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Day 1: Part 2 of our cruise...heading to the Sky



So we just got off the Sun and we were ready to head to our Sky cruise. This was an added cruise that we decided to book due to already being down there in Florida, having the time available to be off, and me recently passing my Nursing it was celebration time.


We primarily cruise with NCL (but have also cruised with Carnival and RCL) and my goal has been to cruise all of the fleet...if possible. So far, I have been doing a pretty good job...but they just keep adding more ships and I feel like I'll never catch up. :p


The Sky is just a 4 day cruise and although I have always said I would NEVER do a 4 day cruise (since it always cost us more in air plane tickets to get to a 7 day cruise than the cruise itself), but when the option presented itself to me as a way to go on a ship that I had never been on WHILE I was already in Florida...I figured why not? Of course this is the ONLY way I would ever do a short 4 day cruise. It would just be way too short of a cruise to me (unless I lived in Florida and could do it all the time). :D


I managed to talk my family into coming down to Florida to meet me on this cruise. So this cruise, we had 9 people total. Myself, hubby, youngest daughter Sakari (6), met up with my oldest daughter Kendra (26), her bf and my grandson Brayden (6), and they brought a family member with them this time Shayla (11), my youngest son Kolin (20) and his fiancée Courtney (21).


Now anyone who has read my previous reviews that involved my extended family know that it usually turns out to be a very stressful and hectic cruise sometimes. My grandson is a little hyper, his mom a little too laid back...and ALWAYS LATE FOR EVERYTHING she does (which included causing us all to miss the plane the last time she came in May on the Getaway). So I really needed that wonderful relaxing cruise on the Sun the week before they arrived. It prepared me for this week.

I had been in contact with Kendra and her family that morning after we docked in Tampa. Believe it or not, she was up EARLY that morning, been to the store and was ready to head to the airport to meet us in FLL.


We got a great deal and managed to get our flight tickets from Tampa to FLL for basically free (using points on my SW). We had originally decided we were going to drive, since we were not too pressed for time, but when this free option presented us in the face, it was a no brainer.


This was our first time in the Tampa airport and I have to say I actually liked it compared to some of the others we had been to before.

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Sakari really liked the pelicans and of course anything to do with the ocean. (She is wearing her balloon bracelets the kids club made her from the night before).

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Another neat thing about the Tampa airport is they have some type of "subway/monorail thing that you ride from one place to the next. Sakari really thought that short 30 second ride (honestly don't know how long it is, but felt that fast) was the neatest thing ever.

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It was a 38 minute flight for us and I have to admit, it was totally awesome!!


We arrived in FLL about maybe 20 minutes prior to the kids coming in from Ohio.

Of course this is what Sakari does when there's any time on her hands....drawing...lots of drawings...

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Bye bye Tampa, that you for such a nice first visit with you. I hope to see you again some day.

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It was a beautiful day out...above and below the clouds.

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NOW ONE THING TO NOTE....SAKARI DID NOT KNOW WE WERE GOING ON ANOTHER CRUISE. This would be a surprise for her. We have managed to keep it under wraps, even though she has questioned me about it several times. I had a picture on my computer desktop with both the Sun and the Sky in it, so she knew we were going on the Sky, she just didn't realize it was NOW.


We got off the plane, looked for my daughters flight number coming in and headed to that gate. I wasn't really sure what Sakari was going to think when she spotted her sissy and brother with the rest of the family getting off a plane themselves. But hey, she's 6 years old and you can convince her of just about anything. LOL


I spotted the bear plane...I thought "how cool" I got to see the bear plane that Kendra was talking about myself.

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Of course since Sakari didn't know what was going on, she couldn't understand why we weren't going to get our luggage and head home (with really no sense of time, she thought we were back in Ohio). Her next thought was that we were catching the second part of our flight (which we sometimes have to change planes) and she was thrilled we were going on the bear plane for our last flight.


We kept stalling and the hubby tried to distract her with everything possible.


Then we spotted the family...

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Sakari was so excited and shocked to see them.

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So now here's the rest of the family...she was confused, we played it off and told her they were there to take us home. :eek: (Of course what family comes in by PLANE to take you home?) LOL She bought it and that's all that mattered.


We headed to get our luggage and of course since we were late getting it, waiting on the kids plane, we had to go to security to pick it up.


We called the hotels transportation and they came to pick us up at the airport. They told us it would be about 20 minutes and they would be there.


They pulled up with a 9 passenger van, loaded us up and away we went to the hotel.


It was going to be a beautiful day out.  Of course my new countdown

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We decided to stay at the Sleep Inn from the advice of the many great people here on cc.


We arrived and promptly checked in and got our rooms. They were nice and we were pleased with our decision.


The lobby

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Dining area that served a free hot breakfast.

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They had a desk area for your "computer needs".

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There was also a "living room" area with a couch that folded down into a bed as well making it a room that would fit 6 people. This was another reason why we picked this hotel since Kendras family had a lot of people in the room.

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The bathrooms were nice as well.

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The kids room...

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Everyone posting back home about the wonderful weather in Florida (it was freezing cold and snowing when they left).

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We were all starving and decided to take a walk to find food. We knew from posting on here that there was a strip mall across the street that had a Mexican and a Chinese place. There wasn't anything else within walking distance, so that would be our choice for lunch.


Kolin found Sakari a coconut and she was trying to figure out what the sound was inside of it when she shook it.

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Once we made it across the street, the Mexican restaurant was closed.

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That only left us one choice...Chinese food

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The place was a little expensive...or either we were just a tad bit too hungry at this point. But after the meals came, they were huge...way too much for us to eat. Now I wish we would have got 1 plate and shared.

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The guy behind the counter was mean. He yelled at my grandson for moving a chair and walked over and snatched it from him and moved it back. So, we were pretty much forced to sit in the individual booth areas instead of all together in the open area. He watched him like a hawk after that and you know the saying...if looks could kill....


We couldn't wait to get out of there.


We walked next door to the dollar tree and Kendra picked up a few things. Sakari begged Kolin for a $1 alligator and I refused it. Kolin told her "Do you want this cheap dollar alligator or do you want a really HUGE surprise?" (The cruise). Finally she decided on the huge surprise...but of course wanted it right then and there.


We headed back to the hotel because I needed to do all of our laundry from the cruise the week before. I also picked this place because I knew it had a place to do laundry.


Only I didn't know THIS was the laundry room... Do you see anything missing? Like maybe more washer and dryers???

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How was I supposed to get all of our laundry done with this? Sigh


Then when I went in, someone had just started a load. YIKES! I knew right then and there it was going to take me the rest of the day and part of the night to get our laundry done.


The lady at the receptionist desk said that the lady had just put the laundry in and she was only washing 1 item...a small jacket. Grrrr


We went upstairs to grab our suitcases full of clothes and brought them down to the room to wait.


Meanwhile, Sakari decided she would head to the pool with daddy. She wasn't going to let this laundry business get her down or spoil her fun.

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The sun was setting and it was so beautiful...although this is NOT what I wanted to see because this meant that my laundry time was running out quickly.

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I was finally able to get my first load in and started. I spent the rest of the night going in and out multiple times checking on the laundry, transferring it over to the dryer and putting more in. These washers were it took quite a few loads to get everything completed.


My grandson Brayden came to join us swimming.

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They had a light in the pool that changed colors

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Everyone sat around at the table and hung out all night while I "did my laundry thing"


Kolin got in the pool with the kids and it became a work out for him...throwing the little ones in the air.


(When the light turned red, it was a little creepy).

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I really had planned on getting in the pool, but it just didn't work out that way. There was also a hot tub here at the pool. It was in the back part. They also provided you with pool towels and had a bunch of them laying in a chair.

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I have to say that the dryer they have here just really "sucks" to put it nicely. Almost everything still had a dampness to it and I hate that. But I had to get things done because it was getting late. The washer cost $1.50 and the dryer was $1.25 and they are the smallest thing ever.


So once I was done with the laundry, we decided to head upstairs for the rest of the night. I would now have the task of separating the clothes and packing them. I had decided to lay out outfits for everyone for each day on the 4/5 day cruise and then pack the rest away, never to be touched again until we arrive home.


On the way upstairs, we noticed that Sakari had blood on them. We looked on the bottom and the concrete pool bottom had completely rubbed off the layer of skin on her toes and they were bleeding. YIKES! Then we looked at her hands, her fingers were bleeding too! That's when you know you have a kid that stays in the water for much too long! She would be a helpless rag doll that would want carried everywhere after that.


Later that night, we did decide to walk over to Walgreens to get our soda for the cruise. I always take a suitcase that's like a duffel bag on wheels for this. It usually holds 3 cases.


We made it to bed at 12:30am finally and set the alarm for 8am.

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