Previously: 1, 2, and 3
Ports of Call
We actually didn't spend too much time on the islands at all, so this section of my trip report will be fairly short.
After two "days at sea", we finally got off the boat and arrived at Tortola! We talked to a local lady who gave us two beach options: Brewers Bay Beach, which is smaller and less populated with just one restaurant, or Cane Garden Bay Beach, which is the opposite. She assured us that both beaches were "kid-friendly with gentle waves." We picked the less populated, Brewers Bay, and hopped in the cab. Our driver drove us up and over the mountains and down to the other side of the island. Well, the short version of the story is that the waves were too strong for my kids (I see other kids playing happily though), so I ended up building sandcastles with them while Luke swam by himself. A rather forgettable excursion!
^^Can you spot Luke and Will?^^
^^We didn't last longer than 2 hours at the beach and it was $48 RT to get there.^^
When we got to St. Thomas the next day, we decided to just walk around the touristy area around the port. We actually had some fun memories at St. Thomas, but I will save a certain little boy from embarrassment and not document them here on the blog! I will just have to try my hardest to always remember them, haha.
Almost as soon as we got off the boat, the kids wanted back on because they didn't want "to go to the island." I remember on our previous cruises, on port days, the boat would be practically empty, but not the case with DCL. Apparently, lots of families choose to stay on the boat even on port days. I guess we are not the only ones who think it is too much of a hassle to do excursions with young children, and the boat is a lot cleaner and nicer anyway.
^^Browsing cheesy souvenirs.^^
As I said in the very beginning, our trip was just OK and, even though I have written about all the good things, here are just a few things that made the trip average overall. Keep in mind that these are just our dislikes, they may not bother you at all.
-- Being on a schedule. Our nightly schedule looked like this: live entertainment at 6:15p and second seating dinner at 8:15p. The shows typically ended at 7p, and I hated waiting for another hour or so for dinner, especially with two antsy kids. However, I do want to mention that if we didn't want to wait for our regular dining, eating at Cabanas was always an option, but dining room dinners are a huge feature of the cruise and we didn't want to miss any meals. Eventually, we showered the kids before the 6:15p show time so that after we got back from dinner at around 9:30p, the kids just went straight to bed. Less stressful that way.
^^At our private balcony for the sail-away.^^
-- The kids club was a disappointment (see why here). Also, while the kids were at kids club, there weren't much stuff for Luke and I to do. We are not the type to sunbathe or have a drink by the bar. We walked laps a few times on Deck 4, but often Luke read a book in the room while I wondered aimlessly around the ship or spied on the kids outside of kids club. Having said that, it WAS nice to have a break from parenting, though.
^^If I had to guess, we were probably waiting for dinner here.^^
-- Missing Castaway Cay. Our original itinerary was like this: Two back-to-back "day at sea", Tortola, St. Thomas, another "day at sea", and Castaway Cay. When they announced that we weren't going to Castaway Cay, that meant yet ANOTHER "day at sea". By then, we were just done with being on the boat. Honestly, the last day was kind of a waste for us.
-- Finally, value. When my brother asked, "How was the trip? Did the kids have fun?", I responded with, "Trip was OK. The kids would have the same fun with a pool in Williamsburg." He said that I always say that after every trip, and reminded me about Great Wolf Lodge. I just had to laugh as I texted back, "Yeah I don't know why I never learn my lesson." Despite the good family time we had, I felt that we could have that "good family time" anywhere, we didn't necessary have to pay $5K for it. But for what it is worth, I wanted to try cruising with the family and I did. Next time, we will try a less expensive cruise line. Now I am not saying that DCL was bad AT ALL, I just wish it came at a more affordable rate, although the price premium was definitely noticeable in the service and cleanliness.
Monday, February 15, 2016
Previously: 1, 2, and 3