Hello all. I have a serious problem. I’m. CRAZY! I have developed an obsession on par with anything tv’s Monk ever suffered. Actually two obsessions. I have been obsessed with the details of our Disney World trip for over a month, and NOW I have found a new one: cruises. Recently, I hatched a plan to take my dear children on a trip for the girls’ graduation, something I could do for them myself, without help from my mother. (Please note: I am extreeeeeemely appreciative of my parents and all they do for me. I’m grateful, I’m thankful, I’m ecstatic. That being said, I also suffer from constantly not feeling like a full-grown adult because it feels like they help me much more than they should have to at my current age!)
So anyway. I decided I wanted to take some kind of special trip for us as a family, something I would plan, arrange, schedule, pay for, and carry out all by myself. I tossed some ideas to the kids, such as a second Disney trip, Vegas, New Orleans, Branson, Port Aransas, TX (those last two both previous family vacation spots) or a cruise. I talked to the kids and told them to discuss among themselves what they wanted to do and get back to me. Meanwhile, I was already getting my heart set on a cruise. Based on my research, I knew that cruises are always getting more affordable for the ‘less than wealthy’ such as myself, and that with the option of paying it out over time, along with last minute discounts, etc., I could probably make a great cruise vacation happen.
Now let me just say here, I think I have been to every cruise booking, low pricing, discount-offering website on the entire internet. Cruises.com, CruiseCompete, VacationsToGo, Orbitz, Priceline, Hotwire- you name it, I’ve surfed it. They’ve begun to run together, but here are the realities so far: 1) If I had a brain in my head or any semblance of reasonableness or responsibility, I’d save $$ by not having to fly anywhere and sail out of the closest port to where we live, which is Galveston. 2) Only Carnival and Royal Carribean regularly sail out of Galveston. 3) The kids were interested in a Disney cruise for the characters and character dining, but Disney is pretty pricey, and the only other ships that currently offer characters on board are a small number of Royal Carribean ships that have Dreamworks characters. Two of these are the Oasis of the Seas and the Allure of the Seas, both of which are MONSTER ships that hold a maximum capacity of over 6000 passengers. 4) Royal Carribean also offers Broadway musicals (!) on the Oasis and the Allure– Hairspray and Chicago, respectively. 5) I could have lived with cruising out of Galveston until I discovered the character dining and Chicago production on RCL, and from that moment, there was only one ship for me: The Allure.
A little disclosure here- I never wanted to go on a mega-ship. I have always asserted that if I were to ever go on a cruise, I would want a nice, quiet, friendly, intimate little ship that holds two- to three- thousand people. But here I am, completely hooked on this idea, having every intention of doing whatever I have to do to make a cruise on the Allure a reality. I mean seriously? This ship has everything. No, I mean EVERYthing. Wanna rock climb? They’ve got it. Wanna learn to surf on a FlowRider or ride on a Zipline? They’ve got it. Want Mystery Theater, ice skating, aqua theater? How about a carousel? Central park? Pizza restaurant? Ice cream? Donut shop? A dozen different bars, lounges, and clubs? Learn to salsa dance? Ice carving? Yep. They’ve got it.
And you thought I was kidding. So basically, even though I am fully aware that I will have to work, pinch, scrimp, save, mortgage the farm, and possibly sell a kidney and a cornea or two, I have decided that this is the cruise we want, on the ship we want, and I am going to book it as soon as I get my tax return back. I’m going to look around and find the best travel agent I can find and get the best deal I can, and I’m going to take my kids on a ginormous floating amusement park. Oh, wait- where does it go? You know, it hardly matters. As it happens, the itinerary is Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Nassau, Bahamas; Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas; Philipsburg, St. Maarten; Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Oops- did I mention it sails out of Fort Lauderdale? Yeah, so I have to add air travel on top of the cruise. Brilliant, right? Falling in love with a ship that leaves from 1400 miles away. But what’s done is done. As of right now, I am bound and determined to make this happen. Daughter S. is already salivating over the giant cupcake as big as her head from the Cupcake Bakery; Daughter J. is looking forward to the How to Train Your Dragon ice show and dining with Shrek, and The Boy? Hopefully this is not an ill omen, but he showed particular interest in how you get into the bridge and what button you push to make it go. He’s just ready for the whole thing. You know what? So am I!
Until next time,
PS- The picture above is the Oasis, the older of the two monster-ships. I know they’re both pretty ugly from the outside, somewhat resembling a floating cracker box, but hey, why quibble? They’ve got all the goodies. And… we like goodies!