I’m writing this on the final day of a family cruise that has taken the five of us through six states, three countries and a 70-degree swing in temperatures over the course of eight days. We saw a lot of interesting things along the way, and met people from various walks of life. Our kids swam and played with other kids from Boston and rural New York, as well as a young red-headed boy from Grand Cayman Island.
My wife and I have been on several cruises out of Florida since our honeymoon 13 years ago. We usually fly across the country and hop a cab to the port, but this time we chose to drive to the Port of New Orleans. We drove 15 hours in a minivan with our three kids (ages 10, 7 and 4) over two days, with a little help from Trip Advisor. The van provided some entertainment, with a few Redbox rentals, but we made sure to hit pause a few times along the way remind our kids to “look at that.” A lot would’ve been missed if we’d been looking out the window of a Southwest jet at 30,000 feet, like the town or creek names that made us smile, or learning that Hwy 55 passes through three states (Arkansas, Tennessee and Mississippi) in the span of about 15 minutes around Memphis.
A cruise ship makes for an interesting community, full of people from different places and experiences—most of whom are enjoying one of the best and most memorable days of their lives. It’s always fun to hear about how they live their lives and the paths they’ve taken—from the 30- and 40-something parents, to the almost-retired grandparents, to the ship worker from India who offers a high chair to your four-year-old and shares how badly she misses her own kids back home.
You never know who you’ll meet on a trip like this—like the wild boar hunter from Alabama whose family took the train into New Orleans, or the bridge builder from a small community south of Syracuse, or the steel salesman you meet in the waist-deep water of a white sand beach who just happens to be from a place called Ankeny, Iowa.
Experiences like this are to be treasured, despite a return trip that stretched from 7:30 a.m. to midnight, and was broken up by eight bathroom breaks at last count—but we’ll work on that before next time.
For a list of insights and family cruise tips, visit mywaukee.com/family-cruise-tips