Sunday, April 26, 2015

Labadee, Haiti, continued - 2/10/15

So, Labadee....I just loved it! We were the only ship in port, and I have to say, I can't imagine another ship there with us! It certainly wasn't overcrowded, but the 6000 people on the Allure definitely took up the space! When you're on the ship, you're confined and you don't really notice how many people there are. But put that many people on a spread out area and WOW - that is a lot of people!

But, back to Labadee - it was beautiful!

These couple of pictures are from when we were still on the ship - looking out towards the beach area...and yes, it bugs me that they're out of order! But, what can I do now! 

So after hanging out in the water for a bit, we decided to check out the other activities. I knew the kids wanted to do the water inflatable things as some point, and they probably wanted to do the Dragon Coaster. I'm sure Alex had his eye on the zip line, but at $99 for one zip - not really happening unless he wanted to pay for it himself! Plus fitting it all in with the 1:00 wave runner would be tough! It was a little unclear as to how it all worked. I had read that you could get a combo ticket for the water inflatable things with the Dragon Coaster, but what they don't tell you is that you have to ride the Dragon Coaster first, then come show your wristband to purchase the inflatable tickets at the discount. They don't really make this combo thing public. So....after waiting in line for this ticket, no go - off to the coaster which is on the other side of the beaches. 

Get the wristbands there, which when you ride, they take off. So, how do you prove you went on it for the combo ticket?? on the Dragon Coaster...

Here is a picture of Adrenaline Beach, the beach over by the Dragon Coaster and the one that the zip line goes right by

Afterwards, we went back to "our beach" and the cabana...this was our view from there

It was about time for Keith and Alex to head over to the wave runners and Megan and I decided it was time for lunch.

Lunch at Labadee....if I had to pick one thing that I thought was the tiniest of issues there, it would have to be lunch. And this isn't even a huge deal, but it's sort of a combined mini-complaint.

First, we had the cabana. And there's been some back and forth as to if all cabanas get the upgraded lunch at Barefoot Beach, or just the Suite Cabin Cabanas. Currently, or at least recently the "regular" cabanas do say that they include the Barefoot Beach upgraded lunch. Which really isn't a huge deal except to say there can't possibly be the line that there was at the buffet that we encountered! We didn't ask if we got the upgraded lunch, mainly because our butler told us where our lunch was, and it was in no way the Barefoot Beach lunch. 

Oh well..... as for the buffet itself. It was very crowded. We stood in line for probably 30-40 minutes. There are a couple of different food buffets. There are picnic tables set up to eat at. The food is hamburgers, hot dogs, ribs - typical picnic food. It was fine. As we were walking back with our plates, several people asked us where the food was - they had no idea. So I think it could be better marked or even somehow announced when lunch is served. 

But enough of that.....we ate and that was that! So, Keith and Alex came back and wouldn't you know it - they got to the wave runners, did their "training video" of course had to get their picture taken on the wave runner

Only to be told after all that time - that they were cancelling all of the runs due to the high winds! Wow.....they were disappointed! And what a lot of time wasted since it was pretty clear that it was windy from the time they got there and there was probably no intention of them going out from the start! The zip line was also shut down for the rest of the day. So - if you plan on doing either activity - do it early, just in case!

Megan enjoying some relaxing time after lunch, what would we we do next? This was a pretty perfect place to be wasn't it?

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Day 3 - Labadee, Haiti! 2/10/15

Today was already day 3! Our first port day, Labadee. Of the cruises we'd been on before, this was the first time we'd ever been to one of the cruise line's own ports. I can't really say island, because Labadee isn't an island. But we were looking forward to today! Typically we're not beach goers on cruises. We're more of active excursion people. Not that we mind some time on a beach, and as you might guess, by Keith's missing day yesterday, he could spend an entire day parked on a chair at the beach, but when we're out at a destination, especially with the kids, we usually prefer a somewhat active type day. So this was a totally different type of day for us!

So, way, way back in the fall, or maybe it was late summer, I can't really remember when, I got caught up in the hype and booked a cabana for us. There was a super short window of opportunity to book them online and I was able to get a beach cabana. So, we were off the ship fairly early and ready to see just what Labadee had to offer!

It was a beautiful day, and we were ready!

Our first time really standing next to the ship - yup, this is one big ship!

Look out Labadee, here come the masses of people!

But before the fun....that's right, pictures!

I do love the shifty eye look that Alex is giving Megan here!

First up, Keith and Alex decided they wanted to sign up for the wave runners. So before heading to our cabana, they took care of that. They had a 1:00 slot available. We then walked over to where the tram was to take us over to Nellies' Beach.

It was a festive environment, and everyone around was just looking to have a fantastic day! 

We got to our cabana, and were introduced to our butler. He gave us the rundown of how the cabana system worked, and we went into the water. Here's a pretty shaded picture, but you get the idea of how the beach cabana looks.

Here are some Over the Water cabanas

the cabanas come with I think 6 bottles of water? Towels, which I had forgotten, which is why we carried our own, and also 2 of the water floating mats. We left our stuff and into the water we went!

You can get a good view of the beach cabanas here in the background

This is truly the life!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Pool time, Ice Shows, Formal Night, and Broadway! Our first sea day continues! 2/9/15

So, we made our way out to the pools...we walked by the Beach Pool...which by the way, we loved! Just the whole set up there. The chairs, the umbrellas, the design...but no Keith. Ok....we went to the Sports Pool. Nope, didn't see him there either.

Was he by the family pool? Is that even what it's called? Nope. Up to the next deck....was he just sleeping in the sun? Didn't see him. We walked and walked and looked and looked. Maybe he went to the Solarium? I did a quick walk through, but didn't see him. Fine - he's on his own, we're going to the pool! 

We got towels, I got a chair and the kids went in the pool. To be honest, it wasn't the warmest or sunniest of days. There were plenty of open chairs to be found and before long I got a great spot right in front of the pool. For the most part, Alex and Megan were the only two in the pool.

There was some Caribbean music by the pool...very nice!

At some point the kids must have left to go get changed. We had plans to go see Ice Games at 5:00. I went to the Solarium for a bit, just to see if Keith was there, and hang out for a bit.

He wasn't there.....I assumed he enjoyed his day of peace and quiet, sleeping in the sort of sun!

So, just where was Keith for the entire day? Well, after I spent some time in the Solarium, I went back to the cabin and he was sitting out on the balcony reading. So, I asked him if he'd been there all day? He said, no, but he was up on the sports deck by the basketball courts. Why in the world was he up there? He said it was the only place he could find two chairs together and then he just fell asleep for the afternoon. Well, good for him! So, he had his day in the sun, and we had our day by the pool! 

The kids and I went to Ice Games which was at 5:00. We'd seen the ice show in the Navigator, so we were familiar with the style of the show and we knew just how talented the skaters were on these ships!

They try to make the theme a game type event based on the themes of the ship. I think it's a stretch to bring in the game aspect, but they do a nice job highlighting some of the venues of the ship. I've heard some people complain that it's just a big advertisement for the Allure, but I really liked the show and it does have to showcase something, so why not the ship?

After the show it was time to head back to get ready for dinner. Tonight was the first formal night, and our first night in the Main Dining Room! We had 8:00 reservations, so our timing was pretty good tonight!

Since it was formal night in the Main Dining Room....this meant Megan and I were happy about getting dressed up and Keith and Alex, well not so much! Keith is of the side that he's on vacation and shouldn't have to wear a jacket and tie, he should be comfortable. Alex, well - he's 15 and doesn't really care to impress his family with his attire! But Megan, well, you remember the nail crisis right? Extend that to dressing up! And me, well, I like to go out with my whole family for a night when we're all dressed! 

So, for me, I do like formal night. And remember, I was planning on trying to get the picture package too, so that meant I was going to get everyone to pose for at least one or two posed picture! Oh, they loved me tonight! We didn't have time for pictures on the way to dinner, but of course you get the lovely pictures at the table when you usually have food in your mouth! And the table is a mess! 

The meal itself? I can't really remember! There were no complaints. I do recall that our server was attentive and the pace that night was fine. We all enjoyed what we got to eat and while nothing was outstanding, nothing was bad. I'd say we were all happy with our meals!

Oh, looks like Alex got the souffle for dessert! I do remember that and that he liked it! 

Just a couple of the formal night photos

And the all squish together picture!

After dinner Keith and Alex split up from Megan and I, and Megan and I went to see Chicago. Yes by now it was late! I'm pretty sure that Keith and Alex went to the Ocean Aria show. Alex told Keith how good it was, and wanted him to see it. Megan and I had 10:30 reservations for Chicago.

Megan is a huge theater kid...she's a performer and dancer, so for her theater is 2nd nature. She knows all of the songs from Chicago, but was it her first choice, probably not. Did she love it? Absolutely! Since the topic always comes up about the appropriateness of Chicago on a "family ship", did I think it was appropriate for her? Sure, not a problem. It was no more than PG-13, and she has certainly seen that subject matter on tv and in the movies.  You can make your own decision about your family.... :)

As far as the performance itself, it was very good. The actors were great and if you are familiar with the story line, I think you would like it. We did!

So, it was a packed first sea day on the Allure! We loved it! Tomorrow would be our day in Labadee! 

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Everyone Loves a Parade! The Move It, Move It Parade! 2/9/15

We left off at the end of the Central Park Tour....the plan was to meet the kids "somewhere in the Royal Promenade" for the Move It! Move It! Parade! Great plan right? There must have been at least 1000 of the 6000 people on board doing just that! So, Keith and I found a few chairs in front of Sorrentos, the pizza place, and sat down. We knew Alex, and Alex eats pizza. Oddly enough, he doesn't really eat pizza at home though, just when we're on vacation. Strange kid. But we knew that if he came through the Royal Promenade, he'd stop for pizza....and sure enough - that they did! So, Megan and Alex stayed for the parade, while Keith went out to get some sun. 

We told him to try to find two chairs by the Beach pool. Sure, we'd find him - how hard could it be? After all, the kids found us just now! 

We were pretty early for the parade, so we just people watched for awhile. We looked over the Cruise Compass and planned out the rest of the day. Alex got more pizza....perfect spot to wait! And finally the parade started. Mind you, the pictures are really pretty bad. While our spot was good - it was horrible for pictures! The characters all came out right in front of us, and then turned one way or another. So, we saw them just fine, but there was no time to really set up for a picture. So, bear with me here! 

These guys are probably my favorites!

All of the DreamWorks characters made an appearance!

Definitely another favorite of ours!

The crew put on a good show as well!

Well - that was fun! Now the plan was some pool time, and finding Keith. Somewhere along the way we stopped and took a couple of pictures....

The art by the elevators

And here is an overhead view of Central Park