In case you missed it, I recently took my wife, two young daughters, and my parents on an 8-day eastern Caribbean cruise, courtesy of Carnival. It was the experience of a lifetime, but I have to admit that I was a little worried at first. During the plane ride to Port Canaveral, a couple nagging thoughts kept…well, nagging me: “What will the kids do? Will they be bored?”
Remember, my daughters are four and two years old. As is the case with most kids, they don’t filter their feelings. If they want to go home, they’ll say so. If they don’t like something, they’ll let anyone in earshot know without a hint of tactfulness. It just comes with the toddler territory.
Thankfully it didn’t take long to receive my answer to those questions after we set sail on the beautiful Carnival Sunshine.
Although we spent a lot of time together as a six-person unit, there were times when I was alone with both of the girls; and one of the first Daddy-Daughter bonding moments occurred when we first arrived on the ship to get something to eat. I must say that the food that Carnival provides is absolutely amazing, but don’t take my word for it – just look at the faces of the two tiny female humans I’m responsible for. The options are endless and you can keep getting more, and more, and more. You have a picky eater at home? There is something for him or her on the ship, trust me. And let’s be real – there are few better ways to bond with the kids than by eating some tasty food.
One night in particular was especially great. My youngest daughter goes to bed before everyone else, so I decided to take her to an early formal dinner while the rest of family enjoyed other activities. On the way to the dining hall, we took a professional photo together – and of the hundreds of shots of guests on the ship, ours was chosen to appear on the “Wall Frame of Fame.” No doubt that will serve as a nice memory.
But wait, there’s more. Carnival puts on an amazing Seuss at Sea breakfast where they serve Green Eggs and Ham and other goodies while the characters from the iconic books come to life. My daughters became really excited when Thing 1 and 2 came by our table. As you can see here, Thing 1 and my daughter had a nice bonding moment once they realized they share the same hairstylist.
Seemingly every kid on the ship loved being a part of the Seuss at Sea breakfast, including the biggest kid there (me).
Activities & Excursions
The Carnival Sunshine has a lot of activities geared towards kids, including the epic Camp Carnival (more on that in a future post) – but they really enjoyed the Waterworks waterpark and the Warehouse arcade. Whether it was going down the kiddie waterslide together or trying to win prizes at the arcade – I never once heard, “I’m bored, Daddy.” They had more fun than I can remember.
The fun didn’t stop once the ship stopped. The girls loved exploring Puerto Rico (luckily there were no frog sightings), and they especially enjoyed the beautiful beaches of Grand Turk while they played a few rounds of “Diva & The Bodyguard.” (Yes, that’s an actual game. I’ll let you figure out who played each role). Everything was so new to them, and I loved being their tour guide.
I must admit that I was most relieved by the fact I didn’t encounter one living frog during the cruise. For the uninitiated, I’m deathly afraid of frogs and have been ever since I was a kid. If you want the full story behind it, check out #14 on this list. However, the clever Carnival crew kept leaving frog towels in my room. Coincidence? Or maybe they just really like my blog? Who knows?
One of my favorite parts of fatherhood is creating memories with my children. Am I the perfect dad? No, but who is? One thing I can say with confidence is when my time on this earth has passed, my girls will know that Daddy gave it his all to create the best and happiest lives possible for them. The quality time we spent together in paradise helped strengthen that bond more than ever.
This post was created for Away We Go with Carnival, the destination for getting in the getaway state of mind.