Wow! This is really the only word to describe my non-traditional, traditional Thanksgiving vacation with my family! Every year for the past 4 years we have taken 7 day cruises through Norwegian (NCL) and Carnival. Absolutely amazing times! And this year was no different for us. This year we were able to take Carnival Sunshine! She was a beaut! I know most people are still pretty hesitant to sail with Carnival since that issue took place with the toilet systems and I can be the first to say…I was one of those people. But to me and the family’s surprise everything was so nice! The rooms were small little match boxes, the bathrooms were renovated and in great condition, & the heating/cooling system was on point – – perfect! But enough about the room…I just needed you to feel as if you were there too.
FYI – – During this time I chose to UNPLUG from social media…well really, my phone all together. I wanted to take this time to enjoy the moment because life really is a precious thing. Unplugging allowed me to focus more on the beautiful sites, people, and things that I more than likely would have missed trying to find a wi-fi connection somewhere. So photos, keeping up with the time, and letting the family and friends back home know that we were okay was my only use!
Day 1 & 2: Arrival was shockingly not hectic at all. Very smooth transition going from South Carolina to Port Canaveral onto the ship. Registration was available online with Carnival so that really helped too. These two days were dedicated to exploring the ship and meeting new people! My favorite find was the candy store! Super cute and colorful…and expensive too! $12 per lb of candy can cause a lot of trouble.
Day 3: First stop…Amber Cove! Gorgeous place with great shops…and cheap bottled water, thank God! The family really isn’t into shore excursions but more so of touring the city and ruins. Learning some of the history of the area. The Dominican Republic was full of sun-kissing weather! If only my name was “Amber” this would be an even cooler photo.
Also, while in Amber Cove, I was able to get my Passport stamped. I always forget to do this when we go out of the country but I finally remembered!
Day 4: Stop number two for the crew was the beautiful St Thomas but unfortunately as soon as my foot hit land it poured down raining! Literally nonstop rain! This was a bummer but the family and I still tried to push through and explore some of the local shops but it just didn’t work out. Thankfully we had visited this area on last years cruise so I totally can look at this as a win-win situation. I got a beautiful picture when we pulled up to dock.
Day 5: Puerto Rico was fun! Definitely had a Cuban/Columbian feel to the city. This was the most Americanized area visited. I saw tons of familiar stores and shops such as Polo Ralph Lauren, Foot Locker, CVS, and they even had a Starbucks. We didn’t do a paid tour here, instead we walked all through the little streets and small shops on our own. The brick roads were intense on my Tory Burch Millers. Tip: those sandals are not for walking long distances AT ALL! The foot traffic was unbelievable so trying to stop and take a photo was pretty much impossible. Luckily I was able to capture this beautiful seahorse in front of the cities most popular living area in town.
Day 6 & 7: Grand Turk (Turks and Caicos) was next on the list. The weather wasn’t so bad but the winds were out of this world! The Captain was unable to dock safely so we were unable to visit this beautiful place! So everyone was refunded their tax fees and port fees and to the casino we went! I had no luck there the entire trip! Bummer.
It’s also tradition to have a family, private party, cocktail hour. We were initially going to have three separate events but Carnival canceled 2/3 on us last minute. Thankfully, the travel agency that my aunt is a member of, was able to have all rooms compensated with $100 on board credit – this was pretty neat and appreciated. Thanks TPN!
To wrap this up, everything was so super awesome and wonderful for the Coleman/Spearman (and more) 2016 Family vacation. I hope that next year we are able to do a little bit more and maybe even start something twice a year. Here are a few extras from our trip!
Has anyone noticed a difference with self planning vacations and having a travel agent handle it all? I’ve never used a travel agent so please feel free to share some pointers, ideas, pros and cons with me for next years vacation!