Saturday, April 30, 2011

Florida: We're number one! Wait! Recount!

Back in March of this year, the folks behind held a contest in which the grand prize was a free and fully-planned trip to Florida in April 2011. The catch? In 300 words or less, entrants were asked to describe their previous travel-planning nightmares and why they deserved to be selected for this dream vacation.

I submitted a ditty describing the spring of 2006 when my husband and I visited two provinces and seven states in six days. We did it via five flights and countless hours of driving and, though hilarity ensued, it was extraordinarily stressful in terms of keeping to our itinerary.

Sadly, our experience probably wasn't harrowing enough to illicit any tear-jerk reactions from the judging panel and, as such, I wasn't selected as the grand prize winner. Doh.

But did that stop us from visiting Florida this month anyway? Of course not! We were prepared to do anything to escape this miserable winter, even if it meant paying for our vacation ourselves. (Unheard of, I know.)

So off we flew to Houston and then Miami to spend a couple of days with my sister and her family, who live just outside of Ft. Lauderdale. (Yes, in utter paradise.)

Following that brief stop, we then boarded a luxury cruise ship and toured the western Caribbean once again, although this time we did it with -- wait for it -- a baby on board.

I consulted several websites and message boards before our departure, seeking advice from previous travelers who had ventured into the unknown before us, and this is a mere sampling of the comments posted:

"Leave the baby with a family member while you go on the cruise."

"Do yourself and everyone else a favour, and don't take the baby." 

"If you do bring a baby, don't breastfeed in public without expecting some dirty looks."
Great. Just great.
Luckily, the vast majority of comments were actually quite positive and helpful, and we wouldn't have had a successful trip without the wisdom imparted by those trail blazers before us.
Which is why I'll attempt to return the favour by paying it forward and blogging about our experiences here, in an attempt to further prepare future travelers of young children on cruise ships.

Stay tuned..........!