Spring Break… Will You Vacation? How About a Cruise?

My kids’ spring break has sprung upon us and found us completely unprepared. The husband has meetings he cannot miss, and no plans have been made. Do these things happen to anyone else?  I used to be an organized person. An extreme type A personality. That all fell apart when I started writing.

So, in my best jumbled nature, I have organized a trip for the kids and I to take Vegas by storm with grandma (my mom). You know, a little gambling, free drinks – it’s all good. But in all seriousness, the kids have been asking to go for some time now. The rumor around the mill is grandma will soon sell the Las Vegas house. Well, if you know me, and some of you do (some of you are only just starting to get a clue), I must see this bit of desert architecture before it’s out of the family. Since it was only recently acquired, I haven’t yet had the chance. So picture me, if you will, loaded up with kids for a five-hour thirty minute car ride. Sound like fun? I’m fairly certain there will be some torture involved. Bring it on! 😀

If you have any great recommendations for kid friendly activities in the Las Vegas area (that don’t cost a bloody fortune), I’m all ears.

What has this taught me? I need to be better a better planner. Are you planning any trips in the coming months? Possibly summer or beyond?

I have a wonderful recommendation for an all-inclusive trip, if your focus is less on the 500 things you want to do and more on relaxation and quality time with loved ones. Consider a cruise.

  • Your hotel travels with you to many fabulous destinations.
  • All meals are included.
  • You avoid rental cars, traffic, gas and insurance.
  • The ship’s crew will provide a multitude of activities to keep you busy from sun up to sun down if that is your wish.

We took our first cruise over the New Year. Huge success! No one wanted to get off that ship when it we came into port. We took a Disney Cruise, slightly more $$ than some of the others, but here’s some of the features I’m aware of that differ from some of the others:

  • 24 hour open soda and hot cocoa bar! I was at the cocoa bar every morning, I’m sorry to say. 🙁
  • An adults only section of the boat including pool, coffee bar, club, etc.
  • I heard the rooms are slightly more spacious from those who know.
  • The kids club (other ships have kids clubs, but they can’t compare to Disney. Come on! It’s Disney. Your older kids can check themselves in and out of the various clubs. Mine even opted out of a port venture to stay at the club one day).
  • Nightly Disney stage shows – that don’t suck. Disney’s Pirate night includes a fireworks show.
  • They include wave phones for calling each other across the ship.
  • All the characters and princesses, amazing Disney artwork lining the upper halls, and Disney shows in the dining halls.
    Mickey Mouse visits one of the kid's clubs
    Disney Characters Galore

Our room was on Deck 6 and included a veranda. Decks 5 and above have verandas. Saving money? Lower decks have massive porthole windows and you’re closer to the water. If view doesn’t matter, save even more and get an inside cabin.

Sofa turns into bunk beds

Porthole Window Size

There are multiple pools on-board. This is the Mickey pool with slide.

The family pool with funnel vision. It’s basically a large screen showing movies.

The quieter adults-only pool.

At the front of the ship you can find an activities area for those who want to bounce a ball, jump rope, etc. 

To the rear of the ship is a nice buffet where you can grab a meal, a seat and enjoy the view away from the sounds of the pool.

There are three main dining halls through which breakfast and dinner are rotated. Your servers follow you from hall to hall. You get the luxury of enjoying each room with their featured show.

An Artist theme where color comes to life
A tropical theme
Ariel's underwater theme
Here I am with our wonderful servers.

Several lounges can be found on board. Some welcome kids; one is adults-only – the Cadillac Lounge. Such a wonderful piano bar decorated with large 1960’s Cadillac tail fins running up the walls and large headlamps decorating the walls. I LOVED this place! All the lounges were fun and each tailored to a different style to fit different preferences.

The way to the Cadillac Lounge
A little conga line at the lounge

During the day you might find trivia taking place in one of these fun destinations. I cost my husband the win at one by making him late. Oops.

The above pictured lounge by day

Of course, you’ll want to spend plenty of time up on the top deck soaking up the sun.

Things I learned that can benefit you:

  • You don’t need a hair dryer. One is provided for you.
  • Outlets are limited (we had one); bring an extension cord for chargers, etc.
  • Bring plenty of money for port excursions and tip at the end of the cruise. You’ll be tipping your servers, room service, etc. It will add up quickly.
  • If you plan on booking tours outside of the ship line you’ll want to watch your time. You don’t want to be the one left standing on the dock.
  • If there are particular activities you want to be sure and get in, be it at the port or on the ship (i.e. massages, private dinners), be sure to book these in advance.
  • Check under the bed for storage of your luggage after you unpack. I didn’t do that till late in the game. We walked around our suitcases for half the week. Silly us.
  • Order room service as often as you like. It’s free! Unless you are adding spirits to the tab, of course. Those you have to pay for.
  • When picking your dinner time, we choose the later thinking it would leave our day free for more activities. What we didn’t realize was the first night at sea the clocks get changed to ship time. We lost an hour. Every night my kid was falling asleep at dinner and slipping under the table. We would go with the earlier dinner next time. It didn’t make a difference as far as activities or port calls.
  • Ports: there are two types. Be aware what you will have before you go so that you’re prepared. We had one of each. Port, we could walk on and off the ship at our leisure. Tender, we had to take a smaller boat to and from the shore. When this is the case, you must allow extra time to wait for the return boat and know that you will lose port time in transit.
    Able to walk on and off the ship at leisure - Port

    Taking the boat in to shore - Tender

When booking your cruise, remember the exotic destinations and amazing activities you can participate in. Give it some thought. I don’t think you’ll be sorry.

Beautiful destination beaches

Go swimming with the dolphins
Get kissed by a sea lion

Disney just added a Hawaiian and Alaskan cruise in the last year. In addition they will be adding a European Cruise to their Itinerary in the coming year. The options are expanding should you choose Disney.


Know that I always appreciate your time and love it when you stop by plus take the time to comment. Huge thanks! If you enjoyed this post or any of my previous posts, I’d be delighted to have you follow by email or RSS for any future posts!

29 thoughts on “Spring Break… Will You Vacation? How About a Cruise?”

  1. mgmillerbooksmgmillerbooks

    Well that’s salt in my wounds. Ha. But no, staff only gets one day off for spring break. I’ll have to take a trip in my head. Vegas sounds awesome. And the pics from the ship just made me want to daydream instead of work (which is what I’m doing right now–sssh, don’t tell anybody). You have a great break, and may the gods of gambling and Wayne Newton smile upon you.

    • Debra KristiDebra Kristi

      Sorry to hear you have to work through the break. That doesn’t sound like much fun. The hubby will be working as well. I doubt I’ll get much, if any, gambling in with the kids in tow. It will be a different kind of experience for me there. We’ll see how it goes. They are really excited. 😀 I didn’t mean to take your head out of the game. Oops. 🙂

  2. Coleen PatrickColeen Patrick

    I’ve loved our cruise vacations, but also my carefully planned road trips! Both were fun, but cruising is definitely easier
    Have fun in Vegas!! 🙂

    • Debra KristiDebra Kristi

      I love both as well, but agree, far less planning is required for a cruise. And the relaxation is wonderful. The kids had a blast! Hardly saw them.

  3. Diane Capri (@DianeCapri)Diane Capri (@DianeCapri)

    We’re about to cruise for the second time in our lives, Debra. First one was in Alaska. This one: Western Caribbean. Thanks for all the tips!

    • Debra KristiDebra Kristi

      I hear the Alaskan cruise is simply breathtaking! I can’t wait to take a Caribbean cruise! We’ve had that scheduled twice now and had to cancel because of the hubbies work.

  4. Louise BehielLouise Behiel

    sheesh, I just get back from Maui and now I want to go on a cruise. this looks soooo lovely.

    would be lots of fun with my grandchildren, I’m thinking.

    • Debra KristiDebra Kristi

      I think your grandchildren would love it, Louise. We saw a lot of large families on the ship. Looked like a great time for all of them.

  5. Patricia O'Dea Rosen (@patodearosen)Patricia O'Dea Rosen (@patodearosen)

    I’ve never been on a cruise, but it’s on my to-do list. One of these days, Debra, and I’m grateful for the tips. Meanwhile, have fun in Vegas. I’ve never been there, only changed planes at the airport. The Hoover Dam’s supposed to be an amazing sight.

    • Debra KristiDebra Kristi

      Living as close as I do to Vegas I have been there many times, but can you believe I haven’t gone to Hoover Dame yet? Maybe we’ll go this trip. Since it was featured in Transformers I’m sure my son would love it. LOL Thanks for stopping by Pat!

  6. August McLaughlinAugust McLaughlin

    My hubby and I love going to the Queen Mary, which is docked, but about as close as we’ll probably come to a cruise. LOL I do love travel and adventures…and can’t wait to hear about your soon-coming! Have a blast and take good notes for us. 😉

    • Debra KristiDebra Kristi

      Hehehe. You probably don’t need tips on what to do in Vegas when you have kids. 😀 It has been a while since we’ve made it down to the Queen Mary. We need to take the kids. We have spent the entire day at the nearby aquarium. You’ve been there, right? They love that place!

  7. Kristy K. James...Living, Loving, LaughingKristy K. James...Living, Loving, Laughing

    Beautiful pictures! It looks like you and your family had a fantastic adventure! And it sounds like you and the kids will in Vegas. I don’t know much about that city, although I understand from my brother that when you walk into Caesar’s Palace, you’re supposed to raise a fist in the air and shout, at the top of your lungs, “HAIL, CAESAR!” Okay, so you’re NOT really supposed to. My dad was pulling his leg but, much to Dad’s surprise (and embarrassment), my brother did exactly that. Wish I’d been there to see the expression on my dad’s face.

    Hope you all have a fun spring break. 🙂

    • Debra KristiDebra Kristi

      Ha ha! What a crack up! I love Caesars. It’s one of my favorite places to go. Not sure the kids will agree. They are going to want Circus Circus. Sigh. Oh well, what are you going to do? LOL

      Thanks, Kristy.

  8. Angela Orlowski-PeartAngela Orlowski-Peart

    Great info and photos, Debra. Thanks for sharing 🙂 I dream about going on a long European or Caribbean cruise, but who knows when we will be able to do that.

    Have a great time in Vegas!

    • Debra KristiDebra Kristi

      Thank you, Angela! I have no doubt we’ll have a great time no matter what we do.

      We also dream of a long European cruise. Maybe someday. It would be nice. Girls are allowed to dream! Have a wonderful weekend!

  9. shanjeniahshanjeniah

    No school for the kids here, but we travel a lot in nice driving weather, Four hour plus trips? No problem for my 10.5 and 7.75 year olds.

    My husband is a chef and so works weekends, so it is usually the three of us.

    We linger at rest stops. We often change plans to accommodate moods. I don’t let them get too tired, too wound up, too twired (both tired and wound, together), too thirsty, or too hungry.

    We talk a lot. We snuggle a lot. I look at them as my traveling companions rather than as accessories to my trip (if that makes sense).

    I make sure they have their favorite things – toys, games, foods, music, clothes, whatever. I have a few surprises….mirror markers, bubbles, a new game.

    And I do what I can to make the trip fantastic for all of us!

    Hope you all have a blast!

    Thanks for visiting my blog, and I am eager to explore yours further!

    • Debra KristiDebra Kristi

      You sound like a wonderful mother Shanjeniah! I, too, have a few surprises hidden up my sleeve. My kids are 6 and 10. One boy and one girl. They are in a love/hate relationship. I never know when they are going to be loving or hating each other. Lets hope they are loving as we head off in the next hour. I look forward to getting better acquainted with your blog and flash fiction upon my return. My flash fiction will post on Monday. 😉

      Thank you for stopping by my blog! Have an amazing weekend!

  10. alicamckennajohnsonalicamckennajohnson

    Sounds like a great time I’ve never been on a cruise. I have to plan things out. I don’t do spontaneous well at all.

    • Debra KristiDebra Kristi

      I used to be the same way. I have been trying to change. I think we miss a lot when we are afraid to be spontaneous. Also, last minute cruises had a big price cut. Not that we got to take advantage of that (planned ahead), but my girlfriend did. It gave me something to think about. Another argument in favor of spontaneity.

  11. fivereflectionsfivereflections

    i hope someday to play in the seasons of the sun enjoying the high desert of New Mexico – I can see the night sky in my mind, and those delicious colors….
    capture the moments at your mom’s place – fill your thoughts to reflect on later in life…
    great photos, i’ve never been kissed by a sea lion!

    David in Maine USA

    • Debra KristiDebra Kristi

      Thank you so much, my friend, for the reminder. We should treat each day as if the next doesn’t exist. Soaking up the moment. We never know what tomorrow may bring. I hope you get where you want to be. I’ll be praying for you.

  12. PatriciaPatricia

    I love cruising! I am sooooo jealous that you got to go with the Disney cruise line. I told my husband that what I want more than anything for my big 50th birthday bash (which is coming up waaaay tooooo sooooon) I want a Disney cruise. He keeps telling me no, but I’m going to dig my heels in on this one. If I have to have a temper tantrum like a two-year-old, by golly, I will. I’m going to be a half of a hundred for crying out loud, I should get my Disney cruise! All in favor say “aye.”

    Anyway, it looks like you had a really fun time! Thanks for sharing your pictures!

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

    • Debra KristiDebra Kristi

      I’ll let you in on a little secret I found out about a few months ago… if you are alright with being ready to go right away, the drop the rates on the rooms still open for cruises right around the corner. They want to fill the ship. My girlfriend usually uses another shipline. She decided to go Disney after hearing what I had booked. She called and booked hers, went before us and went for close to the same price she was used to paying for the other shipline. If you plan ahead, Disney gets you. If you want the really nice room and want to book all the extras then you need to plan ahead, but if you just want the basics, there are deals to be had. 🙂

  13. Molly PendleburyMolly Pendlebury

    OMG!!! I already wanted to go on a Disney cruise and now I’m freaking OUT!! DH wants a cruise to Alaska!! “IT COULD WORK!!!” Looks like you guys had an amazing time! Thanks for all the tips on doing the cruise right. That’s the kind of information we need to plan accordingly. I used to be a big time planner. Now I’m a Mom of 2 young children and it’s too tiring to make all that effort on a daily basis. A cruise is a planning situation for sure! I hope you’re having a great time in Vegas with you Mom and kiddos. We take at least 1 road trip a year sometimes 2. They are to TN and MN to visit family. From where we are it’s a 17hr drive to both places. We break it up into 2 days and feel like pros at it now.

    • Debra KristiDebra Kristi

      Wow! 17 hours? It was 5 1/2 getting here and for the last 2 my daughter was asking every minute, “How much longer?” LOL That’s amazing! I would love to go to TN. I have friends there I am dying to see. Maybe someday I can talk my husband into going.

      You should look into the Disney cruise. The kids would have a blast. Don’t freak about the cost. Read what I wrote in my comment to Patricia. If you plan ahead you are going to get a different quote and if you are willing to go next month. You are welcome for the tips. I love that stuff myself. Went searching for them before we went. Thanks for the wishes. Everyone is wipped out today. We are going to have a blast though!

  14. Melinda VanLoneMelinda VanLone

    Aw, I soooo want to go on vacation now! I love these photos, and I LOVE cruising. We did a Hawaii cruise, it was awesome! We’ve been several times to the Caribbean as well. Never on a Disney cruise because we don’t have kids and it would make me sad. But if anyone hasn’t been on a cruise I highly recommend it. So much fun. We haven’t planned a big vacation yet this year but now wondering if a holiday cruise would be the thing to end the year with. Hmmm.

    • Debra KristiDebra Kristi

      I wasn’t sure about being away for the holidays, but it was a blast! Plus, our trip included special keepsakes for the new year that a regular trip wouldn’t include. I don’t know if non-Disney has these or not, as it was a Disney lithograph, but you never know. You should do it Melinda!

  1. To Infinity and Beyond! « jansenschmidt

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge