Ok, so I know that some of you are probably thinking to yourselves – didn’t she JUST go to Italy a couple of months ago?
I did, but it would not have been possible to go if my mom hadn’t taken two weeks off of work to come to my house to look after my kids.
So when my mom’s birthday came up in June, I thought it might be nice to take her on a little vacation of her own.
She was expecting an iPad, so was pretty darn surprised when she saw that I had booked the two of us on a Western Caribbean cruise!
We left last Friday morning when it was still nice and warm here in Calgary. A long day of flying finally saw us in Ft. Lauderdale, ready to set sail the next day.
We had a nice meal (um – bacon-wrapped shrimp may be the BEST THING EVER!) and some red wine and then conked out at 10pm.
The next morning we went across the street from the hotel where we were staying and sat at the beach with our morning coffees. Then it was off to the port to board the ship!
My mom has never been on a cruise before, her vacations tend to be more exotic and immersive. (Her last trip was to Costa Rica where she ziplined!) I, on the other hand, am a big fan of cruises.
I know that cruise people are irritating when they descend by the thousands on a port, but as a mom and business-owner, sometimes it’s really nice to let someone else do all the planning and work for you.
The first night we ate at the dining room (something I never get to do when I travel with the family) and met some really lovely people. We toured the ship, checking out the ice rink, mini golf course and climbing wall. And of course, the casino.
Can’t forget the casino, where we made it a goal to have our names announced as winners each day. My mom even went one step further by placing 2nd in the slot tournament, narrowly missing the prize of a free cruise!
Our first day was at sea, where it was cloudy and windy. Then the thing I dread most when I’m on vacation started to happen. The dreaded tickle in the throat. My throat got worse and worse as the day progressed, and by 8pm I was cuddled in the cabin drinking hot tea and shivering under blankets.
The next morning was our day in Grand Cayman, where we had excursions booked to pet stingrays, snorkel the barrier reef and relax on 7 Mile Beach. So I popped some Advil and away we went. The weather was gorgeous and about 28C yet I had to get out of the water due to uncontrollable shivering, lol. I’ve kind of stopped bringing cameras on my trips but since I didn’t want my iPhone anywhere near the water, I popped into the camera shop on the ship and bought a cute little Fuji underwater camera. I couldn’t see a thing due to the bright sun and the waves so I kind of just shoved the camera under water and snapped away. My one regret is that I didn’t shoot any video, because the hysterical laughter erupting from us every time a stingray would come by and “slap” us was too funny. I really had no idea how big stingrays are, and to have them just swim around you constantly is not only nerve-wracking but very very cool. She might kill me for posting it, but check out the photo of her in the first set below – I think those stingrays really surprised her. Ahahahahaha!
The snorkelling was next, and it’s another thing my mom hadn’t done before. Again, I had to quit early because my cold was kicking my butt and the waves were pretty strong – but my mom took to it like a champ and was the last one out there. I think she could have been out there for much longer but felt weird having the whole boat just watching her swim around, lol.
Finally the part I was most looking forward to – the beach! We had lunch and relaxed in the sun for a couple of hours, enjoying my favorite Caribbean pleasure – an ice cold Red Stripe. That night back on the boat, we ended up having a great time at the casino again, sharing a jackpot of $1000 and maybe more than a few frosty beverages.
The next morning was Cozumel, and it was our all-day beach break. All the pina coladas we could drink, beach chairs and gorgeous weather. We did a water balloon toss (didn’t win), posed with an iguana (I held the tail, and drew the line at the parrots) and got stung by little tiny jellyfish.
It was awesome. Then some shopping for some silver, vanilla and of course, Mexican wrestling masks.
Our last day at sea was spent playing in the slot tournament, playing bingo (I won the 4 corners, woot!), mini golf and laughing at the dancing waiters at Johnny Rockets. We were so sad to leave, we had a wonderful time on Royal Caribbean’s Navigator of the Seas. It’s a beautiful ship and some of the best staff I’ve ever encountered.
We disembarked on Thursday morning and went on a tour of the Everglades. My mom wanted to do the airboat and look for alligators. I was game, mainly because I had no idea what an airboat was or how close the alligators get. I almost had several heart attacks on that little excursion – those darn airboats go FAST and have no brakes. Or reverse. And I had no idea, but I am pretty scared of alligators. Of course, my mom loved every minute of it. Which made me glad I did it. Sort of.
The best part was how well my mom and I got along those 6 days away. I didn’t expect us to be at each other’s thoats, but knowing us, I thought there may be some snippiness if our blood sugar ever got low. I had so much fun with her, I was really surprised at how much we are alike and always wanted to do the same thing. We spent 6 days together, 24 hours a day, and I know we could have done lots more. I miss her now that we’re home! I’ve also realized that being with your mom when you are sick is still just about the best thing ever.
I can’t wait for our next trip, I really believe it’s something every mom and daughter should do.
I’m back home and back to work! If you are waiting on a gallery, you can expect an email from me soon! If you are looking to book a session, have no fear – I’m now in Calgary until January! LOL! Visit the website for more info: www.freshsugar.com