Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Disney Cruise 2015

Last week during Spring break, we went on a Disney Cruise with James's mom and dad and his brother's family.  To say that it was awesome, fun, and amazing is a huge understatement!  Disney knows what they are doing and it really was one of the best vacations I've ever been on (with kids)!

Listen, when we first started planning this trip, the sound of being on a cruise boat packed with kids, kids and more kids sounded like a sentence to me.  I more braced myself for what was to come instead of shake with shear excitement like I should have.  I was so wrong!

The boat was huge and it's amazing how everyone just spread out.  There was a water slide up top that went out over the water, putt putt golf, water splash pads, two pools, numerous movie theaters, kids clubs, nursery, the list goes ON.  I mean the kids were so highly entertained on the boat that when we finally docked in St. Maarten, they didn't want to leave.  Parker kept asking…"are we getting back on the boat??"  He was so worried he wasn't going to be able to go back to the "Oceaneer Lab" aka: kid's club.
Our three stops were St. Maarten, San Juan, Puerto Rico and Castaway Cay in the Bahamas.  St. Maarten was my favorite simply because I got to watch Parker swim in the ocean for the very first time.  He literally ran through the sand and into the waves squealing the entire way…priceless!  Sydney stayed behind on the boat that day because we didn't think she could handle taxis, the beach and shopping without a nap that whole day.  Yes, Disney will take care of your child 3 and under and entertain them, feed them and even make them nap.  Truly amazing.  Whether Sydney enjoyed being in the nursery is a whole other post. ;)

In San Juan, we zip-lined through the rainforest which was such a thrill, loved every minute of it!  The kids had to be 8 and older so most of them stayed in kid's club that day.  We went back to get them for lunch and walked the streets of Old San Juan.  We stopped for some authentic island food, ate ice cream made from passion fruit and coconut and toured the fort that protected the island hundreds of years ago.  Parker loved seeing the cannons!  Bouns: that night was pirate night at dinner concluded by a pirate show with Captain Hook and the whole gang!  Disney provided pirate gear so everyone could show up to dinner dressed as a pirate. 

Castaway Cay is an island in the Bahamas owned by Disney.  When you get off the boat you step onto a Disney paradise.  Beaches galore, water craft, a giant tower in the ocean with slides coming out of it for the kids…a full beach day for sure!  Sydney got to go to the beach for the first time on this day and she loved it!  Loved the water, the sand and all the sea shells she could find!

I could go on and on.  Don't even get me started on how good the food was or the fact that there were character appearances multiple times a day or how they showed Disney movies on a big screen at the swimming pool or how there were Disney movies on every channel inside your stateroom.  A truly MAGICAL vacation is how I will sum this up!!
That being said…if there is anyone out there who still reads this blog and wants more info on this cruise, please feel free to email me.  I'll answer any questions you have! mrslaurenaustin@gmail.com.

Now for picture overload…I am splitting the pics into two different posts!

Part one:
We were one very excited crew leaving Amarillo!
Riding the tram at DFW airport never gets old for these two!
We arrived in Orlando, threw our stuff into our hotel rooms and then headed off to conquer Downtown Disney!
Two boys and Buzz!
We found a Ghiradelli ice cream store and you better believe we stopped for chocolate ice cream!!!
Up bright and early on our van to go to the boat!!!  
The excitement level was through the roof!
Quite a sight to drive up to!
Here we go!!!
Made it!
It was a lot to take in and just beautiful inside!
The first thing we did was explore.  This was up top on the putt putt course.
We took Sydney by the nursery so she could get acquainted.
Our first dinner.
We had the same waiters the entire cruise.  They followed us around to all the different restaurants every night which was fun!
Sydney scored…a big bowl full of mac and cheese!  What toddler wouldn't love that?
Here we are at our first port in St. Maarten.  The sun was intense, I mean it was so hot and you know what?  It felt awesome!!!  We bought all the kids hats so they wouldn't fry in five minutes. :)
We walked around Marigot, the French side, and saw some great sights.
(One side of the island is owned by the French, the other is Dutch)
We stopped at this French bakery called Serafina's for some French chocolate eclairs.
 Oh my goodness…to die for!
Hanging out at Serfina's before heading to the beach.
My favorite picture!  
This is right after he ran full speed ahead into the water!  He was SO happy!
The water was gorgeous!
This was called Mullet Beach.
After a whole day at the beach, we shopped a bit and of course found an ice cream shop!
This is Parker posing for GQ.
Two VERY tired little boys.
They were begging to go back to the boat to rest…that sun will zap you!
Goodbye St. Maarten!
We picked Sydney up from the nursery and went straight to the ice cream bar on the boat. (you could literally get ice cream day or night…dangerous!!!)
That night was formal night at dinner at the Royal Court.
(you can even put your little one in the nursery during dinner if you want a "calm" dining experience…they have a fun toddler dinner in the nursery for them, we only did this on formal nights)
Formal night came complete with crayons and coloring pages! ;)

Rise and shine!
Parker thought it was the best getting to sleep on a bunk bed that came out of the ceiling every  night.
The day we docked in San Juan, we went zip-lining!  
This was awesome!
There were rope bridges everywhere as we hiked from tree to tree.
My cool in-laws…notice Ann's camera hanging from her chin strap! ;)
After our adventure we grabbed the kids and walked the streets of Old San Juan.
Here we are getting fresh sorbet!
Delish!
I think we all ate our weight in ice cream on this trip, ha! 
Old San Juan is just filled with character and charm.
These boys loved the cool fort!
Cannon balls!

Katherine and Parker looking out over the city!
I love this…saying goodbye to Puerto Rico from our balcony!
We had some really fun neighbors too!
We sailed right passed El Morro, the big fort on the peninsula.
Off into the sunset.
That night at dinner was pirate night, arrgh!
Followed by a big show on the pool deck by Mickey and the gang.  Captain Hook made an appearance as well!
Our next stop was Castaway Cay in the Bahamas and this time Sydney got to go to the beach for the very first time!
She was busy the entire time!
To the right you can kind of see the water slides and off in the background is our boat.
Cousin talk out in the water.
This kid loves the ocean!
Our boat pulled into port backwards so when we walked up to it we could see the back!
Goodbye Bahamas!
Not sure what got Parker's attention!?
The water…just a reminder of how awesome our Creator is!!
This was our last night on the boat.

That ends part one!  I will post the rest of the pics soon, there are just so many!!