I’m sitting here on a flight leaving Miami heading back to our home in Dallas. There is a darling little blonde boy snoozing away on my lap while my other little girl is beep-bopping away to The Greatest Showman on the other side of me. This past week Aaron and I hit the breaks on our schedule and zipped away for a vacation to go island hopping with the twins. We made it a complete surprise for them. As in, the 4 of us pulled up to the airport and the twins still had no idea we were surprising them with their very own solo trip with mama & daddy. And if you follow along in my Instagram stories, you saw their freak-out moment when we told them we were boarding a plane together to jet off to Florida! Tiny bodies jumping up and down while squealing with excitement. That moment was parenting payday, for sure.
Royal Caribbean invited us out to hop on the Navigator of the Seas ship to visit their privately owned island, Cococay. Six months ago, we took our 6 year old on a vacation with Royal Caribbean on the BEST ship we’ve ever experienced (see HERE for a recap on that trip!). I love a good surprise, so we planned this vacation without telling the kids. I cherish my solo dates with the kids at home, so these trips are those experiences on steroids! And since the twins absolutely love to spend time together and are best buds, we thought it would be the most fun for them to go on their “one-on-one” trip together this first time.
On Instagram, a TON of y’all asked how our kids handle staying home while the other(s) leave for their one-on-one trip with us. Here is what’s worked for us. Our kids need to LOVE the sitter who is staying home to watch the kids. We’ll either hire their favorite babysitter or have Aaron’s mom or one of our sisters watch the kids. Also, I’m always welcoming opportunities to show the kids that they won’t always get something just because someone else has it. And, they can be happy for them! I do my best to be fair but they won’t always “make the team” or get that singing solo they wanted, etc.. Life won’t always be fair and I’ll embrace any chance to help them learn how to handle those experiences. They will have their moment but it might not always be now. So, when we told our oldest daughter that she wouldn’t be going on the vacation this time, she handled it like a champ. So were the twins when we told them they wouldn’t be joining us for Savannah’s trip. Instead of throwing a tantrum, they were genuinely excited for their sibling(s) to experience a fun vacation (and it helped that they were excited for their weekend with cousins or a favorite sitter). What I want more than anything is for the kids to learn right now that they can be happy for someone else’s win. That can be tough to learn, even as an adult!
After walking on to the ship, we dropped our luggage off in our 2 rooms and slipped into our swimsuits to hit the slides! The ship was recently “amplified”, so added slides, laser tag, escape room, basically more awesome! We stopped by a taco bar to fuel up. It was AMAZING and honestly my favorite snack food out of all the restaurants, with all the fresh salsas, chunky guacamole, and queso. Between the taco bar and the soft serve cones my tummy was always full. We had the filet mignon at the restaurant Chops Grille that sliced like soft butter– heavenly!
The pool deck was amped up with plenty of spots to lounge, soak in bubbling hot tubs (Charlottes FAV!), and splash in the play area. We grabbed mats to race down the RipTide slide. It’s the only headfirst slide at sea! It even has a crazy section of the slide that’s completely clear and shoots off the side of the boat. Pretty WILD! We watched Aaron ride a few of the other slides along with the Flowrider. But he’s not as young as he used to be, haha. Just kidding, babe! Still rocked it. Aaron and the kids played laser tag a few times (and Aaron was a little too happy to tell me “he won” every time) We enjoyed the evening ice-skating shows, movies under the stars, and singing performances. I’ve been on over 10 cruises and Royal Caribbean definitely takes the cake with the entertainment.
The highlight of the week was playing on CocoCay Island, Royal Caribbean’s privately owned island. It literally has everything for every age all in one place. We slid down the tallest slide in North America and swam in the biggest freshwater pool in the Bahamas, lounged and searched for shells on the beach. There’s so much chill & thrill wrapped up in 1 island. The kids loved all the slides and the huge splash zones. My favorite part was floating Up, Up and away 200 feet in the air in a hot air balloon to see gorgeous views of the island! This island is a hot spot we’ll visit again and again. What’s even better, since it’s owned by the cruise there are restaurants all over the island with free food and drinks! And boy were the selections amazing and yummy! It truly was the Perfect Day at CocoCay.
Our next stop was in the Bahamas. We spent about 2 hours splashing in the water at the beach and then popped back on the boat to hit the slides. The next day was back in Miami for a beach day, and now almost home! Can’t wait to snuggle my littles and see the twins get super excited to see their besties!