Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Castaway Cay-home away from home

I really love going to Castaway Cay in The Bahamas. It is one of my favorite places. After missing our port in St. Thomas, I was particularly happy and anxious to get there. 
Because we docked 2 hours ahead of schedule, they moved up the 5K, which was nice. It was hot enough at 7:30, I'd hate to have been running at 9! They also did the race at 9, for those who did not care to wake up early. 
All finished. We did about the same times as last time. I was disappointed in my 34-ish minutes. I guess next time I'll go to bed early the night before. I can do it in a lot less time than that when I run here in ST. Louis. 
After the race, we got cleaned up and grabbed the girls to head to the beach. They were excited to get going. There was bug repellent lotion right off the ship. Kiersten overheard someone say it was "for Zika". She got upset and said, "but I don't want to have a baby! Or a baby with a small head." I didn't realize she had such a misconception about the lotion repelling mosquitoes, instead of causing you to get Zika and be pregnant. We made her use the lotion, but did not see any mosquitoes while we were there. 
We had to get a picture with Captain Jack. I think Kara was more excited about meeting him than any other character. Evie and Kiersten didn't care as much. He liked Ben's Bacardi shirt. 
Beach babies!

We all had a fun beach day!
The first stop for the girls was this fun obstacle course in the ocean. Evie had a tricky time getting out there, but I helped her get over, and then back to the beach again. 
Seashells were collected, and castles were built. 
The day started out so nice. You'd never guess that we'd all be running back to the ship an hour early, and heading out to avoid a huge storm. (Matthew again...)

We try to do a little snorkeling whenever we can. There were not a whole lot of fish around the family beach. 
They also wanted to spend time on the super fun slide. 

The line was long, so we didn't stay there too long. The kids were ready for lunch anyway. 
There were a few fish, and the kids tried to catch them unsuccessfully. 
The girls wanted to go to the kids club on the beach, so we headed over to the adults only area at Serenity Bay. I did a lot of snorkeling, while Ben headed over to yet another mixology/tasting. There were very few people over there, so I was able to see a lot more things without all the sand getting stirred up. 

I saw a few of these fish, and started to get a few pictures. Out of nowhere, I was completely surrounded by them. They are small and harmless, but it was slightly unnerving to be surrounded by tons of fish just running into me from all sides. I stood up for a moment to get out of the fray, and then my camera died. I was disappointed, because I saw a large rock right after, and there were some really large, more colorful fish under there, and I had wasted my battery on pictures of all of these Sgt. Majors, that I've seen lots of times. 

I even ended up seeing a stingray back near the beach. It was in very shallow water, and I was able to get fairly close. I was mad at myself for not charging the camera earlier. Some guy decided to try to catch the stingray, so it swam off, and I didn't see him again. I heard from our dinner server that it had been around a bunch of times throughout the day. 

It started raining, and in an effort to beat the storm, the restaurant, and shops were closed down early so people would head back to the ship. We picked up the girls from the beach club, and headed back in. Even though we left a little early, it was a fantastic day, and one I wouldn't mind living over again sometime. (Without the fish frenzy, though.)

Ahoy! Pirates, and fun on the Fantasy

We had to get Evie a new pirate costume for this cruise, since she outgrew her pirate fairy costume. We gave Kara's old  costume to Kiersten, but Kiersten's was in horrible shape, so Evie will not get to wear it, sigh. Kara also had to have a new one. Our photo package did not have a pic of Kiersten in her costume, which annoyed me because she looked so adorable. It was the first time in a while that she was in a good mood on Pirate night.
Ben's costume is about ready for retirement as well. I went with my pirate Minnie ears instead of a hat this time, since it always tries to blow away when we're up on deck.
Kara was exhausted, and ended up heading to bed early. She missed the entire pirate festivities, fireworks, and all. But she got a great night's sleep, and did not regret that decision.
Evie's favorite part of her costume, is that it was called, "Salt Water Taffy" on the package. She wore it again last week for a friend's Halloween party.
The pirate party was lively as always.

The girls always enjoy seeing their drawings come to life in Animator's Palette.

We went to a chocolate and wine tasting. My favorite was the drinkable Dutch chocolate. I could have consumed a much larger portion.

The girls had a blast dancing in the atrium while we waited for the Halloween Tree to come to life.

Ben found his favorite bartender on the ship the first day, and went out of his way to only get drinks from him. This night, he waited over an hour for Damian to come back. The other bartender seemed a little annoyed.
My favorite part of the chocolate and wine tasting was getting to sit in Ooh La La. It is the champagne room, so I didn't have much reason to be in there. I would like to copy all of this d├ęcor in my house.
We did a mixology class, and Ben actually told this bartender that he preferred Damian's drinks. He laughed it off, but it was still slightly awkward if you ask me. I thought Ali was perfectly nice and good at his job.

Evie and Kiersten had fun dancing around while we waited for the talent show to begin. Kara signed up on the first day, and was a little nervous, but determined to do it. There were only 10 spots, and Kiersten regretted not signing up herself. Maybe next time. I'd be curious which of her fabulous talents she would choose to display.

Any excuse to be on a stage is a good excuse.

Most of the kids did piano, so it was fun to watch Kara do her Tae Kwon Do. There was also a 5 year old boy that did gymnastics. He was quite impressive. There was also a sweet little ballerina that performed.

She chose "Kung Fu fighting" for her background music. It may have thrown her off a little, but I don't think it was noticeable to any of us watching.

Kiersten had a great time going to the shows with her friends.
At Halloween mixology, I learned to make a tequila sunrise. I didn't like it, and couldn't get Ben to drink it for me. But it did look pretty.
Ben was a natural. He picked up a few new techniques to try out at home. Look at those arms! I wanted him to try doing some flair, but he declined.
We had the girls up and ready early to go to St. Thomas, but while we were at breakfast, there was an announcement that we would not be able to stop there. Thanks to Hurricane Matthew, which was still a tropical storm at that point. But I guess is was still enough of a threat that the captain didn't want to risk trying to leave during that weather, so we sailed on by. I was sad, but better safe than sorry.
We took Evie to see Finding Dory since our day completely opened up. I had a hard time staying awake. It was Ben's first time seeing it, and he said he liked it.
The girls really enjoyed getting to decorate their own cupcakes.
Kiersten didn't bother too much with the toppings, and got down to the eating part. I had a delicious bread pudding you can see at the bottom of the picture.
Kara did a particularly nice job decorating hers.

All 3 of the girls really liked the detective agency game. They each had their own separate version of the 3 possible cases, so it wasn't boring for them all to participate at the same time.
Pepe the muppet shrimp had his own room near the kids club. We found lots of clues there.
They could hold up their card in front of the paintings all around the ship to activate their specific version of the mystery. Because there are so many pictures they could use, we really didn't have to wait around for other kids very much. I would have quickly detested this game if we'd been standing around waiting all the time.
They mostly ended up with different culprits, but I think there were a couple that turned out the same. It was a great activity to fill in the times when nothing they wanted to do was going on around the ship.