First day in port – Cape Canaveral, FL. We have been to Orlando and Disney multiple times before so we’ve decided to go on an airboat ride. As soon as we dock I call around to a few airboat places and while most of them are all booked I finally reach Camp Holley and they tell me they are pretty open and leave as soon as a boat fills up.
Our plan is to rent a car so that we can be free to roam. About an hour later we have our car, which appears to be a refurbished police car with a bench seat in the front (as opposed to two separate seats). A quick check on my phone and I discover that kids can ride on the front seat in FL so Victor is super excited when we tell him he can sit in between us on the front seat.
We arrive at Camp Holley after about 30 minutes and check in. As we wait for a few more guests to fill the boat we chat with the owners, hard-core alligator chaser straight out of the Discovery channel special. They tell us stories of how as teenagers they used to hide in the trees and shoot at alligators in the swamp. They treat us with some boiled peanuts (which taste much better than they sound) and very soon we board one of the airboats and get a set of large headphones to clock the sound of the motor.
The boat moves slowly at first and then quickly picks up speed and we are flying through the swamp. The weather is perfect and even though I hate roller coasters I love the swift motion of the boat. Victor is wedged between Chris and I and I can tell he is loving every minute. We quickly slow down and pull next to a small alligator lounging in the mud.
After that we see various birds and a few other smaller alligators before stopping a few feet away from a large one half submerged in the water.
On the way back we zoom through the swamp and back in the car we all agree that this was definitely a one of a kind experience.
After a quick lunch we decide to drive to Orlando and visit Victor’s favorite mini-gold course, the Winter-Summerland in Disney World. The course is separated in two sections, each incorporating many of the favorite Disney characters and Christmas favorites are playing throughout the course. At each hole there is a “magic trick” when your ball gets in – a fridge door opens, a snowman sprays you with water and even Santa makes an appearance. The course is not easy but is do-able for kids 5+ and have a great time playing it a few times. Even though we have played it so many times before it’s still a family favorite.
It is getting dark when we are done and we make a quick stop at Joe’s Crab Shack for dinner. Joes’ is located right next to the entrance for downtown Disney, had a lovely playground connected to the restaurant and a lovely outdoor seating area. It is a bit chilly outside but after some Alaskan crabs, lobsters and fish sticks we all call it a day. The drive back to Cape Canaveral is uneventful; we return our rental and get back on the ship at 9:30 pm, 30 minutes before the ship’s departure.
Day 4 – Nassau, Bahamas
We sleep in late today and when we wake up we see the ship trying to enter the port. The winds are so strong that each time the captain makes an approach he has to turn back. Finally after about 30 minutes of trying wen enter the harbor and we all get dressed to go outside.
We are meeting the rest of our group to go to Atlantis and stroll around as we expect it will be too chilly for the beach. The minute I walk out of the ship I realize that it must be 50 degrees outside. The winds are strong and chilly and all of the locals are saying this is by far the coldest day of the year. Great! I quickly turn around and go back to the cabin to get our warmest clothes and even put on my leather boots.
We take a cab to Atlantis, the sprawling resort that we have seen on TV but never actually been to. It boasts something like 15 different resorts within it, a water park, many pools, lazy rivers, and a famous acquarium. We get inside only to realize that as guests we are not allowed to go pretty much anywhere without paying a fee. The acquarium costs $30+ per person (we have several large acquariums in the DC area so it’s not worth the money), it’s too cold for any of the water adventures (and a daily pass for the water park costs $100 per person), and the casino is not kid-friendly at all. Even some of the restaurants are off-limits unless you are staying at the resort.
We walk around the inside a bit but everyone is quickly bored. In all honesty, Atlantis is like a cheaper version of a Vegas hotel and unfortunately fails to impress me. Back to the ship we just found a cozy lounge and let the kids play while the adults had some strong warm-up drinks.
That night there was a disco party taking over the atrium of the ship and that was probably the highlight of the night entertainment on this cruise. Everyone, kids and adults, loved dancing to the oldies and some of us even got a little crazy but a good time was had by all.