Cue the Griswold's Christmas Vacation Soundtrack.
No, seriously. It wasn't bad, but it was a roller coaster ride. We had major ups and major downs and just tried to make it as fun as we could.
We took the cruise out of Galveston and left Sunday, the 22nd on the Carnival Magic. We got there early, had a smooth sign in, and then waited for about 2 hours to board the ship. Thank goodness Jansen got a nap!
We were all very excited. When we boarded, the rooms were not ready, so we headed to the buffet for lunch. Then we found our room, began unpacking, and went to roam the ship.
The kids' camp was not open that day, but they had an orientation session we had to attend to fill out paperwork and hear about all the rules. Picture it....Carnival Magic...2013....1,600+ children. Yeah.....
The next day, we began the chaos of getting the kids dropped off at Camp Carnival when it opened at 10am. Having been on a Disney cruise, I guess I was just expecting more. The kids were split into two groups, on different floors, in different sections of the ship. They only had one line for drops offs, pick ups, and late registrations. They had ONE person, manually flipping through pages and pages of children's names to locate the kid you were checking in...and she then had to write in the time, her initials, and the parent's information. It took FOREVER and it was total chaos. Kids were trying to check themselves out, parents were checking in, people were confused about where to go. It was just a mess, each and every time we dropped off or picked up. On the Disney cruise, each child wore an electronic bracelet and would just swipe in and out. There were separate lines for checking in and checking out. There was more than one person checking kids in and out. This was craziness.
So, once they got dropped off, Josh and I went to play casino games and trivia games.
All in all, the kids enjoyed Camp Carnival. They wanted to be there most of the vacation, which Josh and I agreed they could do. It's their vacation too, after all.
Monday night, we had family reservations at the formal steakhouse on board. We all got dressed up, took some pictures, and headed for dinner.
It turned out well. Each child practiced using more formal manners, they tried new foods, and we had a very nice meal.
The kids went back to Camp and when we picked them up, Caleb had lost a tooth. We settled in the room for the night and at 1am, we awoke to Caleb vomiting off the top bunk. We called the steward to bring some new sheets, I got him in the shower and cleaned him up, and cautiously went back to bed. We threw away his pajamas. Really...no need to try to recover those. Then we realized that the child had eaten a 20 ounce steak at dinner, and then had eaten snacks afterwards at camp. His stomach just couldn't take it.
The next day was Tuesday and it was Christmas Eve. We played all day on the boat! I went to the spa and had a 2 hour session. Amazing! The hubs and kids went swimming. And we relaxed on the balcony, excited to be waking up the next morning in Jamaica, a place we had never been before.
We awoke Christmas morning to stockings from Santa and a warm, sunny Jamaican adventure waiting for us.
We debarked the ship
and hopped on our tour bus that took us to a little craft area, and then to Margaritaville. We LOVED it. They had delicious food and a water park right there.
We were headed back on the bus to the beach, when one of the guides suggested we take the 5 minute walk there. We walked a little bit too far...got a little creeped out, and headed back to the ship. It was super easy to get back on board.