To Sum It Up
I've tried to be useful, and get M&M to give me our good and bad ideas that we had/did for this trip. They were uninterested in helping mankind, so I will try to do the best that I can.
1. Taking our scrapbook crap with us. Mind you, we are not professionals. Basically we took a binder, cardstock, page protectors, stick glue, scissors, and a bunch of stickers. We forced ourselves to do that day's memories each night before we slept (or in between naps). While some nights nobody wanted to do it, somebody had to. As a result, we got home with a nearly complete scrappy, except for our last travel days. We would NEVER have been able to do a scrapbook with 14 days of memories and doo dads after we had returned home. If this is too much, then I would suggest taking a big manila envelope and put each day's doo dads in a separate envelope, and write something about each day.
2. Taking our photo printer. It took up about the space of a shoebox. We thought our ink cartridge was going to run out, but taking it out and shaking it did the trick. It was nice to have pics for our scrappy, and to put on the door (with magnets).
3. Taking a adhesive-backed sheet magnet - $1 at the dollar store. We were able to cut it into little bits, adhere them to the back of our pictures, and stick them on the door.
4. Taking Disney excursions - after 7 cruises, this was a first. It saved me the hassle of trying to book something on my own in a foreign language. I'm sure there were cheaper deals out there, but with my middle child dumb luck and lack of navigational skills, I wasn't about to take a chance.
5. Getting Euros before leaving the USA. I think it saved time in line. We used a ATM in Gibraltar with no problems, and used Master Card with no problems. We didn't call our companies before leaving the USA. The merchants usually just wanted to see our passports when we used the MC. Gibraltar has their own pounds, and some crazy exchange rate for Euros, so the ATM was easier there.
6. Fly British Airways. It was a very pleasant experience, thank you. It cost more, but considering we got upgraded, it was a good deal. If nothing else, for the lack of long lines in Barcelona.
7. Spent the bucks on a Category 3. It was worth it for 14 days. So what if I never get new shoes again in my lifetime - I got snacks every afternoon!!
Ideas we should have done or shouldn't have done:
1. Eat dinner at 6:00 in our assigned place AND Palo a few hours later. WHAT WERE WE THINKING? But it was good!
2. I've read this suggestion about a thousand times, but I still didn't do it - bring a power strip. With the laptop, photo printer, curling iron, blow dryer, and camera battery charger, we were constantly plugging and unplugging.
3. Not take an excursion in Gibraltar - I thought we would do it on our own, but we shopped and didn't go up the rock. I think the excursions made us lazybones go places.
4. Lose 50 pounds before we boarded the boat. Then maybe two dinners a night would have made sense.
5. Brought quarters for the laundry. I meant to, but forgot, which meant a trip to guest services when the change machines were out.
6. Overpacked. I should have made a packing list and stuck to it. Molly tried to make us do it, but when you pack the night before you leave for two weeks, you get kind of sloppy.
5. Learned Spanish before we boarded the boat. I know zero words, MB knows 3 words, and Molly knows every fifth word. Luckily we were very good with the universal look of "Duh" so the natives knew to speak the English to us.
That's all I can think of for now. And now, for my final essay,
I went on a two-week cruise across the Atlantic on the Disney Magic. I went with my two 20-something daughters. We had a great time. Here's why:
Disney Cruise Line designs itself for families, and invites you to join the DCL family. It doesn't matter if your family is large or small, if you have little children or grown ones, if you have a litter of kids or none at all, or if you're traveling with a group or just by yourself. DCL says, "Welcome to your home on the seas."
With DCL, it doesn't matter your ethnicity or nationality, it doesn't matter if you're gay or straight, it doesn't matter if you're Happy or Grumpy, it doesn't matter if you're married or single, and it doesn't matter if you're a Type A Personality or a Lazy Butt. DCL says "We're glad you've decided to join us."
DCL plans activities to interest every personality, if you choose to participate. It also provides comfy beds should you choose to do nothing. You can learn to cook new dishes, tour the ship, listen to speakers, swim in the pool, surf the internet, laze in the sun, play ping pong, basketball, or shuffleboard, jog or work out, or let someone else massage your tension away. DCL wants you to have the vacation YOU want.
On our cruise, there were those that did everything. They had a great time. There were those that did some things. They had a great time. Some liked the food, some didn't. Some thought the shows were great, others didn't. Some idjits (like us) stayed up to watch a movie at midnight, while the smart ones went to bed. There were as many vacations going on during this cruise as there were families. Each vacation was unique for that family.
So we cruised with Disney. We saw some of the shows, ate a lot of food, participated in a few activities, and took a lot of naps. It was perfect, because we got to spend time with each other. And in the end, that's why we cruise with Disney - it's all about spending time with family, doing those things that are important to your family.
For those of you waiting to cruise, have a magical vacation. For those of you wishing you were going - live vicariously through trip reports and blogs. But most of all, have fun and enjoy your family, whatever and wherever it may be. Bon Voyage!!