Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Cruise Chronicles - Day Three at Sea

Feeling groovy, mon?

It's only fitting that our third day aboard The Majesty of the Seas would find us in the most righteous island in the Caribbean...the Bahamas, baby! We also chose this day for our own special theme night. With 19 travelers, you either go big or go home. We went big and pulled out the bell bottoms, the tunics, the peace signs and for the men...the most ridiculous wigs. Who knew hippies had so many accessories?!

If you're still looking for a fun and affordable costume for Halloween, this is a theme that can be enjoyed by the whole family. From my cousin's four-year old daughter to my 76-year-old grandma, we all channeled our inner hippie chick (or dude) and had a blast doing it! Plus, who doesn't love a family that proudly embraces the mantra of peace and love?

But before we donned the bell bottoms, we spent the day touring the beautiful Atlantis resort in Nassau. 

The impressive view from our ship.
The view from the actual property.
For those guests of the resort, this is their playground.
Thirsty? Why not paddle over to this seashell bar for some refreshment?
Below the property, there's a floor to ceiling aquarium. Here I'm communicating with a few of my friends.
Too bad my friends didn't think so highly of my sister.
If you were willing pay $135 or sneak pass security (like my cousin here), you could walk underneath sharks...
...or float in a tube down their lazy river. (Boys, what would Gigi say?)
While the boys were being boys, us law-abiding girls found a throne inside the Atlantis to rest our poor feet. Sometimes being royalty is such a bore.
Always thinking about fashion first, McCall's Papa paid for her to get her hair braided in Nassau. This look proved very effective for our theme night later that evening!
We Are [A Hippie] Family!
If these two crazy kids ever get married, wouldn't this make a fun engagement photo?
The Love Children
The Dudes. If you look closely, you'll see McCall's toy poodle peeking out of Ryan's jumper pocket. Doesn't he look like a creepy pedophile? Kids, stay away from this hippie!

Gigi, I think it's time you take away the creepy mustache!
Papa, Mimi and their love child, Taylor
Nice wig, Brooks! Or should I call you Ron?
As hippies go, my parents are pretty G-R-O-O-V-Y!
So there you have it! This day was the highlight of the trip for me. It's not often you can play dress up with 19 of your favorite people and actually get away with it. These pictures are definitely going in the family archives! Especially the group shot...this one I actually put in a shadow box, added a few groovy embellishments and said, "Happy birthday, Dad!"

Stay tuned for the final edition of The Cruise Chronicles...our last day aboard the ship was all about fun games (boys will be boys) and a special (top secret!) tribute to our matriarch Gigi.

"Sea" ya soon!


Friday, September 24, 2010

The Cruise Chronicles - Day Two at Sea

Day two aboard The Majesty of the Seas found the Smith-Dame clan docked at Royal Caribbean's private island Coco Cay. This is the view from our little piece of paradise. A girl could definitely get used to this. (I'm seriously thinking about making this my screen saver!)

What's great about traveling by ship with a large group of people is everyone can separate after breakfast and do their own thang until dinnertime. Most of us elected to get off the ship and soak up some rays on Coco Cay. With a gorgeous palm tree-lined beach, there was plenty to do for those who just couldn't relax on a reclining chair. And since the ages of our party ranged from 4 to 76, there was always someone to either chill or play with. And that's my kind of vacation!
The view of our floating buffet from the beach. Looks small, huh?
I called this picture Three and a Half Men.
Don't the Dame Brothers look good in pink? (I'm so pretty!)
If you look past the white flesh, there's a sun worshipper in there somewhere.
Thanks to my sister for snapping this photo. While I went in search of some lunch, the boys went in search of some friendly sport. They found it in Coco Cay's 2010 Beach Olympics. 
They came. They saw. They conquered. The Larger than Life team walked away with gold medals. These medals will become accessories for the boys later that night at our one and only formal night.
Little McCall enjoys some down time with her Mimi (check out Mimi's pretty nails and pedicure...she actually had little white flowers painted on all of her toes! Hmm...McCall likes this look!)
So we try to recreate it on her later that afternoon. (Unfortunately, we had to stick to a solid base coat because silly PK forgot to bring her self-adhesive nail flowers! And no, they don't sell them on the ship!)
But enduring 15 minutes of pampering really tuckers a girl out! (I love that she minded me and actually kept the toe separators on. This is one girl who takes her beauty routine very seriously!)
And it paid off! Isn't McCall adorable with her black velvet dress, embellished flats and soft curls? The poodle purse is actually a gift from Cousin Holly. Long story short...Holly and her girlfriends refer to themselves as The Poodles. This all-blonde, all-manicured group of Texas socialites even go on trips together...Poodle Palooza was in Scottsdale this year!)
The infamous GQ ad. Sporting their shiny new medals, the Olympians strike a pose. 
Brent and Holly make a grand entrance into the dining room.
And Gigi finally makes an appearance! Flanked by 9 of her 11 grandchildren and her only great-grandchild, her smile says it all!
Don't Laurie and my older "sister" clean up good?
Even a Poodle-in-Training demands superior service from her wait staff.
I won't even tell you how long we had to wait in line for this picture! But it turned out alright. Back row (from l. to r.): Taylor Dame (cousin), Jeff Smith (dad), Cooper Smith (cousin), Kelly Dame (uncle), Collin Smith (cousin). Middle row: Brent Hendrix (Holly's boyfriend), Eric Smith (uncle), me, Laurie Smith (sister), Holly Smith (sister), Cristi Dame (Brooks' wife), Brooks Dame (cousin), Ryan Dame (cousin). Front row: Carter Smith (cousin), Bonnie Smith (aunt), Gwen Smith (Gigi - grandma), McCall Dame (Ryan's daughter), Evelyn Dame (Mimi-aunt), Kathy Smith (mom). If you look closely, suave Brooks dangles his gold medal by his side! We gave him so much heat for that!

If you think we look like a nice, respectable family here, wait for day three when we break out our hippie garb for our own theme night! (We actually had other passengers come up to us and say, "Were we supposed to pack hippie costumes?) We also enjoy a fun day at the Atlantis resort in the Bahamas (where Poodle Holly finally finds an acceptable throne to sit upon). And a couple of my medal-winning cousins decide to test their strength and luck once again...too bad it didn't have the same outcome!

"Sea" ya soon!


Monday, September 13, 2010

Friday, September 10, 2010

The Cruise Chronicles - Day One at Sea

When we last left our story, the Smith-Day clan had spent a fun-filled day at Epcot Center in Orlando. The next day, all 19 of us would board Royal Caribbean's Majesty of the Seas for a five-day sail to the private island Coco Cay, The Bahamas and then back to Port Canaveral, Florida.

My mom is what you might call a seasoned cruiser. I think this last one was her 12th cruise to date. Since she now has Royal Caribbean V.I.P. status, those of us who were smart enough to board with her, were able to bypass the long security lines and get on the ship much quicker.

What does one do once you board a floating buffet? You head straight to the food! Luckily, it's not very hard to find. You pretty much follow the crowd and you'll end up either in the dining room, one of the cafeterias or poolside. My 12-year-old cousin Carter couldn't believe that you could literally get food anytime you wanted it. Let's just say he was never far from the soft-serve ice cream machine or the pizza bar...which were open 24-7.
Our floating buffet...The Majesty of the Seas
Since we had a few hours to kill before dinner, most of us headed straight for the pool to work on our tans. I, of course, first purchased my soda pass, which essentially kept me caffeinated and happy for five straight days. Here's McCall playing "squishy face" with Uncle Brooks, one of her many dads on this trip.
Busy little McCall soon tired of Uncle Brooks (or maybe it was the other way around!), but luckily Mimi (her grandma) came prepared for such moments of boredom. She whipped out this cute felt fish that required some stitching around the gills. Once completed, it was time to put on a puppet show! 
Good thing my sister's boyfriend Brent was nearby and could take up the post of McCall's third Daddy. He was such a good sport, especially when her puppet started punching him in the face!
Before you knew it, it was time to clean up for dinner. It was a casual night, which meant we could basically wear whatever we wanted. My cousins Carter and Taylor sort of have a bro-mance going on, despite their 12-year age difference. I think it has something to do with being the youngest in their families. Regardless, these two were roommates and loved every minute of it! Here they are modeling their dinner attire, which includes "Ski or Die" hats.
And then came the hot dog. I literally walked past Cooper's room and was greeted by in mustard. Little did I know how popular Hot Dog Boy would be that night. Let's just say Cooper came out of his shell bun.
The proud parents of Hot Dog Boy, my Uncle Eric and Aunt Bonnie.
After dinner, we met in the lobby for a 70's Dance Party. (Too bad our own hippie night was scheduled for Wednesday night...that would have made for some great photos!) But no complaints here...The Village People kept us entertained!
I think my sister Laurie was a little confused by the combination of oiled-up YMCA dancers and her cousin's hot dog costume.
But we managed to get our 70's groove on!
And even my mom got out on the dance floor to do the fist pump, ala Jersey Shore-style!
Once The Village People left the floor, Hot Dog Boy did his thing! The best part of the night was when the DJ thanked Oscar Meyer for sponsoring the dance party.
Hot Dog Boy was admired by many cruisers of the female persuasion! 
But Hot Dog Boy wasn't the only one with the moves! Cousin Brooks and his wife Cristi enjoyed their first night without 5-month-old Baby Nixon, who stayed behind in Miami with Cristi's family. 
Two thumbs up for our first day at sea!

And thus concludes day one aboard The Majesty of the Seas. Stay tuned for day two at the private island Coco Cay, where the Dame boys compete in The 2010 Royal Caribbean Beach Olympics and actually medal! McCall also gets her very own poodle and we all dress up in our finest garb for our one and only formal night. Gigi also reacts to The Cruise Fairy, who somehow finds her way into Gigi's cabin and leaves behind little gifts with cryptic notes that all end with, "As Time Goes By..."

"Sea" ya soon!