Friday, October 21, 2011


We are back from our NCL Gem sailing to Bermuda and I wanted to update about our experiences with their kids crew. I did my usual WARNING to the counselors about my youngest. We've had some "issues" in the past with other kids clubs (AHEM! Carnival Rubber Shark Abuse) And I have been known to be a little, let's just say, um, critical of other kids clubs because, let's face it - we ALL want the BEST care for our kids. I have to say WITHOUT A DOUBT that the Kids Crew Counselors on Gem ARE THE BEST, MOST PATIENT, AWESOME and PHEW STRESS FREE Kids club experience that we have EVER had!

I started by asking for the phone for my 7 year old (which they usually don't do) because I told them that they WILL want to be in contact with me when they want to be rescued from my HIGHLY ENERGETIC 7 year old. They reluctantly gave me a phone for the first night. I said "PLEASE feel free to CALL me, you are going to WANT to call me!" I have been down this path before. Well, color me surprised when I showed up at 10pm for the first pick up and the AMAZING "GYPSY" said "We WILL be taking your phone away! You do NOT need one. Yes, your daughter is energetic. But, she is not mean. She is doing GREAT! And we can handle her!"

GOD BLESS THEM!!!! A kids club that understands my spunky little kid!!!! I knew this was going to be a WONDERFUL cruise. I wasn't going to be glued to a phone waiting for the next "rubber shark abuse" phone call, terrified of hearing the phone ring. EVERY pick up was pleasant. EVERY comment and interaction from the counselors was a JOY! This was not what we were used to. This is our 11th cruise with the kids. We are no strangers to kids clubs.

So I have to say to GYPSY, JASMINE, FLIP FLOP, CUPID and ALL of the GEM KIDS CREW - THANK YOU for making this such a wonderful experience for my kids. They never wanted to leave. They went to a pirate parade, attended a PJ Party, played survivor, had a Kids Crew Dinner and partied on the pool deck during the "Family Deck Party".

And GYPSY, my 7 year old wants to challenge you to a cartwheel contest, you better start practicing ; - ) I'll bring the chocolate covered strawberries so you can keep your energy up!

Monday, June 27, 2011

CrusinMAMA Cruises WITHOUT the kids

This is the first CrusinMAMA cruise not as a MAMA {GASP!} A friend wanted to jump on a last minute cruise and asked if I would go with her, and being the end of the school year, the kids would have to stay home with dad {DOUBLE GASP!!!}

How would they survive without me? What would I do without them? I have been cruising over a decade with those little buggers. Almost my entire cruising life has revolved around kids clubs and pirate parades -- how would I adjust? You mean there is adult only places onboard a ship? No way! Who knew?

So I lay clothes out for 7 days for 2 kids (and one very patient hubby), kiss them all goodbye and set off for my 3 hour drive to Baltimore to start my new adventure as a solo (sort of) cruiser.

The first thing I notice when you drive alone, you can sing to yourself (off key of course) very loudly and no one yells at you from the back seat.

My home for the next 6 days would be Royal Caribbean's Enchantment of the Seas -- calling on one port -- King's Wharf, Bermuda.

My sea days were spent reading one book after another - completely uninterrupted in the Adult Only Solarium - except for the occasional "JOIN US FOR BINGO BONANZA IN 15 MINUTES!" over the PA speaker.

The nights were spent dining with adults in the Adult Dining venue - Chops Grille. As the mom of a child who can barely maintain her attention at Mickey D's, dining at Chops Grille has been something I have only read about. I swear, I heard angels sing. The fillet mignon, parmesan crusted potatoes and chocolate mud pie for dessert! Heaven on Earth!

We arrive in Bermuda. Since this is a "make no plans, let's see where the wind takes me" trip. I have no real plans for Bermuda. I grab a bus ticket ($12 per person/1 day CASH ONLY) to head to Horseshoe Bay. (Do not attempt the scooter unless you are a skilled rider or have a death wish - the roads in Bermuda fit two vehicles, barely, side by side, put two buses, driving on the wrong side of the road, a couple of pedestrians in for good measure, a cliff and your scooter into the mix -- which one do you think has the right of way? Um, yeah, not you. Stick to the buses.)

I know there were some recent news stories about the wait times with the bus/ferry system and I have to say that I experienced NONE OF THAT. It took maybe, at most, 15 minutes to get a ticket in hand. When I got my ticket I walked right up to the next waiting bus and said "Going to Horseshoe Bay?" and with that I was on the bus. Within 25 minutes I was dropped off at one of the most amazing places ever (there is a little bit of a walk downhill)

Horseshoe Bay Beach has changing facilities, restrooms and a snack bar (CASH ONLY for snacks).
To the right of Horseshoe Bay is a great little beach for kids nicknamed "Baby Beach" . The waves are blocked by giant rocks and the pools are shallow.

I decided to explorer the more private beaches off to the left of Horseshoe, the more I walked, another new beautiful beach emerged.

I have been to many places on many different cruises. And I have to say, the entire time I kept saying to myself (the hazards of being solo) WOW -- WHOA, look at that, AMAZING!

At every turn there was just another more breathtaking view. I just can't put into words how truly beautiful Bermuda is. I kept thinking, "The kids are really missing this" and wishing I could share it with them. My husband is a see one island, you've seen them all kind of guy. But I knew that my kids would have been ooohing and ahhing at every turn.

It was a wonderful cruise, but it's just not the same for me without the kids. I love to see the world through their eyes. So I'll have to take them to Bermuda and see what they think. It's a good excuse to go back...for the children. ;)