Tracy and the girls make a new friend. Below: Avery gets a manicure and takes part in a fashion show (bottom).
On Day 6 on our cruise, we opened our stateroom’s curtains in the morning and set our eyes upon something unimaginable in our little utopia: dark clouds and light rain. Worse still, we were docked at Cozumel, Mexico, for our dedicated “beach break” at Playa Mia Grand Beach Park.
We’d definitely been spoiled by gorgeous weather before today, and were a bit thrown by the high winds and waves, but dug out the girls’ leggings and hoodies and hit the dock to meet our group. Playa Mia Park was gorgeous, with white sands, hammocks, pools and a splash park. All the water activities were cancelled due to the weather, but the kids loved the splash park and pools and it gave the rest of us a chance to sit on the deck, enjoy a few margueritas and a Mexican feast, and just relax. Somehow, it turned out to be one of our favourite days; by this time, the kids and the adults in our group had formed friendships and being together was a lot of fun, even if the sunshine only made the briefest of appearances.
That evening back at the ship, we went to our next event: a Barbie sing-along with sparkly microphones. The girls followed along to a DVD, so it was great fun for the older girls who could read, but the younger ones (including Avery) ended up just running around. They were all a little tired, too, after our day in Mexico. That night, we skipped our 8:30 group dinner to get the girls (and us, too) to bed at a decent hour. We were hitting a bit of a wall and wanted to be well rested for our last (sniff, sniff) day.
Day 7 started early and went full-throttle. We gathered at 7:30 a.m. for the dining room’s DreamWorks character breakfast, which featured Mort, Rico and Skipper from Madagascar, and Po from Kung Fu Panda, dancing serving staff and chocolate pastries (I think I enjoyed them more than the kids). It was a high-spirited event, with great music and energy, giving the kids a chance to hug and high-five the characters.
The weather was still overcast and chilly, so instead of spending the day at the ship’s pool area as we’d planned, we checked out some things we hadn’t yet: mini-golf on the top deck, a ping-pong tourney for Sean and ziplining for me (for real!). After lunch, we enjoyed the lively Madagascar aqua show and the girls went for a last ride (or three) on the carousel. Our rep then surprised the girls with fancy manicures to help them get ready for the afternoon's festivities.
After lunch, the journalists of the group got the chance to go on a behind-the-scenes tour of the ship, to see the massive kitchen, the staff quarters, and the bridge (which reminded us all of Star Trek), where the captain answered questions about the running of the ship. It was all a little jaw-dropping and we learned that, while we already thought the ship was humongous, guests only see about 50 percent of it.
While I was doing that, my “Barbie girls” were preparing for the grand finale of our trip: the fashion show. When we arrived, the girls and their glitter were sequestered away as we lined the pink runway. They came strutting out in boas, sunglasses and sparkles to a wall of paparazzi and cheers from their adoring fans. It was just adorable. They all looked so happy and proud. They then performed the dance they’d learned earlier in the week (a song I still have in my head!). It really was a spectacular culmination of the events and fun and friendships that the girls had enjoyed all week long. And in the end, that’s what this was all about.
Our last dinner was delicious, as always, but Avery was so over waiting for the late-night meals in the dining room that she collected her crayons and her friends under our table. The kids had done a really great job with their behaviour over the past week that I figured, if not well-mannered, at least they were contained and quiet under the table!
We exchanged info and said our fond farewells to our new friends, then hurried back to our room to pack our bags (they had to be outside our door for pick-up by 11 p.m.) and get the kids to sleep in their “Barbie beds” one last time. “I wish we could stay seven more days!” Avery whined. I could relate. I felt like we were just getting the hang of this whole cruise thing and, suddenly, it was time to go home.