We’re on our 4th day at sea, surrounded by nothing but blue ocean. The last time we took a cruise, we hated the sea days, mostly because they were unnecessary for travel. They were just excuses to spend a day on the boat and do nothing. We would rather have been sightseeing! But now, we have a whole appreciation for days to do nothing, let me tell you! In fact, we were just lamenting this morning that we’re be in the Azores on Saturday and will have to actually get off the boat and do something, heh.
We’ve settled into a great routine with Carter. We have breakfast delivered every morning at 8:30, which forces us to get up and get going. After breakfast we take turns playing with Carter while the other one of us has a shower, and then we go out for a morning outing. We explore a little bit of the ship and then go to the Fun Factory, the children’s area of the ship.
It’s divided up into different rooms for the different age groups. Ordinarily there would be specially designated “toddler times” when we could bring Carter in to play, but since there are so few children on the ship we can bring him whenever we like. We have yet to be in the toddler area when anyone else has been there, so we’ve had it all to ourselves. There are lots of toys for toddlers and preschoolers, and it’s a nice change of pace for Carter.
One of the funny things we’ve noticed is that we get stares when we walk around with Carter. You would think we’re walking around naked the way people look at us! Some smile and say, “Oh, how sweet!”, and others stare at us as if they’re thinking, “Bringing a baby on a cruise? Are they CRAZY???” Another funny thing that’s happened is that everyone knows Carter now! People we would swear we’ve never seen before, staff and passengers alike, come up to him and say, “Hi, Carter!” They ask how he’s doing, how he’s sleeping, comment on how well-behaved he is, and so on. When we walk away we hear them talking about us: “They had a babysitter the other night, so glad they’re getting a little time to relax” and “Did you know he was a preemie, only 2 pounds!” Apparently being on a cruise ship is like being in a very small town. Everyone knows everything!
After playtime we go to the buffet for lunch, which makes for a quick and easy meal. The waitstaff always come over to say hi to Carter and tell us about their own children (many of whom they haven’t seen in months). After lunch we head back to the room for a nap. Carter has been sleeping really well on the ship, perhaps even better than he does at home! The ocean’s been a little rough the last day or two, but maybe that rocking motion is helping him sleep.
After naptime we go out again. This ship has a lawn up on the top deck, and that’s fun for Carter. Since we’re in the middle of the ocean, it’s a bit windy up there, but there are spots where it’s not so bad. Here are some pictures of Carter playing in the grass.
There aren’t so many super-kid-friendly parts of the ship, but there are some interesting spots to explore. Yesterday we came across this giant chessboard.
And there are lots of stairs for Carter to practice climbing up and down.
There is a nightclub just for teenagers that is almost always empty (no teenagers on board, apparently), and sometimes we’ll go there to let him crawl around. Here he’s checking out the dance floor.
Some afternoons we’ve found a quiet lounge where we can have a drink while Carter crawls around, and other days we’ve spent that time in our room. (Rikki brings us hors d’ouerves.) We’ve gotten a babysitter two nights from 5-8, just long enough for Doug and I to go get dinner and have a little grownup time. The first night we had booked a sitter was formal night, and we were expecting her to come at 5:00. But she didn’t show, and a few phone calls revealed that something had gone wrong in the scheduling. Rikki intervened, and 5 minutes later we had a sitter at the door! We had already given up and dressed Carter in his tux, intending to take him with us. We had a chance to take some pictures, at least.
Then we changed him back into playclothes and went to dinner by ourselves! The sitter was really good with him, and reported that he didn’t cry or get fussy at all. Rikki told us this morning that she told him he’s the best baby she’s taken care of on the ship. It’s hard to know if that’s really true, but he is a pretty laid-back little kid, usually. She walked around the ship with him a bit while she was with him, and introduced him around. People came up to us in the bar later that evening and said, “Oh, you’re Carter’s parents! We saw him in the elevator just now.”
We take a bath together in the whirlpool tub around 8:00, and then Carter goes to sleep. That gives Doug and I a couple of hours to hang out, have a glass of wine, and relax. And that’s the way our days go, basically just hanging out and relaxing. It’s a lot more enjoyable to do nothing than I expected!
Carter just woke up from his nap and crawled into the living room, apparently after having gotten off the bed by himself. I guess that means it's time to go! I have some videos to post, but the internet on the ship is reeeeally slow and costs $0.42 a minute, so those may have to wait until we have a better connection in a couple of weeks. In the meantime I’ll keep taking pictures and posting those. I hope everyone is doing well!