Oh, how I love the modified year-round school schedule!! For a wander-lust traveller such as myself, it gives me considerable pleasure to be able to dream, research and plan numerous exotic family vacations. Our family has been to Rio de Janeiro, Barcelona, Paris, Bali, New Zealand, Athens and Tokyo … all in my head,of course. We do not have the good fortune to afford such trips.  We don’t even own passports (YET).  And in this down-trodden economic environment a trip to Athens, Georgia is not really manageable.  So, when the boys returned to school in July, I ignored my domestic responsibilities vowed that I would find an affordable but memorable option for a fall break vacation.  And I did! Thanks to the hurricane season, a sluggish tourist season and the discount incentives on the Fun Ships, my family will spend five days on a floating resort with a brief visit to the Bahamas to chow on some conch! Please don’t tell me how awful Carnival is or how I should have gone with Celebrity, RCCL, etc. This isn’t my first cruise or even my first cruise on Carnival. Remember, I needed the most bang for the buck with 3 young boys that demand entertainment and excitement!

Since I’m a seasoned traveller, I rarely get anxious about upcoming trips. My husband will even tell you that I’m too nonchalant about it all and embrace procrastination when it comes to packing.  So why do my facial muscles twitch whenever the boys discuss our upcoming cruise??  3 reasons: David (10), Hunter (7) and Luke (3).  Don’t get me wrong — their excitement is infectious (along with the respiratory virus) but their constant rapid-fire questions are quite unnerving. David, my most cautious and analytical, is very concerned about the possibility of the ship sinking — like the Titanic. Ummm yes, he is aware that there are no icebergs in the vicinity of our ship’s itinerary. But as he so solemnly states, “Anything can come up from the ocean floor and puncture a hole in the hull.” Noticing my very blank, open-mouthed stare, he continues with, “We just had an earthquake a month ago, remember?”  Which makes me turn to Hunter, knowing I can find a sympathetic smile and a casual shrug of his shoulders, dismissing his brother’s craziness. But no such luck!! It seems that Hunter has very grave concerns of his own about this voyage.  “Mom, can you PLEASE dye my hair blonde before the cruise?” Hollywood Hunter is the only member of our family with “slightly” blonde hair. He did just have a haircut that removed the remains of his beach-blonde (no, I did not misspell BLEACH) highlights. But why on earth would he insist on DYEING his hair?? “You just never know how many cute girls I might meet on the ship!”, he suavely informs me.  While trying to convince Casanova that the girls will like him no matter his hair color, Luke is jumping in circles around us singing, “big boat, big boat, Wuke go on big boat”! When I dart into the bathroom, seeking refuge from the natives, Luke stalks after me wanting assurance he will see the beach while on the big boat. 

I know the intensity of their questions, concerns, and overall giddiness will only increase until the first night spent on the ship.  And after that I hope they are more than content to share it all with the happy Camp Carnival counselors!!!  I will try to control the urge to throw my CC pager into the Atlantic Ocean or drink myself into an alcohol coma.  Because the ultimate goal of this trip is to give my very hard-working, devoted husband at least 10 minutes a day of peace and quiet — he can get the other 7 1/2 hours each Saturday he sits in a tree claiming to hunt for deer!

*Picture courtesy of www.bahamas-travel.com*