So I can honestly say this was out FIRST all out Tennis Family summer vacation where we completely got away and just relaxed as a family. We have taken many small weekend getaways, visited family all over the country, and traveled to see Jon wherever the military took him before but this is the first time honest to goodness we planned and went on a vacation for ourselves and it was AMAZING!
We spend 3 nights in New Orleans, staying in the French Quarter (long story but we came in late Friday night to cop cars surrounding the hotel, not a great first impression but it turned out to be a great little place). We had been to New Orleans last spring for just one day and all loved the city so we planned to the 3 nights prior to the cruise there to explore. The first day we did a Airboat Swamp tour and it was so much fun. It's one of those things I did because I knew Jon and Kaia would really enjoy it and of course them having fun makes me happy but this one I ended up liking too! I learned bunches about the history of the Pirates of the Louisianna swaps, got an education of "Coonass", was 2 feet from a real like 'gator and much more. It was well worth the money and I highly recommend it for other families traveling that area of the country for all ages.
The only downside to New Orleans was that a chunk of the second was spent at their lovely Children's Hospital ER! ug. It a bad Mom moment I neglected Kaia's complaints about her ear bothering her the day prior and ended up with a night full of screaming and a sever ear infection. Being that we were out of state that left us with the option of the ER. Anyway, she did get plenty of meds and we spend the remaining mornings and evenings of our vacation creativly getting her to take them. No fun but she is 100% recovered now.
Moving on...Monday mid-day after a horse and carriage ride around the French Quater we boarded the Carnival Fantasy!!! We had a great embarkation and were quickly on board eating lunch on the Lido deck. We set sail for Progresso, Mexico. Being a planner, I have been reading message boards on cruisecritic.com for weeks (okay, months) and got numerous recommendation to take the double decker bus tour thru the little port town. We did so, and other than very low hanging electrical lines it offered a great overview as promised by the other cruisers. We spent the remainder of our afternoon in Progresso on the beach, collecting shells and warding off all the salesmen and women! The beach was fairly pretty, not blue water but the ocean nonetheless which is much better than we get here in Arkansas. We then grabbed lunch at a quant little restaraunt and headed back to the boat off to our next adventure in Cozumel.
I can say that all of us were looking forward to Cozumel the most probably because we had planned and booked a Swim with the Dolphin adventure excursion. The Dolphin Swim didn't dissapoint, it was truly a highlight of the trip. We got to kiss, high five, belly ride, and boogie board with the dolphin which was a once in a lifetime exprience. The Cozumel water was prestine blue and breath taking...you could see to the bottom everywhere! We say a stingray and tropical fish whiel snorkleing around with the dolphins.
My only other note to self for future visits to Cozumel is to bring more $$$$ to jewlery shop! I had no clue it was a destination for cheap diamond and silver etc. There were jewlery shops everywhere.
Anyway, back on board we enjoyed our last day at sea & Kaia's Birthday! Kaia loved the Camp Carnival for kiddos as they were always doing something exciting like dance parties or exploding volcanos so she spent some of the day in there and the rest between the pool and water slides on board. At dinner we once again enjoyed a great meal with our 9 other table mates and a great Chocolate, Chocolate, Chocolate cake for Kaia's birthday. It was a great way to wrap up our vacation as it was already time to start packing up and dembarkation!
We have to remember to do this type of REAL vacation thing at least once a year.