Thursday, February 20, 2020

Disney Cruise: Flamingos, Salt, And Animating

I'm going to start with a disclaimer. My plan was to finish blogging about our cruise before February ended. However, February has been insane. And yes, I just bolded, underlined, and italicized it because that's the only way to get across how crazy this month has been. Well, that and the fact that I've barely blogged this month :)

We've had school strike days (which is a whole post in and of itself (the kids have been off six days already in February and we still have a week left of the shortest month of the year)), a small road trip, two sick family members, and I've worked almost every day school has been in session. Plus Rachel has had four extra dance classes and yeah, we're twenty days into the shortest month of the year. Yikes. So I still hope to finish blogging about our cruise soon but I'm not making any promises.

And with that disclaimer, back to the cruise posts...

On this day of the cruise we visited Bonaire, one of the Dutch islands off the coast of Venezuela. We decided to do a shore excursion this day because there were a few places we wanted to visit which were outside of town. But first we had to get a picture with tropical Mickey!
Bonaire was so pretty. I loved looking at all the islands as we were docked and trying to imagine what we would discover on each of them.
It was always fun to get a picture of our docked ship.
One of the things Bonaire is known for is its salt. And I wanted to see the salt process in action. Ocean water is brought into these holding ponds, and after about a year, the salt settles down to the bottom (or gathers on the top -- I can't remember now). Then it is harvested into these "mountains." If you look at the pictures closely, you can see salt pouring down from the machines. This process reminded my parents and me so much of harvesting wheat in Saskatchewan.
And if you exchange the water in this picture for wheat, this picture could have been taken in Saskatchewan. Was it any wonder I loved Bonaire so much?!?!?
Okay, except now we're at the ocean, so clearly we're not in Saskatchewan :)
I will never get tired of ocean pictures. I'm sorry if you will :)
We also had a chance to stop at the slave huts. It was so sad to me to think that other humans treated people so badly. (And sadly, we still do.) Look how small the huts were. I got pictures with my dad and with Sam and Rachel to show the perspective. And these were about twenty feet from the ocean, so I can only imagine the waves getting into the huts as well.

I am glad we got a chance to see these but I was seriously shocked by how much smaller they were in person.
After the slave huts, we spotted flamingos. It was so cool to see them. It's hard to see in these pictures, but towards the back of the bottom two pictures, there is a sea of pink because there were so many flamingos back there.
I was really excited about the flamingos because we weren't guaranteed to see them and we saw so many. We couldn't get out of the vehicle, because they are protected, so I took a ton of pictures through the window.
I'm glad Dave captured this picture of windmills. Bonaire hopes to be using only renewable energy in the next year or two, which is pretty amazing!
After we saw flamingos, we had a very short stop at a beach. It wasn't long enough to enjoy the water, but I loved seeing all the windsurfers. Next time I'm in Bonaire, I definitely want to try this!
One thing I thought was really neat about Bonaire was all the cactus fences. The cacti were growing up along barbed wire and created a cool natural fence.
And then we got some more pictures of our ship.
And us with our ship too!

Bonaire is very proud of its flamingos and you can spot them anywhere. Dave didn't even see the one in stones in the sidewalk until I stopped to take a picture of it.
I can't remember what we did on board the afternoon of Bonaire -- probably the kids went to clubs and Dave and I read -- very exciting! That night, however, was semi-formal night. (And Rachel clearly went to a face painting event in club that day -- HA!)

It was also our second night at Animator's Palate, which we hadn't gotten to experience before. We got to draw our own cartoons.
My final creation
After we had finished eating, the lights in the restaurant dimmed, and our creations came to life!!! It was so fun to watch!!! Each group of tables had about three screens their drawings were on so we didn't have to see all three hundred creations from the whole restaurant.

After we saw all the drawings, then they added our drawings to famous Disney scenes which was really fun. I was too busy trying to see all six of our characters to take pictures at that point but it was so cool to see our character swimming with Ariel or stirring up potions with Mickey!
I think this was the night the Frozen musical was playing. Rachel got a picture with a formal Chip and Dale and unfortunately, by the time the musical was about to start, the excitement of the day had caught up with her and she had a headache and wanted to go to bed :( So Mom, Dad, Sam, and I enjoyed Frozen (it was good but not as good as Broadway), and Dave and Rachel watched a bit of it from the stateroom before Rachel fell asleep.

We ended our night early-ish because the next day we were hitting a beach in Aruba!!! I wish I was hitting the beach in Aruba today. Sadly, I'm not but I am heading off to my first ever library shift. I just wish it was a little warmer than -11C (13F). And that's not taking the wind into account. Brrrrr.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Disney Cruise: At Sea And Loving It

The second full day of our cruise was our first ever "at sea" day. I have to admit, before our cruise, I wondered if I would go crazy not being able to see any land all day. Spoiler alert: I didn't :)
We didn't have a balcony, but my parents did, so we enjoyed some outside time there.
One of the things I had read about online was "The Art of the Theme" tour. It is a tour of the ship and our guide was great. I loved learning about all the thought which was put into the little things. It wasn't just about the ship's art, but also about the overall design.
Rachel loved getting to have ice cream whenever she wanted. Sometimes she had me make the cone because she thought I did "the best job, Mommy!"
Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boutique is the super expensive hair and make up salon for kids. You could seriously spend more there than it costs to take your kids on a cruise. Seriously. However, kids can visit whenever they want for "pixie dust" (AKA glitter). Rachel visited five times for pixie dust -- formal and semi-formal nights, her princess meet and greets, and on pirate night. On pirate night she got "mermaid snot" (glitter gel on her cheeks) instead of "pixie dust." The glitter lasted FOREVER. Seriously, we've been back for almost three weeks and I bet I could still find a flake or two in her hair :)
I think next time we cruise, Rachel might just be over the princesses so I was glad she was still excited about them this time. I just love the pictures where she is talking with Elsa and Anna.

She was excited to look at the art gallery with my mom and dad... walk down the main staircase "like a princess"...
...and to check out the ocean from this porthole. The picture on the left might be my favourite picture from the entire cruise. And where was Sam, you might be asking? He was in Edge the entire time. I'm telling you, he LOVED that place :)
I can't remember what all happened in the afternoon but I spent some time reading in the "adult only area" of the ship with a Dole Whip. I'd heard so much about them that I splurged and bought one. Spoiler alert: I thought it was too sweet and did not like it. Boo.
My mom and Rachel enjoyed dancing to some live piano music. After, my mom and dad danced.
That night we officially celebrated my mom and dad's 50th anniversary on the cruise. They got "turned into" Mickey and Minnie, of course! It was fun!
Mom and Dad's stateroom host made the BEST towel animals. We all laughed so hard at this one! It was even better in real life.

I think this was also the evening where Dave and I walked around Deck 4, the deck where you could walk around the whole ship outside. Sam and Rachel spent the night in the clubs and we really enjoyed this whole day of exploring a lot of what the ship had to offer.

And it turns out I loved seeing nothing but water and sky as far as the eye could see. It was so incredible!