Friday, June 29, 2012

Babymoon: A Cruise in Europe

Welcome to the June edition of Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival: Vacation and Travel.

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival hosted by The Positive Parenting Connection and Authentic Parenting. This month our participants are sharing ideas, inspiration and information on travel and vacations! Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

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My husband and I are big fans of air miles. We've accumulated and used them periodically throughout our marriage- starting with having the air fare be completely free for our honeymoon to the Dominican Republic, and most recently our first class trip to Europe for our babymoon!

The idea of a babymoon has been around for quite some time, however some people use it as a time before the baby arrives for the parents to have some quiet time together as a couple, or others use it as bonding time with the baby once it has arrived.

We had been saving our air miles for several years- with the intent of planning a spectacular trip to Australia as a hurrah for finishing our house renovation and preparation for starting a family. Well, baby came before the renovation was done and we knew that if we wanted to take that special vacation, now was the time! Unfortunately Australia was out because the seasons didn't match up to when we'd like to go. Next thought? Why not cruise in Europe? We'd travel comfortably, in style and room/board was included for almost our entire trip.

So we planned our trip for during my second trimester, when food tasted good again and it was still ok to fly and cruise. With our Alaska Air Miles, we booked two first class tickets from Seattle to Barcelona, where a few days later we would disembark on the Norwegian Epic for 7 days along the coast of Italy- stopping to see Florence, Rome, Naples and Palma de Majorca. We also got very lucky and upgraded staterooms were on sale- so we got our room with a balcony too!! Yes, this was the trip of a lifetime!
Our route - source

The day of our departure was the first time I wore maternity clothes, but I still wasn't showing too much just yet. It was the "my, that's an unfortunate place for some extra pudge!" kind of feeling. I opted out of each X-ray/scanner at security because I just don't like to take risks, even if they say it's perfectly ok.  The pat down wasn't bad or overly invasive.
So very excited for our trip!

Everything that they say about first class is true too - they treat you like kings! We flew Air France on the way over, and KLM back. Although both airlines were great, Air France was our favorite. The food was actually tasty- duck for an appetiser, cheeses, fruits, any juice or drink you'd like, steak for dinner.. and yes, real cutlery and dinner ware. Nothing plastic at all!

One big thing this pregnant girl really appreciated were the seats...fully reclining and basically turned into a bed. I know, anyone would love that for any length of flight but especially for someone who is growing another little someone, getting to vary your position made a really big difference for me.  Another perk of first class was at each layover we had access to the first class lounge, where there was hors d'ouvres served, comfortable chairs and in some airports you have access to showers (Heathrow in London has massages!).

Once we arrived to Barcelona, we spent a day and a half getting over the jet lag and doing a little bit of sightseeing. I did very little research on what to see and do in Barcelona, so I feel like we probably could have done more with our time.  But we knew that we'd be seeing a whole lot more on the cruise so we kept that part of the trip very low key.

The ship was impressive.  It is Norwegian's largest ship, and always dwarfed the other ships in the ports we visited. Although massive, that captain was able to turn it on {almost} a dime. He parallel parked that thing better than I can parallel park my Volvo.  With a buffet and over a dozen restaurants on board, we had a wide array of cuisine to choose from for the entire week.  This worked out perfectly for me because I was able to satisfy almost any craving I had, at any time of day.  There were enough shows that we could choose a different one each night, including Blue Man Group, and we also won $150 in Bingo ;)

Out of all of the ports visited, our favorite was Naples. We didn't actually visit the city of Naples, instead we took a tour that brought us to the archaeological site of Pompeii and then a drive down the famed Amalfi coast to have some late lunch in Sorrento. Southern Italy is the Italy that Americans are accustomed to, because in the early 1900's that was where most of the Italian immigrants who came through Ellis Island came from.  It's the "Olive Garden" stereotypical Italian image.
Cruising was an  excellent option for us during my pregnancy.  It was a great balance between seeing several cities but not having to worry about how we're getting there or where our next meal was going to come from.  With "at sea" days peppered in, we got to rest and relax in between ports so I didn't get over tired.  We had a vast array of port excursions to choose from that could match whatever energy level I was feeling at that time.  Last but not least, getting to spend those 10 days with my hubby were amazing.. We celebrated our achievements as a married couple, as renovators, and as soon to be parents.  We played with reckless abandon, ate like kings and soaked up culture.  When we returned, we had our ultrasound that revealed we were having a little girl.. the perfect way to end a vacation of a lifetime!

Follow along with me in the future as I share a little more about our family, peppered with some yummy recipes and tidbits of knowledge that I learn along the way. And let me know that you stopped by, so I can say hello :)

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APBC - Positive Parenting Connection and Authentic ParentingVisit The Positive Parenting Connection and Authentic Parenting to find out how you can participate in the next Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
  • Traveling with a Sick Child — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shares her tips and tricks for traveling with a sick child based on firsthand experience.
  • Educational Travel | Pennsylvania, New Mexico &; LouisianaThat Mama Gretchen relives three childhood trips while outlining a plan for future homeschooling adventures.
  • Babymoon: A Cruise in Europe — Bianca from The Pierogie Mama writes about the babymoon that she and her husband took to Europe, via a week long cruise through the Western Mediterranean..
  • Travelling with our little oneStoneageparent describes what travelling means to her family, exploring the link between attachment parenting and travelling
  • I Just Can't Do It — aNonyMous at Radical Ramblings describes the nightmare it is trying to travel with her daughter, and how for the moment day-trips to local areas will have to suffice.
  • Carnival: Travel and VacationMacgyvermama rounds out her "Travel Light with Babies and Kids" series with some juicy tips on how to travel light and stress free with your moving and grooving Toddler!
  • Traveling: Adventure, Nature, Family — Brenna at Almost All The Truth shares her hopes and fears for her Great Summer Camping Road Trip with her three small children.
  • Frustration Free Flying with Kids — Based on her extensive experience flying with her family, Laura at Authentic Parenting shares tips on how to make the trip fun for you and your children.
  • 12 Awesome Toys To Bring Along When Traveling With Children - Ariadne over at Positive Parenting Connection is sharing about toys her children love and playful ways to use them that make travel with children more fun and less stressful for the whole family.

7 comments:

  1. Sounds like an amazing trip! We did a Babymoon in NYC that was really fun! Thank you for participating in the carnival :)

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    1. Thank you! We had so much fun! NYC sounds amazing!

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  2. Not quite Europe ... but, Dominic and I went for an overnight at The Gorge before Jemma was born! Super relaxing and a great way to recharge as a couple before life turns a little crazy :) I'm all for babymoons!

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    1. Well baby moon and renovation celebration got rolled into one! But it was perfect timing with the start of Adam's new job and us living apart too.

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  3. Thanks for sharing your babymoon travel experiences and photos, it sounds like you had a wonderful time, in style and comfort, which is what you want when you're pregnant!

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    1. The food part was the best, not having to cook, everything was close and always available ;)

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  4. How fun! We're trying to plan our "Babymoon" trip right now, and hoping to go to France and Spain. I've never been to europe so I'm super excited!

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