It is hard coming up with gift ideas for 8 and 11 year old boys that doesn't include very expensive gadgets that require batteries or chargers or solar energy so they can spend hours upon hours in front of some kind of screen. Tod and I took a different route to gift giving this year. We gave the boys a Carnival Cruise to the Bahamas for Christmas this year!! The boys have been wanting to go on a cruise for such a long time too. The timing was just perfect.
Before we left I had done extensive research about cruising with kids and what to expect every step of the way. There were some YouTube videos that were extremely helpful and was spot on with every piece of advice!
We left our house on Wednesday January 15th at about 930am and arrived in Charleston, SC at 1230pm. As we drove into Charleston there were signs on every street corner directing us to the ship, which is basically one block from downtown Charleston! While still in our car we went through three checkpoints. The first one was to check our documentation. If you didn't have the right proof of citizenship you couldn't get past the first checkpoint. The second was to give the ground crew our luggage. We handed it over in hopes that it would find its way to our cabin. the third was to pay to park...$85.00!!! I knew how much parking would be, but still...$85.00?? We then were able to park our car in an old warehouse, yep...they locked up the cars in an old shipping warehouse. Ok...$85.00 is worth knowing our car was completely inaccessible to anyone. After parking we headed to a bus which drove us to the one block to our ship...
We had three little stops to go through before we got on the ship. First we went through security. Which was much less stressful as going through airport security. Next we went to the Carnival Sign and Sail desk. They give you your room key card which is also your credit card and your proof of passenger card for getting off and back on the ship at each port. The last stop was to say "cheese"! We had our Welcome Aboard picture taken!! Super cheesy, but we embraced the experience.
Here is a picture of our room. We had a king bed with two bunks that folded down. And, yes, each of us hit our head many times over the next 5 days!! The best part is that we had a window! We were able to watch the sun rise on the way out and set on the return. It was a little tight at times, but the beds were super comfortable so we slept really good! We had a little TV that got a few channels. Our favorite two channels were Channel 14 which was a camera mounted on the front of the ship so we could see the Captain's view. Our other favorite channel was channel 15 which was a map showing where the ship was, how fast we were going, wind speed, and weather.
Before we set sail we had to do our safety drill. Brady is modeling the life jacket here...
We made our way to the deck overlooking Charleston to watch us embark! It was a little chilly leaving Charleston, but sunnier skies are just around the corner.
As the sun set over Charleston we departed on our new adventure!