How to successfully vacation with young kids said no parent ever. Well unless you are those smart parents that bring your nanny with you to do all the work so you can go out and play.

Has anyone ever winged a vacation with kids? Yeah it’s nearly impossible. It takes weeks maybe months to prepare when you have small ones. My wife and I have a 5 y/o and 18 month old so we are like zombie apocalypse preppers when it comes to vacationing with these always hangry, wanting your iPhones, little angels. And I do remind my son from time to time that the devil started out an angel. Not sure if that’s appropriate or not but then again I’m not the perfect dad. How many times do you tell your kids “You keep acting this way I’m not bringing you back for the next vacation and just mommy and daddy will go and leave you at your grandparents?” We might have over used that statement to the point where my son knows we are bluffing. Only bluffing because I don’t want to do that to my parents just yet. Maybe in the next couple of years we will attempt that.

So for this trip we chose a Royal Caribbean cruise that had the Dream Works characters there. Thinking that maybe it would be comparable to Disney since Disney has been our last two cruise adventures but should have known better since it cost a 1/3 of the price. But ya know how you forget that you get what you pay for. My wife also found some cheap plane tickets that cost $520 for the 3 of us and a lap baby flying with the airline Allegiant. The only kicker is they fly out on a friday and return on a Monday and they nickel and dime you for everything. Also when we arrive to the airline tons of people were pissed because their am flight was canceled because not enough people were flying out to Orlando and they had to quickly switch flights, rent a vehicle to make it to Orlando. We said a prayer then that we would make our next flight coming home. So knowing we Allegiant nickel and dimed ya, I had a friend in Fort Lauderdale that my wife ordered diapers, wipes, swim diapers, swim toys, and mailed it to him so we wouldn’t have to spend an additional $50 for that bag considering we were taking a 10 night vacation and had an outfit for every night. Also we know how much bathroom stuff our wives can also pack…

So we make it in to Florida and then to our cruise. Guess what? We get a completely different room than we paid for. We paid for a room that was 275 sq ft because we had to fit our bed, sleeper sofa, and crib, but got stuck with a room that was 175 sq ft but it was considered an upgrade because it has a balcony. We wanted the room with extra space since our little ones like daily naps and we wanted the extra room. The balcony would have been nice but some rule breaking pricks had to ruin it and smoke somewhere close by because the smoke always found my balcony.

Cruise dinners. Anyone ever had a successful TWO HOUR DINNER with an 18 month old? Holy cow, we had her belly so full and stuffed she was refluxing by the time we got our entrees. Our 5 year old is fine because you toss him your iphone and he’s golden. Also we could leave early and drop him off at the Kids Club. So what we ended up doing at dinner service was going to the buffet so we could get in and get out.

Kids Club was great EXCEPT they charged for the 18 month old which we cheaped out on and didn’t use. My son enjoyed it though and they had lots of crafts and activities for him. Now I stated earlier that we’ve done 2 Disney cruises and they had family event after family event which this ship did not. We ended up going to 1 show which was an ice skating show and it was pretty awesome along with a welcome and good-bye parade. The other show we had planned on going to was a diving show but it was canceled every night they had planned on doing it.

Foreign country excursions: Went to the Bahamas, St. Thomas, and St. Martin. Did the beach thing in the Bahamas. It was a short day so we ended back on the ship for lunch. I give that day an “A.” St. Thomas we planned a Childrens Museum and if kids were acting good we would hit a brewery. Well after the museum our kids had a brat throwing meltdown, so we decided to eat lunch at a Mexican place there and head back to the boat. On the taxi shuttle home some people were talking about how awesome the brewery was.. 🙁 O’well as parents we chalk it up right? I give that day a “C-.” St. Martin we literally got off the boat walked around the port site and drank a fantastic coconut colada. We went back to the boat, swam, took naps. We didn’t expect much and I give that day a “B.”

Sleeping at night: Its been a while since I’ve slept in the same room as my whole family. My baby’s crib was right beside me and she had a ball with me. She was like “whack a mole” every night. She would stand up in her crib and say in her cutest voice “hey” until I would reply back “Lay down, go night night.” After doing that for 15-30 mins every night we would both give up caring and she would go to sleep. My son on the other hand wanted to watch tv all night long and would throw a fit when we told him to turn it off. Also the night after St. Thomas I had the worst abdominal cramps/gas, didn’t sleep, and hoped I didn’t have etec. I was fine the next morning and wife pointed out that we weren’t in Mexico and wouldn’t get etec. Crap I didn’t know I was just hoping I wasn’t sick.

Sex on vacations with young kids? I think you might have to be magician to accomplish that. Have 2 pills with you. 1 to knock out the kids and the other one to give each other for 30 mins of energy. Definitely not what your nights were on your honeymoon or before kids entered the picture.

Other mishaps: Wife got a nice case of strep throat while on the ship. This is the first time that we didn’t bring antibiotics on a vacation but by god we had some derma bond and bandaids incase of lacerations. Glad we bought the insurance because after wife went down to infirmary she was billed $250 for the visit and antibiotics. Also my wife lost her phone. Well to be honest our 18 month old had it last because my wife gave it to her with a game she likes so she could fix her fair without a struggle. I went and bought the internet service for $20 so maybe we could locate the phone. Well come to find out you can’t locate a phone that is in “plane mode.” But I was able to play around on my phone for the next day and we did find my wife’s phone. Baby put it behind the couch and we looked in that spot probably 3-4 times before we noticed it so that was a save.

After vacation ended I felt like, “I wished we would have just stayed home.” But then I look at all the pretty pictures with smiling faces and in a short time will forget about all the struggles until the next family vacation. We did learn one thing on this cruise. We will take out a loan to go Disney on our next one because Disney is the only way to cruise and I would have loved to hang out with Darth Vaders Storm Troopers and dressed like a pirate for Pirate Night.