Life’s A Beach!

NEWS | | October 11, 2010 at 8:50 pm

Well it has been for the past 3 days. This summer the only beach day my kids have had is a playdate with a friend and a birthday party and I have well felt guilty about not being able to spend more time with my laptop than on activities with my kids. Oh, don’t conjure neglected kids in your mind, I am a SAHM so being 24/7 with my kids is what I do but lately the blog has taken a decent chunk of that time so I have not been able to do many of the outdoor activities I would have liked to. My one measurement bar of a successful summer is whether visits to the beach were a part of it.

I can’t feel too badly at the blogging time since it was what afforded me the opportunity with Carnival Cruise Lines to take my entire family on a cruise. Finally a way to abate my guilt and since Fall was making a mad dash for Boston we headed out for one last rendezvous with Summer. We took an 8 day cruise out of New York with 3 planned stops all at island beaches.  That’s enough time to wipe any trace of guilt this mama may have. Not only the beach, the ship has pools too – including an amazing water slide.

Look, I grew up in a beach town in South Africa called Durban. Envision warm water all year round. Actually I appreciate that feature so much more now that I live in Boston. So I expected good beaches. I did not get good beaches – I got the most beautiful beaches.  You have to understand that both my husband and I are geeks. Not being online is difficult. Really difficult. We work hard, I know most people do – but when you are an immigrant you work really hard to make this new life you have chosen last. Which means fun and relaxation is indulgence you can scarce afford.

So the first day at Grand Turk was a shocker. Used to having trudge all the way from a parking lot to the shore, it was so much easier. Ok, so I guess you can’t compare a ship docking with a car parking but still – we got off the boat and went straight into the water. So close that you could head to ship for lunch if you wanted. The water was warm and the shells on the shore amazing – hard to imagine beaches that actually have shells – and some big beautiful conch ones at that. Being able to lie on the beach, swim or float (the water was quite salty so wondered if that attributed to the extra buoyancy) or play on the sand. We delved into the drinks the island was known for and even the fact that there was free-wifi on the island did not deter us from absorbing the beach, right until the ship had to leave. Since hubby works online from home he commented that we could totally live there – beach and free-wifi – what a life!

After enthralling in the beauty of Grand Turk we felt like we had seen it all. Not so according to the dining crew and the cabin crew concurred. How could it really get any more beautiful at Half Moon Cay (pronounced Key)? Yet it did. I can’t explain it. I know, you think I am a writer and I should. I will do it injustice. The pictures are beautiful but in real life it is so breathtaking that you feel you have reached heaven. Oh, by no means do I get swept away by things so easily. In fact always playing the devils advocate I was not so sure about this cruise – but then I saw blue skies and clear ocean. I saw my hubby floating, one daughter splashing away giggling while at it, while the other was intent on making the best moat around her beautiful sandcastle, and I did not care about my inbox. Not. one. bit!

I will write more on that, in another post (psst make sure you subscribe to not miss a beat). At Nassau we took a tour to Blue Lagoon. The beach would have been perfect had we went there first. Except for the fact that we thought it cost a lot of money just to take that tour, we were disappointed that the tour boat left late (which decreased our time there) and the beach had quite a few sharp rocks under. Also the fact that once there you had to pay for canoeing and other activities – worse still they expect the guys to use canoes and pedal boats where people in the small portion that people are swimming. Although in all fairness this was a separate tour and not part of the Carnival Cruise itself but I did feel it merited worthy of mention.

The ease of getting off a cruise ship to a beach and on again is so amazing. These guys have fun and safety down to a science.  In fact it really takes more effort to hit the beach from home than on the cruise. The best part? I don’t have to clean the sand that gets trudged indoors (and yes Carnival is so on top of it they immediately clean your room to get rid of the sand from it).

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