Our final port of call was St Kitts.

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We didn’t really have a game plan for St Kitts.  All we knew was we wanted to find monkeys and a beach with some shells and snorkeling.  We found a taxi driver who could take us to both!




After getting a chance to hold the monkeys, we set off for the beach.



Here we enjoyed several hours of sand, sun, swimming, sea shells, and snorkeling.



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They found Dory!


Everyone got to do what they wanted and we all had a wonderful day at St Kitts!


When we found out the itinerary for the family cruise, Scott and I were super excited to see that the ship would be stopping at St Thomas… this meant that we could take an excursion to St John and visit US Virgin Island National Park!!! 

That’s right, another vacation with a sign pic for the circus crew!!


National parks rarely disappoint and St. John was no exception.  St John was our family’s favorite day of the vacation (and there were a lot of good days)!


We even saw an iguana on St Thomas right when we got off the cruise ship…. you know your day is off to a great start, when you’re greeted by an iguana!

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The kids enjoyed it all, from the ferry ride over, to the van ride to the park.

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The snorkeling there was fun and amazing… even better than we had even hoped.

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We saw so many beautiful fish and even an eel and a sting ray!  All 6 of us got to enjoy snorkeling.


I was so thankful for all the swim practice the kids had earlier this summer, because not once was I worried about them swimming out there. 

This brain coral impressed me!


And the “electric blue” looking fish was one of my favs.



The eel, is the leopard colored like thing you see hiding in the coral.


We got to try our hand at stand up paddle boarding, which has been something on my wish list for a while now.  The water was so clear.  When I jumped off the paddle board I thought I could touch b/c I could see the bottom so clearly, but quickly discovered I was in water way over my head. 

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Pop even did a little kayaking. 


Every single time my youngest saw a fish he would point and say “fish” through is snorkel.  It was really cute and there were a LOT of fish so it happened a lot.  In addition to snorkeling, our youngest had a fantastic time playing in the sand with his cousins.  


His favorite aspect of the day was “spending the whole day together with everyone.”


It was such a fun day with many precious memories.  I’d definitely go back and spend more time at St John if I had the opportunity. 

Our youngest daughter turned 10 during our vacation.  It was the second year in a row that her birthday fell during our vacation.  At first she wasn’t very excited about having to celebrate her birthday away from home….but turns out a Caribbean cruise isn’t too bad a place to celebrate ones birthday. 

She has told me in the past that SOMEDAY, she would like to have an ice skating party.  Um, Ice skating parties in July can be a tad tricky…. unless you are on the worlds largest cruise ship! 


20170724_201834Once on board we learned that the ice rink was only open certain days and times…. While it wasn’t open on her birthday, it was going to be available the evening before… so her party got started a little early!

After dinner on Monday we all went to the ice rink. 

The next morning Scott and I decorated our room with balloons and streamers (from Solomon's :-) to surprise her when she woke up in the morning.  She really liked it.

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Her birthday was on a port day, and it just happened that it was on the port day where our entire group would stay together.  We planned an excursion to USVI National Park (more details on that in another post)…. after a day of snorkeling, swimming, and paddle boarding we returned to the ship.  20170725_104536

Due to the extended day excursion, we didn’t have our normal formal dining plan.  This actually worked out well for the birthday girl, b/c she did NOT want to be sung to by the wait staff.  This girl does not enjoy being the center of attention.  We ate up at the buffet where everyone found something yummy to eat.


We did sing her happy birthday in a whisper and then we topped the day off by going to see a ventriloquist show.  The show had us all laughing and was a perfect ending to a fun family day. 


The rest of the week the wait staff at the formal dining room tried to sing happy birthday to her and she always refused.  One night the head waiter performed a magic trick for us and she begged him to tell her how he did it.  He said, “You let me sing Happy Birthday to you and I’ll tell you.”  She shook her head and said, “I want to know, but I don’t want to know THAT bad!”  

It was a truly fun birthday for her.  It was my favorite 24 hours of the entire week.  Even our oldest son said, “Man, it is her birthday, but this was MY favorite day of the entire year!”  She decided it was a great way to celebrate turning double digits… and she’d like to return to a cruise when she moves from double to triple digits on her 100th Birthday! 

Once we had our clothing situation resolved, a weight was lifted from our shoulders and were ready to show the kids the Caribbean.  We were thankful we were able to get our errand running out of the way early and get the kids so we could hit the beach.  We were off the ship for round 2 before 9 am!


20170723_114726We had decided ahead of time that our plan for Nassau was to walk to nearby Junkanoo Beach.  We knew it wasn’t necessarily the best snorkeling around, but it would provide us with a beach to play around in and we were planning our big snorkel excursion for St John later in the week.  Junkanoo was perfect for our needs that morning.  We walked there in under 20 minutes.  We got to swim in beautiful clear water.  We got to practice our snorkeling.   My parents met us for part of it and enjoyed some beach time with us also.




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20170723_120838After a few hours we headed back towards the ship, saving time for the girls to do some shopping.  Both girls had saved their allowance to do some shopping on the islands during our vacation.  Their goal for Bahamas was to find straw bags to keep sea shells in.  It was really cute to watch them walk around looking for just the right bag and also interacting with the woman at the stand.  She offered to add their names to the bags, which sealed the deal for the girls.  Now they had a souvenir from the Bahamas to keep their shells in from our vacation.  They were happy.