Last week, we went on our first Cruise with Connor and with some of our new friends from our neighborhood. Andrea had planned the Cruise to coincide with Connor's spring break from school and we thought it'd be fun to have some other families and kids along so she floated the idea to a few people and we were pleasantly surprised when three other families planned to come with us!
We were joined on the trip with (from left to right in the first picture) Gina, Trevor, Mark, Clara, Danny, Dan, Sofia, Kenlyn, Angel and Chris. Kelsey is not in the picture. They were all awesome traveling partners and the kids got along and played well together.
Our first stop, on Friday was at Freeport Bahamas. We typically have only ever done Carnival sanctioned and sponsored excursions, however Chris and Angel were pretty used to just getting off the boat and finding things to do on their own. We decided to give that a try and we all rented a taxi together and drove out to a nearby beach. It saved us a lot of money to do it directly ourselves and it was the same beach that many other cruisers paid to go to.
The beach was one of our favorites. Mark brought along a volleyball and there was a net near the seats. I played volleyball with Mark, Chris and Kelsey quite a bit and there were other people that joined in. The kids played in the water most of the time and we threw around a frisbee and football with the boys.
That same night was formal night! It was a little stressful to get back to the boat on time to get all fancied up and dressed nicely for dinner.
After dinner, most of us got together for some formal pictures on the stairs.
We really enjoyed the shows on this cruise. Typically there is one male and one female singer and a bunch of dancers. On this cruise, there were four male and four female performers that danced and sang. They were surprisingly good and the music choices were more to our tastes too.
We went out pretty much every night on the cruise. We liked one of the comedians and watched all his shows. The dance club was Andrea's favorite part. There were a lot of partiers on the cruise, so it was always a lively scene at night. Clara and Dan liked to gamble and Chris and Mark did a bit too. I lost $100 on the poker table the first night and decided I didn't like the computerized system on the boat.
On the second day of the cruise, we went to Nassau Bahamas. We intended to go to the Atlantis resort for the day and had heard good things about the water park. We took a cab over to the hotel and we were blown away to find out that a one person ticket to the water park would be around $135. One of the cab drivers mentioned that the best way to get around the high price of the ticket was to book a room. Unfortunately, I think they had "special" spring break pricing in place and it would have cost even more if we booked a room.
The inside of the Atlantis was very pretty.
In the end, we decided to just walk to a nearby beach that was free. There were lots of locals there peddling random junk and ripoff prices on alcoholic drinks served out of coconuts. We rented a few beach chairs, bought more junk than we should have, and had a surprisingly fun day.
Chris and Mark rented some jet-skis and we all thought it looked like fun to ride a banana boat. We all chipped in for the ride and regretted it. The boat pulling us kicked up a ton of saltwater spray right in Andrea's face. The kids mostly hunkered down in terror during the ride and Kelsey almost fell off at the end. We were all thoroughly soaked by the time it was over. It was an experience, but not one we'd do again.
Back on the boat, we partied up! We all went to the dance club a couple times and Andrea was a dancing queen. There were lots of opportunities to dance and we all shook our moneymakers and got our money's worth.
Possibly my favorite moment of the cruise came very unexpectedly. After we all played bingo, one of the dancers taught a dance class. She taught the opening steps to "Single Ladies" by Beyonce.
Kenlyn and Kelsey went up on stage to do the dancing and Connor and Trevor considered it and then decided to sit and watch instead. You could tell they both kind of wanted to go up on stage, but changed their minds. Kelsey and Kenlyn went through the entire routine with the dance coach and then had a few performances where they put all their moves together. After they were done, they split in to two groups and performed as teams. Finally, the dance coach welcomed anyone who wanted to dance, and to everyone's surprise Connor ran up on stage.
He hadn't really been paying close attention, but he made a go of it and shook his booty and entertained us all. They did two runthroughs and I got the first on video and the second time through I snapped a few pictures.
The video is cute, but we were surprised it wasn't as exciting as it was in real life. It was such a surprise to see him run up there and you can hear everyone from our group in the audience shrieking and cheering for Connor and Kenlyn.
Prior to Connor's breakout performance he was fairly reserved with dancing, but after being up on stage he wasn't nervous about it any more. The rest of the trip he was happy to go dance with his friends and it was very fun to see him break out of his shell and party up!
Connor was a good boy for most of the trip and typically got to stay up way past his bed time. One night, he fell asleep on me while I was holding him.
Overall, it was possibly our most fun cruise ever. Lots of great company, fun at the beach and boat, and a lot of quality time with our Connor.