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Cruisin' Through the Caribbean: Part 1

Have you ever been on a cruise??? I hadn't until my husband and I started dating, and wowza, was I missing out! They are so much fun and there is seriously an endless amount of things to entertain you on a ship. My husband's family is cruise obsessed and they have always sailed with Royal Caribbean. I haven't sailed with any other cruise line so I have no frame of reference, but I honestly have no reason to try another company!

I've been on 3 total cruises and this last one was one for the books! We went with a lot of our family (20 people!) and had a blast! The trip was 10 days total, and let me tell you, 10 days was not enough! Check out our itinerary and what we did each day! I'm going to break it up into 2 parts so that it's easier to read and not too much information!

Day 1: San Diego to Ft. Lauderdale

Since we had so many people, we decided to take a shuttle from our house to the airport with everyone in tow. It worked out perfectly and we fit 13 people and lots of luggage! It was about $22 a person and so worth it! We used NAME OF COMPANY and they were great to work with. We had an early 8am flight, so they picked us up at 6am. We flew Alaska Airlines and there were no hiccups the entire way. When we got to Ft. Lauderdale, we were starving so we had dinner. They're 3 hours ahead, so our schedules were a bit off. We ate at NAME OF RESTAURANT and it was so so so yummy! We got pizzas, salads, mozzarella sticks and, of course, wine! The restaurant was right next to the Hilton Hotel, where most of the family stayed, and there were so many places to choose from! The shopping is great, too! We came upon a street fair so did some shopping with the locals. It was perfect for a night out before getting on the ship the next morning! Collin and I had points at Hyatt Hotel so we took an Uber and met up with the family the next day. Both hotels were great and we would recommend both. Perfect start to our trip!

Day 2: Get on the Ship

There is nothing like pulling up to the port and seeing the ginormous ship that you get to spend the next week on! It's organized chaos and I'm honestly so impressed with Royal Caribbean. They have their system down to a tee and it did not feel like they were loading thousands of people onto the ship. We didn't even have to wait in one line! Security was quick, check in was quick and they took our bags for us right at the curb so we didn't have to lug them around! We got our sea passes, or drink passes as I like to call them, and met up with the rest of the family and officially started our vacation, drink in hand! This is the day where we walk around the ship figure out all there is to do, which is so much! We went on the Odyssey of the Seas and oh my gosh was it amazing! There were bars, pools, an indoor play area, a sky zone, a virtual reality room, a flow rider, a rock climbing wall and so much more! This is also the first night where you get to meet your waiters. These people are truly the kindest people on the planet. They are so fortunate to have their jobs and are always happy to serve you! We fell in love with our two waiters on the first night and now we're all Facebook friends!

Day 3: Labadee, Haiti

When people hear that we went to Haiti they get a little unsure, BUT, Royal Caribbean owns a whole part of the island where it is safe, has lots activities and you can use your sea pass. We are early risers when it comes to traveling because we don't like to miss a beat! We got off the ship as soon as they would allow and made out way to a little beach. There are multiple beaches to explore and other things like splash pads, a roller coaster and zip lining. We chose the beach we did because we signed up to play at an aqua park and it was closest to this beach. We saved a few chairs and had a front row view of the gorgeous blue ocean! There is nothing like being in Caribbean waters. They're warm, clear and oh so relaxing! We spent most of our day playing in the water and we had an hour at the aqua park. At this park there are slides, balance beams, trampolines and a big island that is way too tall for me to climb up, but looks fun! It was about $20 a person and I would recommend it to everyone! Like I mentioned above, you can use your sea pass on this island. This means your don't have to pay for food or drinks because you already have! It makes it way too easy to order Labadoozies! That's their signature drink and let me tell you, they go down very easily! As the day came to end, we decided to go on the rollercoaster. It was so much fun! Two people can go on one car, depending on your weight, so there is a front person and a back person. The back person decides how fast or slow you go. They let us go on 3 times and the view from up on the mountain was gorgeous! We stayed until they kicked us off the island and we did some light shopping on the way out. They had most of what you would expect, but I saw some limestone leafs that were just gorgeous. I didn't get one because I didn't think I could fit it in my suitcase, but we are going back next year and I'm going to get a few to bring back! Our first stop was a success!

Day 4: Day at Sea

This was our first full day at sea! This is the time to explore the ship even more, relax by the pool and eat all the food and drink all the drinks! Since our group was so big, we had one person each day go to the pool and save some chairs. We couldn't save one for everyone, but enough for the adults. We spent more time at the pool this trip than I ever have and I was not mad about it! They had a kids club and the younger kids spent a lot of their time there! They played basketball, soccer and had scavenger hunts. It's perfect for them! They even had bumper cars, which were fun, but also hurt a little when you got hit. We did the flow rider a ton and the kids did the sky zone. You really can't ever get bored on a ship, and if you, you're cruising wrong! Cruising is perfect for big groups because everyone can do what they're interested in, but still find their group pretty easily. There are so many places to eat on this ship, too. There is the windjammer, which every ship has, that is filled with anything you can think of. They have breakfast and lunch and close for dinner. There is also Lime and Coconut where you can get tacos, burritos or nachos. So yummy! And we can't forget about the pizza. There is nothing better than free pizza...seriously! On your way to dinner, grab some pizza. Laying by the pool, take some pizza to go. On your way to bed after a long day, take some pizza to your room. Collin even took a whole pizza to the room one night. Seriously. And ate the whole thing by himself! They even entertain you at the pool! They had belly flop contest one day, ouch! They had a relay race one day in the main pool! And they have dance parties where the whole pool deck can get involved! So so much to do on a cruise ship!

Day 5: Aruba

The next day we stopped in beautiful Aruba! We got off the ship as early as possible and walked all the way through the port to find our shuttle. We booked a day at a little island called De Palm. After you get on the shuttle, they take you to a small boat that carries you to the island. This was also an island where we could use our sea pass so food and drinks were free. We decided to book a really fun excursion - SNUBA! Holy moly you guys, scuba'ing is so much fun! you wear a snorkeling mask, but you are attached to an oxygen floatation device so you breathe like you are scuba diving. This allows you to go down deeper into the ocean, but you're still attached to the surface. We went 20' feet down, following an instructor, and swam through the coral reefs. I could be under water all day and it was such a cool experience! That lasted an hour, so we still had the whole day to relax on the island. There is a water park/splash pad for littles, a few water slides, a banana boat, which we rode and was so hilarious and fun, and gorgeous beaches. There's a private beach where flamingos live and you can pay extra to relax in that area. They have some specialty drinks, which cost more, but they come in a pineapple which is adorable. This day was awesome and we didn't want to leave! At the end of the day, we got back on the shuttle and made our way back to the ship. There was some shopping at the port so we looked through some stores. Such a great excursion if you're looking to do something for every age!

We couldn't believe our trip was half way over at this point, but the time we spent on vacation so far was incredible!

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