with one Disney crew member to every 2.5 guests, there is always someone nearby to help if they need it!
Our youngest wasn’t old enough to check herself in and out of the kids club which meant once she was in, she was there until we picked her up. Totally awesome! The other two could choose to go to whatever activity struck their fancy at that moment. Equally awesome! Having said that, our middle daughter doesn’t possess the personality type to be comfortable exploring on her own. So she was always with someone we knew. Brilliant!
Which just leaves our eldest. She got the chance to stretch her independence wings A LOT thanks to that app I was moaning about pre-cruise. It turned out to be fairly fantastic. Damn it! Have to eat my words!! Because we could chat with her wherever she was on the ship, we felt completely comfortable letting her make her own schedule. She always showed up for dinner so that’s something!
2. Constant Stimulation
As any modern day parent knows, kids seem to be unable to entertain themselves these days. No problem! Disney had packed the cruise with fun for all ages!
If you read any of my pre-cruise posts you’ll know I disparaged the trivia games. A lot! I still feel the same way about them but hey, if that’s your bag then more power to you! While the kids are safely being entertained by someone else, you are free to go to a wine tasting, or a movie (first run movies at that!), or just sit in the cafe and read a book. Disney truly went out of their way to make sure everyone got a vacation, not just the kids.
3. Fantastic Food
One of the truest cliches about cruising is that there is more food than you can possibly eat in a week. This cruise was no different.
But … I don’t personally feel like I over ate.
On our ship, the Disney Wonder, there was the buffet that was open for breakfast and lunch (and presumably dinner too but we never ate there in the evening), three a la carte restaurants through which we all rotated on a set schedule, one fancy restaurant that was by reservation only and came with an extra fee, and three different snack bars. Plus all you can eat ice cream which my kids loved but lactose-hating me didn’t!
The food at the buffet was pretty good – especially when they were serving piles of prawns! And the food in the restaurants was first rate! As soon as we sat down on the first day our head waiter asked who had the lactose intolerance and then spent the rest of the cruise hand picking my meals and making sure the chef made special desserts so I didn’t feel deprived. Because as good as those main dishes were, those desserts looked amazing!
4. Exemplary Service
It’s Disney so you kind of expect it but I believe it needs an additional mention. Restaurant servers, super attentive. Room steward, always accomodating. Front desk staff, super helpful!
We had two staterooms and because of how we had to book them, my room key didn’t open the room I was actually going to sleep in. Awkward! A quick inquiry at the front desk and boom, not only my key but my husband’s and our youngest daughter’s were reprinted and now opened both rooms. Easy peasy!
I also misread our tickets for the Princess Gathering so we missed it. Again, a helpful front desk crew member took care of that and arranged another time slot for us even though all the times were booked solid with wait lists. Heaven forbid we miss getting Cinderella’s autograph!
5. Stunning Scenery
What’s not-so-good about a Disney Cruise?
There’s always something, right? What’s that saying? “You can’t please everybody all of the time”?
1. Constant Stimulation
For the most part, my girls are easy going and adaptable. But even they have their breaking points. On the fourth day, while docked in Skagway, our little one had a not so wonderful moment. One of those moments that make you want to run screaming for the hills. Only in this case you are trapped on a boat with thousands of other people!
She threw up.
At the dinner table.
ON the bloody dinner table!!
It was before most of our party had arrived, and it was mostly water I think (or pop – they did have all you can drink pop after all), but it was still throw up.
Since she was basically fine the next day and it didn’t turn into some horrible Norwalk Nightmare that spread throughout our family, I am blaming it on too much junk food, not enough sleep, and too much stimulation. She wanted to do it all, eat it all (as long as that ‘all’ consisted solely of macaroni and cheese and ice cream), and see it all. She’s seven! When seven year olds hit the wall they tend to go down big. In her case it was by throwing up all over the dinner table!
If you have a child that is easily overstimulated, this may not be the place for them! Or, you’ll just be spending more time in your cabin than the average guest, in which case I suggest you splurge for one with a balcony!
It’s a boat. It’s on the sea. There are waves on the sea. Ergo, the boat is going to rock.
I get it!
For the first thirty years of my life I had no problem with boats, planes, trains, cars, roller coasters, heck, even swings! But then something happened. Something called ‘pregnancy and childbirth’ and suddenly I get woozy looking at the map in the van, feel like I’m going to throw up if I hold my baby on the swing, and taking the ferry to Vancouver Island on a windy day? No thank you!
I’m pretty sure they skipped that part in “What To Expect When You’re Expecting”!
But I’m a team player so I packed the Gravol Ginger and hoped for calm seas. Which they were but even so, not so happy!
There’s nothing I can suggest to get rid of boat motion. (Other than only cruise on a boat that’s in dry dock!) Just know it’s going to happen and be prepared. I had Gravol packed for myself as well as the kids. Plus Tylenol, Advil, Tums … you name it, I packed it!
Oh, and interesting FYI … I also had motion sickness the day after we arrived home! That was wholly unexpected and kept me laid up when I really needed to buy groceries and write blog posts!
So not happy!!
3. It’s Not an All-Inclusive
You would think that after spending thousands of dollars for the staterooms that you could get away without spending another dime on board. Right?
Want popcorn at the movie? That’ll be $4 please!
Want a coffee at the cafe? $5 please.
Can we take your picture? $20 please!
Would you like wine with your dinner? Here’s the drinks list. You can get a 4 bottle plan for only $124!
It irked me on the first cruise we took back in 2004, but now that we are on an extremely tight budget, it was beyond irksome!
At least on this cruise they had all you can drink fountain drinks (Coke, Sprite, lemonade, juices, and unsweetened iced tea), coffee, tea, and hot chocolate as well as an all-you-can-eat ice cream bar that was open from 11 – 11 every day. But that is not the norm! Previous cruises we’ve taken you were forced to pay for pop too!
Given the choice, I would go to an All-Inclusive, beach front resort in Mexico every time over any sort of cruise!
The girls had fun. My in-laws enjoyed spending time with their grandkids. We got to meet new people … okay, I got to meet new people. Family friends of my in-laws were also celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary with their family, and one of their daughters also happens to be my sister-in-law’s BFF. Lovely family who are living is Sydney Australia now and who also happen to have two daughters ages with our eldest two. Now emails are flying back and forth between my eldest and hers and plans are being made to visit them Down Under. Not sure which bank is being robbed to pay for that trip …
As a scrapbooker, I love that I have new photos and memories to create pages about. As an avid traveler, I love that I can now check off “go to Alaska” from my World Travel Bucket List.
As for my cruising future, that remains uncertain. But I’m sure I’ll write all about it here so stay tuned!
We are away at a soccer tournament in Seattle this weekend so there will be no Saturday post. I’ll be back on Monday to show you what I managed to create on board with my Crafting On the Go Kit!
Have a great weekend everyone! Talk to you again soon.