When I woke up at 6am Sunday to the sounds of “Mama” coming through the baby monitor, my heart did squeeze a little. Sam settled himself back to sleep but I remained awake for the next hour wondering how I was going to cope for 7 days without my family. But there was also a frission of excitement coursing through my veins. I was about to embark on the biggest blogging adventure of my blogging life! 7 days away in total. Our adventure would start with a trans-Atlantic flight, carry on with an overnight in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and then the real fun would begin!
Thankfully the time was short at home on Sunday as we all bustled about to get in the car to drive down to Heathrow. In between song requests, games of I-Spy, queries of “Are we there yet?” and minor meltdowns, we arrived without incident at Heathrow. We were over an hour early but I wanted to have those last minutes with my family. Mark and I enjoyed a coffee in Terminal 5 while Ella and Sam played in a fab play area in Caffe Nero. Well thought out Heathrow!
Time was drawing nearer and while I was putting on a brave face for Mark, Ella and Sam, I was nervous. I was nervous about being away, missing my babies, them missing me, travelling with blogging friends and ultimately going on the first and only cruise I have ever been on!
Our goodbyes were difficult. Ella suddenly broke down into floods of tears. My brave little helper who had been pulling my baggage around was suddenly huddled on my shoulder sobbing. I joined her. But, I gathered myself together, put on a smile and eventually managed to send them on their way. A later check with Mark before boarding the plane revealed that all was much better as they were at McDonalds!
Our temporary stay at Heathrow Terminal 5 was very pleasant and without incident. In fact, I’ve never had such an easy journey through security. High marks for efficiency there Heathrow Terminal 5!
Meeting up with the other #royalmums bloggers and our trip host Katherine was great fun and our 9+ hour flight into Miami International Airport was smooth and exceptionally pleasant. The British Airways flight attendants went way above and beyond the call of duty with regards to my gluten-free meals and made the long flight quite entertaining. I will most definitely fly BA again!
Miami International Airport, however, has a lot to answer for! I was able to get in the US Citizen queue through passport control which meant that I was standing in Baggage Claim, waiting for my fellow bloggers for about an hour! When the other #royalmums finally made it to baggage claim, we waited another interminably long 40+ minutes for their remaining suitcases to arrive. The air was peppered with the incessant high-pitched yapping of a
horrifically annoying poor little dog in a travel kennel who was somehow also waiting for claiming! Bad form Miami!
Eventually we arrived at our Fort Lauderdale destination- the Marina Hotel Fort Lauderdale. And what a hotel! I had forgotten how gargantuan American hotel rooms can be! The king size bed with fluffy white duvet and stacked pillows beckoned! But food was also required so I met Erica, Becky, Laura, Liz and Tara as well as Katherine, our #royalmums Royal Caribbean Trip Host for a truly special dinner in the Marina Hotel’s China Grill. We were given pride of place (aw Hell, we were the only ones daft enough to want to sit outside) on the restaurant’s marina terrace. Sitting in deep chairs, surrounded by twinking fairy lights and a massive luxury private cruise liner (which will seem like a dinghy compared to the mahoosive Royal Caribbean Liberty of the Seas), we all felt very special indeed!
After a brilliant (and specially prepared gluten-free) meal, it was finally time to crash. I looked at the clock at 11:40pm, couldn’t even begin to figure out what time it was back home and settled down for, unfortunately, a restless 4 hour sleep. Jet lag is a horrible thing! But I will soldier on toward Day #2!
We’re heading to the Royal Caribbean ports and the Liberty of the Seas today. An amazing #royalmums adventure is about to begin…