Ava and I have always enjoyed cruising, before we were married we had already completed 2 cruises, then decided we would do one for our honeymoon. Side note: this is NEVER a good idea when in the first trimester of pregnancy – vomiting is fun on land, you should try it on a rocking boat ;).
We love that with a cruise, you basically pay your fare and BAM no more worries (money wise). Your food (first priority), accommodation and travel is paid for, when you get on board your holiday begins straight away – no boredom whilst in transit, plus it’s a great way to see multiple destinations! The bad part is – there’s a casino on board that is opened almost 24/7 (and also a pizza bar). Great if you don’t wish to spend time with your significant other, not so good if you would rather he spend that money in the duty free store (on YOU) rather than on blackjack.
So since our honeymoon was essentially ruined by my CONSTANT morning sickness, we (I – the brainchild of all the crazy ideas) thought “what could possibly be worse than vomiting 24/7 onboard a boat?” Well friends I’ve found the answer to that one. Cruising for THREE weeks across the pacific ocean with a 2 year old. DING DING DING, idiot of the year goes to me. This scenario isn’t as bad as I make out, but when you factor in the fact that I couldn’t drink my insanity away (hello 22 weeks pregnant – okay the more I write the more I realise this was doomed from the beginning). But in the interest of hashtags #yolo #lifegoals #tahiti #hawaii
Our itinerary was what is known as a transcontinental or ‘relocational’ cruise. Meaning the ship is moving from one destination to the next for the season. In this case, the Carnival Legend was coming off an Alaskan stint (via Hawaii), down to Australia for the summer. We flew to Hawaii flying Hawaiian Airlines from Brisbane (NIGHTMARE – once again. 2 year old. Need I say more). We stayed overnight at the Aulani Disney (a full review of this hotel will be completed next month when we return), then boarded the ship the following day. We had planned on having a two week Hawaiian holiday prior to boarding the ship however the Australia to US dollar had absolutely flopped, making everything we had booked triple the price.
The destinations included in this itinerary were Papeete (Tahiti’s Capital), Moorea, Bora Bora, Suva (Fiji), Noumea (New Caledonia) then finishing off in Sydney. Unfortunately due to high wind levels and a storm we were unable to stop in Kauai (our first port of call) as the harbour is extremely difficult to navigate at the best of times (or so Capt’in said). So 5 sea days toward Tahiti it was!
THE SHIP: CARNIVAL LEGEND
I’m sure anyone who has ever cruised before will testify that the staff on board these ships are absolutely AMAZING!! They work harder and longer than any person I’ve ever met. We have been lucky to have always had beautiful room stewards (who service/clean your room daily, great you with the warmest welcome EVERY SINGLE TIME you walk by and are just generally the most lovely people!).
We (I really don’t know why I keep referring to ‘we’ when it comes to decision making because it’s basically all ‘I’ lol). Decided that for a toddler, Carnival Cruises offered a more appealing package to suit our families needs (of catering to Kruize), with their water play area & water slides, kids club and targeted on board activities for children such as Dr Suess Breakfast. The kids club would have been absolutely brilliant had Kruize not screamed the entire room down at the very thought of us going off and (heaven forbid) having some ‘child free down time’. This, to be honest, is where our entire trip came undone. Kruize blatantly refused to go to the kids club, which is one of two designated spaces on the cruise for children (the second being the pool/water play area). Its important to note that at this point in our life Kruize hadn’t been to daycare so was not used to being without us. Apart from the pool, we were then very limited as to what we could do to keep him entertained (and out of the way of other passengers). He also refused to nap, which led to him falling asleep at dinner every single night.
In the past when we have cruised, Ava and I have enjoyed participating in the group activities, sports and games organised on board. Whilst we still tried to keep this up, admittedly with a toddler it was a bit difficult. For those that have been following our adventures on Instagram or Facebook for a while, you would know that Kruize is a very ‘energetic’ or ‘spirited’ child aka determined. I know children his age who would have been a lot ‘easier’ to travel this trip with, however child swapping is illegal from all the articles I’ve read lol. We did however manage to win a nice little stash of Carnival Cruise Trophies despite our lack of participation (for those that are counting I won 3 and Ava won 2).
Organised activities on board include; Trivia, basketball shoot out, ring toss, table tennis, bean bag toss, morning art and craft classes.
Entertainment facilities include: putt putt, basketball court, arcade games room, giant chess, gym, sauna, spa, 2 waterslides, under 5’s water play area, pool, nightclub, casino, movie room, cooking and cocktail classes & daily shows.
If you love food, you will love cruising. Each ship offers a wide variety of dining options. On board the Carnival Legend you have the choice of dining al a carte or buffet for both breakfast and dinner sessions. For lunch the buffet is open, as well as a burger joint or BBQ on pool deck being offered. Alongside those ‘free’ options there are also speciality restaurants including a sushi bar (SO DELISH!) and a steakhouse. Pizza is also available 24/7 from the buffet dining room. If you don’t wish to leave your cabin – room service is also offered.
I am a fussy eater, sticking to a mainly vegetarian diet of fresh fruit, salad and vegetables and although I was able to find some vegetarian dishes – I did find it difficult to get variety over the time we travelled, and the quality of the produce wasn’t high. Although it is hard to judge whether this is because we were departing from USA, had such a long cruise or if it is the cruise companies food supplier itself. In comparison to our previous cruises from Australia, I definitely felt like the food on board Carnival Legend wasn’t as nice. However, friends have travelled from Sydney on Carnival Spirit and have said the food was beautiful and fresh (having a similar diet to my own) so I am left to believe our trip may have been impacted by the circumstances surrounding our actual journey.
You really are spoilt for choice when it comes to dining options onboard all cruise ships. We also found them very flexible when it came to catering to Kruizeys appetite. We were easily able to order mashed potato, bread rolls with cheese or fries (fussy like his mum lol) in the al a carte dining room. The wait staff also went above and beyond to keep our little guy happy, after a few nights they already knew exactly what we would want to order for him and had it ready ahead of time.
As to be expected, alcohol and soft drinks on board are not free, however Carnival offers unlimited drinks packages. We didn’t purchase an alcohol package (much to my husbands disappointment) as to do so, both adults within the cabin must purchase it, and since I wasn’t drinking it would of been a waste. Soft drink packages are also available for children. Unlimited free tea and coffee are also available up on the pool deck, along with juice at breakfast time. If you enjoy a barista made coffee – this is available in the cafe.
- If you are particular about the location of your cabin – book in advance. If you’re not fussed (& want to save some $$) wait for last minute specials!
- Generally speaking – mid ship is most stable and a preferred spot to avoid sea sickness.
- Book the early dining option (al a carte) to avoid tired meltdowns!
- Pack some ‘quiet’ activities such as play dough, colouring in or flash card games to entertain the kids in cabin. We were also able to borrow a few toys from Camp Carnival (kid’s club).
- Take some biscuits and fruit from the buffet (and put in ziplock bags) to have quick on the go snacks should your children become ‘SOOO HUNGRY’ between meals.
- Sea sickness bands
- Snorkel set & reef shoes
- Waterproof Camera
- Hawaiian Outfit – most cruises have an ‘island night’
- Plastic bags – wet swimmers, dirty washing etc.
I hope you enjoyed this post – cruising is such a great way to experience some beautiful countries with our kids without worrying about the actual ‘travel’. Here are a few snaps below that we took along the way..