When I was in middle school, my parents told my brother and me that once we graduated college, we would take a family vacation on a Disney cruise. I didn’t believe them up until this past November, when they informed us that we would make this vacation a reality in May 2015. It’s not easy to choose just 10 moments that stood out to me from the trip, but I think this list hits the major points. Continue reading to discover my highlights, diabetes-related and not.
10. Our ship, the Disney Fantasy
In the weeks prior to vacation, I spent a good chunk of time researching our ship and the activities to do onboard. This extensive investigating certainly made me more excited for what was to come, but it paled in comparison to the splendor of the Fantasy in person. I was in awe of its sheer size, and this only amplified when embarked on the ship and took in the interior’s opulence. From classic Disney songs playing in the halls to the enormous projection screen (for playing Disney movies, of course) overlooking the pool, every minute detail added to the overall experience.
9. Lost Luggage
Remember, this is a list of memorable moments, so that means the good and the bad of our trip. Our luggage failed to make it onboard with us. As you could imagine, this resulted in a rough start to the trip and unwanted vacation stress. Our first night was not nearly as fun as it should’ve been due to our anxiety over our lost luggage, but the next morning we were informed it would be waiting for us when we arrived in St. Maarten, the first port of call. Even though we didn’t have our own clothing for nearly the first half of the trip, we still made the most of it and donned Disney Cruise Line clothes until we were reunited with our possessions.
8. Trivia Champions
I’m a bit of a trivia geek, so I was excited when I learned that there was trivia offered multiple times each day throughout the cruise. I convinced my family to play with me, and we wound up beating several other teams by taking first place!
7. Close Encounters with Wildlife
I never thought I would have the chance to feed lorikeets or swim with stingrays…but I did both on this vacation. I’ve always loved animals, so it was incredible to interact with them in such a unique way.
6. The Incredible Staff
The crewmembers aboard the Fantasy really made us feel welcome from Day 1. They were super understanding about our luggage situation, and played a major role in assuaging us over the fiasco. Over the course of our vacation, we got to know many of them by name and shared daily conversation with them that felt genuine. Not to mention the fact that one of our waiters made dinner hilarious for my family by stumping us with crayon and card tricks – thanks, Julio!
5. Mixology, Martinis, and More
I wrote in greater detail on how alcohol affected my diabetes management on the cruise in a feature for ASweetLife – what I didn’t mention in that piece is that I now have a new favorite martini, which I happily sampled at a martini tasting. It’s called the coconut martini and it’s delicious! I loved going to the martini tasting and mixology class because of how much I learned from the bartender. As a result of these experiences, I found a new favorite cocktail: the coconut martini. It’s delicious!
4. Fantastic Food
OMG, I forgot how great cruise food could be! Breakfast was a buffet that had everything you could possibly imagine available. Lunch was arbitrary depending on what my family and I were doing, so some days it was a healthy salad and others it was nothing but soft serve ice cream (which was available 24 hours, yum!). Dinner was always a two-hour affair consisting of five – yes, FIVE – courses that could not have been portioned more perfectly. My mother and I happily made use of the extended bolus feature on our OmniPods to prevent lows, and it worked without a hitch for the most part.
3. Not One, but Two Pod Failures
This was a major annoyance, but my swift recoveries for both made me feel in control. The first occurred when I was showering after a long day spent at Waikiki Beach in St. Maarten. Halfway through my shower, I heard the telltale “beeeeeeeeeeep!”. I wasn’t pleased about having to put a new pod on so close to dinner, which was to happen an hour later, but I did it and I was fine. Pod failure #2 happened on Castaway Cay, where my PDM lost all communication with the pod I was wearing. Not entirely sure how this happened, but thankfully, we had an extra Humalog pen that I used to give myself a lunchtime bolus. Neither pod failure was terribly convenient, but really, are they ever?
2. Ports of Call
Words can’t express how beautiful the islands of St. Maarten and St. Thomas were. We only had about seven hours at each port, which simply wasn’t enough time! However, we enjoyed some gorgeous weather on both islands. The last port of call, Castaway Cay, is a Disney-owned private island – and yes, it’s as fantastic as it sounds. My parents and I went for a bike ride in the morning and spent the rest of our day there snorkeling and soaking up the sun at Serenity Bay, an adults-only beach. My brother, on the other hand, chose the more thrilling pastime: parasailing! Regretfully, our time here was even shorter, and we were sad when it was time to go back on the ship.
1. Spending Time with my Family
Cue the “aww”-ing. As time goes on, I find that life speeds up to an unstoppable pace and it’s more difficult to spend time with your loved ones. This vacation was much-needed not just for relaxing, but hanging out as a family. I’m really grateful for our trip together and I look forward to future ones.