“Please come with us!” my mom said, asking me and KC to come on a family cruise. Last year, my mom went on a cruise with a few of her brothers and their families around the Caribbean and they had such a good time, they wanted to go again this year. “It will be more fun with you!” she added. We eventually agreed to go and the family cruise became one of the few set times and places we had to be on this trip. We made a mad dash from Texas to Florida (you can read about our dash in Mad Dash to Florida in Parts 1 and 2) and made it in time to visit with KC’s parents for a few days in Ft Lauderdale and Miami (you can read about that visit in Florida Good Times Parts 1 and 2) before sailing off on the cruise ship.
My Big Family
I come from a big extended family. My mom has eleven brothers and two sisters and I have over thirty first cousins from my mom’s family alone (and another fifteen first cousins from my dad and stepmom). Lucky for me, only three uncles, one cousin, my mom and stepdad, and KC’s parents joined us on the trip, for a total of fourteen family members (including my uncles and cousin’s significant others, a small fraction of my family).
When we signed up for the cruise, I was reassured that the ship would be big enough that if I needed to, I could escape from my family for a bit on another part of the ship. This was false. I would leave one area, seeking a quiet place to write, to run into another family member at the opposite end of the ship. In trying to escape the second family member, I would go to another part of the ship and then run into someone else from the family. After a while, I gave up trying to write and spent time with my family, which is what I probably should have done in the first place.
One time, when I was trying to find a place to write, I went to one of the ship’s coffee shops, got coffee and sat down. I thought I had escaped everyone when I looked to my right and saw my uncle Henry playing cards with my uncle Carlos one table over. Luckily, neither of them saw me and I was able to write for a little bit. While I was writing, I would stop and quietly observe them, since they still hadn’t seen me. Even though both uncles are over fifty years old, they were acting like they were twelve years old, bantering back and forth as they played Gin Rummy. There was something sweet to catching my uncles off-guard, who have always been the “adults” acting like young boys when they thought no one else was around. When they got up at the end of their game, they finally spotted me.
Of course, not just my uncles, but my whole family loves playing cards and many hours were spent playing cards…
Time with my Mom
KC and I postponed leaving on our road trip until my mom finished three months of liquid chemo (hence why she is rocking the bald look) so we could be around to help her and my stepdad. My mom has been battling breast cancer for just over seven years now and it was a difficult decision to leave on the trip while she is still battling it. However, she told me I should take the opportunity to travel and that she didn’t plan to give in to the cancer anytime soon, so I should go now. Still, I was happy to visit with her any opportunity I got (this is one of the reasons why we are spending a few weeks in southern California, between the road trip and Europe). While on the boat we got to spend some time in the spa, exploring the islands, and hanging out with other family.
Other Fun Boat Stuff
Like any other cruise, we all had fun dressing up for the formal night
Going to shows…
Dancing the night away at the club and then relaxing at the lounge on the top deck…
And of course, all the food.
At the End of the Cruise
The cruise was a nice vacation from the road trip and we enjoyed visiting with family in a new setting. We spent time together on the ship and explored Caribbean Islands, even if we mostly spent our time on the beaches (you can read about those adventures on my Caribbean Island post). On the last night, we went around saying good-bye to all our relatives. “Thanks for coming, sweetie,” my mom said as we embraced to say good-bye, “I had a great time.”