Some Reflections From Our 14-Day Cruise

I type this at tens of thousands of feet in the air, while my 3-year-old son is sleeping in my mom’s arms across the aisle from me, my 7-year-old is watching a JetBlue’s Disney compilation, and my husband is watching another JetBlue feature as we fly home to New York City from an amazing 17-day Spring Break, which included pre-cruise and post-cruise stays in Guadeloupe, and a 14-day Caribbean cruise from Guadeloupe to Antigua & Barbuda, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, the Dominican Republic, St. Kitts & Nevis, Martinique, St. Lucia, Barbados, Trinidad & Tobago, and Grenada, with multiple stops in Guadeloupe, Martinique, and St. Kitts & Nevis.  Our flights today alone took us from Guadeloupe to Dominica to St. Maarten/St. Martin, and in a couple hours, New York, U.S.A.  This vacation was highly anticipated, and I think I can safely say that we all enjoyed ourselves with suntans and over 1000 photographs that show it.  That being said, these thoughts come to mind right now as we wrap up this particular vacation, and I whipped this laptop out to type these thoughts out because they may be helpful to someone.  As much as our photographs accurately reflect a marvelous vacation, this stuff is some hard work, maaaan!  In the midst of our vacation, I had moments of frustration and being tired, and on our return home to New York City, right now, I feel as though I need to recover from vacation. 

I say all this to encourage someone because I don’t want you to think that just because you see lots of smiling photos means that every moment of vacation will be an “on top of the world” experience, and I want you to know that it’s ok if there are times during your vacation that things don’t go as you’ve planned.  For My Cruising Family, this was our longest cruise together thus far, and our longest family vacation thus far, and during that longer period of time to enjoy our family time, we also had more opportunities to be frustrated with each other and to get snippy as family can do from time to time.  Guess what, though?  That won’t stop me from planning and taking family vacations – although that was one of the many things that I told my family I should do, despite them knowing that we already have a family vacation planned for this summer.  Hey, I’m being honest here… it gets like that sometimes. 

When flying to and from your cruise port, and cruising for 2 weeks with two high-energy, rambunctious little boys, who are already a handful at home, it actually should be no surprise that they are a handful during your cruise as well, and that the three adults traveling with them would feel some of the drain from that.  None of us is new to cruising, and we have done it together multiple times before, so it really is no surprise, but maybe the length of this cruise at this particular stage of our boys’ lives has highlighted some of the challenges of cruising together as a family with young children.  My younger son just turned three a few days before we set sail, and is not yet fully potty-trained, so although he is at the acceptable age for the kids’ club, he could not attend the kids’ club just yet.  My seven-year-old son attended the kids’ club for one day out of the entire 14-day cruise.  However, my husband and I are thankful that my mom roomed with the boys, which gave us that space – physically and mentally – that we don’t usually have at home.  For the most part, though, we traveled together throughout the trip, eating most of our meals together, exploring the ports-of-call together, and visiting each other’s staterooms to unwind and to plan for the next day’s activities. 

During the course of our 2-week voyage, we experienced some disappointment and some anxious moments: (1) after much planning, energy, effort, and money, our most anticipated excursion did not take place, (2) our older son having a fever and aching stomach, which led to a trip to the ship’s doctor, and (3) just in general, it should be noted that our children whining multiple times a day didn’t stop just because we were on vacation.  Additionally, my husband, my mom, and I had a few moments of snapping at each other, even as recently as this morning in Guadeloupe, as we made our way from our hotel room across the premises through the pouring rain after 6:30am to the lobby in order to meet our scheduled airport transfer.  Those are just some examples of things that have not gone as planned during our travels, but I have many more examples of things that have gone as planned and even better than planned.  Hopefully, we always let our positive experiences prevail. 

While I plan to have much more specific blog posts focusing on specific ports of call, cruiseship reviews and tours, and family cruising tips that we have learned along the way, these are quick heartfelt words of encouragement for moms and others who are planning vacations for their families, or have already vacationed with their families, and are feeling frustrated and, therefore, discouraged from gathering their loved ones and making memories globetrotting.  As much as we have had those moments of whining, complaining, disappointment, anxiety, being tired, and experiencing frustration, the experiences that My Cruising Family has shared and look forward to sharing with each other as we travel the world together far outweighs all that other stuff.  Hey, I just encouraged myself in writing this out.  I hope that this encourages you too!  Now, on to planning our future travels.