Have you ever gone on vacation and then come back completely exhausted? Like you need a vacation from the vacation?! :-/ Well, I try to avoid that happening!! So when Superman wanted the whole family to vacation together and visit 3 countries I started to worry that we wouldn't actually be able to relax.
He researched all the different ships (since the one he and I had gone on before was pretty small) and decided on the Royal Caribbean, Allure of the Seas. It's their second largest ship and ended up being the perfect family experience!!! There were SO many areas created just for children and their Adventure Ocean program for kids is complimentary (if they are fully potty trained) and allowed us time to ourselves when we needed it. There's also a daycare for babies toddlers for an additional fee.
The boardwalk area was complete with a carousel, Johnny rockets, ice cream shop, hotdog stand, playground and aqua theater. We usually split our days on the ship between here and the pool area. They loved the shows at the aqua theater and of course went on the carousel more times than I can remember :-)
Before we left I did some quick online shopping for the boys at H&M. That's my go-to place for trendy, comfortable outfits for the boys. I don't think there's anything that came in that box that they didn't love and they lived in these shoes and hats all week long. Although they did break the sunglasses before we ever made it to sunshine! I was glad we had the hats instead.
Royal Caribbean has a contract with Dreamworks Animation so the boys got to see and/or meet all the Dreamworks characters from Shrek and Puss in Boots to Alex the lion and penguins from the Madagascar movie. They were pretty star struck by the kitty :-)
In the past when we've vacationed alone we spend over half of the vacation talking about or thinking about the kids. This time I feel like it was a good balance of still having alone time and being free to "vacation" while creating special memories and experiences with the boys.
Our first stop was Labadee, Haiti. It was beautiful - the mountains in the distance are gorgeous and the water was irresistible!
I'm usually happy putting my toes in the sand and getting my tan on but when we went jet skiing the water was so clear and blue I had to jump in! Our guide asked if anyone wanted to swim and I said, "YES PLEASE!!" I didn't realize I was going to be the only person on the tour who wanted to but hey, those other folks missed out! ;-)
After a morning on the beach we did what everyone suggested and went on the longest zipline over water.
Not gonna lie, I was pretty scared! I had ziplined in Gatlinburg before with no problem - no fear - I was cool. But this time I may or may not have cried just a little haha! seriously, my stomach was in knots. I shouldn't have waited to be the VERY LAST one like I did. The fear goes away as soon as you sit in the harness so if I had gone sooner I probably would've been less freaked. lol!! The actual experience of ziplining was amazing!
Second stop was Falmouth, Jamaica! We decided to take the boys with us for the first half of the day and I'm so glad we did. We didn't plan on a 20 minute taxi ride to the beach but it all worked out in the end.
*Travel Tip* From our previous travels out of the country we knew better than to accept the $20 per person taxi fare that they were trying to charge us in the port area. (yes, kids too) Walking right outside of the secured port area drops your fare at least 50% and it's still safe if you get one close to the port.
We had a little longer walk but that's why we were there - to explore! It was so fun to see another culture through their eyes. They lit up when we passed those souvenir shops, pointing out all the turtles, lizards and sharks that were carved in wood. :-)
They loved all the tropical flowers and played on the beach for hours. After plenty of sunshine and salty water we took ride back to the ship. They were pretty worn out and ready to play with friends. We dropped them off and headed back out.
I had read so many great reviews about rafting the Martha Brae River, so that's what we did! Our taxi driver took us to our guide and we spent about an hour on a bamboo raft, peacefully enjoying what our driver described as more of a true Jamaica experience. :-)
Next up: Cozumel, Mexico
Superman and I had been to Cozumel before - anywhere with a beach and sunshine is alright by me!! :-) But I will say, Cozumel isn't the best Mexico has to offer. After having been to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico three times, Cozumel kinda didn't stand a chance but it's still beautiful in it's own way. We had fun on the beach, got a ton of sun and then hopped back on the ship for an evening together.
My favorite moments are the ones like this. Actually one of my favorite moments of the entire trip was during a diving show at the aqua theater. Both Kasen and Bryce were mesmerized by this show and even other people next to us were noticing how enthralled they were by it. About half way into the show divers started diving into the water stage and Bryce was lit, screaming at the top of his lungs with every dive.
Thankfully the music was loud and people were clapping so it was totally acceptable for him to express himself. lol! We had people coming up to us afterwards, "I was having more fun watching your kids enjoy the show than the show itself!" Which pretty much sums up how I feel 90% of the time.
Thanks for reading!!