Our first year anniversary was a huge celebration this year, and when my husband proposed we plan a second honeymoon (since our original honeymoon got switch around due to Hurricane Maria), we couldn’t help but take the opportunity to get away. When we thought more about how we were one family, we turned it into a massive family vacation with both of our parents, and my husband’s siblings and grandparents – talk about major coordination!
This trip took a lot of time and many nights of work, but in the end, we had an absolute blast as one family celebrating a special time in our lives. Read all about our first two days of our adventure and my favorite tips to planning your next getaway!
DAY 1 – PORT CANAVERAL
I don’t count the two days we spent in the car driving to Florida from Chicago as part of the vacation, although the laughs were endless in the car with my parents. Day 1 truly started when we met up with the whole family. We opted to book a 4 night Royal Caribbean cruise to the Bahamas – my in-laws have never been out of the country so it was a great starter trip to experience, plus since we were so well taken care of on our honeymoon and still had a blast, we have sort-of become Royal Caribbean loyalists, especially for a mostly adult vacation of late night fun and delicious food.
Once through check-in at the port and on the boat, we spent the afternoon venturing around the Enchantment of the Seas while awaiting for our stateroom. We ate our way through the Windjammer buffet and saw amazing amenities like a rock wall and trampoline park. The kids couldn’t resist the urge to jump right into the pool immediately and we enjoyed the Sail Away Party on the pool deck before dinner.
Our group dinner was made extra special when the staff made sure all 12 of us fit at a single table for quality bonding time, plus the food was absolutely phenomenal! It became hard to turn away multiple entrees when it was so delicious – I felt bad leaving food on my plate.
After dinner, it was immediately back to the pool to relax and enjoy as the wind blew through the deck from sailing the Atlantic. The great part is that it was Monday night and they played football on a big screen right over the pool so no one missed a beat on vacation! Ultimately, day 1 was exhausting as is, so keeping it low key made the day nice and relaxing
- Your first day on a cruise is usually very crazy – don’t plan any activities and leave your schedule open to see the whole ship.
- Spend an hour watching your ship sail away from port, it’s truly magnificent!
- Make sure to try all of the food options before sticking with one all cruise. On our first cruise, we spent the whole trip in the buffet and didn’t realize how amazing the dining room food was until it was too late.
Day 2 – COCOCAY, BAHAMAS
Day 2 meant a relaxing day at CocoCay, Royal Caribbean’s private island in the northern Bahamas. Because our party was so large, we booked two private bungalows on the island’s south beach which separated us from the public crowds. This was possibly the best decision we made the whole trip because we were able to have quality family time without losing people or worrying about crowds. Plus they were feet from the water and truly relaxing!
The bungalows came with floating mats, beach loungers, ocean views and catered lunch so we didn’t feel like we missed a beat of the main beach experience. We even brought our own snorkels to enjoy the magnificent wildlife with lemon sharks, sting rays and jellyfish swimming by our feet. When we wanted to tender back to the ship or check out some of the island shops, a quick shuttle service took us back to the main beach for fun – although, we spent almost all day at south beach!
Once we were back to the ship mid-afternoon before we sailed off to Nassau, our group enjoyed relaxing afternoon peace and quite (mostly in the form of naps!) before a delicious dinner again in the dining room. This night was formal night, so it was great to see everyone in their Sunday best enjoying delicious food and drinks. That night, we indulged in some late night bites at Windjammer while enjoying a cinematic classic, American Graffiti, on the pool big screen. My absolute favorite was the homemade corn dogs!
- If you’re planning a beach day during your trip, see what the local rental price is for equipment. Sometimes it’s just cheaper to buy it on amazon or at the local store and bring it yourself.
- If you want to take an excursion, it’s worth the few extra dollars to book through your cruise line in the event that something happens, like cancellations or the excursion runs past port departure time.