Sofia's World


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May 2006

Caribbean Cruise

On Saturday, April 29, I left home with Mommy, Papa, and Cameron for the biggest adventure of my life: a cruise in the Caribbean!

After a very long day of car rides, plane rides (with a stopover in Dallas), and too much time wandering in airports [left], we spent the night at a hotel in Miami. All my family from Holland were already there, but I was too tired the first night to visit with them.



The next day was spent waiting, waiting, waiting—by the pool at the hotel, in the car, stuck in my stroller in long lines at the cruise terminal among forests of legs—to get onto the ship. Opa helped Mommy and Cameron take care of me while Papa drove back and forth from the hotel to the terminal to get everyone aboard. The whole process was so exhausting that when we FINALLY sat down to dinner that night, I put my head down in front of my French fries and pizza and slept through it all [right]!

Our first full day on the ship was a day at sea. It was the first chance I had to really explore. Being on the Carnival Valor was like being in a floating city. There were people everywhere, some dressed up, some only in bathing suits and flipflops. Inside was a maze of hallways, with shops, and restaurants, and lots of “alligators” [elevators] to get up and down the 14 floors—even some made of glass that I could see through. Outside were different swimming pools, including a small wading pool for guests my size. The ship even had a big, blue water slide, but I was too small to ride down it.


And there was lots and lots of food. For breakfast I liked Rosie’s buffet, where I alternately ate lemon poppyseed muffins, chocolate muffins, and pancakes with bacon. For dinner we ate in the formal dining room (my nightly meal consisted of pizza and French fries because I was too picky to try anything else), where our waiter made animals for me from paper and napkins, and “Mr. V the Maitre d’” encouraged people to clap, wave their napkins, and sing with the waitstaff after all the food had been served. A couple nights I even stood up on a marble pillar and danced for the crowd [left]! 

Everywhere were colored lights, bright decorations, music, people, and noise. Even though I love my family from Holland, all the stimulation was too unsettling for me to willingly let Mommy or Papa out of my sight. I was often glad to return to our room and clamber into the playpen that Mommy and Papa had brought along to take my afternoon nap or go to sleep at 8:00.


Our second day was a stop at Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands. Cameron went with the rest of the family on a tour of the island while Mommy, Papa, and I struck out on our own. We walked a long way to the supermarket to buy baby wipes (Mommy forgot them). Soon after that we found a pretty little beach, where I played in the coral-white sand and warm, clear water [right]. They forgot my swimsuit cover-up, so I wore Papa’s T-shirt on the walk home. 

Before we boarded the tender to motor back to the ship, we had drinks and French fries in a noisy restaurant called Breezes near the pier. They gave us each shiny necklaces, and I got a paper umbrella in my lemonade.


Our third day was spent at Roatán Island, Honduras. Mommy and Cameron left early to go zip-lining through the treetops and diving with the dolphins, while Papa went scuba diving. I was left behind with Opa and Tante Margaret. I love my Opa, but I didn’t like being away from Mommy and Papa. I cried the first half-hour, then fell asleep in his lap for nearly an hour. After that, they took me walking on the ship [left]. Every so often I’d remember that Mommy and Papa were gone, and I’d start sniffling again. Finally, Papa got back from his excursion, then Mommy returned with Cameron, and I felt much better.

On the fourth day we stopped at Belize City, Belize. Mommy and Cameron went on an adventure in the jungle, but Papa and I stayed behind. We traveled in a fast speedboat from the ship to the city, where Opa hired a tour van. With Oma, Opa, and Tante Margaret, we saw the historic sights of Belize City. I can’t say what we saw, but I liked looking out the window from the safety of Papa’s lap.



The fifth day was one of my favorites. We stopped at Costa Maya, Mexico. The Tourist Village there included a gigantic swimming pool with fountains and different depths of water for wading and swimming. Mommy had brought my special water boat and swim vest, and I had a great time paddling and splashing in the water with Cameron [right], Papa, Mommy, and cousin Christel.


Our last full day was on the sea again. I spent a lot of time in the children’s wading pool [left] and on the deck nearby, where through the week the family had gathered in deck chairs for sunbathing and relaxing. The previous night the ship had hosted a midnight dessert buffet. I was fast asleep by then, but on Saturday all the desserts were set out to eat, and Mommy brought me plates of bite-size sweets while I sat on the deck. I didn’t like most of them, but it was fun to try them.


By the time I woke up on our last day, we had arrived back in Miami. We gathered our things, ate our final breakfast at Rosie’s, and then waited on deck in the sun with all the family to be called to disembark. It was a long, slow process of lines, lines, lines—getting off the ship, walking through the terminal, getting through Customs—and I was once again stuck in my stroller among a forest of legs. 

We drove to the hotel where some family would stay the night, drove to the airport in Ft Lauderdale, and waited for our plane. Then began the long ride home, with a 3-hour stop in Dallas (a very fun airport to run in). I don’t like sleeping on planes, but I was so tired that I slept most of the way from Dallas to Seattle. We didn’t get home until about 1:00 AM Seattle time, and I was SO tired that I went right to sleep. My own bed felt SO good!

Papa says that he’s not going to take me on an airplane again for two whole years. (Yes, okay, I was a little difficult.) But when I see one flying overhead, I want to be on it. And when I see photos of the cruise ship, I want go sailing.  When do we get to go again?

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