~Mary Ann asked where I found my tankini suit.
I got this one, and most of my other suits from Target a couple years ago.
I looked real quick online and came across some really cute ones from Target if you are looking for a new one this Summer!
including this adorable plus size one:
and this oh so cute maternity one:
~Anonymous wondered how we booked our trip a rough idea of cost.
We booked the cruise directly through Disney Cruise Lines, we chose the cruise we wanted online and then called to make the reservations. I also booked the flights and hotels myself. However, if you haven't cruised before or making your own reservations makes you at all nervous, I would definitely recommend using a travel agent! It can be overwhelming and very time consuming to work everything out. Cruises are priced per person, so it will obviously depend on how many people are cruising. Our kids were all a discounted rate based on their ages, it will all be broken down for you when you book it. It also varies on how many nights you cruise and what ship you are on. We opted to book 2 conjoining rooms to accommodate our family of 5 versus a suite for additional savings.
The thing we like most about cruise vacations is they are all inclusive. You have everything paid for ahead of time (you can even pre-pay tips) and there are no surprises so it's easy to budget and save for when you know the exact cost. I love walking out of the dining rooms without paying ;) I'm sure time of the year also factors in to price, we chose not to go over Spring Break due to price increases. We also chose to fly home on Monday rather than Sunday because it saved us a few hundred dollars. These are all things a travel agent would be wonderful at helping you with!
~Anonymous asked if kids 10 & 8 were too old for a Disney cruise.
Absolutely not! I would say the majority of kids there were pre-teens. They had tons of activities geared to all ages.
~PPR asked if I had any tips on making a cruise like this more affordable.
Unfortunately, I don't think there are many 'steal of a deal's going on for Disney cruises like we sometimes find on other cruise lines. Although I can't say it's a 'once in a lifetime trip' for us as we do plan to go again sometime, this isn't the type of vacation we can take every year. That being said, when you factor in your entertainment, lodging, and all you can eat food for 4 people it didn't seem that outrageous to us. We put a value on the convenience of having everything planned for you so we didn't have to come up with things to do, and places to eat like we would have done on a weeks stay in Florida.
~Anonymous wondered if Jovie needed a passport.
She did not! We didn't get any of the kids passports. From my understanding, you do not need them to cruise as long as you are leaving from, and returning to the U.S. If your cruise leaves out of another country then you would need them for everyone. They did need their birth certificates.
~Melissa wonders if I have any tips on making extra cash to spend on her kids.
Robb and I are both savers by nature. It seems like there is always something we are saving up for. My advice (not that I think you should take financial advice from me, I am no Dave Ramsey, but since you asked ;) is to come up with a feasible amount you can put away each month to save up for your trip and when you reach that goal take your trip and celebrate! This might not be the type of vacation you can decide to take next month, it might take some budgeting and planning ahead.
~Mrs. Gable wondered if we took a stroller aboard and if we had a pack n play.
We did take a small umbrella stroller along and we are so glad we did! Jovie spent lots of time in it chilling in the shade or to sleep in. We put her in there during dinner since she's too small for a high chair. We also had many times we'd push Sadler in it when he'd fall asleep after the shows.
The cruise line provided a pack n play and also the bed rail where Sadler slept! They also had a diaper genie for us in our room and in every public restroom. They truly thought of everything and were so accommodating to us.
~Rachel asked if the kids ever had any melt downs and if I have any tips on flying!
Let's see, I don't specifically remember any major melt downs, Sadler had a hard time sitting still on the plane that lead to a few outbursts, but nothing extreme. Going into it we knew were would need some extra grace with them, and I think the fact that we were relaxed about it helps a lot. A plane ride is not the time to be uptight!
I think the trick to flying with kids is to keep them busy. I packed lots of snacks and treats for the boys. We also brought the iPad, and a portable CD player along with some new books on CD that was a big hit with Gray. We brought playdoh, lace up cards, coloring books and markers. etc. We had a layover both times which wasn't ideal, but ended up being nice to take a break to run some energy out before the next flight. Our kids are used to sitting quietly in church for an hour every week so it went pretty good. We also tried to schedule the flights during times they would likely fall asleep and that worked great! We got lots of compliments on how well they traveled. We are very proud of them!
~Anonymous wondered how it went on vacation, overall, with an infant, toddler and preschooler!
Really well, actually! But, we were BUSY! It was not a very relaxing trip, but we had so much fun!
Jovie was the easiest! She's still so good and sleeps a lot, so she was a breeze! No complaining or running off from her! She was the youngest sailor aboard the whole ship and got lots of attention everywhere we went! Lots of people thought I was carrying a little doll around, which is cute and kinda creepy too :) I even had a crew member ask if I gave birth on the ship! They were not used to seeing such a little one!
The only issue I recall Grayden having was before I 'gently urged' him to go down the AquaDuck slide with me, when he said he didn't want to! :) I knew he'd love it but he didn't quite believe me!
We knew Sadler would be the most challenging on our trip, and we had lots of talks with the boys before hand on our expectations of them on a cruise. And they did awesome! We've always noticed that the busier they are, and the more fun they are having, the more they get along! Which is our biggest issue at home...fighting! We didn't have that problem at all on the ship. We also struggle a lot at home during bedtime but that also wasn't an issue on vacation, they were so beat every night!
~Anonymous asked if we wished we had more time on our cruise.
I always wish vacation lasted longer! :) But, we purposely chose a shorter cruise (3 night cruise with 2 additional nights in Orlando) just to test the waters and see how the kids would do for their first cruise, and our first trip as a family of 5! We also didn't want Grayden to miss more school than he already has this Spring. Ideally, we could have used one more day on the cruise, there was so much to check out and we couldn't fit it all in! I think our next cruise will be at least 4 nights.
**I think that answers all the questions, if i missed anything or you think of more, leave them in the comments section and I'll answer them there!
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