Ever go on a vacation you dreaded only to have an amazing time? #TiWiWF
After 41+ years of teaching, my mother retired. 41 years. 41. I have a hard time imagining that number since I’m not even that old. My hubby is. Ha! But years, 41 of them in fact, is a long time to be a part of an institution that has shifted and morphed and changed, where parents became the problem even moreso than the kids, where teaching to the test has, too. It’s sad when I look at it and recall my mom’s stories. But I gotta say, retirement doesn’t mean sitting in a rocking chair and knitting. Not for my mom. What did she do?
She took her entire family on a cruise.
Now before you say ‘Oh you lucky dog!’ to me … my mother already knew *I* have one very, very VERY big problem.
I get motion sick.
But this was my mom’s retirement wish, so what did I do?
I bought Sea Bands.
I bought Bonine.
I bought Dramamine.
After 6 months of waiting, we passed through the JAXPORT terminal to get to our boat.
And we waited.
The boat was late to dock. The boat was late to disembark. The boat was late to reembark. The computers shut down and getting 2000 people on board took about 8 hours. We were in the “hour 7″ group … you know … the last people to get on (just about).
So, so far, you’re thinking, this is not going well.
What did I have to look forward to? 5 days on the high seas with stops at Half Moon Cay – Carnival’s private island and a stop in Nassau.
Night number 1: since we were docked until 10pm and nighttime somehow doesn’t make me sea sick, I stuck with the Sea Bands. By morning, as our boat ‘cruised’ on through 10-15′ waves.
Yes, you read that right. 10-15 FOOT TALL WAVES … I was ready to die.
Okay, maybe that’s a little dramatic, but if that was my view through my balcony door, would you believe me?
Yup. Me and the ‘high seas’ … we don’t get along, but that’s okay.
This is for my mom. I can do this.
So, up I went, loaded myself with not 1 but 2 doses of Bonine and stumbled my way (the boat was REALLY rocking) to my parent’s room with hubby in tow.
Thank God he went with me. Because in that room, my two girls were getting sick. (They hadn’t yet had medicine, but from that point on, I loaded them up). Three hours later, back in my room, my son got sick.
Yep, I’ve passed on the genes. I told my husband that I had to pass on SOMETHING bad to my kids. It couldn’t all come from him. Ha!
As that wonderful Mecklizine (that’s the drug name) kicked in inside all of us, we started to explore the ship. The first place my girls wanted to hit? The Carnival Water Works.
Figuring I could sit on a bench and the deck hands would clean up anything that didn’t yet settle in my stomach, I went with them, with camera in hand.
That was the ‘easy slide’.
Here is the one I thought they’d never go on, but they went on it SO many times on Monday afternoon and Wednesday afternoon that the Carnival Lifeguard at the top both knew their names AND which one was which.
Why didn’t I think they’d go? Well that little lip you see to the left of the photo? That little area hangs OVER the edge of the boat. It gave me the heebie jeebies just to look at it. Later my sister, brother-in-law and my DAD all went on it too.
So, staying loaded up on good drugs, Tuesday morning arrived and with it a stop on the private island. Since this was a retirement party, Mom and Dad splurged on all counts (thanks, Mom & Dad!!) and we had one of 15 cabanas (15 for 2000 people! Call us lucky!).
Our view was gorgeous, too.
Pit stop Day 3 was in Nassau where we ate at the FAMOUS Senor Frogs. Heads up people … this place, while it looks kid friendly? Um … yeah. It’s really not made for kids. Sure there are balloons and kids menus and even high chairs, but that’s coupled with doing shots off the bar. My kids thought it was crazy.
And here’s my gorgeous Mom, who looks nowhere near her age, enjoying her retirement.
Six hair braids and three souvenirs later, we headed back to the boat, back to the Water Works and I finally got my first drink. I’d deliberately not taken any meds since we were on land all day and I wanted a Daquiri!
Four hours later, I took meds as the boat headed back to Jacksonville.
Being ‘at Sea’ for a whole day would seem ‘boring’ but on a cruise ship? There’s TONS of stuff to do. Like learn to make your own towel animals, or play air hockey or watch an ice sculpture as it’s created or a game of chess with daddy back in the room.
By the last day, we’d all gotten our sea legs. We’d figured out the layout of the boat and new the backways to ice cream and pizza. We knew what stations worked best on the TV. We had sat on our balcony without throwing up over the railing. What had started out really, really rough, had become a trip full of memories including the wait stay singing ‘Happy Retirement’ to my mom in the formal dining room on Friday night. To the tune of Happy Birthday.
The best part? None of them were American, so mix in the odd syllables to the fun tune in 8-10 different accents.
Would I do it again?
Even Mom has said, next time, it’s a resort somewhere on land. With our feet firmly planted and no need to take medicine non-stop just to make it through a day.
I didn’t get a lick of writing done on this trip. Not one bit. Nope. But that’s okay. It was 100% worth it.
Ever go on a trip you were worried about only to have an amazing time? Share in the comments!