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Sisters Cruise

Getting to go on a sisters cruise with all my sisters and my sister in law was an amazing opportunity. The six of us are scattered over three states and seldom get to be all together. We came up with the idea of taking a trip together not long after we lost our little brother Peter, it was to be a way of bonding and reconnecting. The cruise was a great success, we all had an amazing time, and I’m sure each of us walked away feeling closer than ever to each other. We cruised on the Carnival Fantasy on a 5 night trip from December 14-19.  Here is a summary of our trip.


Day One:
After eating lunch, exploring the boat, and attending the safety presentation we proceeded to our rooms to get dressed for dinner. On our way to dinner we stopped by the art gallery. Once there, we got the idea to have everyone walk around and select their favorite painting, then we’d all talk about why we liked this painting. With a group of outspoken sisters it’s hard to get a word in sometimes, but this was a great exercise in giving everyone a chance to speak, expressing their opinion uninterrupted and learning  more about each other.
Dinner was delicious and how could we possibly not end day one with a few rotten teeth shots? Anyone who knows us would understand. 

This painting was a common favorite among us.
Olya’s pose here was completely necessary
to keep balance on the slightly rocking boat.
Rotten teeth.

Day Two:
Day two started with a devotional after breakfast followed by a work out session. Lydia was too young to hang out in the gym so I went to the track with her where she actually ran a few laps with me. After the gym we had spa appointments, everyone either had a mani, pedi, massage or haircut done. It was a nice treat for all of us.
Ice cream was available at the buffet at all times and our little sister Lydia was on a continuous sugar high from her 4 ice cream cones a day policy. Lydia, being 10, got bored a couple times toward the beginning of the trip, desperately looking for someone to entertain her, but eventually she figured out how to have fun even with all these older sisters around her. To the rest of us this was a time we wanted to take advantage and rest from school, work, kids, stress, etc… but to Lydia this was time to PARTAY! Watching her I realized what it means to live in the moment. What a privilege it is for her and all the children surrounding us to be so carefree, never in need of rest or relaxation, not having a slightest idea of what stress means, and finding a way to have fun in every situation.
Day two was formal night and we gave ourselves ample time to get dressed and ready. Dressing up for dinner was a very fun and interesting event every night. It turned out to be this great collaboration of borrowing, lending, helping, compliments, and wardrobe corrections.(which were sometimes accepted and sometimes not so much….Dina and the gold belt…I’m still sticking to what I said)We enjoyed it so much that every night was formal night for us. I had my Christmas playlist blasting as loud as my iPhone would go while we did each others make-up, teased or curled each others hair, and sometimes quarreled. Before dinner we attended a comedy show which we enjoyed.
We were all very energetic at this dinner for some reason, singing out loud at our table at times. There were several birthday celebrations that night and whenever we heard the waiters sing happy birthday to somebody we pitched in loudly with some marvelous harmony. That did give us a bit more attention than we were hoping for, but I must say it was fun. (When you’re standing in line for a bottle of wine its Caputos…When you need olive oil or aluminum foil it Caputos…..)
On request from our parents we tried to speak Ukrainian whenever we remembered to. It was great knowing a second language among ourselves and it proved very useful. 
Formal night was fun and servers, other crew members, as well as fellow guests were always so surprised and interested to find out that we were all sisters traveling together. They would often ask who was oldest and for anyone who knows Olya…it’s a touchy subject for her. She was dying for someone to guess that she wasn’t the oldest. But alas, that didn’t happen on this trip. Maybe next time my dear.

Lydia taking pictures with my phone while I
curl her hair
Beautiful eyes




Day Three:
We spent day three in Nassau, Bahamas. First we explored an indoor market where everyone was selling the same stuff. Then we took a ferry to the Atlantis campus where we got a guided tour of the Atlantis hotel. The hotel is massive with a lot of intricate detail and the aquarium was amazing. Each part of the aquarium was more impressive than the last. We had hoped to go to the beach after the Atlantis tour, but the water was cold and the wind picked up in the afternoon so we put that idea to rest. We continued walking around Nassau to find a place that served conch fritters. The conch fritters were okay, conch with a whole bunch of breading and fried. I had to pick apart the fried breading to get to the delicious conch. We explored the streets of Nassau a little more before heading back to the boat for dinner. As we were getting ready for dinner the cabin steward brought us a delivery, chocolate dipped strawberries without a note. This was the unsolved mystery of our trip, we never found out who sent those. The picture below of Lydia is so adorable; she is such a pretty, happy, and sweet girl.

Waiting for the ferry to Atlantis.
On our way to Atlantis
The tunnel, it was very cool
Streets of Nassau
Adorable Lydia

Day Four:

Tea time

On day four we were in Fereeport, Bahamas. It wasn’t as scenic as Nassau but there was a large outdoor market where we spent time buying souvenirs. This market had a lot of that usual stuff that everybody sells, but it also had a lot of unique handmade items. At the center of the market there was a gazebo where two ladies were braiding hair. It was $2.00 per braid. Olya got 2, Kristina, Dina, and Lydia each got one braid. Luda and I refrained from the silliness. As a souvenir for ourselves we each got a bracelet with similar designs. After shopping we all spent some quality time reading on the boat dock, that is until Lydia insisted on playing Simon says. She had so much energy that I, being Simon, told her to do jumping jacks, sit-ups, made her get us all some ice cream, made her run around, and tried to make her come up to random people and say something to them. Believe it or not, this Simon says game can be really fun with an energetic child who is wound up on sugar. Dinner was great once again and after dinner we decided to do our cruise activity. A couple of months before the cruise I told everyone to prepare something they can say about everyone else. It could be a funny story with that sister, any memory, or her influence on you. We were all to give this activity a lot of thought and take it seriously.For me, this was the highlight of the cruise. While we took turns sharing, time and again somebody would say, “Wow, I didn’t know you thought that about me.” This activity brought us closer together and taught us a lot about each other. We shared many funny and some sad stories, laughing and crying, unashamed. I realized how important this was because we’ll always let the other know when she’s being annoying or when you’re upset with her, but seldom do we recognize and encourage each other in our strengths.

Day Five:
This was the last day of our cruise. We did our by then regular routine, breakfast, devotion, and gym, packing in between. Before dinner we saw a Christmas show. It was very nice and put us all in a Christmas mood. Dinner was spectacular, as usual.  After dinner that evening we saw another show, it was a Beetles tribute and was very impressive. The dancers were great and the costumes were awesome. 
I had a great time and am looking forward to the next sister getaway at some point in the future when all our calendars can agree once again. It is interesting to think how things might change by then. Kristina might have babies by then :), Dina might no longer be single ;), and Lydia…she might finally enjoy relaxing. 

On our way to the last dinner
Enjoying the Beetles tribute with our glowsticks.

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This entry was posted on January 6, 2012 by in Travel.

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