I have found over the years, that the more planning I put into a vacation, usually the better it is. I try not to be totally controlling or anything, or even follow an itinerary too closely, but if I’m going to the effort and expense of traveling I don’t want to miss out on things while I’m there.
Over the last few years we’ve become a cruising family. Our very first cruise, for our honeymoon, I thought I’d be sea sick, since I’ve always had a bit of car sickness on long trips. Good news for me, the high seas seem to agree with me! And ever since that first trip, long, long ago now, we’ve loved the idea of cruising. When our kids were babies we didn’t travel, but when our youngest was three we took them on their first cruise, and they were sold too. It’s an excellent family vacation for us. I’ve heard all the negatives from people over the years about being stuck on a boat, but I say the longer I’m on the boat the better, lol. The cruises we’ve enjoyed have excellent food, great children’s programs, good entertainment, and it’s so easy. I love not having to make decisions, knowing what to expect, and long days at the beach. And since we’ve done a few over the years, I’ve also learned that it’s way cheaper to make your port plans on your own. We’ve done ship excursions before, but they’re really quite expensive, and basically whatever the ships offering you can do on your own, at your own pace, and for way less money. Thus the cruise planning party.
This year we’re cruising with our family of four, my sister and brother-in-law, and my in-laws. We divided up the ports and each did a little research on the island and what we might want to do while we’re in port. For the most part we’ll be hitting beaches, but even for that it’s good to do a little research and find out which beaches are good for kids, where there is good snorkelling, if there are any amenities like snacks, drinks, beach chairs, washrooms, and wi-fi available. I also like to have an idea about how far from port it is, and how much a cab will cost. All this info, and pictures of the beach you can find on-line. We had a fun dinner together one night, and then spent the rest of the night planning our days in port. For dinner I thought it’d be fun to decorate with a nautical theme.
I used rope, sea shells, and pretty white lanterns on the table. For each place setting, I made simple napkin rings out of twine and lifesavers.
My fav little detail was a little anchor on the glasses.
I found them at a jewellery making store, and tied them onto mason jars with a little baker’s twine. Of course I had to include a pretty stripy straw.
For dinner, we ordered Chinese food, so easy and so good. I set up the food in the kitchen, and added a little nautical feel in there too.
I loved the boat feel that the nautical flags created. I just printed some from on-line, and then strung them up to the light and the edge of the table.
I also included some fun seagulls. I found the adorable free printables here at The Golden Adventures of a Dark Horse. Love them. How fun, and we all know that food attracts seagulls, lol.
On the table a few more nautical inspired items for an easy centre piece.
After dinner we enjoyed a few nautical inspired desserts.
I set up my little cart with the sweets, along with a bucket of Red Stripe Beer, another vacation fav.
The idea for the nautical party was actually inspired by seeing these cute little cupcake papers and pics at the dollar store. Easy and sweet.
I also made some blue jello, since it reminds us of the sea.
And last but not least, some Cracker Jacks, since they have the cutest little sailor on the box, and are so yummy.
We’re counting down the days until we get away. If you’re planning a little spring break trip with family I highly recommend a planning dinner together. Or if you’re staying home with your littles, how about a pretend we’re on a cruise dinner one night just for fun?
With vacation on the horizon, life really is a party!