Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Family Cruise to the Eastern Caribbean

We booked this cruise 157 days out...and the kids counted down every, single day.  Ha ha!

It was a thrill for my family since it had been over 5 years that we did anything remotely this huge.

So here it goes...sharing our cruise to the Eastern Caribbean :)

Sunday, September 8, 2013

We spent the night before down by Galveston Island.  In the morning, after breakfast and Mass, we headed for the Port of Galveston...

They were pretty excited when they spotted the ship...except Clementine :)

Departing from Galveston

It had been raining hard earlier that morning, but the sun came out just in time for our departure.

Room service not only made a walrus for him, but used his glasses as part of the prop.   For him, that was the bomb!

Monday - Day at Sea

The view from our bed each morning...

Sitting out there while everyone was still sound asleep was so peaceful.

48" high balconies...I checked on that before we booked the cabins :)

 The water park was FANTASTIC for all ages!

Relaxing on a deck in a glider outside The Red Frog Pub.  Pretty cool.

(Those were deep fried peas.  AWESOME and spicy!)

The older two girls loved the teen club program, Circle C.  It was for kids 12-14 years old.

Tuesday - Port of Call - Key West, FL

Killing time till since we didn't dock until 10am.

David and I visited Key West on our 5th wedding anniversary...thought it would be fun to see it again.

(The other cruise ship, Carnival Imagination)

(The captain on the bridge of the other ship...thank you zoom lens.)

We took the kids on a trolley tour.

Until the road construction there is complete, I would not recommend it for Key West.  We saw very little.

(Sloppy Joe's Bar, a favorite hang out for Ernest Hemingway.)

Kermit's Key West Key Lime Shoppe  -  Travel Channel has this as one of the top 5 places to get awesome Key Lime Pie.  That's Kermit himself! 

We tried the deep fried key lime pie dipped in chocolate - on a stick.  Oh! My! Word!

I took the older three girls para sailing while David took the other two kids back to the ship for a nap.  

I've done this twice before, but it was a first for the girls.  

We rotated turns.

Our guides were super fun.  We booked the excursion directly through Fury Water Adventures.  

They had to keep the weight evenly proportioned, so two of us received a second ride for free!

Oh my gosh!  They had a blast doing this. 

Great memories!

Wednesday  -  Port of Call - Freeport, Bahamas

Check out the lobby of our ship...

(Looking up at the elevators.)

I had gotten up early to take pictures while the ship was still "asleep".

Freeport is a huge shipping port and our cabins overlooked the industrialized part of the the port...

Not very pretty, I know, but it was VERY interesting watching them load the ships for destinations around the world.

For a birthday present, David took her on an excursion where she could go and play with some really cute dolphins!  

While we waited for David and the birthday girl to get back,  Stan the man wanted to go to Camp Carnival for the day (age 6-8) and so we took him...

(Looking for his name tag...)

This camp, filled to the brim with activities for kids, (no extra cost to ship guests), was NOT daycare.  It was all fun and games.

The boy LOVED it!!

Under 2 Playtime.  Certain days of the cruise, for very limited hours, you can drop off your Under 2.

We could stay and play for FREE or pay $7.50 an hour and leave her there with some PHENOMENAL  ladies.

Little Miss ended up being the only one there, so she received a TON of love from the workers.

(They gave us a phone in case of an emergency.  David and I were able to hold onto it for the duration of the cruise. ) 

The older two girls and I headed ashore for a bit of island shopping...

With two kids still on the ship, we didn't wander far.  There was plenty of island charm right off the ship.

Back on the ship...

Cabin 9457 belonged to the kids.  A queen bed, a twin bed, and a bunk bed (comes down out of the ceiling).

The four older kids slept there.

Each cabin had a bathroom...

Cabin 9461 belonged to David and I and the baby.  We had one queen and a twin.

More birthday surprises...

We had them decorate her cabin for her birthday :)

Surprising the birthday girl at dinner...

Thursday  -  Port of Call  -  Nassau, Bahamas

Little man would have nothing to do with the person in the costume.

Carnival Magic is on the right ...  Carnival Ecstasy is on the left.

We were on the Magic.

Back on the ship...

Excursions cost $$, especially for a family of 7.

So, we took advantage of the empty ship and hung out on the ropes course...

Carnival Magic holds the world's First-Ever ropes course at sea.  It was located at the top of the ship.

 And we basically had the water park to ourselves, too!

Stan the Man was loving Camp Carnival...scavenger hunts...dodge ball...Wii...lunch with shipmates...just to name a few activities.

Views from our cabin...

(Atlantis Resort)

Views from on top of the ship...

Evenings on the ship...

My favorite part of the cruise was being served dinner every night!

David enjoyed taking naps :)

Friday & Saturday  -  Fun Days at Sea

Celebrating new friendships...

Ice cream ... all you can eat ... 24 hours a day :)

By the way, that is a glass wall behind her...48" high.

Climbing to the top of here ...

... you can see out here...

... and then slide down in one of two twister slides...

Amazed at these ...

And that was taken with my super zoom lens.

Serenity Deck.  21 years to enter.  LOVED.

Our amazing waiters the served us each dinner ...

Milovan and Radenko were from Croatia and Haris (far right) was from Indonesia.  They were so good to us.

Saying good - bye ...

Camp Carnival Counselor Ivana was from Croatia and she was just an joy to be around.  The kids loved her!

Sunday  -  Debarkation, Port of Galveston

After getting off the boat, wee were able to attend Mass at the beautiful Sacred Heart Church.

We had so much to give thanks for!

(I'm sure it was rather comical watching us sway back and forth in the pew....sea legs.)

Back to reality now... which includes a washing machine that has decided to stop working...

~  Patty  ~


  1. Oh Patty! What memories you have made with your family! What a blessing to have had this awesome experience. I loved the photos and the sidetrips and all of it! How great that the ship had so many things for the kids to do.

    The photos looking up from the atrium were dizzying! That ship is huge!

    1. Ceil, yes indeed! Great memories to be so thankful for :)
      The ship had something for everyone. Many nooks and crannies and to take advantage of!

  2. Oh Patty! Thank you for sharing your wonderful family trip with us! I enjoyed it all...but for some reason, I am fascinated by the giant Connect Four game!

    Glad you are home safe and sound! : )

    1. I thought that was a pretty cool looking Connect Four game, too! The kids enjoyed it...one of the many things they enjoyed. I was thankful for the safe trip...I always have a little anxiety when traveling with the kids for so long or so far.

  3. Wow, what a vacation. You had it all.

    1. Phyllis, I kept mentioning to David how the ship fit everyone's personalities...and there were 5000 people on board!! It was a small city/resort floating on the water :)

  4. It looks like y'all had so much fun!!! What great memories y'all made!

  5. That looks like a blast!!!! What a blessed vacation and family time you had! Loved the beautiful and fun pictures and my kids loved looking at those huge ships with so much on them!

    1. All the ships fascinated us as well. The loading dock in Freeport was quite educational. The cruise ships are absolutely beautiful. This was my fourth cruise, and it was my favorite ship so far.

  6. Fun. Fun. Fun! Now I want to go on one. You mentioned the height of the railings a couple of times. I'd want to know that too. I always said I'd need them to be barbed wire if I were ever to take my kids on a cruise. I have a couple of climbers. Glad you had such a great time. What a memory for all of you to treasure.

    1. Kathleen, it really is so climber-proof!! I believe the newer ships may be better for the little ones. They are equipped with more "modern" activities for sure. This ship was just two years old and it was my favorite one to sail on so far. My husband has never cruised until now. He gets deathly sea sick on charter fishing boats (Lake Michigan, fishing excursions on the ocean, etc.). He did fantastic. He had the patch and even felt good enough to take it off after a few days. He was really impressed with the ship. It is basically a floating resort.

  7. Wow! Your trip looks absolutely amazing!! I never thought I would want to cruise, but you have changed my thoughts a bit. I agree with Kathleen though on the barbed wire ;) I'm so glad you guys had a wonderful trip. The pictures are beautiful, what an awesome adventure for you and your children!

    1. I was thinking of you, Jen! Your gang would LOVE a cruise. Honestly. This was David's first. He never wanted to for various reasons, one main one :: sea sickness. If he goes on charter fishing boats in deep waters, forget it. He's sicker than a dog. We took the route we did as to stay in calmer waters for this "first timer". He was SO impressed. He really liked it. He knew it would be a floating resort, but to actually experience made the best impression.

    2. And they had vegetarian dishes on the dinner menu each night!

  8. Wow, your cruise looks absolutely amazing! I am so glad all of you enjoyed it! What a blessing to be able to do that with your family...I hope we are able to do the same with our future family!

  9. I want to goooooooo.... truly awesome!

  10. Visiting by way of Carol's - What a visual delight to share in your vacation - all the delightful colorful pictures!! It looks like you had the ship to yourselves. How fun and inspiring, have to put that vacation on my wish list.

    1. Thanks for stopping in, Mary! Don't you just love Carol?! Glad you enjoyed the photos of our trip. We certainly took advantage of the port days. Otherwise, there were 5,000 people on that ship, if you can believe it!

  11. Oh gosh! This makes me SO excited for our cruise in March. I cannot wait!! Thank you SO much for sharing all these amazing pictures. Looks like you had a wonderful time. And the Key West pictures just made me want to go back there...especially to Kermit's! Love that place. Glad you're home safely and back to your blog. :)

    1. I'm SO excited that you get to take a cruise. You will love it!! When you were sharing your pics of Key West, it was getting me so excited for our trip there at the time. Looking forward to hearing about your cruise and where you are going on it :)

  12. That took me 2 days to go through!! Wow!! What a wonderful vacation!! I love all the pictures you took, brought us all along with you! It was fun to see the inside of the cabins, I always imagined the cabins and beds to be small...(thinking of my 6 ft 6 husband)

    I loved so many things about all the things you said and did! OH, and one thing I have to say is YOU are one beautiful woman!!!!

    Thanks for the vacation!
    (glad you all had a wonderful time!)

    1. 6'6!!! We had a beautiful cruise director (one of two) that was from England. She was so tall - 6'3 - for a woman. She placed 6'3 on her "name" tag...ha ha! I'm sure she gets sick and tired of answering the height question all the time! Thanks for the lovely compliment, Jamie Jo. You are always so genuinely real with your words :)

  13. WOW! What an amazing vacation! I'm so glad you all had such a great time...lots of fond memories too! Beautiful pictures. :)

    1. Thank you! I'm sure the kids will remember this the rest of their lives!


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