Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Ending 2016 with Adventure

Since 2011, our little Clan has been embarking on adventures wherever we could find it, whether it been exploring temples in Cambodia, backpacking Europe, road tripping to Yellowstone, or skiing down Utah mountains, adventure has been one of our family’s core values. As such, we couldn’t think of a more appropriate way to end 2016 and bring in the new year, than with a little adventure.

It all started in December of 2015 when we decided that we would forego our usual Christmas celebrations in place of some adventure; but, as is often the case, what adventure exactly should we take? A few parameters were put in place: first, it had to fit our budget; second, it had to take us to warmer climates to escape the Utah winter; third, and finally, it had to fit within the Christmas break time frame. After exploring several options, we all agreed on a cruise. We’ve been on a cruise before, but never with kids, so this was an exciting opportunity to try out this style of travel with them. Now cruises can be pricey, but taking into consideration the price includes food and accommodation, they can actually be a pretty sweet deal. So the hunt was on for our Christmas cruise!

It didn’t take long to find what we were looking for – an epic 7 day cruise on the Norwegian Dawn to the Western Caribbean. Embarking from New Orleans, it would take us to Costa Maya, Mexico; Harvest Caye, Belize; Roatan, Honduras; and Cozumel, Mexico.

We used all of 2016 to save our pennies for this great adventure. Almost weekly we discussed our upcoming adventure--what excursions would we take, what would we do in New Orleans, where would we stay prior to the cruise, what would the kids do, etc. It was all so exciting! Slowly, but steadily, things fell into place.

The weekend prior to our leaving, we reviewed what was necessary to travel on a cruise. Based on the type of cruise we were taking we knew we didn’t need passports, just state-issued photo ID and birth certificate (although Boston and AJ already had current passports). We would use Audrey’s birth certificate and Martina’s driver’s license and birth certificate (Martina had slacked off and let her passport expire in July). There was one small hang-up to this plan; despite having torn through our house, Audrey’s and Martina’s birth certificates were nowhere to be found. While Audrey’s could be obtained easily enough from the county records department, there was no way to get a copy of Martina’s without her physically flying out to LA and picking it up in person. The expedited process just wasn’t going to cut it (we had only one week!). Well, fortunately, Martina has some wonderful siblings in California who offered to go and retrieve it for her and overnight it. Success! No one was to be left behind (although AJ seriously considered it).

So after our long year of anticipation we boarded our plane and without too much crying (Audrey’s first plane ride), we were off for the first leg of our adventure: New Orleans!!!

**Travelers Beware**: Martina got overly excited about eating southern creole food that she bought in the Houston airport. It was supposed to be a po’ boy, and boy was it a po' excuse for a sandwich. Definitely shoulda waited for the real thing...

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