Summer is our family’s favorite time of year. We are warm weather people. The sun, sand, and surf call to us. Our kids were out of school on Friday and on Sunday we were headed to Port Canaveral to board the Harmony of the Seas for a week-long kid-focused vacation.
Admittedly cruising is not my preferred way to travel but I was down for the convenience (we only had to drive a few hours to the port) and all things kid-friendly to make two little dudes happy. They’ve had a year of parents focused on major house renovations, work, and health and deserved a break to kick back and let their kid flags fly.
It has been over 20 years since I have cruised and wanted the experience to better represent the travel industry. I do have clients that LOVE cruising.
Royal Caribbean has the loading and unloading of guests mastered. I was a bit worried because it is a huge boat and a ton of guests. We signed up for a specific time to arrive and the process was fast and painless. The debarkation was even more impressive. We were assigned a tag number and time to leave the ship. They picked up our bags outside of our stateroom the night before. No line to leave, no issue picking up our bags, and a quick walk to our car. I’d say from the time we left our stateroom to the car was less than 15 minutes. But that is logistics and has nothing to do with fun.
Our ports of call were Coco Cay, Royal Caribbean’s private island, St. Thomas and St. Kitts. We knew once the boys stepped onto Coco Cay there would be no way we could not do the water park. We all had a blast. We raced as a family down Splash Speedway, screamed together on The Slingshot, and tested our agility in the Adventure Pool. I was surprised that they didn’t have a lazy river but who has a chance to be lazy with two young boys. We also checked out the beaches and other areas on the island but Thrill Waterpark was definitely the spot for us.
In St. Thomas, we went kayaking in the mangroves and snorkeling with a local outfitter I booked outside of the cruise line. They texted me the night before to check in and touched base once the ship docked. It was at the next port that I learned how valuable that small effort was. This activity was our favorite of the trip. Being active is a must for us on vacation and we love seeing the little hidden areas of a destination. It was also the first time the four of us snorkeled together. The boys were able to see fish of all sizes, conch, and coral. They were fearless. Well almost. The guide saw a reef shark and once the boys heard this one swam towards it while the other swam away.
Our excursion on St. Kitts was a bit of a mess. We didn’t hear the captain release us to disembark and were late to our meeting point. The tour company failed to try to contact me and just left us. After some creative transportation, we were able to catch back up with the tour company, however, the owner was a bit rude to us in front of other guests. No bueno. The saving grace was the owner’s son who was a complete joy and went out of his way to deliver us the experience we wanted. We hiked through a rainforest learning about local plants, fruits, nuts, and island history.
That’s a wrap for this week. Next week I’ll cover family life on the ship.