Sailing along is myself (Shelley), and I'm totally addicted to traveling. I'll pretty much go anywhere and it really takes quite a lot for something to make a vacation go wrong for me. I tend to roll with the punches, go with the flow. Of course, there will be issues, but let's work them out and move on! That's just how I am. Then there's my husband, Keith, he absolutely hates to go on cruises. Funny right? But he tolerates them because that's what works well for our family. As much as in his mind he says he hates them, every single time we're sailing, he has a good time. I think it's more the concept of a cruise that he doesn't like and it would not be his vacation of choice, than actually being on the cruise. My son, Alex is 15 and he loves cruises. He keeps asking when we're going to go on a Baltic cruise, or maybe one in Asia. He's got big cruise dreams! And then Megan, she's 13 and she loves to travel in any form, but enjoys cruising a lot too.
We have cruised a fair amount, and don't really have any loyalty to any particular cruise line. We tend to sail based on itinerary and the ship that suits us at the moment. After we sailed on the Navigator in Europe, the Allure kept calling out to us! This was when the Allure was a newer ship - it was "THE" ship to sail on at that time. Not to say that it's still not pretty exciting, because it's very unique! So, this past May, plans were set in motion to sail on the Allure!
It was a total surprise to the kids...which was pretty cool! In November, the 4 of us had just sailed on Celebrity on one of their Top Chef cruises. That was very cool! The kids knew I had another vacation planned for winter of 2015 and that they would be missing a week of school. But they had no idea what and they had no idea where we'd be going. I had planned this in May 2014 when there was some great pricing, and I decided it would be their Christmas present for 2014. So, once i figured out how I would "give" it to them, the plan was set in motion. They never dreamed it would be another big vacation, let alone a cruise, especially since Keith is so not thrilled with cruises.
I came up with a picture scavenger hunt where they had to find clues all around the house on Christmas morning. Each clue led them to an envelope which they gathered and then once they collected them all, they opened them and had to figure out where they clues told them we'd be going! I had pictures of things relating to the Allure. I couldn't make it too easy since they are 15 and 13, but things like the Boardwalk piece from Monopoly, a picture of Central Park, the Chicago skyline, the Madagascar Penguins, a picture of a carousel, all in all I had 10 pictures I believe.
So now we all know about the cruise and we just had to wait until February to go! It was so hard for me to not say a word to them from May until February and I now could finally start telling them about the excursions or the ship or whatever! One of the hardest parts was when we were on our cruise in November, the Oasis, which is the Allure's sister ship, was docked in port at the same time as we were - here it is next to one of the Carnival ships
and the kids would say things like "I wish we were on that ship, it looks so cool"....and I just had to keep quiet or say something like, well, maybe someday we'll go on it! HA HA!
We counted down the days, and finally, it was time to go on the long awaited, surprise cruise on the Allure!