DISCLAIMER: This post was created as part of my collaboration with Carnival Cruise Lines. As always, all of the opinions, thoughts, and ideas in this post are my own.
Last year we started looking at cruises. Both Jeremy and I thought it would be a great way to celebrate our anniversary. Then I got pregnant and those plans went straight down the secret escape hatch. After LJ was born, that fire in our belly flared up again and we started thinking about planning a cruise that we could possibly do with the kids. We looked at all the options and prices and meal plans and activities and ports and everything else that cruising entails.
It got pretty overwhelming to be completely honest. Well, I am happy to announce that we are officially gonna be first-time-cruisers in November. We will be walking on Sunshine! That’s the name of the ship…The Carnival Sunshine. Cute, huh!? So I am just gonna tell you right now that the most exciting thing about this cruise is that Carnival Cruise Lines has Seuss at Sea. We are HUGE Seuss fans. Remember this one of Weston?
The Seuss books were at the top of our recommended children’s books…
We even had a Seuss Christmas tree…
I mean….c’mon. We got wockets in our pockets without even trying.
So when we started this whole planning process, we knew that the Seuss at Sea thing would be a big hit for our boys (and for us). Since our kids are so little (Weston would be barely eligible for the Camp Ocean program and LJ would have to stay with us the entire time), we knew that it would be smart to bring our own babysitters so we surprised my mom and dad by telling them that we wanted to take them on a cruise (we had ulterior motives). They kinda love the boys so they cleared their schedules and gave us the big thumbs up. It didn’t take long for us to pay for their flights so they couldn’t back out. You gotta lock in good babysitters as soon as possible.
This past weekend, we had my parents over so that we could share with them everything we had planned for the week at sea. Of course, that was the perfect excuse to throw a Cruise Planning Party with a Dr. Seuss theme. I’m nothing if not completely predictable.
The plan was to woo them with red and white striped deliciousness and then when they were full and happy, tell them about the nights that they would be responsible for our three wrecking balls. In my head it would be like that airline commercial where the people give the kids to the grandparents and they jump in the car, zoom off while the Grandpa is yelling “Don’t leave us with the babies!”. You know the commercial. I bet you guys with kids quote that one too.
But they were geared up to hear about the cruise and the time they were gonna have with their grandbabies! This is gonna be their second Carnival cruise and their first time to some of the ports.
Anyhoo…let’s get back to the food.
We served roast beast sandwiches (roast beef, white American cheese or pepperjack cheese on a Hawaiian roll), green eggs & ham (I just used food coloring for the deviled eggs), Cat in the Hat skewers (strawberries & bananas…although I have seen this with strawberries and marshmallows…but my kids would have only eaten the sweets), Hop on Popcorn, One Fish Two Goldfish, and Tuttle Turtle pie.
And yes, I photoshopped those words on the plate because otherwise you would never be able to read my handwriting 🙂
The great thing about this menu is the fact that most of the food is ready right outta the box. The prep time didn’t require exact cook times or a whole lot of effort. Everything can be prepared before hand and set on the table straight outta the fridge or the box.
As for decorating, the red and white color scheme is the main element so I used a striped piece of fabric for the tablecloth. The Cat In the Hat hat was a prize I won at the fair but you can buy stovetop hats at Party City or Target that look exactly like this. The books were obviously an element we were including because, duh, Seuss is an author. And the Lorax trees are just pool noodles cut down, wrapped with tape around the stems and a fluffy tissue paper ball was tied on top.
We also provided my parents with a packet of information. It was actually great to have something written down because it helped us bring up things that otherwise we would have forgotten to talk about, details that we needed to nail down, and events that needed to be noted or decided upon.
Here is the list of the stuff that we included in our packets:
I think it was especially helpful because I have been scouring blogs, reading websites, searching through forums for tips and info on how to cruise with a baby, a toddler and a preschooler. Not a lot of people take that task on. But I am convinced that with good pre-planning, we can make this thing smoother than a Barber Baby Bubble. (Only you Seuss people would get that reference….by the way…that whole book is completely memorized in my brain.)
Since we were all sitting there, we let Will participate by showing us the photos of the ship slideshow. It was also the perfect opportunity to sift through the excursion list and nail down what we wanted to do at each port. Apparently Jeremy is very anti-parasailing….and I, the one terrified of heights, am trying to convince him to do it with me.
The boys are kinda obsessed with the idea that there will be a real Cat in the Hat on the ship. They don’t know that we are having breakfast with the Seuss characters and having silly foods like stacked red & white pancakes as a special event. They will never want to leave.
One of my friends always throws planning parties for their family vacations and now, I am a big believer in their value. There are just so many details that you might forget to talk about. Some of the little things (let’s buy a Groupon for parking discount at the airport, pack walking shoes for day four, yes, you will need more than one bathing suit, etc.) are really important and minimizing those potential ‘waves’ in the plans saves us money, stress and makes us feel like we can enjoy the entire trip.
Plus…it’s another reason to party. And with this crew, having fun is our middle name.
So has anyone else out there cruised before with Carnival? Experienced Seuss at Sea? Had green eggs & ham?