guys, i have a problem. since returning from our first disney cruise for spring break, i’ve been eyeing future potential cruise dates with a crazy obsession. that was back in march, and i’ve been checking prices at least once a week since then. how did this happen?
i never thought i’d be a cruising person. mostly because i get horrifyingly barfy from riding anything that moves: trains, buses, vans, ferry boats, cabs, any cars driven by other people…
when i used to commute via the local subway system, i used to have to sit sideways and do breathing exercises to stop myself from puking. even now, when i smell the stale air of an enclosed metro station, i feel uneasy.
i also never thought i’d really get into the all-inclusive/resort-life type of vacation. one of the best parts of being in a new place is spending hours in the weeks before a trip researching the crap out of every non-chain restaurant and finding the perfect hipster coffee shop to swing by.
so there was never any way i was going to trap myself on a moving buffet cabaret over the ocean.
but then the kids started bugging me, the commercials started looking interesting, the strangers on the internet started talking about the special nature of disney cruises, blah blah, spent an arm & leg, feared we’d regret it but #yolo.
and…it was faith-trust-and-pixie-dust awesome.
our kids had a blast, we parents didn’t lose our minds, the shows gave me the warm nostalgic fuzzies (i know all the words to a lot of disney songs), the food was surprisingly pretty good, and i only felt sick for a bit on the first night.
so since nobody really wants to read a chronological play-by-play about anything these days, here are some of my personal highlights from this trip.
1. motion sickness didn’t kill me! hooray!
in the time that i did feel motion-sick, it was more like a dizzy/floaty-headed feeling, not nausea. i felt like i needed to lie down. i felt sort of hung over. it was weird.
so then i became friends with meclizine, which is offered for free in the medical center in packets of chewable tablets. accupressure “sea bands” didn’t do it for me. (now a fun drugfact, because a lot of people don’t seem to know this: meclizine is the name of the actual drug, listed as the “active ingredient,” but you can buy this as bonine or even as dramamine in its less drowsy version. those are brand names. you usually pay more for brand names. but they have the same active ingredient. so don’t ask a large forum of people whether you should buy bonine or dramamine or generic meclizine if all three packages list the exact same active ingredient, as i’ve seen others do…)
2. disney literally owns the place where childhood nostalgia, happiness and innocence intersect.
play just the first few seconds of a song from peter pan and suddenly the world feels warmer and cheerier. add in turquoise waters, palm trees, and unlimited ice cream, and that magical happiness stuff is on. lock.
there was a point during one of the shows, where they ran through every major disney movie song from the past 30 years, and i just kept smiling and exclaiming to my side-eyeing daughter: this is SO AWESOME. she gave me an epic side-eye.
there are also lots of chances to meet characters. and lots of fun infused into everything, like our dining servers crafting green cloth napkins into peter pan hats.
3. kids’ clubs are the best thing ever.
why have we never vacationed with a kids’ club before??? this was amazing! it helps that the ship had a super cool marvel avengers section with special programs for superhero-loving kids like my son. “become iron man”??? yes. “train in the marvel avengers academy??” yes. they also had a constant rotation of interactive activities going on, from cooking classes to crazy science demonstrations. there was also a neat play area that looked liked andy’s room from toy story. as much as family vacations are good for family bonding time, it was also really nice to get a few breaks here and there where the kids would go off and do their own thing and we could hang out in the quiet adult-only pool and drink some capirinhas.
we also bought one of the kids’ club wristbands and used it to unlock the cruise ship & the places we stopped on the disney infinity game system. that’s a fun souvenir if you have disney infinity 3.0. if you don’t, be glad because it’s a total moneysuck and now is going under anyway.
4. nassau is nice.
for whatever reason, *coughcough*shelteredupbringing*cough*, i don’t know, a lot of internet people on these cruising forums and groups do not like the bahamas. in my trip planning, i saw a lot of advice from people saying to stay on the ship and skip nassau entirely because of reasons like it’s “scary” and “dirty” and people selling things are “pushy.”
so of course we got off the ship and wanted to see what we could see. immediately, we encountered a lot of people selling stuff… hair braiding, bus tours, fishing tours, horse & carriage rides, trinkets, drinks… it was lively and busy and fun. i respect the hustle. it wasn’t obnoxious. we went to dunkin donuts for some iced coffees because we are addicted to them, paid in dollars and got some pretty bahamian coins in change. then we walked to junkanoo beach, which is close to the port and a public beach, therefore free to access. there were beachside bars, shacks renting all sorts of tings and lots of locals and tourists hanging out. then we continued on to experience the freshest seafood at arawak cay. this area is also known as the fish fry and has a ton of seafood restaurants and shacks with delicious food with local flavor. we went to a place called twin brother and had fresh conch salad, whole fried snapper, grilled fish, rice, beans, fresh mango smoothies… the kids loved it and it was totally worth the short walk.
the straw market had stalls of goods for sale, like t-shirts, bags, hats and other trinkets and we haggled over fedoras and a hand-carved wooden sword with my son’s name etched into it. the salespeople were great fun to haggle with.
5. private islands are pretty awesome.
disney’s private island, castaway cay (pronounced “key” btw), was beautiful and pristine and not too crowded and the kids played on the beach literally all day. it also has playground structures in the water, a splash pad for little kids, hammocks, beach chairs and umbrellas aplenty, and a snorkeling section with disney character statues underwater…. but we never made it out that far because my daughter freaked out after we were about 50 yards off the beach.
we packed a lot into 3 days. next time, we’ll aim for 7 days with more ports to explore…. #takemeback