Turns Out I Already Found the Most Wonderful Place on Earth

Warning: I'm going to condense 7 days into 1 tiny little living space blog post (Can you name that Disney Movie line?)

In true THAT family fashion, we pulled over on the side of the road, stopping traffic in the process, to take a picture of the ship we were about to board:

This pretty much sums up the week:

We are big Disney fans (we lived in Florida for awhile and visited often). Our favorite part of the cruise was the slower-pace. It was nice to enjoy the amenities, but we didn't feel rushed. Several times, my kid's noticed some of the other passengers had perks we didn't, much bigger rooms, free gifts, etc. (My kids were over-the-top thankful, but they have no idea about the value of money, although this trip taught them a lot!)

And that's when I taught them all about Last-Minute Deals that ships offer sometimes to sell the last couple of rooms. "We paid about 1/4 of what all the other passengers did," I explained.

My older daughter summed it up, "We're just lucky to be on the boat. Who cares about a window in the cabin or a free keychain!"


We did get a little seasick and partook of little white pills offered to those with our shade of coloring. It didn't stop us though:

There were Disney characters all over the ship! I just knew that would be my toddler's favorite part (this was her first Disney experience). But she has the same forlorn (freaked out, maybe?) look in all the pictures. She enjoyed the ice cream a lot more!

The ship docked in the Bahamas and we were free to spend the day how we pleased. My kids were really nervous about being in a different country. (If you've ever visited, you know that there are many helpful people who would like to be paid for their assistance. It can be a little overwhelming. 

A lady asked if my girls wanted to be Bahaman princesses (she was very smart and coercive) and have their hair braided.

I asked, "How much?" (I kept catching myself talking in a loud voice, very slowly. It was purely for my benefit, because their English was perfect).

"$3" she said as she led us to an open market.

I'm thinking Oh, this is going to be fun! What a deal!

I couldn't believe my toddler was willing to sit so still. 

At some point, my hubby (he's the one with the common sense) asked "What will the total be?"

"$80" one of the ladies said, never looking up.


And that's when I HAD A HOT FLASH.

We'd only been in The Bahamas fifteen minutes and we'd have to leave one of our kids AS COLLATERAL to pay for HAIR BRAIDS.

"Okay. I think we have enough braids now," I said, trying to get their nimble fingers to STOP.

Because y'all, that's ONE-HUNDRED-AND-SIXTY-DOLLARS!!

"Oh, but don't you want your girls to be princesses?" the lady questioned.

Nope, not really. It's totally overrated and OUT OF OUR BUDGET, I think to myself and give my hubby a look that screams DO SOMETHING!

He negotiated, paused a lot, and bargained a reasonable price. But we did tip the ladies well (they both had 7 kids, each!)

The Bahaman Princesses

Of course, if I had known HOW EASY it was to wash and go braided hair, I probably would have paid a little more. Just avoiding brushing out tangled hair was WORTH GOLD. GOLD, I tell you. [Funny little detail: One of the beads on toddler's head (unknown to us) was a glow in the dark bead. It was hilarious in the middle of the night to catch a glimpse of that lone bead in the darkness!]

A Day at the Beach 
(our cruise ship and The Flying Dutchman pirate ship from the movie Pirates of the Caribbean in the background).

We had a wonderful DREAM vacation and a Thanksgiving we'll never forget.

I kept telling my kids, savor this, I can't imagine we'll do this again. But I did remember that I don't have to travel all the way to DisneyWorld to find the most wonderful place on earth. 

I already found it.

It's called home.

p.s. I have a VERY FUN giveaway planned for Tuesday!


Henley on the Horn said...

Welcome home!! It looks like you all had a fabulous time. We live in Florida now & take full advantage of our passes!

Marsha said...

What a blast! My family is considering a Disney cruise in the future. I love to read about others' experiences.

Tammy said...

I love all your photos! So much fun.

And thanks for revealing the hair braiding scam....who knew?!

rachelizabeth said...

Welcome home! So glad you had a good time!

Donna @ Way More Homemade said...

Oh wow. I didn't realize you were going on a cruise. If ever we go on a cruise, hubs and I have agreed that Disney is what we'll do. It looks like you had an incredible time.

Hen Jen said...

wow, what a great vacation! I love the last photo, very nice! I can't imagine how $3 became $80, yikes!! glad to hear you worked it out!

Anonymous said...

Wait...what was the $3 for?

$3 per second spent braiding?

$3 per strand of hair?

Kim said...

Wow, looks like you had a great time away. It is always nice to be home after you have been traveling, there is no place like it. The girls look great with the braids :)

TidyMom said...

Oh Kristen what FUN!!!...but the braids! OMG, I think I would have passed out- was it $3 per braid? They looked so cute on the girls!!

Sounds like a wonderful vacation/holiday!


Karen said...

Your blog is so inspiring to me. Thank you for your uplifting writing that keeps me chuckling a lot! As a mom of a 23-year-old and a 15-year-old, I think we watched our share of Disney VCR tapes (remember those?!) back in the day before DVDs really came on the scene. Anyway, in answer to the first question on your entry, is the movie Aladdin by any chance?

Tina said...

I priced this cruise the other day, for 2 years out and had to pick myself off the floor when the price came up. So glad you got a good deal :)

Looks like fun!!

Kay said...

Love this! Sadly we won't be going on a cruise because hubs gets green just looking at a boat! LOL But I'm glad you had fun. Thanksgiving a year ago we went to WDW and we said the same things.. savor it, we may never do this again. But we LOVED that week (and kinda pined for it a bit this year lol).

Kristen said...

to answer all your hair braiding q's...I thought she meant $3 a braid and I was thinking, maybe 3 braids? When she kept going, that's when we stopped her. But I'm pretty sure she was adding a hefty tip in there, because $80????

Kristen said...


Karen, you got the movie! Yay. Air high five!

Linda said...

So happy you had a wonderful time. I've only been on one cruise and while I enjoyed it I do think they are or can be expensive. The last minute booking is the way to go! What memories you have made. I agree there is no place like home.
Welcome Home!

Catherine B said...

Thanks for sharing your adventures. What a fun trip. We are planning something for our son next Spring when he finishes his chemotherapy and a Disney Cruise is high on the list (if we can swing it!). Great memories!

ilovemy5kids said...

Thanks so much for posting! What a sweet ride and I loved the hair story!

They will never forget that and either will you guys!

Blessings to you,
lana @ ilovemy5kids

Wanda said...

What a dream trip! Looks like so much fun!

Hopefully you were able to enjoy it after the braiding robbery! :)

bridget {bake at 350} said...

Great pictures, Kristen! Looks like so much fun!!!

Amy Whitley said...

Those braids ARE worth their weight in gold...I've gotten them too! But yeah, they're savvy business women, aren't they? Thanks for posting about your trip; I'm intrigued by a Disney cruise! Maybe if we snag the last minute deal like you guys did!

Kristin said...

Aladdin (Genie says that LOL)

And looks like an awesome time!

sonja said...

Adorable! What a neat trip, and best of all... you know that HOME is the best place to be!

Cheri-Beri said...

The trip looks fantastic!!!

About the braids - my bff went to the same exact place you did and got braids in her daughter's hair. At one point she asked the woman to make the braids bigger because of the rapidly increasing price. Her reply was, "Her hair is so thin we have to make small braids." She accepted this answer.

When she told me the story I told her, "And if it were my daughter she would have said, 'Her hair is so thick we have to make small braids.'" Bff knew I was right - lol.

Elizabeth said...

aladdin! Love that movie :)

Cathy said...

The cruise looked awesome. What a cool Thanksgiving trip! Oh and the price they quote is per braid and they make the braids as small as possible so they can do a LOT of them.

Nancy M. said...

I'm glad y'all had a great trip and a nice Thanksgiving! I can't believe they were going to charge you that much for braids! That's insane! A last minute deal might be the only way we could take a Disney cruise. It looks so magical!

Anonymous said...

I was smiling right up until that very last sentence and then ... a huge lump rose in my throat and the tears began to flow; uncontrollably. Home ... it is the most wonderful place on earth! Welcome back to yours!Destiny D. said...

Oh, I love cruising...but if there's one thing we've learned, it's get the price for the service BEFORE you sit down. It's a tough lesson!

I'm so glad you had a wonderful time! It's good to have you back.

The Martin Family said...

Phenomenal cosmic power...itty bitty living space. :) Aladdin is one of our family faves.

And you are right, home is the best place. But it's still important to venture out into the world to meet new and exciting people and to see new and exciting things. There are so many lessons to learn from living life that you just can't get books. Also, it makes us love and appreciate home even more. You gotta miss it a bit. :)

Glad you had a wonderful time, good to have you back.

Adventures In Babywearing said...

Oh my gosh my heart stopped at the cost! I'd never guess that. But they look adorable!


lisa said...

we did the same cruise for christmas a few years ago. great time, but so hard to be away for the holiday. glad y'all had good memories & fun making them.

Jenny said...

OMG! I guess it was $3 a braid! Yikes!