Before we started joining vacation clubs, cruising was our favorite mode of vacationing. We like to try new things and experience new places, so waking up every morning to a different port fit into our style perfectly. In addition, we don’t have to pack and unpack multiple times while changing hotels. The other thing that we like about cruises is that there is a multitude of things to do while on the ship, whether it be entertainment, food, or just lounging around by the pool. The girls really like those options as well.


Our ninth cruise was scheduled to be kind of a reward to the girls for finishing off the school year and getting ready for the summer and their next semesters. We took off two days after Dana finished finals and Alicia was actually still taking them. The ship was the NCL Sky.

The trip began by flying to Orlando, driving to Miami, cruising to three islands in the Bahamas, driving back to Orlando, spending a couple days at Disney World, and then flying back home. It sounds hectic, but actually there was a bit of relaxing time included.

Cruise 9—Bahamas 2010
Text Box: Our eighth cruise was a free 7-day cruise on Disney Cruise Lines. The problem was, there was only one possible date that all four of us could attend without interfering with the girls' school schedules: the day after New Years. We spent time in Walt Disney World before we headed to the ship. There, we had a couple of sea days, a day in Sint Maarten/St. Martin, a day in St. Thomas, another sea day, and then a day in Disney's private island in the Bahamas, Castaway Cay.
Also, this was the first time since our Wyoming trip in 2004 that it was just the four of us... no friends, no foreign daughters, but just Madeline, Alicia, Dana, and me. We stayed in one cabin together, too, so it was interesting to see that we actually got along well and did not kill each other.
Text Box: Cruise 8—Disney Caribbean 2010

Our seventh cruise was booked to find some warmth in December before the holidays. The girls were both in school, so they did not come with us. We went on Norwegian Cruise Line's Norwegian Dawn. It departed from Miami, spent the day at sea on my birthday, and then went to the Dominican Republic, St. Thomas, and Tortola before returning to the port of Miami.

The weather was perfect the entire time, except a small shower in St. Thomas and a little bit of wind the last day that prevented us from getting into NCL's private island in the Bahamas. We had a great time and saw some beautiful scenery, though, so that's all that matters.

Cruise 7—Eastern Caribbean 2008

Alicia was almost 22 and Dana was 20

Alicia was 21 and Dana was 20

Our sixth cruise was to the 48th state that I had been to, Alaska.

We tried a new cruise line with Princess, and went on the Golden Princess. It departed from Seattle and then went to Juneau, Skagway, Ketchikan, and Victoria over a 7 day period.

The weather was about as good as you can get for an Alaskan trip, with a quick shower once while we were shopping in the Juneau. We wouldn't recommend Princess, by the way. They weren't bad, but we liked NCL better.

Cruise 6—Alaska 2007

Our fifth cruise was for Madeline and my 20th Anniversary. Naturally we didn't take the girls with us. We went on Norwegian Cruise Line's Norwegian Star. It departed from LA on our anniversary date, and then went to the Mexican Riviera ports of Manzanillo, Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan, and Cabo San Lucas over an 8 day period.

The weather was perfect the entire time, except the last day at sea where it was a bit windy and chilly. Two of the ports were not on NCL's original itinerary, and so they weren't as exciting as the other two, but still we had a fantastic time.

Cruise 5—Mexican Riviera 2006

Our fourth cruise took place over Spring Break 2005. We rode the Norwegian Cruise Lines Sea from the port of Houston, to Cozumel, Honduras, Belize, and we were suppose to go to Cancun. Unfortunately, it was too rough there and so we skipped it.

We still had fun, though. The ship was full of teens, so the girls kept busy meeting new friends. The weather was perfect, although a little windy the last two days.

Cruise 4—Western Caribbean 2005

Alicia was 16 and Dana was 15

Text Box: Our third cruise was all about family. Madeline's mom and dad loved cruises and shortly after they took one early in 1999, they booked all their kids, grandkids, and in-laws on a Carnival cruise out of Cape Canaveral, FL.
Unfortunately, Madeline's mom passed away a few months before we sailed. In honor of her, we took the cruise anyway, and despite the very chilly Bahamian weather, we had a great time. We started our trip in Orlando, then left Canaveral for the Bahamas.
Text Box: Cruise 3—Bahamas 2000

Alicia was 12 and Dana was 11

Our second cruise included the girls. We went with two other families who each had two children the same age as ours. Alicia came out of her shell on it, instantly becoming the sarcastic, fun-loving person that she is today. Dana experienced something amazing for a 9 year old.

We went on Carnival Cruise Lines for the second time and left out of Miami, going to Cozumel Mexico, Jamaica, and Grand Cayman. The weather was a little rough, as we were sort of following in the footsteps of a hurricane, but the trip was memorable.

Cruise 2—Northern Caribbean 1998

Alicia was 10 and Dana was 9

Our first cruise was for our real honeymoon. It was scheduled by the time we got married and we acted like honeymooners.

We took the cruise with my sister, Michele, her husband, Phil, and a group of farmers from Indiana. Recently at my sister's son's wedding, a couple of those farmers saw us and remembered our trip just like we did.

The cruise was on the Carnival Festivale, and left out of San Juan. It stopped in St. Thomas, St. Maarten, Barbados, and Martinique.

Cruise 1—Southern Caribbean 1986

Our tenth cruise was not originally planned, but when we got a notice from DVC about their Member cruise on the new Dream, we decided to go for it. It was a 4-day cruise out of Port Canaveral and was quite different because we immediately had something in common with everyone onboard.

When we booked it, we knew there was possibility that Dana would be working at Walt Disney World, so we extended the trip there. It turns out that both girls were working at WDW, so it worked out very well for all of us.

Cruise 10—Disney Members 2012

Our eleventh cruise occurred over our 27th Anniversary, and we shared it with ten other friends. We went on the NCL Dawn out of Tampa, and stopped in Roatán, Belize, Costa Maya, and Cozumel. Although most of the ports and the ship were not new adventures for us, spending time with friends and some of the excursions were definitely new.

The trip didn’t start off on the best of notes, and I had a little 24 hour Montezuma’s revenge on our Anniversary, but we still had a wonderful time. We got to spend a day with our girls as well, so that was just an added bonus.

Cruise 11—Western Caribbean 2013

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Text Box: Our twelfth cruise was all about being somewhere special with the girls when Madeline turned a certain age. Just like I didn’t want a fuss with a bunch of people when I turned that age, she didn’t want one either.
Because the girls’ schedules were difficult to plan in advance, we decided to take a little trip out of Miami on the Disney Wonder. The trip went to Grand Cayman and Cozumel. We extended it a little by spending time in South Beach in Miami, since it was Spring Break and seemed like the appropriate thing to do.
Text Box: Cruise 12—Disney Caribbean 2014
Text Box: This cruise was in lieu of going to our Florida home for Christmas in 2014. I had a bunch of MVC points to use, so I booked us an NCL cruise again out of Miami. This time it was 7 days long and went to St. Maarten, St. Thomas, and Nassau. Yes, we’ve been to all of those places, but it doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy them anyway. The most important thing is that we are with our girls. Also, this was on NCL’s brand new ship, the Getaway, so the ship itself was a very new adventure.
The nice surprise was that Alicia’s boyfriend, Melvin, joined us and then a couple of weeks before we sailed, Mäggi  joined us, too.
Text Box: Cruise 13—Eastern Caribbean 2014

Alicia was almost 26 and Dana was 24

Alicia was 26 and Dana was 25

Text Box: We wanted to cruise the Mediterranean, but then saw that Disney had an Adventures by Disney tour associated with this cruise to the Baltic Sea. We jumped on it. It went from Denmark to Estonia to Russia to Finland to Sweden, all of which were brand new countries for us to put on our resume.
The ship was the Disney Magic, which we had been on before, but it was refurbished and wonderful. Our fellow AbD guests were also wonderful, and we made some good friends.
Text Box: Cruise 14—Disney Baltic Sea 2015
Text Box: We missed a vacation because of selling our house in Illinois and moving to Florida. It was a first for us, and so we decided to take advantage of living in Florida and book a last minute cruise.
It was a very short one… only 3 nights, but it was our first time on Royal Caribbean. It was their Enchantment of the Seas, an older ship, but we still enjoyed ourselves. We stopped in Nassau for the umpteenth time, but going to Royal’s private island, CocoCay was really nice.
Text Box: Cruise 15—BAHAMAS 2015
Text Box: I was just looking for something to do in September of 2017 and this one caught my eye. Even though we’ve cruised the Caribbean many times, this one gave us three new countries to visit: St. Kitts, Antigua, and St. Lucia. In addition, we were to visit St. Maarten and Barbados. Unfortunately, hurricanes changed that around just a bit. We went to St. Croix, Aruba, and Bonaire instead.

The cruise began in San Juan, so we went a couple of days early and explored the city. The ship was Royal Caribbean’s Adventure of the Seas, an older and smaller ship than a lot of their huge newer ones.
Text Box: Cruise 16—Southern Caribbean 2017
Text Box: This was specifically for Marriott Vacation Club members on the huge and magnificent Royal Caribbean Harmony of the Seas. We drove down to Ft. Lauderdale and originally were supposed to sail out to St. Maarten, San Juan, and then RC’s private area on the northern tip of Haiti. The hurricanes in September, however, made it questionable if that was to happen, considering San Juan and St. Maarten were both heavily damaged by hurricanes. They did change St. Maarten to St. Thomas, and we had a great time.
Text Box: Cruise 17—Marriott Members 2017
Text Box: The Danube has always been a place of wonder for me, ever since I started reading Clan of the Cave Bear. We crossed the Danube along the Romantic Road when in Germany, but this trip took us along the river much farther downstream.
We began in Budapest, traveled into Slovakia, traversed Austria, and ended up in eastern Germany. We then met up with Mäggi, who took us into Prague.
The best part about the trip was the fun that Adventures by Disney made of it.
Text Box: Cruise 18—Danube River 2018
Text Box: Dana had her birthday week off, as did Madeline. I was swamped at work, so Dana and Madeline went on a Disney cruise. They were on the Dream, and it took off out of Canaveral, went to Nassau, and then to Castaway Cay. It was only 4 nights, but they met up with some other Cast Members and just had a relaxing time. There was a Halloween party one night, and they even ran a 5k while they were on Castaway Cay. They also took lots of photos with characters.
Text Box: Cruise 19—MOTHER/DAUGHTER 2018