I didn’t even start to pack our bags until the morning we were leaving.
I guess you could say that the normal vacation anticipation just wasn’t there.
The flight was a long one.
Not because of 5 1/2 hours in the air or the antsy, hyper kid bouncing on my pregnant belly.
It was the staggering silence.
The weight of the world crushing my husband’s lungs as we just sat there.
We settled into our hotel room at 12:30 am and fell asleep with a dark cloud hanging over the bed.
When we boarded the ship the following day I felt the mood shift a little.
Once we set sail the air felt lighter and we finally started to breathe.
The next 8 days were a healthy combination of laughter, tears, frustration, and joy.
As time and tragedies have shown us, Derek and I seem to be able to weather even the strongest storms together, and we became even closer.
We learned a lot of new things while on our cruise.
1: Days at sea confined on a ship with minimal activities for kids 2 and under are challenging.
Declan threw a tantrum almost every time we went back to the room and wanted to be able to zigzag around the entire ship all day long, which was difficult considering the other 4,000 people onboard that also needed to walk places.
We loved having Declan with us but definitely won’t be doing another cruise with our kids until they are 8 or older (sorry Bennett).
2: Dining room dinners are the shit.
The first night we naively skipped the main dining room meal and we felt like fools for it on day 2.
I didn’t know what to expect when it came to food on a ship but it was incredible.
Plus they have you take all of these cheesy photos which I loved.
It’s worth mentioning that everyone lost their cool when Declan came strolling through the main deck in his suit on formal night.
We had people getting up from their dining tables to come over to us and tell us how adorable he was.
I’m pretty sure he got like 10 numbers that night, little stud.
3: Everything cool happens past my bedtime.
They had babysitting onboard but we spent 7 of the 8 nights falling asleep by 10 pm with Declan in our room.
Apparently they had all sorts of late night activities like a 70’s dance party, pirate night, and couples game show but we missed all of that.
The only night we went out was our last night there and naturally it was the most mellow night of them all onboard.
4: Declan loves cookies.
(The above is the results of trying to take a cookie away from Declan)
We may or may not have let our son have one too many chocolate chip cookies during our vacation.
Let’s just say that I think Declan and I made Royal Caribbean regret the whole “complimentary cookies whenever you want” thing with how many we devoured.
5: St. Kitts and Labadee are amazing.
These were our two favorite ports.
In St. Kitts, we took a private tour of the island where we got to see the rainforest along with the culture of the entire island.
Then we spent the rest of the day hanging out with monkeys by the beach.
In Labadee we spent the day splashing in the beautiful water and eating.
6: St. Martin and San Juan were so-so.
St. Martin had gorgeous beaches but it was overpopulated and a little too commercialized for our liking.
They have an awesome beach where the airplanes fly right over the water which was amazing but it was littered with people like spring break in Cancun which made it so much less appealing.
We watched one plane fly over and then left.
San Juan had some cool things like their fortresses and cobblestone roads but was otherwise just a busy city.
The food was delicious though which made it worth our while.
All and all it was a great trip.
We binge watched “Ink Master” while double-fisting oatmeal cookies, saw countless beautiful sites, cried and laughed together, and bonded as a family.
Life is a crazy, unpredictable adventure and I wouldn’t want to go through it with anyone else.