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lucyddr

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About lucyddr

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    Cool Cruiser

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    Gallatin, TN

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  1. lucyddr

    Inflatable bed or Regalo cot for 1 year old?

    I'd put the 11yo in the top bunk and the baby on the bottom sofa bed. You can buy inflatable pool noodles from amazon and tuck them under the sheets to create a bed rail or if you want to go fancy...Shrunks makes a travel inflatable bedrail! Works great and saves a ton of space!
  2. My twins are 5 and about to be going on their 3rd Carnival cruise, so we have plenty of experience! Embarkation: Have some simple bags of snacks (goldfish crackers, etc) and juice boxes handy as lines can be long and boring. We've found simple snacks really make it better! This is one time we break out tablets too. Once on the ship, have lunch. They can register the kids for Camp Carnival and tour the area, so they kind of know what it looks like and meet the ladies who will be in there for the cruise. The camp is not usually open until 10pm on the first night, so don't plan on using it. I'd have the kids in swimwear under their clothes and head to the pools after checking into the camp. Swim, dance to the Lido music, and enjoy seeing the Seuss characters. My kids stay entertained easily until the safety drill is called. All children are different. My twins are very social and LOVE Camp Carnival. They beg to go anytime the doors are open. Our sea day schedule is usually sleeping in, brunch, swimming, water works, and lunch. They usually then want to head to the camp for an hour or two before dinner, which gives husband and I time to relax/nap! Port days are spent on the island as a family. We never leave our two behind as we cruise for the ports and experiences. Usually, we come in from our excursions, shower, nap a little, and head to dinner at 6. Our waiters keep the kids a course ahead of the adults (appetizer fruit on table at arrival, entre while adults have apps, etc). At 7, my kids are begging to head to Camp. They stay until 10pm every night and we usually allow them to stay until 1am a couple of nights for the Night Owl party because they beg! We are always amazed at their stamina! I'd definitely try to use the clubs if the kids will go, as they really make the vacation both for our children and us...it's nice to have some adult time! Have fun!
  3. lucyddr

    Dressing Kids Up For Dinner

    I enjoy coordinating my boy girl twins. As they get older, they still let me for trips and special days...but not so much for day to day school. I'll do it as long as I can!
  4. lucyddr

    Budget

    We LOVE it for the weather and less kid-crowding too!!! We did a spring break 5 day this year., as it's all my work schedule would allow. It was truly the only cruise we've ever done that we disliked. Rowdy kids everywhere, pools way too cold to swim in so kids took over hot tubs, ocean choppy and not nearly as beautiful as "normal," lots of drunk college kids, etc. Outside of maybe flying to San Juan and leaving from there (which we've done twice and loved), there's no way we will ever cruise in March/April again! Summer time is fine for weather. As our kids age, that will be our only available opportunities...but we will just budget accordingly. Our average excursion is $100/pp and for now, my kids are half price on 2 of them. In the future, we will need around $2500 for a week's worth of excursions (we do all private).
  5. lucyddr

    Budget

    In that case, you are looking at around $8000 for your desires/needs...just the reality.
  6. lucyddr

    Dressing Kids Up For Dinner

    These are typical cruise outfits for our twins. They coordinate and are nicer than typical school clothes, but comfortable enough to wear to Camp Carnival! Ours never want to take the time to change! We don't do ultra-formal anymore...it just isn't our style. Sent from my iPhone using Forums
  7. lucyddr

    Budget

    One thing to do is VERY closely follow Southwest Airlines about 8 months before you want to travel. On the morning they release rates, you can get amazing deals! We are flying from Nashville to Fort Lauderdale round trip for $150pp! I snagged them within 2 hours of the rate release (happens in morning). That alone saved our family of 4 almost $1000. Secondly, if you can take kids out of school, book in May or September on Carnival. The rates are much cheaper and both are great times to cruise if you can be a little flexible (hurricaine season). Our cruise (in 3 weeks, family of 4) budget is the following. Please know we cruise for the ports and excursions, so that part of our budget is higher than many. 1. Cruise with tips $2700 2. Flights $600 3. Airport parking $100 4. Shore Excursions with tips $1800 5. Airport Shuttles $150 6. Specialty Dining $220 $5570 total...so maybe $6000 after a few drinks and all.
  8. lucyddr

    Cruising with SPD Child ..Carnival Kids Club?

    Our girl twin is very sensitive to loud noises, textures, and can be quite moody at times. While we didn't begin cruising with our children until they were 3 due to issues related to their being preemies with lung disease, our daughter did amazingly well at Camp Carnival! Both of my children love the structured activities on Carnival and my children, now 5, beg to go t the camp 24/7. My recommendation is to try it and see how things go. Worst case, you can always entertain in other ways (Seuss story time, toys, glass elevators, etc). Best case, you have a great vacation!
  9. lucyddr

    Cozumel taxis and car seats

    Our experience with children in Cozumel on two different trips including 4 taxis has been that 1 had shoulder belts and the other 3 only had lap belts. We put our twins in the back seat of the minivan between us on the first trip as we got off the ship without our Safe Rider Travel Vests (just totally forgot). The second time, we had the kids in their vests and were ready, but there were no shoulder restraints on the trip heading to Mr. Sanchos. Coming back, the van had them. So...it's really hit or miss. Thankfully our twins are now 5.5. We will be taking Graco TurboBooster Takealongs on our next cruise and will pray that our taxis/vehicles all have shoulder straps.
  10. lucyddr

    Night Owls question

    The themed nights have more structure than the non-themed ones. My kids were always found either playing group games or watching a movie (offered later when little ones are a bit tired). It is WELL worth the $15 per child! They get a little Owl pillow, special candy treats, etc. and my kids beg to go!
  11. We allow ours to wear theirs on lanyards at 5, but when we are getting on and off the ship...we just attach them to our lanyards behind our cards. I don't trust them off the boat!
  12. My husband and I have had a mixed bag, but on the whole...our experience was like yours since 2016! On previous cruises before Cheers existed, we always had our sodas on the dining room table the moment we walked in and got at least one refill. Roving waiters would gladly bring us each one as long as I ordered a mixed drink here and there with an extra $1-2 tip. Waiting was never more than a minute or two at the bar and it was well worth the costs! Unfortunately, when we cruised the Dream, our experience was terrible. Despite asking, we only got our sodas at dinner 2 or 7 nights...and they were delivered during dessert. We waited in line at bars for several minutes at a time for warm, flat sodas...often they didn't even have Coke Zero available. I tried tipping more and everything, but it didn't change much. I probably drank 8 glasses in 7 days...it was seriously that bad. I didn't opt for BB on our Triumph cruise, but husband did. He got great service all 5 days! Mileage varies. Despite both experiences, I still cannot decide what to do on our September cruise! I love the convenience of BB, but am a bit scared about having the same experience we did on the Dream! I also don't wish to try to fly with sodas and may not have time before getting on the ship. Decisions...decisions. And fwiw: I had an even worse experience on Royal Caribbean! Their bar waiters would actually make us wait 10+ minutes while they served everyone consuming alcohol to quit ordering before they would fill our cups. I can't tell you how many times I heard, "I'll get you some soda once I have time." That's a huge NO in the future for me!
  13. lucyddr

    Glory - July 7th

    We had a similarly long drill on the Carnival Triumph in March. My children were smothering with all the adults close around them, yet we couldn't hold them for the 40+ minutes it took. I hope Carnival will do something about this in the future...as I dread doing this in September when we cruise the Glory.
  14. lucyddr

    Parents with small children

    I have twins who have travelled extensively, thus we have tried several options. First...NEVER rent a car seat through a limo or car rental company. I made this mistake early on. I spoke to the company, made sure they had the kids' stats, and told them the type of seats needed. When we got into the limo, one seat didn't rear face at all (kids were under 2) and the other had a strap issue that wouldn't tighten. The driver had no clue as to the fine points of seat installation. Needless to say...we were totally stressed out on our 45 minute drive from MCO to Disney. We were so stressed that the next year, we drove so we would have our quality seats! Second...don't assume that you can make a Caribbean/Mexican taxi seat work. On a more recent trip with 5 year olds, I bought 2 Ride Safer Travel Vests. I seriously thought I was making a good purchase and safety decision, at almost $400 for 2. Turns out, all 4 of our vans/taxis only had lap belts...no shoulders! One didn't even have a lap belt! We held our kids between us tightly and prayed for a safe trip (short distance). My recommendation is to try to book bus tours, as busses don't require seatbelts to be safe because of their compartmentalized designs. Otherwise either stay close to the port of take a calculated risk. For domestic trips, Costco Scenara Next is a great cheap seat. At 5, my plan in September is to take Graco Takealongs. They are folding boosters. While we wouldn't choose a booster at this age and size for day to day use, I feel they are far safer than nothing and easily transported.
  15. We just leave it out. It’s huge and low! My twins have slept on the sofa bed and upper bunk on two cruises now at 3 and 5yo...no issues! Sent from my iPhone using Forums
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