Ahhh vacation. The sun and the sand, the tropical drink in my hand, the toddler calling out my name. Wait a toddler? Why is there a toddler on my relaxing vacation? Oh yes that's right I brought her.
Crazy as it may seem I had decided to let this little person in on my tiny bit of annual vacation joy.
It was actually fun- four hour plane ride with a 3 year old not included in said fun. Non-stop is not always a blessing when they are sick of looking at the same 3 inches of space hour upon hour. A brief stopover 30-40 minutes was great on the way back. Gave a chance to stretch, change scenery and buy the very important crayons in the gift shop that you may have forgotten to pack!If you are looking at a taking a vacation with a little one and you don't really want it to include a big eared mouse, I will tell you cruises are the way to go.
We took a five day cruise on Carnival in February with Charlotte and she absolutely loved it! The best part? All the fun she had, was provided by someone else, not me!
Carnival provides day camps for kids- starting with Camp Carnival at age 2. Fun filled days that you don't have to plan! Drop them off in them morning and leave them there until 10 pm if you like! They give you a cell phone so they can reach you if needed.
You can make your child as much of a part of your daily plans as possible. We always took Charlotte with us into the ports but if you want to do an excusion a little more adult like, say a rum punch pirate boat tour, you can leave your child at camp!
Another thing that people might not realize, you can sign out strollers at Camp Carnival. This was a life saver when we stopped at Nassau as we planned a walking tour of Atlantis. Charlotte would have been not impressed with the walking. Plus the bottom of the stroller held my stuff so I didn't have to lug it around!
We also always took Charlotte out of camp at supper to join us in the formal dining room. But if you want to enjoy a romantic dinner the camp would have took the group to the deck kitchen for food.
The first day we were there the camp held a Pirate Party, she came back to the room with her face painted and foam swords and maps, she was so happy and exhausted so she didn't even argue going to bed in this new surrounding!.
But what about night life? Not an issue! They watched Charlotte in the camp until 2am as part of their Night Owls program for $10 an hour. They have little sleeping bags and pillows set up and movies and snacks for entertainment.
If they need you they will call you. Trust me your child doesn't need you as much as you think they do. Sorry parents. Charlotte walked in their each day and never looked back. She took a special liking to a certain cute male camp counselor. It made her father shake his head and mutter something about having to buy a gun for when she is a teenager.
Not all cruise ships are as dedicated to children, do your research first if you are considering this as an option. Some are a little more dedicated to the extravagant adult vacation pool.
Bottom line: I found it to be the perfect combination of family time, child time and adult time all wrapped up with a paper umbrella in it!
If you want to check out carnival's option visit www.carnival.com