Thursday, December 7, 2017

Carnival Caribbean Cruise {Part 2 - Our Ports of Call}

Yesterday I shared about the first part of our family cruise for Thanksgiving and before I get on to today's part 2, I wanted to share about this amazing giveaway we have going on right now!

A few weeks ago on Instagram I shared this beautiful wood cutting board from Ironwood Gourmet that I was loving.

Well, they asked if we wanted to host a giveaway and of course we said yes!  We're partnering with Ironwood Gourmet to give away this wooden salad bowl.  I've used it for salad, as a popcorn bowl when we watch our Christmas movies and right now it's holding all of the Christmas cards we have been receiving.

To enter you must follow Ironwood Gourmet on Instagram and complete you entry on this form.  The giveaway ends this weekend so enter now!

Now onto the next part of our cruise!  We had three stops on our cruise and the first two were really far away.  We sailed for almost 3 full days and finally arrived at our first stop, Aruba!!!

We had fun on the ship during our days at sea, but we were all excited to see land, that gorgeous turquoise water and start exploring.

We did not plan any excursions ahead of time because we honestly just wanted to find a good beach and just enjoy relaxing in the sun an sand.  In Aruba, One Happy Island, we were greeted with a lot of people offering to take us on tours of the island, snorkeling adventures and more.  

We had promised the kids souvenirs so we decided to get that out of the way first.  We walked a few blocks to one of the main streets near the port and checked out the open air market and a few of the souvenir shops.  We kind of laughed because the shop was no different than the beach souvenir shops you would find in the states, but the kids had fun picking out t-shirts. 

Then we ran into a nice gentleman who worked for the tourism department of the government helping direct tourist.  We told him we wanted to get to a nice beach and he recommended the one we had heard of, Eagle Beach.  We took the public bus to Eagle Beach and spent the afternoon there.  

It was wonderful!  Pretty sand, gorgeous clear water and the perfect afternoon.  

The kids swam until the sunset and were so happy!  

Our second stop was Bonaire and it was so close to Aruba that we woke up the next morning to this view at breakfast.   

Our plan was kind of the same.  Get off the ship, explore a bit and make our way to a beach.  We'd heard the snorkeling was great here and wanted to be sure to let the kids experience that.  We took a taxi to the beach they recommended.  When we walked up we saw a soccer ball floating right at the edge of the beach.  We were the first ones at this beach and it was like it was just waiting there for our sweet little soccer player, Blondie.  A special souvenir kissed by the ocean.  

We spent most of the morning at Coco Beach which was like a beach bar area and it was really nice because there were bathrooms, showers, a volleyball court and shaded lounge chairs. 

The kids got to snorkel here a bit, but it was pretty rocky right at the shore so they couldn't really play in the water.  Around lunchtime we got a taxi back to town and tried to find some lunch, but we knew that the kids weren't necessarily going to like any of the authentic cuisine so we opted for shaved ice instead until we could get back on the boat. 

We walked around a bit checking out some of the buildings and houses near the port and then said goodbye to Bonaire. 

We got back on the ship before we needed to and it was nice because it was pretty empty.  The kids did the watersides with no wait and we easily found lounge chairs to relax for the afternoon.  

One of the evenings (they are all running together now) we went to a magic show and the kids were in awe...especially Boo-Boo.  At one point the magician asked for a volunteer age 6-7 to come on stage and Boo-Boo was standing in the aisle jumping up and down with his hand in the air and got picked!  He did SO great up there.  

That was all it took to get him hooked!  He was all in and begged to go to the magic workshop offered by the magician the next day. He loved it and actually impressed me with some of the card tricks he learned. 

Our last stop after another day at sea was Grand Turk in Turks and Caicos.  It was our favorite place that we went and such a beautiful island. 

Before we got off the ship though we had a big breakfast and when we were walking to the top deck we were greeted by a pool deck full of towel animals.  They were EVERYWHERE!!!  It was so much fun to see all of the different ones! 

Little Mama was excited to find her favorite animal, a sea turtle! 

We got off the ship and loved what we saw.  The other two stops we were at you had to rent beach chairs and here all of them were free for us to use, which was nice.

We walked along the beach and saw some of the fun sights and finally settled into some chairs for a few hours.

The kids LOVED this beach.  The sand was so white and the water was so beautiful.

I mean, does it get any better?!?!  

We could have stayed here all day and honestly I would LOVE to go back to Grand Turk and stay for a week.  We only got to see the cruise town center area, which still had so much to offer, but I know the island has so much more we'd love to explore.  

Be sure to check back tomorrow for the final post about our cruise. I'm going to share the last of my pictures, tips, tricks and advice for other families that are considering a similar trip and all about the specialty dining on the ship!

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