Thanksgiving has become a traditional week of vacation for us. It is easier for Dan to get away that week than any other week of the year. So, while we always plan to go somewhere, we usually don't decide where until the last minute. And, by the last minute, I mean THE LAST MINUTE! We booked a 5 day cruise on Thursday before we left Monday. The benefit to these last minute bookings is that we get amazing deals.
The boat was scheduled to leave out of Tampa on the Monday before Thanksgiving. I had to work that morning so we all left home at 7 a.m. While I worked, Dan took the kids for breakfast. The plan was to leave work by 9:30 and get to the cruise terminal by 11:30. We could start boarding at 11:30 with a 4 pm departure time. Around 9:15, I got a call from Carnival that there was significant fog in Tampa and the boat we were to board could not get into port to disembark the other cruisers.
I decided to stay at work longer to get ahead. We left there around 11 and drove to Lakeland where we stopped for lunch. At that point, they were saying we could board by 3 pm to leave at 7 pm. We left lunch and even stopped for haircuts for the boys. We parked and went to the terminal. It wasn't until our car was in a remote lot and our luggage unloaded that we found out the boat still hadn't made it into the port of Tampa. WHAT?
There were long lines everywhere. There were a lot of mad people. There were a lot of complainers. We decided to avoid the lines and find a cool spot to sit while we waited. There was a spot outside on the second level so we grabbed it. There was one other family there waiting. We found out they were first time cruisers. So, we were able to answer a few questions for them as we waited. Our kids played a few games while we waited.
Dan took off on a journey to find WiFi so he could download a movie from our iTunes account to our iPad. We knew we would be at least another 2 hours. (Just wait...it ended up being WAAAAY more than 2 hours!!!) When Dan got back, we convinced Jonah to introduce him to the other two kids. He is so shy about that sort of thing.
I was proud of him for finally saying hello after Dan introduced himself and asked what the boy was reading. That opened up an opportunity for the kids to play a few games we had brought along. The longer we sat there, the more conversations we had with this sweet family from Chicago.
At some point, we got word that we wouldn't be boarding until around 8 p.m. It was scheduled to leave port at 4 pm but here we were at 7 pm and still not on the boat. It wasn't looking good. We stuck with our new friends and hung out until it was time to board.
They finally called for us and we hopped on a bus to get to the correct terminal. We were exhausted. And, SO hungry!!! And, really exhausted! But, we were finally going to make it on the boat!
Because we booked last minute and got a very good deal, it was even cheaper to get two rooms than one. Since all 4 of us have cruised in one room and we saw how crowded it was, we were more than happy to split up. Micah and I were in one room and next to us was Dan and Jonah.
We went straight to the safety briefing (which is the worst part of any cruise!) and then found the closest dining room. Our kids were starving. It was after 9 pm and they had not eaten since around noon. Our waiter was awesome. We told him how hungry they were and he literally ran to grab fruit and chicken for them.
Jonah was so tired he fell asleep in my lap. But, I did wake him up for his amazing dinner!
We got back to the room and while Dan got the boys showered and dressed for bed, I got everything ready for the next day. We got the kids in the bed and Micah made sure to tell me he wasn't tired and he wasn't sleepy. As you can see, he was telling the truth.