We woke up Monday morning, still sailing rapidly towards Florida. It must of been rather windy, because the ship was very choppy. We met the family for breakfast a saw nothing but a foggy sea. Docking and unloading the ship was a looooooong process. Not that we were in any hurry to get to the airport, as our flight didn't leave till 3. We got there on time for lunch and had to waste several hours before boarding the plane. The Atlanta-to-Miami flights were so booked both ways. I was in a separate row from Doug and the boys and stuck next to the window. I was very grateful that Ella napped that leg each time! No way could I have kept her content in such a cramped space.
After a tiring four hour layover in Atlanta we caught our plane home. When we touched down, it was dark, cold and snowy. There was so much fog out that we didn't even see the ground until the plane touched it! Our three kids slept the last flight, so we had to carry them and our backpacks to baggage claim. Um. Yeah. Not a pack mule. I woke them up to potty and change Ella's diaper, then wrapped them in blankets to get to the van. They slept the drive back and woke up tucked in bed at home.
So, all these details aside, do I think it's a good idea to go on a cruise with three young children? No. Probably not. At least not for my kids. I'm not the type of parent to go on a vacation with my kids only to send them to a daycare while we are there. I guess I think the point of a family vacation is to spend time together as a family- not off doing different things. My kids are not in daycare at home, so why should they be on a vacation?
Is a cruise ship a suitable place for kids this age? Not really. It's crowded, busy, full of people that are not on the lookout for little kids darting under their feet. Ella wasn't allowed to get in the main pool because she isn't potty trained. Only Aidan was big enough to go on the slides. The sprinkler area lost it's appeal in a short matter of time. The performances didn't start until 10 pm so we couldn't go to those since the kids are asleep by then. Obviously, we also didn't hit the casino or dance clubs.
They had fun with what we did do. They loved the time on the beach. They loved the all you can eat food, whenever you want aspect. They like riding in elevators and had fun playing in the cabin. They liked spending time with the relatives.
For Doug and I, it was extremely stressful. It was hard keeping track of everyone and we would of liked to have time to just relax in the sun, sipping a drink and talking to family. But, yeah, that's not so much what kids this age do. So we struggled with turning our frame of mind around to see the enjoyment of what we could do. The moments of pure excitement on their faces were wonderful. We'll just try to focus on those parts and let time erase the parts that were tense.
*Note about this series of posts and Facebook. I posted several photos of the extended family on Facebook since they are active there. I did not post them here also, since I wasn't sure they wanted me to post those photos on my blog. If you are a blog reader and related on that side, let me know if you'd like the link to the Facebook photos!*