Monday, May 17, 2010

Post-Christmas Caribbean Cruise

Here begins a very long post filled with lots of pictures from the cruise we took after Christmas this year. I figured taking a family vacation while being 4 months pregnant would be lots more fun than any later in my pregnancy and would be a great time since this summer I'll be busy with a new baby. Dan had only been on one cruise while a teenager and it had been quite a few years since I had cruised. The kids were in for a new adventure. We were blessed with being able to bring along our family friend/past nanny/babysitter/past piano student/past children and youth choir member/etc.: Brigid. Having a 1:1 ratio with each child made the trip so much easier and much more enjoyable for everyone! We went on a Celebrity Cruise, sailing from San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Before I begin with the pictures, I thought I would list some of the highlights of our trip, from my perspective and the kids!

Personally, a cruise was an amazing choice being that I enjoy packing a vacation in with lots of activities and Dan would prefer a more leisurely, relaxed vacation. We were able to achieve both things with the cruise!

Food and service would probably be on the top of the list for why cruises are so great. It was awesome knowing that when we came back to our room filled with sand and all took turns showering, after going to dinner we would return and our bathroom would be cleaned and beds turned down for bed. Amazing. Between the six of us, I bet we ate 50 waffles while we were there. They were wonderful and they had this delicious orange cream butter to put on them. It still makes my mouth water thinking about them!

Colby's thoughts: My favorite thing was the pool and the songs that they sang. I loved the breakfast every morning.

Abigail's thoughts: The best part of the ship was the kid's play area. I loved the pool and going to a lot of different places & being with Brigid & staying with our family.

Isaiah's thoughts: The best part was going at the beach & on the little boat & swimming with the floaties.

And now, for the pictures!
After a few long flights, we made it to our hotel for the evening, the Embassy Suites in San Juan. It was quite a rough night of sleep, especially for Isaiah & this is how I found the boys in the morning:
After taking advantage of their amazing pool, we loaded up for the pier!

Onboard in San Juan, Puerto Rico!

Isaiah checking out the place (using his binoculars backwards)... this was the last time we saw the binoculars!

Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas:

On our balcony before the 1st Formal Night:

Handsome men:

Abigail managed to spill her chocolate milk on my dress this formal evening :-)

My serious boys with Bendaroo glasses:

Isaiah enjoyed dessert every night!

St. Croix, US Virgin Islands:

This was probably one of my favorite days! We spent 3 hours at the beach just having fun. Here's Isaiah testing the waters.

Finding shells was one of their favorite activities. (now that I think of it, we were planning on doing some kind of craft project with those shells... wherever they may be now...)

If there's a way for Abigail to get messy, she's sure to find it first!

Relaxing in the sun, enjoying the sand!

The Celebrity Summit

Digging in the sand. The tide was pretty strong, so as soon as the kids created something, it would quickly get washed away!

A very embaressed Colby after winning Bingo with the Kid's Club. They made you do the Bingo Dance to win a prize!

Basseterre, St. Kitt's:

Dan & I left Brigid and the kids on the boat while we went in for a shore excursion together, called Caribbean Cooks. It was a fun afternoon of learning about the history and tasting the flavors of the food.

St. John's, Antigua:
Waiting at the pier to go on our shore excursion!
For the shore excursion we went by taxi from the ship to the other side of the island. Then, we went on this small boat to the island in the distance. It was an amazing day! There were six or seven people there serving drinks and food, as well as helping with the snorkeling. This was for our small group of I think 12 people, of which we were 5!

Playing in the sand.

My snorkeling family. Colby did awesome and got the hang of snorkeling quickly. Abigail decided it was not for her. Isaiah enjoyed holding on to Dan's back while he paddled around. They all enjoyed watching Dan try to pull a lobster from a part of the reef.

Isaiah on a mission:

Our "private" island.

Abigail highly enjoyed making patterns with the sunscreen while ensuring Brigid would not get sunburned.

The 2nd Formal Night:

Here's Isaiah cleansing his palate in between courses with some sorbet.

Most afternoons we would swim on the boat, then take showers & get dressed up for dinner. So, the kids would have some downtime playing their Nintendo DS's (thank you Santa Claus for ensuring each child had their own! :-)

Castries, St. Lucia:
Brigid got up early this morning & went in for a shore excursion by herself - ziplining through the rainforest! After returning, this was the only afternoon that it rained for just 30 minutes of the entire trip.

A sleepy swimmer!

Snuggle time with Brigid!

Still loving each other waiting at the airport to return home!

We are all ready to go on another cruise already!!

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