I am heading off on a three-day cruise next week without the company of my family. Instead I am travelling with a friend of mine that I have known my entire life! We are celebrating our birthday on the cruise as we share the same day. For those interested, you’ll see some of our adventures on social media (Instagram & Facebook) because like any good social media girl, I’ve bought the deluxe drink package + wifi!!!! Disconnected yet a little connected.
For now, allow me to take you on a trip back through time to the first cruise experience we had as a family. It was a massive joint family endeavour; the five of us, my sisters family and her three kids, my brothers family and his four kids and my mum… Enjoy!
From the moment we left our hotel we travelled in style thanks to our extraordinary cruise coordinator Cathe Offet. As a Hummer limo approached the ten kids squealed for joy as they realised this was our ‘sweet ride’. The drive was fun, the music was pumping and it was here where a perfect moment happened. Taio Cruz, ‘Dynamite’ was probably the most lyrically appropriate song for the beginning of our time away. We sang at the top of our lungs, threw our hands up in the air, whilst singing: ‘Ayo, Gotta let go. I wanna celebrate and live my life, saying Ayo! Baby, let’s go.’
Having lost our father/husband/grandfather only a year and a half before, as well as being on this trip (all 16 of us) with our mother/grandmother, it seemed that singing about celebrating and living our lives seemed so very appropriate. As we sang, I nonchalantly put my sunglasses on to hide the tear I was shedding. My tears were of loss and they were tears of joy.
I leaned over to my mother sitting beside me and whispered, “Mum, if I don’t say it enough this week, I’m having a really good time and it’s only started.” She turned to me, smiled and with that we both threw our hands in the air again and sang ‘Ayo, Gotta let go. I wanna celebrate and live my life.’
The limo turned a corner and the singing quickly turned to gasps and ooooohs and aaaahhhhs. When we reached the ocean, we all got a glimpse of our temporary floating home. She was magnificent. A knife could have cut the excitement in the limo.
We handed over our luggage and our first encounter with the ship’s staff was these incredible porters. They managed to get all our belongings from land to sea with ease. Their job isn’t the most glamorous but they were so happy and so attentive to our every need. Their smiles told a story and it was a story that was good. I was pleasantly surprised at how beautifully they treated us. The attention to detail even at this early point surprised me.
Our first few hours involved us, as the kids say ‘exploring’. We walked around and acquainted ourselves with our new environment. Within an hour of being on board, all the cousins were hiking around and quickly came back to report their findings. They managed to formulate their own (teens, tweens and those under 10). Now 24 hours later, they are pros. They are getting around everyone without adult guidance. The kids are wise; they are all well-travelled so they know the dos and don’ts when it comes to the stuff we all worry about. They are having a ball.
Now, I sit writing this update from the comfort of my private deck. My sweet Ella is having a quick nap following an extraordinary day on Princess Cays Island. After hours of sun and surf our youngest cruiser in the group needs to recharge in order to be ready for tonight. On her list of to do’s is the kids club (it looks like so much fun) and for our aspiring artist a trip through the art gallery.
Gabriel (9) is enjoying his limitless shakes and smoothies, he and his cousin Tristan have also found the Pizza Bar (Tristan plans to write a note to the Pizza Chef complimenting him on his cooking skills).
Sophia (12) is enjoying a break at one of the many pools. She, Isabel and Emma (her two cousins) will no doubt be sitting poolside giggling and having the time of their lives. They’ve decided that tonight it’s movies under the stars for all of us. We can hardly wait.
So friends I have to report Princess For a Day has been pretty extraordinary. This is our first cruise and everyone from the youngest (6) to the eldest (72) loves it. I can’t wait to share more.
What memories were had! What a special time for everyone to be celebrating life and loving each activity, bite of pizza, movie, relaxing by the pool and spending time to unwind.
I am grateful for times like this where my family is all together and we are well cared for. The cousins enjoy each other’s company and us adults can rest easy without parenting for a few hours. The cruising life is not to be underestimated. These times are needed friends, and we have had more fantastic cruises since this very first one! And I’m ready to do it all over again!