Sunday, March 15, 2015

Vacation Thoughts/Plans/Dreams

In August 2003, Rich and I embarked on what was my first and, I quickly concluded, last cruise.  One of my favorite bands (Tonic) had joined the Rock Boat that year and I can't remember the specifics but the cost was fairly inexpensive, so off we went.  The ship was the Carnival Sensation and while I'd lived most of my life in an non-fancy world and was perfectly fine with vacationing in simple hotels, our cabin was not what I expected.

Cruise1

Behind that curtain was a wall.  Why bother? I say.

Other reasons why I wasn't wowed by the cruise:
  1. There was a constant odor in our cabin's bathroom.
  2. The food was unlimited but if you wanted a soda, you paid extra for it or purchased a soda card.  I hate being nickel and dimed, especially over something as inexpensive as soda.
  3. Our excursion in Cozumel was to a beach club that was a bit sketchy.  
cruise2

When all was said and done, I vowed to never partake in another cruise.

Over the past few years, I've been told that we should go on a Disney cruise.  It's really, really awesome!  You'd have SO much fun!  You have to try it!  Meh, is always my response.  Cruises aren't for me.  But for some reason whilst buried under five feet of snow last month, I found myself looking at Disney cruises.  One weekend, the girls and I read through a trip report on the disboards and now they want to go on a Disney cruise.  I have to say that the staterooms/cabins/whatever you want to call them look soooo nice.  I would need a verandah though.

Reasons why I would pick Disney over the other cruise lines:
  1. Unlimited free soda!  (For me, not the children.  They do not drink soda.)
  2. Disney is the only cruise line to employ all methods available to indicate man overboard.
  3. Illness outbreaks on cruises are tracked by the Center for Disease Control.  I searched through their website and Disney has only had two incidents in over ten years.  
  4. Entertainment that would appeal to the kids.
  5. Think of the customs!
Unfortunately, it will be awhile before I find myself basking in the sun on Castaway Cay.  Disney is expensive and finding available time between the girls' school, Rich's work and my work for a vacation isn't easy.  We had tentatively planned to return to Disney World sometime in 2016, perhaps the summer.  Now, I'm not so sure.

So what about this summer?  Well, I really want to make a trip out to Michigan to visit with my grandparents and family there.  We would drive (as always) and stop at Niagara Falls, which would be a new experience for the girls.  We were hoping to leave right after the school year ended as that would fit in well with my work schedule but then, of course, we were hit with snow day after snow day and now school is ending too late for us to squeeze this in.  So for now, that's a later in the summer trip.  We do have definite plans to return to New Hampshire.  It will be a slightly different trip as we will be renting a house with family and plan to check out nature.  There's so much to see up there that we haven't.

I'm still obsessed with returning to Hawaii, perhaps because I'm perpetually cold.  Still trying to figure out how to fly our family there for under $6,000.  It's a frequent google search.    

8 comments:

Kate said...

We've had a really crappy year (our second son recently died after an amazing 9 hours with us), so in hopes of having something to look forward to, we are thinking about taking our 2 year old "rainbow" daughter to Disney this fall. I've been doing a ton of research (I don't sleep well right now) and just feel overwhelmed....given all your experience, where would you stay if you were taking a 2 year old? I'm kind of picky and don't want to stay anywhere I'm going to feel dirty (some of the photos of value resort rooms give me the feeling I will feel "yucky" when I'm my room), but we also don't need the fanciest room, unless it really is worth it. We don't really have a set budget (but don't want to spend a million dollars), but just want somewhere nice. We are willing to spend more for convenience (I don't want to spend 2 hours a day on the bus gettin to the parks). We will be spending probably 2 days at MK and one day at AK and one at Universal. Sorry for the super long comment, but I'm just hoping you wouldn't mind giving me your opinion. I've read your past disney posts, but still wanted to ask and not just assume I know what you'd pick. There will just be the three of us in the room (2 adults/1 toddler). Thank you for all you blog about, especially your Disney posts!

HElizabethDU said...

I went on my first cruise when my daughter was 1, and it was a Disney cruise. After it, I determined that I am not a cruise person. It was fun, but nothing I was wowed over. I would much rather go to Disney World, vs. a Disney Cruise. :)

Sarah K. said...

Another blog I follow, Catherine's Chatter, features Catherine and her daughter Hannah. They live in Canada and are HUGE Disney fans. I believe they've been on three Disney cruises. She writes about them and they sure do sound wonderful. Really focused on kids while appealing to adults. Here's the link to her blog if you'd ever want to read opinions and details about their Disney Cruise adventures!! http://catherineschatter.blogspot.com

Kayla said...

Hi Sarah!
I went to Hawaii in 2013 with my boyfriend because his brother is stationed there. We were 19 at the time, so money was definitely a huge factor! We were able to find flights for $600 each on Hotwire. We are from Maryland, so we had a bit of a layover in Phoenix but it was still worth it! I'm not sure how I found such a steal on Hotwire, but I have not had the same luck since. This time, I am regularly on Cheapair.com! If you look at the right times, you can find flights on good airlines for around $500 a person round trip. Hope this helps!

Ashlee said...

I've been on three cruises (2 Disney, 1 Carnival). They do not compare, at all. I would go on the Disney cruise a million times over but I would never ever sail on Carnival (or any other budget cruise line again) Every single thing about the Disney cruise was amazing; the food, the shows, the boat, the ports. I would love to be on the water but if you're not on the right cruise line it's miserable.

You must take the girls at some point! You will all love it!

Anonymous said...

Do it!
In July ill embark on my 10th Disney cruise (Alaska) and my 6 year olds 6th! You CANNOT compare Disney to any budget line.

Book early - pay the deposit and you can modify your reservation as you go. Full payment is due at 90(?) days before sailing but any deposit can be moved with reservation modifications. I'd suggest connecting rooms as more than 4 in a room is overly cozy and only 1 shower can be tricky.

Farah said...

I went on a Disney cruise 9 years ago. It was fantastic. Granted I was 18, but I remember seeing all kinds of fun kids stuff going on. Since it will be your first time, I'd do a short 3 or 4 day cruise just in case it isn't up to par, and you won't be stuck for a week. There really is so much to do and the food was great. The best part were the shows!!!! That's just my opinion though!

Sarah said...

Thank you for all your comments! Wish I could jump on a cruise right now - eeeek!


Kate - I am so so very sorry to hear of your loss.
Have you considered a moderate hotel. Toddlers won't know the difference. Some of the value resorts look a little crazy to me so I know where you're coming from.