I finally had a chance to take my baby girl on vacation this past August. What ensued was a great deal of unrest but a lovely array of memories that I know will live on in both of our minds. Why the unrest? Traveling solo with a child is...different. All the attention all of the time. With no one to help with the distractions. And my Frog Princess warned me ahead of time and pretty much kept to her word that she didn't want to go to Camp Carnival because "I just want to hang out with you, Mami."
I couldn't argue with her. I was anxious to get away and just be present with my child. For many reasons, I kept waiting to go on an official vacation. It was a reminder for me to stop waiting on things/situations/people to start creating vacation memories and traditions.
As I was trying to find a last minute cruise (y'all be on this booking ahead game!), Carnival Sunshine kept bubbling to the top. After chatting with Tawanna who let me know the skinny (she's a travel expert and makes my life way easier though I'm pretty sure I give her heartburn) and then talking with Cara from Jefferson Parish Parent who had been on this ship in particular, I was convinced. The Carnival Sunshine did not disappoint.
The Frog Princess had a most favorite thing. Well, two: ice cream every day and water slides!
My most favorite things? The service was amazing and I absolutely fell in love with Cucina del Capitano. The food was beyond delish and we really enjoyed the service staff. It was great to engage with them on what they loved about the islands we were visiting and a bit of their time on the ship.
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Though the child did not stay at camp, we both loved the Camp Carnival quarters. I will say that after dinner one night she said yes to stopping by the camp. An hour later when I came to pick her up (because it was past her bedtime) she told me she almost cried because she missed me so much. Y'all, the guilt she was trying to dish out was real!
I definitely enjoyed my time, though. Loved the one hour I spent on the serenity deck (read: no kids allowed) and feared falling asleep in the hammock and missing picking her up. Our trip was definitely needed and I really enjoyed connecting with my child outside of the walls of my home and in places where we felt we could go on adventures. From the beaches of Half Moon Cay (Carnival's private island) to the shores of Atlantis and their beautiful aquarium, to the sounds and flavors of Freeport, Carnival Sunshine offered us exactly what we needed. Fun, great food, adventure and relaxation.
Things to remember when cruising solo with a child:
- Have items to engage her with (we had coloring books that we both used and books to read).
- Determine up front what's important to you on your vacation (for me, it was spending quality time with the kid).
- Have a plan B if child doesn't want to participate in kid friendly activities on the ship.
- Play it by ear. It's okay if your everything on your list doesn't get checked off.
- Pack antacids for kids. The last day, we indulged a little too much and the Frog Princess ended up with a tummy ache that I thankfully could fix.
- Try to relax.
Have you been on a cruise lately? If not, I suggest you put it on your to do list soon. You won't regret it. What did I miss on this list?
Disclosure: I was provided with free WiFi during my cruise as a media courtesy. I was also invited to dine at Cucina del Capitano. All thoughts, opinions and sand in my bags are purely my own.