But there is such a thing as too much reading and planning. For example, I read a few places that the rooms are dark at night and so to bring a light. Well ours had a nightlight function built into the central light in the kids' area. So no problem. On the other hand, I really liked my shoe organizer. And knowing ahead of time that there is only ONE power outlet in the entire room and that they confiscate power strips? Very helpful.
It took forever to get on board. And it was complicated by the fact that I had a rental car that was way full of our stuff and I needed to drop everyone off, return the rental car and then take a shuttle back. We had conflicting advice from staff - "make sure your husband has your passport so he can check you in" vs. "keep your passport on you". The first is correct, Hans could have checked me in with the passport. Instead he just had to hang out in the terminal with three kids!
Finally! I got there, we got checked in and walked over the threshold!
I have been on a cruise before. When I was 18 my grandmother took me on a cruise around the Hawaiian islands. It was ok. I recall then thinking the food was over the top for an all the time thing (sometimes I don't want four star, I just want a quick bean burrito) and that I wanted more time on each island. A quick stop wasn't enough for me. Oh and I got seasick then.
I was nearly certain that I had conquered some of my motion sickness issues recently with all the flying I have been doing this last year. I did ok, though not great. There was only one night that was really bad for me and I resorted to Dramamine. We were in 70 mph winds and they closed the outdoors. But poor Skadi really struggled. I bought us SeaBands and on the days it wasn't horrible, they worked fine for us. But when the seas got rough, it wasn't enough.
So my overall take. Some people are "cruise people" and some are not. Skadi and I are firmly planted in the "I am not a cruise person category". Leif is firmly planted in the "I love cruises" category. AB could take it or leave it and SIlas was too young to care. The ship was full of cruise people. Over half of the ship was repeat cruisers. Skadi didn't like it because of the motion sickness. And unlike Skadi - she didn't make friends on the ship. I think she just didn't feel well enough to put the effort in. She did hang with her younger cousins, Wesley and Charles.
For me it was an issue largely of claustrophobia (I couldn't WAIT to get off that freaking boat after the two days at sea). And I didn't get enough time in port. And then the feeling of slight nausea, off-centeredness, dizziness, etc., was enough for me. I am not the type to sit on deck in a chair with a drink in my hand. When we vacation I usually have us booked solid (too solidly) with a variety of activities. So I do realize, this is me. But if sitting on a deck chair in the sun surrounded by hundreds of people isn't your thing? Then a cruise may not be your thing.
We had the first two days at sea. Skadi was excited to spend time at the Oceaneer's Club - the kids area for ages 3-10. Leif was chomping at the bit to get up to the Edge - the tween club. No parents allowed at either locale. At one point my three kids were busy - Silas was in daycare and the other two off doing their own thing and I had no flipping idea what to do. I would have loved to sit and read, but the swaying didn't encourage that. Skadi soon rejected the Oceaneers Club (not the greatest location for someone struggling with motion sickness) and then there were a lot of little little kids in her area. She ended spending much of her days with AB and me, which was fine.
Silas glommed onto seeing characters. It was something SIlas and I could do easily together. But still, if you didn't know to go to Guest Services and ask to see characters you just got a few around the ship (Donald, Mickey, Minny, Daisy and Goofy). Princesses required special advance tickets and if you wanted to see Elsa and Anna (and we did), that was even more separate and secluded (secret).
Leif spent the majority of his time in the tween club. Our first time where he was just gone, off, poof and made a whole group of friends. They could check themselves in and out. They went and got their own food at Cabanas, ice cream at the ice cream stand. There were organized activities going on still at 11pm! We heard about it when we told him he needed to be back one night at 11pm, "but mom, gender wars was just beginning!!" It was our first experience with an independent Leif. It was good for him. He loved it and has decided he wants to work on the Disney cruise line when he gets older. Leif didn't want to leave. There were emotions upon disembarking. Poor kid.
The service on the Disney cruise is amazing. Truly. They go over the top and you want for nothing. People bend over backwards for whatever you want. Your wait staff moves with you from restaurant to restaurant. There are three restaurants and you get either the early or the late seating. We had the early (thankfully). Our server was outstanding and worked so hard. Her assistant was less great and had to be reminded 2-3 times for things we asked for. If the kids (Skadi) didn't want what was the menu and instead wanted chicken strips, she had them. Leif worked hard at trying new foods and we discovered new foods that Silas loved - soup, all soups!!
Disney Fantasy in Port Canaveral
Silas in our porthole.
The "Up Bed". Everyone wanted the loft bed that folded out of the ceiling.
Skadi "enjoying" the view.
Meeting Anna and Elsa!
Happy Silas still talks about meeting Anna.
We had Skadi's hair braided. Huge help in managing her hair - she had it in for two weeks!
Ice Cream at every meal.
Doc Mc Stuffins.
Silas loved Donald Duck.
Dinner at Animator's Palace - our favorite venue. We got to animate our own cartoon characters and then they danced on the walls for us.
Who knew, Silas loves soup.
Skadi on Pirate Night visiting our family at our other table.
Ice cream was a theme. It was either "free ice cream" everywhere, or the most expensive ice cream you have ever eaten.
The huge gingerbread house. (And us!)
Skadi and Cousin Wesley
Our housekeeper was master of surprises each evening.
Pirate Night! And more "Free" ice cream.
AB and I had dinner at Remy. Put Silas into daycare. Let Leif hang at The Edge and Skadi hung with grandma and grandpa for the evening. It was a wow and fabulous dinner. Glad we did it. It is touted as $85 each additional. That's base. We were offered plenty of additional items for hundreds of dollars. Wine pairings were $150 extra (we ordered a bottle). We kept it to a dull roar, but dinner for the two of us hit $300.
Dr. Hook and Mr. Smee
Cinderella and Skadi