My parents celebrated their 50th anniversary this year. In keeping with tradition, Mom let us all know that she wanted to go on a cruise as a family to celebrate. So, after alot of planning and coordination, we managed to get all 23 of us to Florida this past August to hang out for a week on Marco Island and then hop on the Harmony of the Seas for a family cruise.
I am very thankful for the dynamic we have in our family. I'm not sure how the rest of my siblings felt, but I don't think that I can be the only one that, after 2 weeks together, felt sad that the trip was ending!
For our first week on Marco, we rented a house a stones throw from our family's condo. The house had a pool and the condo had beach access, so it was perfect! A subset of us even managed to throw in an overnight jaunt to Orlando and spend a day at Disney's Animal Kingdom. This is where I lost a child the first time 😳 (the second time I lost a child was at the outlet mall). Believe it or not, it's much less stressful losing a child at a Disney park than at the outlet mall (and, yes, those were the only 2 times Brian wasn't with us!).
Some family couldn't join until the cruise, so it was a big reunion once we boarded the Harmony of Seas. Our stops were on St. Maarten, Puerto Rico and Royal Caribbean's oasis, Labadee, on Haiti. There was also a plethora of activities on board the ship too! The kids managed to decorate cupcakes, go to the spa, make sushi, go skating (!), play mini-golf, participate in a volleyball tournament, zipline across the ship, ride the waves, slide down slides, carousel and sing karaoke (take a breath!). Not to mention the endless gobs and gobs of self-serve soft-serve!
There were also the typical cruise stuffs - shows, themed dinners, casinos, shops, etc. A never-ending supply of entertainment for 5000+ passengers 😱! The only place we didn't "manage" to spend time was the pool. The number of passengers divided by the number of pools on the ship made it a bit too "germ-friendly" for our liking!
In the end, it was the quality family time that we enjoyed the most. Getting to see Josh and Aves hang out with their cousins was heartwarming. And getting to spend some time with my siblings was pretty priceless too! Thankfully, we all get together more than just once every 10 years, but we sure are grateful to be able to all vacation like this together. Thanks for a wonderful vacation, family! And Happy 50th Anniversary, Mom and Dad 💖! (Full photos can be found here)