Family life

Barbie cruise adventures: First stop — Haiti!

Tracy's travel adventures continue as her family enjoys sun, fun — and a Barbie fashion design class.

By Tracy Chappell

Barbie cruise adventures: First stop — Haiti! Anna and Avery build sandcastles. Below: Taking a Barbie fashion design class.

I’m quite enjoying my new workspace, with a clear view of a vast ocean twinkling in the sunshine. Somehow, it doesn’t feel like work when you’re surrounded by this breathtaking landscape.
We took a bit of a sun-break this afternoon, after a warm, beachy day in our first port-of-call, Labadee, Haiti. Our group got passes to enjoy some of the island’s activities but, unfortunately, they were literally out of the depths of kids Avery’s age. Anna tried out the water park full of inflatables — a water trampoline and slides to climb on and slide down; Anna and I also tempted fate on the Dragon’s Tale Coaster, which felt a little like driving a go-kart up and down a narrow winding railway on the side of a mountain (and we controlled the speed). “Is this fun, or scary?” I asked Anna on our way up the steep first slope. “Fun!” she yelled from her spot in front of me. “And kinda scary!” I felt the same, especially since I was the one handling the controls and wondering if we were going to tip over the side at any moment. I’m sure in the “action” photo they captured a half-terrified, half-exhilarated look on my face.
There was a huge, awesome-looking zipline we could have (should have!) done as well. I sort of kicked myself as I looked at it afterwards from our stateroom balcony and watched the people careening over the cove. But when I had time — the kids had decided to go to the Adventure Ocean area (which is the ship’s kids’ club) — having a handful of minutes to just lounge with Sean and close my eyes in the warm breeze was heavenly. So I chose lounging. But next time, ziplining!
The girls mostly just wanted to play on the beautiful sandy beaches, and I find it amazing what a little sunshine is doing for our spirits and our smiles after so many weeks of gloomy, grey winter back in Toronto.
We got back in time for a shower and a little downtime before our next Barbie event: Barbie fashion design class. Here, the girls were shown a video featuring a woman who actually designs Barbie fashions for a living, and given steps to design dresses for their own dolls. They first worked on sketches, then were given these new Barbie kits that actually allow you to use stencils and adornments to decorate dresses your Barbie can wear. I thought this would be a bit old for Avery, too, but she was quite into it. Both the girls loved designing on paper, but transferring their ideas to cloth was a bit challenging.

Barbie cruise adventures: First stop — Haiti!  

Then we headed to the scrumptious Cupcake Cupboard for a quick cupcake decorating lesson (though their favourite part was eating their creations, of course).
Anna and Avery are pretty tired today. After our late dinner last night and a full day out in the sun today, we decided to sneak in an early dinner, hit a Little People live-action show, and get them to sleep at a decent time (which turned out to be 9:30 p.m. — how far we’ve strayed, but as Anna keeps reminding me, “Relax, Mom, we’re on vacation!”). The girls have also made an adorable little friend here, who (with her mom) joined us for dinner along with plenty of giggling and running around.
Next up: Falmouth, Jamaica, tomorrow, where we’ll go on a group tour and enjoy some more beach time. I also hear the shopping is excellent, so we’ll try to squeeze some of that in. After all, we’re (mostly) on vacation, right?

This article was originally published on Feb 28, 2013

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