In December I took a much needed trip with a few of my other Mom friends. As parents, we do SO much for our children and spouses (if you are married) that sometimes a little break is just what you need to recuperate from all of your hard work. While I love traveling with my family, I rarely make plans to travel without them. If you are anything like me,you also experience the dreaded “mom guilt”. I don’t know why this happens. It’s like my brain is hardwired to think I can’t have fun without my kids or my husband, which makes zero sense because I had tons of fun before I became a married woman with three children. So, I just gulped and planned the trip. I gave my husband plenty of notice (months) that during this particular time frame I would not be home and he had to be me, essentially.
I have a friend who’s birthday was in July, and she isn’t able to get away from her family much either. I decided it would be a great time to book a cruise for us as her birthday gift from me. As it turns out, my other friends were booked on the same cruise as us! It was a very awesome coincidence.
Thanksgiving finally rolled around, and shortly after that it was time for us to get to the port to set sail. I chose Charleston, SC as our home port since we live in the Carolina’s and it didn’t take too long to make it to the coast. I didn’t want to spend tons of time in the car. I was ready to just get to the boat and start chill mode with a glass (or bottle) of wine. Once we made it onto the boat, we linked up with our other friends. Some of us hadn’t met the others yet, but surprisingly we all got along fantastically.
The view of Charleston from atop the Ship
The only port that we stopped at was Nassau, Bahamas. We took a private taxi to Atlantis. None of them had ever been there before so they were snapping tons of pictures and in awe. It really is gorgeous inside! Next, we went to one of the restaurants on site and enjoyed a fabulous brunch. I can not tell you how long before this cruise it had been since I was able to sit for a meal with just my friends. It was so nice to have some adult time.
A glass sculpture inside Atlantis by the Casino
The harbor at Atlantis…how thoughtful of them to pull up my James Bond boat!
Me at Atlantis
One of many fabulous glass sculptures by Dale Chihuly
Once we left Atlantis, there’s a beautiful place on the island called the Graycliff Hotel. It has a rich history of pirates and celebrities. They have a cigar factory on site. I stopped by there and bought a couple of cigars for my husband that were rolled that day. We sat by the beautiful pool and had some wine. I adore Sauvignon Blanc and enjoyed that. We also met a little cat that was wandering the premises. I am sure she was looking for food, but she got plenty of snuggles from all of us animal lovers. This pool was amazing! It looked hand painted on the bottom, although I am not 100% that is what it actually was.
The cigar factory at Graycliff
Enjoying my Sauvignon Blanc poolside at the Graycliff
The gorgeous hand painted pool
I love statues in gardens!
When we left the Graycliff, we had to make an obligatory stop at Senor Frogs. I bought the kids some tee shirts and at this point (and after wine), we were already hungry again. I munched on a giant plate of nachos and we shared some conch fritters. We had a great time laughing at the inebriated people dancing and taking shots! Years ago we may have been those people, but if I tried to party like that these days I’d probably die or at least feel like death. No thank you! I am content being a refined adult. We took our time perusing the market where the local vendors sell handcrafted items. The size of the market has decreased significantly since the last cruise I went on that stopped in Nassau. It literally used to spread across an entire block or two, and now it’s relegated to a few pop up tents in a little square. I always like to support the locals, because this is how they make their living. Many Americans try to haggle them to death, but I don’t. I won’t pay an unreasonable price for something, but I won’t try to talk them down to pennies either. I am not sure that most tourists are conscientious enough to understand the living conditions that many residents of islands like this live in. I wish they did, though.
Bottoms in floats overhead!
The only place that we did not go that I wanted to show them was a local row of restaurants called The Fish Fry. Last time I was in the Bahamas, a different friend and I flew in and this was the place the locals told us to try. It does not disappoint! If you are ever in Nassau and have the time to stop by, go here and enjoy some authentic, local, fresh food. The best conch fritters EVER-hands down!
We made our way back to the ship and boarded. I went to the room for awhile with the intention of taking a nap, but all I could think about was my family and how I desperately missed them. We still had another full day on the ship after this! I couldn’t shake the homesick feeling I was having.
Walking back to the ship in Nassau
That night we went up to one of the only bars on the ship that was playing some of the playoff football games. My friend was able to work her charm with an older couple from Georgia that were pulling for UGA in the first game and land us their table when they left. We got a spot right in front of the tv. I was pumped! Fast forward to my team winning and a bottle of Wolffer Estates Summer in a Bottle Rose, and we were all in the party mood. We found an adults only 80’s dance party on one of the forward decks. We danced until our legs became limp! I have not had that much fun in a really, really long time!
There was this one woman who was quite entertaining. I mean, to be honest, she had clearly been drinking heavily all day. My biggest concern was that she was going to fall off of the boat, but she didn’t as far as I know. She had the shortest tee shirt dress on, and she made it a point to tell everyone that would listen that she didn’t have any underwear on. For some reason, she was very proud of this. She was supposedly engaged but kept slurring, “It’s not real. It’s not real.” She tried to hook up with every guy that looked remotely in her direction, including the ship’s security guards. Eventually we saw her leave with a guy. I didn’t see her on the boat again, but I am sure she was beyond hungover the next day.
Before we knew it, it was time to go home. My friend and I set our alarms for what we thought was early, only to find out that our other friends were almost to Charlotte when we were disembarking! All in all it was a great trip and I will never forget the memories we made. I was able to bond even more with my friend Amelia, started a friendship with Shasta, and was able to gift Lynn a trip like none she had ever experienced. Just watching her take in all of the new sites and a world she had never seen before was rewarding enough for me.
I will leave you with this thought, Moms and Dads. Do not forget to take care of yourself. Our daily chores and duties are overwhelming, especially when you mix adulting with also being responsible for any mini’s you have created. Take the time for yourself, and don’t get bogged down guilt. It only takes a little time, even if you can’t do a full blown trip go on a date night. Dinner and a movie always works. The only way we can be our best and be a role model for our kids is if we take care and always work on personal growth.
When it was all said and done, it didn’t even seem like they missed me as much as I missed them! Props to Daddy for keeping them alive while Mommy was gone.