I can't believe it's already been 6 days since I posted last. I really only thought it was 3. haha! I was trying to go for "one-post-a-day" without missing. But...well, let's just say I was feeling really under the weather with my ongoing "stuff." For those of you who know me well, you know what it is I get sick with. I don't talk about it much anymore cuz I get tired of hearing myself complain. But know that sometimes it puts me down for the count. hehe. But! I'm back.
I decided I would split up my posts for the days we actually visited a city. First, I'll give you a "Day in the Life" of what we did on the ship that day, and then a subsequent post will be what we saw at the port. That way it splits it up a little, ya? Make sense? Good! Oh, and are you still with me? You didn't lose interest did you? I hope not! Cuz I have some fun stuff to tell.
Lots of people have been asking me what the girls did while we were on the ship, and whether or not it was appropriate for teenagers. I have been answering them with an emphatic "YES!"
I'll just show you in pictures what they did...and, of course, I wish I would have captured so many more things than I did. But, alas, I didn't. I was too busy enjoying the cruise. hehe.
Like I said before, every night before we went to dinner, our bedroom guy would come and "turn down" our beds. He would leave chocolates, towel animals, and a "Daily Navigator." We LOVED the Daily Navigator. Seriously. I looked forward to getting it every night. It gave a full scope of everything going on that day. I've scanned one in so take a look at it a little closer if you want to see how amazing it was.
The first page always had information about where we were going "at port" the next day. It gave interesting facts, like the currency, the language, cool shopping to do there, a map, and a history about the city and what makes it noteable. It also laid out what shows were going on that night, as well as what the style of "dress code" was for dinner that night.
On the second page (see below), there was a full itinerary, by timeframes, of what was going on on the ship. Family stuff, "All Ages" events, "Adult" activities, and the different "age groups" and what they were doing. As you can tell there was A LOT going on during the day.
The third page had a few more descriptions of all the activities. The girls and I had a fun time reading about everything here.
The first thing the girls always looked for was what time there was going to be a Character Sighting. This was an official, scheduled picture-taking event. However, the ship also had characters walking around during random times, as well as visiting the kids at the Kids Clubs. So, it was not uncommon to turn around and see Peter Pan, or Stitch, or Mickey Mouse walking next to you, or climb into the elevator with Pluto or Goofy. The girls wanted to catch them all.
Some other things to do
There were also about 40 channels on the TV that had classic Disney movies, modern Disney movies, Disney Channel, Music Videos, sitcoms (multiple channels), news, seminars on the ports we were going to, and newly released movies (not all Disney). We actually hardly ever watched TV, but when the girls were super tired (from staying out all night or swimming) they would come and vegge and watch a movie or music video.
They would also, of course, go swimming and watching movies on the Ariel View Television Movie Screen, or layout by the pool. Oh, I forgot to say this on the first day... the first thing Xanthe said to me when she saw the pool was, "I know what I'm going to do the whole trip." (I, of course, thought she was going to say, go swimming, or read my books, or make new friends).
"Work on my tan!"
Out & About Discovery Series
The girls lived and breathed "Ocean Quest." I basically never saw them on this entire trip because of Ocean Quest.
Let me describe Ocean Quest to you. It's a super-exclusive club for 11-13 year olds, in the middle of the ship, where they spend every waking moment doing things that only Tweens do. There were counselors running the activities so we had nothing to worry about. The kids could come and go as they pleased and play with whatever they wanted. There was a wall of video screens for video games, a ship simulator (see pictures below) where the kids could practice "docking the ship", a huge chess and checkers board set up most of the time, and a large couch area to watch movies. They held card games (like "Spoons") and Fear Factor tournaments. It was a big "hangout" place.
I won't go into too many of the activities here cuz I'm sure I'll capture them through pictures along the way. But maybe not, because I didn't see the girls most of the time to take picture of them.
Here is the Profile Board. On the first day, the kids did a "get-to-know-you" type event where they made these profiles of themselves and played a bunch of games. It was fun to read all the other kids' interests, especially after I got to know a few of them throughout the whole trip.
A couple of activities you can see below that the girls were doing making maracas. I think this was the first day when we were in Spain. It wasn't uncommon for the Ocean Quest staff did some fun things that had to do with where we were at port.
One of the girls' favorites was when they did "Animation Cells". The girls would even pull the whole "kit" out on their "downtime" so they could do more. Here are two of the probably 10 they did. I couldn't find the other ones they did. I think they've put them away in their memory boxes already.
They had to place a clear sheet of transparency over a picture and then trace it backwards. Then color the back of it. When you turn it over, it looks like a cartoon. The girls LOVED this activity. Pooh Bear was made for Spencer. He loves Pooh Bear (and all the characters).
Did I mention that Ocean Quest was my saving grace! I called it the perfect opportunity for the girls to exert their independence, but while in a controlled environment.
Seriously, though, it was so amazing. They made so many friends that they are still in touch with now. And this next comment may sound like I'm bragging, but I'm not. They were one of the most popular on the ship. Everyone was always looking for them, or wanting to hang out with them. I am in awe at them, because as everyone knows, I was never like that. But the girls did a really good job at not getting caught up in it. They did their own thing, which included "younger" things like chasing characters, but then did older things too, like laying by the pool, or hanging with their friends.
Oh, I forgot to mention the "Out & About Series." This was basically an extension of Ocean Quest, but it was any activity that took place outside of the Ocean Quest Lab. For instance, one night they went up to the pizzeria (at 12:00 a.m.) to make their own pizzas from the chef. Another night they had a Movie Night, and Karaoke. During the day, they had scavenger hunts across the entire ship, and sports up on the sports deck. There was a talent show as well. The girls really loved doing the Out & About events.
What Did Spencer Do?
Some other things that Spencer did along the way were...
Playhouse Disney DancingEvery morning a character would come down to the Promenade Lounge and they would dance to fun songs from Handy Manny, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Imagination Movers, and others. Spencer, as much as he loves to dance, mainly just watched in awe at the characters.
Oceaneers ClubThe ship had the most amazing club for children 3-5. They would put these electronic wristbands on the kids that would check them in and out, as well as make sure they weren't leaving with someone other than their own parents. Like Ocean Quest, there were activities going on all day. I took pictures of a few of the events, so I won't tell you about those ones here. But know that if we could have utilized this place, we would have. We were only allowed to utilize it if we were there with Spencer. Because he wasn't potty trained, we couldn't exclusively leave him there.
This was one of the only things we were disappointed with in the cruise. We had to pay full price for Spencer, but there was nothing free that we could take advantage of for him. There was a nursery we could have left him in, but it was mainly for little babies, and we had to pay $6.00 an hour. We definitely complained about this cuz it didn't seem right.
Our friends, Lindsey and Hans, were able to leave both their kids in there. They would take them at 10:00 a.m. and leave them there through til after dinner. When they tried taking them to go out to spend time with, the kids cried and did not want to leave. They were fed in there, and even put to sleep on mats. You could leave your child there til midnight if you wanted to go to the shows. They would give each set of parents a pager to be called in an emergency. Otherwise, off you go! Don't bug the kids! Go have fun sightseeing.
In the picture above...if you can see it off to the right, behind the main pole in front, there is a netting covered stairway going up to another floor. There is a slide up there that was Spencer's absolute favorite thing to do. He would go on that 50 times if he could. Of course, one of us had to go with him. Usually it was Brian. hehe.
Here are some pictures of some of Spencer's favorite things to do at the Kids Club...I didn't get any pictures of him, though, in the "Captain's Closet" where lots of computers, books and toys were. Bummer. He loved that area.
...another slide...he used this one when the big slide was closed.
...sorry...I took a lot of pictures. He was just being so cute. Here, he's playing peek-a-boo.
...sorry...I took a lot of pictures. He was just being so cute. Here, he's playing peek-a-boo.
Some mornings they would have a Toddler Time where they would bring out the toddlers. We had to be there still, but Spencer loved the toys they brought from the nursery. At all the other times, the toys were for the older kids, something he didn't love so much. It wasn't until the last day that someone finally offered up the information at the nursery (actually, it wasn't until I asked) that if we wanted to, we could ask the Oceaneers Club to bring some toys from the nursery for the younger kids to play with. duh. How come no one told us that when we were in the Club every day during the week. So, as you can see, there was ONE thing we were bummed on. That was pretty much it, though.
Because there wasn't a ton for Spencer to do...he came up with ideas on his own. Here are a few...
Trying on Shoes
He loved putting on everyone's shoes and thought it was so funny to walk around in them. I kinda thought it was funny too.
This little kid is so funny. There were two areas downstairs that had carpets with a border around them. One was of birds, and the other had sea animals. They were in the main lobby so of course every time we went through there, he had to run a few laps and then point to each animal for us to say what it was. You can't see the sea animal one here, but he loved that one for sure.
On quite a few occasions, Spencer ran this track about 15 times and would have kept going except there were about 100 people lined up to take pictures with the characters.
Climbing to Collect the Candy
Every night, Spencer knew that when we got back from dinner, Craig had left us some candy. By the way, we loved Craig. He was from Jamaica, and he would call out every time someone walked down the hall...(Say in a Jamaican accent)..."Spencuh! Whuts happeneen!" Spencer would get so excited to see Craig. And I always knew when one of the girls was coming back. If my door was cracked open, I could hear Craig say, "Soee! Whuts happeneen! You goeen for dinnuh?"
Anyway, Spencer would run in from dinner and collect all the chocolates from the pillows. He knew where they all were. There were 3 or 4 on both queen beds, and one on each of the single beds. One night we showed him the top bunk had one up there too and he climbed up without even thinking. That is a huge thing for him...cuz of his gross motor skills not developed quite yet. He didn't even care. And once he learned how, we couldn't keep him down. He would go up there and lay down like he was going to sleep.
...and last but not least...
***We did more than all of this during the day. I'll post each daily activity as they come, and as I remember. I don't know that I have a whole ton more pictures of the events...but you get the idea, right?