Day 3 was going to be a super exciting day with our first port in Grand Cayman. However it turned out we had hit a cold front, which we knew from the rough seas through the night, and we would be porting on the opposite side of the island than we were supposed to port. We also had a snorkel excursion scheduled but due to the weather that was cancelled as well. Disney made arrangements for transportation to the main part of the island once we got on shore from the ferry. We rode a bus to the main shopping area of the island and did a little exploring. We hit several shops and hit Margaritaville for a VERY expensive lunch that wasn’t even very good. It was exciting to be in our very first foreign country and look around and show our kids a different culture…even though it is a very big tourist area so doesn’t seem ‘foreign’.
Monday began our journey to the port and getting on board the ship! We weren’t scheduled to arrive til later in the morning so we took our time (the boys played some old school Nintendo) getting ready but finally embarked on the hour drive to the port. When we arrived we unpacked the car, said our goodbyes, and were off on our adventure. We got our bags all checked in and were finally called to get on the ship! When you step on the ship they have a welcome party going on and announce each families name as they enter. It makes you feel very welcome. Once you are on the ship you are free to roam around and check everything out except your stateroom. The rooms are getting cleaned and ready for guests while everyone roams the ship because they have just gotten everyone off from the previous cruise. It is amazing to me how fast they can turn the ship over after the guests get off.
So while we waited for our room to be ready we checked out a couple floors of the ship and eventually found some food before sitting by the pool for a while. At about 3 pm they begin the Bon Voyage Party by the pool. All the guests gather and they hand out streamers and sell drinks (pricey buggers). We watched a couple other ships embark on their journey as well. Boy those ships are HUGE! They feel big when you are ON the ship but watching the others they look even bigger.
Before we knew it it was time for dinner at one of the three restaurants that the guests are assigned to each day. The first night we got to eat at Parrot Cay. We go to meet our fun and entertaining servers Arnel & Gede. The food was so good! They had an island themed menu this night. The menus are all 3 courses and you can select whatever you like. I chose the Beef Tenderloin and so did Mike. I had the creme brulee cheesecake for dessert…SO fabulous. They bring out the food and you feel like you are never going to be full but by the end of the meal you are sure to be stuffed! The kids had their own menu but could also order from the adult menu if they chose. I was hoping that the boys would go outside of their box a bit but Avery ate pizza…for EVERY meal on the ship (except breakfast). Blake did try a couple new things.
The first night of dinner nearly ended badly with a kid throwing up. I think it was a combo of the ship moving and all the food he ate but Avery nearly got sick. I was going to be so mortified if he had done it in the restaurant but he held it down! After dinner it was time to retreat to the cabin and retire for the night. We had the 8:15 seating every night so by the time we were done with dinner we were all exhausted. We would watch a couple minutes of TV and then turn in. Here is our family photo from the first night before dinner…the boys were all SO thrilled that I made them dress up…NOT!
Day two was a day at sea on our way to our first port, Grand Cayman. We had great hopes of spending days by the pool and getting lots of sun. That did not happen much on our cruise. We ran into a cool front at sea and it created rough waters and cool weather. We did take the kids to the pool after breakfast on the first day but as you can see it wasn’t all that warm. But that didn’t stop us from partaking in the free ice cream that day!
The cruise constantly has something going on for everyone. Adult only activities, kids only activities and for families as well. While we were by the pool there was an ice sculptor creating a masterpiece. We stopped and watched. He wouldn’t say what he was making until he was done but it turned out to be an eagle. Blake LOVES eagles so it was right up his alley.
After the pool we went to play BINGO and try to win some money. We didn’t win anything but it was fun to go and play. It was something that we could all enjoy. After that we dropped the kids off for some time in the Oceaneers Club while mom and dad went to get a couples massage. Oh it was so relaxing! Mike had never had one before so he wasn’t sure and I don’t think he enjoyed it much but I sure did. I wish I could afford one of those once a month!
We had just enough time to get ourselves changed and ready for dinner after our massages. We had time for a quick photo opp with Goofy before going into the restaurant. Triton’s was the restaurant for the night. They had a French cuisine menu. I tried the sea bass which was so-so. Don’t recall what I ordered for dessert but Avery’s was fabulous! He ordered it every night after this.
It was a fabulous way to end Day 2 of our cruise and we were in great anticipation of our third day as we were to stop at port in the morning!
After planning and saving for what seemed like forever we embarked on our very first major family vacation! We were all so excited but this momma was a bit stressed with all the preparations! Packing for 3 people is a LOT of work! We managed to pack all 4 of us into 1 large checked bag and 4 carry ons! That in itself is a miracle!!
We picked a 5-day cruise that ported out of Miami so that we could see my BFF Nika too! We got done with our end of the year hockey party for Avery and embarked on our first leg of the trip to Eagan where our awesome friends live and they had agreed to transport us to the airport. When we jumped in the car to go to the airport we first had a minor panic attack when Blake announced that he couldn’t find his iPod! We searched the car over and determined that he must have dropped it at the gas station but we had no time to go back. So we were off!!
When we arrived at the airport we learned that our plane was delayed so we had extra time to kill but once it was time to get on the excitement was about to begin! This was the boys’ first ride on an airplane and they were excited. We each sat with one kid and Avery say by me and was FULL of questions. Everything intrigued him but he was very antsy to get to Florida.
When we finally arrived…after some tears from ears popping…we got to see my BFF and feel the warm, humid air of Miami! We had dinner and got ourselves to bed after a long day!
The next day, Sunday, we headed to Fort Lauderdale beach. It was windy but warm especially for our Minnesota butts! So we spent the day with our pasty white skin trying to soak up as many rays as we could without getting fried! We slathered on the sunscreen and tried to keep the sand out of a our food…especially the pizza Nika and her friend Wayne picked up for us. Best pizza I’ve had in a long time!! Here’s some of my favorite pictures from the day:
I have been absent for a little while. It is because I went on a much-needed mini vacation to see my bff Nika in Florida! It was a quick 4 day getaway but man was it fabulous! I got there last Thursday in the early evening. Nika picked me up at the Fort Lauderdale airport and we drove to Homestead where she lives. Before arriving at her house we went to a little local Mexican restaurant for something different. It was delicious! I am not great at picking things when it comes to new places and menus filled with LOTS to pick from but luckily my friend sent me in the right direction! I had a Texas Chipotle Chicken Burrito (if I remember correctly). After eating we went back to her house and chilled out before heading to bed.
Friday morning we headed off to FIU where Nika works and is a student. I went to class with her and listened to some of the other students give 5 minute speeches. It was a great reminder of why I do not want to be a student again! I also got to see where she does all her hard work in the athletics dept. After that we went back to her house (with a stop at Sonic – first time ever, YUM) and did some baking/cooking before chilling by the pool. She is lucky enough to have a pool in her backyard! JEALOUS! For supper Nika made this delicious spread! I am not the most adventurous eater in the world but am trying to live outside my box lately. We had wontons, seasame peanut noodles and shirmp. YUM!
Doesn’t that spread look delicious? She is such a great hostess with pretty platters!
These were my plates before I finished my food. See those chopsticks…I actually used them. Not great at it but I am good at faking it:)
Isn’t that platter gorgeous?
After dinner we headed out to see a movie. We saw the Johnny Depp movie Rum Diary but it wasn’t as good as I’d hoped. The plot seemed to go nowhere:(
Saturday we headed off to Miami Beach! It was such a gorgeous day for the beach. It was hot (by my MN standards) and perfect! Along the way we saw some HUGE cruise ships and the Miami downtown.
Hotels along the beach.
Me sitting on the beach…look at that pasty white skin. YIKES!
I had my toes in the sand. No idea Nika even took this picture but I really like it!
Me and my girl. Can you tell which one of us works out?? (Hint: It’s NOT me:)
After getting some sun we stopped and ate at Scotty’s Landing which is a restaurant right on the water. It is so awesome to be able to sit at a restaurant on the water in November!
Can you believe that someone goes out on the OCEAN in this?? Looks a bit beat up!
This is how they store the boats right outside of Scotty’s Landing. So crazy to me!
They lift them right out of the water. I took these pictures for my boys but thought I’d share them with you too.
Sunday was Funday (i.e. football) at Nika’s boyfriend’s house. It was the first time I’d met him so I was excited and I was also pumped to see how this ‘funday’ goes. We are not as big of football fans in our house but I was welcomed by 3 TVs that had different games on them. I understand that usually there are more people there to eat all the food but it was fun anyway!
Me and my BFF. See those tropical palm trees back there! Ahh…
Nika and Mike. They do make a cute couple don’t they?
Sunday funday was cut short because I had to get back to the airport where I saw pigeons just milling around with the people waiting to board planes…WeiRd. It was time to say goodbye to sunny Florida and head back to the tundra of Minnesota. Actually it wasn’t terrible when I got back as far as temps but I still prefer 80 degrees!
So until next time FL. I was happy to share a little cowboy caviar, delicious cupcakes and strawberry cheesecake with you. As I said I am available any time to come make treats for you…I just need a plane ticket! Maybe next time I can come back with my family…or maybe I’ll just save that for myself:)
We started our final day in Milwaukee with a stop at the hotel waterpark. I somehow forgot to take ANY pictures of the boys playing there. After a little while of that we emptied out the hotel room and packed up the car. We headed down to see Lake Michigan. I have never seen any of the Great Lakes and wanted to see it. It was a pretty sight to see all the sailboats out on the lake. We stopped near a marina so there were lots of boats to see as well. It would have been a wonderful day to walk along the lake but we didn’t have the time. So we walked a little ways and found a guy who had actually lived in MN for a while to take our picture as a family.
After our visit to Lake Michigan we were off to find a Rocky Rococo’s for lunch. Apparently there was one in Mankato when Mike was growing up so he had seen the signs on our way to Milwaukee and insisted we stop at one on our trip. We had lunch at one in Oconomowoc where we met a college friend of Mike’s and his son. The pizza was all Mike had hoped for however I was not impressed.
The drive home was pretty much uneventful but it gave me time to reflect on our trip. Here are a few things we noticed along the way:
- WI has Wooden sign posts and some wooden signs. Not on all of their signs but several of them along the way. This was very odd to me but Mike has seen it before in Iowa. Actually that is how he determines which side of the border he is on when he hunts near the Iowa/Minnesota border.
- They sell beer at the zoo. This too is an oddity to me. I realize that beer is a major part of the economy in Milwaukee but was still strange to me that a family oriented location would be selling alchohol.
- Tailgaiting is a BIG deal. As I mentioned before there were LOTS of tailgaiters at the game but we also had some folks who were tailgaiting in the hotel parking lot!
- It’s a small world. When we were checking into the hotel I noticed a family with Twins attire on. Upon a closer look I noticed that it was a girl who grew up in my hometown…New Richland, MN. Her and her husband, who live in Ellendale, MN were there with their kids for the game.
It was a great trip for us and we are excited to plan another trip to a different stadium next summer. It will probably be Kansas City that we visit next year but possibly Chicago.