According to Webster’s Dictionary, Vacation is a noun, often attributive and defined as:
1 : a period spent away from home or business in travel or recreation had a restful vacation at the beach
2 : a scheduled period during which activity (as of a court or school) is suspended, a period of exemption from work granted to an employee
3 : a respite or a time of respite from something
With that said, this past month my family and I went on our first Disney Cruise-Star Wars at Sea–vacation. This was our first uninterrupted 7-day cruise (the last one was cut short thanks to Hurricane Irma) and we were all looking forward to it. Unfortunately, life had a few lessons it wanted me to learn along the way, so now for your reading pleasure and education, here is what I took away from one of the neatest but at times scariest vacations of my life.
1. Never change your medication right before going on vacation.
You don’t know how your body will react to the change in the air, water, and or motion of the ocean as it was for me.
2. Never go scuba diving (even if it’s only 30 feet) when you have an upset stomach
This might sound obvious but when you have a child excited to go and $250 that gets washed down the drain if you skip out, your brain lets you do things you shouldn’t.
3. If you do get sick, take it slow and enjoy when your body feels good
That way you don’t spend the entire time focusing on how bad you feel at that moment. As my doctor told me before I went, “If you get sick, you get sick. It will pass.”
4. Push yourself when appropriate, it may make you feel better.
The day after scuba diving we were scheduled for SNUBA (like scuba but you’re tethered to a little boat that holds your tank and no certification is required). I almost didn’t go (and $75 would have been lost). 10-minutes before my husband and son had to leave I pushed myself out of bed and gave it a shot. I ended up feeling 10x better once I was off the boat and out in some fresh air.
5. Vacations are for the whole family
That means taking time to do what you want even if it means you break away from the rest of the group for a bit. For me, this meant sticking my tail in a chair on Castaway Cay and reading Keep Moving: And Other Tips and Truths About Aging by Dick Van Dyke for three hours while my husband and son played in the water. It was some of the best three hours of my entire trip.
6. Saunas are amazing
And if done in the right order can take a lot of anxiety and pain away. On the Disney cruise, they have what’s called the Rainforest Room with three saunas and a set of showers. The order is Laconium (dry sauna and feels like a typical summer day in Florida), Caldarium (steam room and feels like a typical summer day in Florida while sitting in a black car), and then the Hamam (steam bath and feels like what I imagine a high humidity day in the desert would feel like). In between the saunas you take a quick shower in one of four different themed showers to cool your body down. The only warm shower is the Rainforest one, skip this at the beginning and stick to the other three.
7. Try to eat somewhat normal for your body
Even if that means staying away from the shrimp, lobster, and crab on the buffet line (it’s not worth the sickness later).
8. Put the camera down!
There are better ones of the ports, ship, and characters out on the internet. Instead, take the time to enjoy the moment and keep the photo taking to the ones you really want to remember.
9. Before you spend $100 on photos think!
Consider each photo and what you plan to do with it when you get home. If your plan is to shove them in a drawer, save your money and leave the ship without them.
10. Formal nights are nice, but if it’s not your thing, don’t stress.
Instead, make it fun and do your own version of “formal” night. For example, dress as a formal variation of your favorite character or do your best “tourist on vacation and forgot to pack your formal clothes” impression.
Vacations are supposed to be fun. Thankfully, even with these lessons learned I still had an amazing time with my family. As soon as I backed down my medication to the dosage I was on before the Disney cruise and got back into a normal eating routine I felt much better and was able to enjoy my time on the ship with and without my family.