The last time that Justin and I went on a cruise was in July 2007, for our honeymoon. It seemed fitting to go on another cruise to celebrate our 10th anniversary! In many ways it was nostalgic being back on a boat again (with no kids!), but it was also much different this time around.
The biggest difference was that in 2007, we had no kids. We were kids, LOL. We were fresh out of college, so all of the luxuries of cruise life (i.e. sleeping in, staying up super late, eating food prepared by someone else at any random time of the day, etc.) were already kind of standard, and we didn’t appreciate it as much. This time around, I was highly aware of how nice it was to sit down and eat dinner that I didn’t have to cook and didn’t have to clean up afterwards. And it was so great to be able to have a conversation (a REAL conversation because no cell service on the boat, so we just kept our phones in our suitcases for the most part) without the interruption of a screaming baby or whiny toddler! It was relaxing. So relaxing that I found at least a couple of times each day to fit in a meal/snack that wasn’t strictly necessary. Plate of French fries eaten poolside? Yes please!
But surprisingly, it was hard to let go of our children. Surprisingly, because there are always those moments during the day when I feel stressed out, and I would think, “I can’t wait to leave these kids behind on our cruise!” But when our cruise actually came around, Justin and I kept talking about them constantly. We even wondered seriously if we should have at least brought Jake along with us (instead of leaving him with Justin’s dad in Florida), because there were so many fun things for kids to do on the boat. And much of my trip was occupied by me trying to find a free wi-fi connection on my phone so that I could Skype my parents (who were taking care of Teddy for us) and check on him. In the end, I’m glad that we went without kids, but they still ended up occupying at least 75% of my thoughts while I was away.
Side note: When we reunited with Jake right outside of the cruise port after our 3-day journey, he said, “I’m so happy to see you, Mama!” about 50 times on the car ride back home, which just melted my heart. ❤
Another big difference on this cruise compared to our honeymoon cruise: I realized that I no longer know how to deal with “downtime.” I don’t remember doing more than a handful of cruise activities on our honeymoon. I remember just laying around by the pool, eating ice cream, and *ahem* spending a lot of time in our stateroom. On this cruise, I kept the itinerary in my bag and consulted it constantly to figure out what to do next. We played trivia, gameshows, and song lyric contests…we saw every single stage show that they offered…we watched (but did not participate) in karaoke every night…we climbed rock walls, (Justin) played soccer, cornhole, shuffleboard, ping pong, and even visited the cruise boat gym (but didn’t end up using the equipment, HA). We stayed BUSY. And even then, I didn’t feel very busy at all. In fact, I read an entire book during our three day cruise, just sitting out by the pool and in our room at night before going to bed. There was just so much TIME. And I miss having time, but by the end of our trip, I was actually ready to not have SO much time on my hands. It was a little unnerving!
When we were still in the planning stages, I was really hoping that we could do something other than the Bahamas. I wanted to go to Panama and see the canal, or go to the recently-opened-for-business Cuba and experience the culture. Seeing the wildlife and trying a zipline in Costa Rica would have been amazing! But alas, there are not very many options when you’re wanting to take a three-day cruise. In the end, doing a short cruise to a relaxing tropical locale was absolutely perfect.
Justin and I have already started talking about whether we’ll do another cruise for our 20th. At that point, I think it would be fun to take the boys (ages 11 and 13–eek!) with us and do something a little more outside the box, like an Alaskan cruise or a Mediterranean cruise. We’ll see! 😉