After our crazy travel day, we were so ready to get on the ship! I was really glad that we had planned to spend a night in Miami after all the travel delays. We almost ended up spending the night in Atlanta (how all 5 of us were able to get on standby on a full flight, I will never know!) and poor Preston (our worrier) was almost in tears, convinced that we wouldn't make it to the boat on time. But we spent the night in Miami and made it to the Port with time to spare. The boys immediately found the kid's pool and spent the time in there until we departed.
Honestly, I wasn't sure what to expect on the boat. I knew the ship we were sailing on wasn't a new one, and I also knew I wasn't big (compared to some anyway). I chose it because #1: it had a great itinerary, #2: it was affordable, and #3: there were cabins that accommodated 5 people. I shouldn't have worried. (Although I had to take anti-nausea pills a couple of times when the sea was pretty rough.) But the kid's program was awesome. The kids loved it and begged to go as much as they could (even Archer after the first few days, which is a HUGE feat). The food, while not spectacular, was good, and there was plenty I could eat (which is another feat!). And there was unlimited ice cream for the boys, so they were happy.
We got comments multiple times per day on how well-behaved our kids were. It was really nice to hear that, because there was a small percentage of people on the boat who seemed to be irritated by our children's presence, like they felt that it was THEIR vacation and our kids were intruding on it just by being on it, but that was definitely the minority and most people were sweet and understanding about our little hooligans. (Most of them seemed to have grandkids our children's age, which was great, although our kids did make a few new friends.)
The kid's club totally exceeded my expectations. It was not babysitting by any stretch. It was not "sit in front of the TV time" - it was superheroes, pirates, Easter egg hunts, arts and crafts, circuses, pajama parties, dodge ball, and so much more.
We will definitely cruise again the next opportunity we have. I'd love to make it a yearly vacation, but that may not happen for a while still. It's nice to know that it is possible to take a 2 week vacation with 3 young kids and actually enjoy it and feel rested at the end of it!