ADI’s Travel

We are a young family that loves to travel and go on adventures. When it was just the two of us — David and Iris — as college students we kept ourselves on a very tight budget. Now that we have our amazing daughter, Abigail, we've learned to go on family-friendly trips while still saving big. We love to go on all sorts of adventures, but most of all, we love cute chocolate shops, museums, and plays.

Adventures

A Concert of a Lifetime

A weekend day trip for Abby's favorite band!
April 2024

Boston Marathon with a Baby 🏃🏼‍♀️

Perfect weather, cheering the marathon runners on.
April 2024

93% Solar Eclipse in Boston

The heavens line up for something greater: a fun afternoon.
April 2024

Spring Break 2024 - A Family Adventure Through Ireland, London, and Paris

Our first time in Europe. A non-stop whirlwind tour to see all the highlights in 10 days of spring break.
March 2024

Cruise to Roatan, Cozumel, Costa Maya

8 days of pure relaxation!
January 2024

Cruise to Roatan, Cozumel, Costa Maya

David,

The Royal Carribean cruise brochures advertise white sand beaches, margaritas, and Mayan ruins. Our cruise in January 2024 and departing from the Port of Galveston delivered on these advertisements (and more!) but it wasn't all smooth sailing either.

Setting sail on our cruise

We — me, my wife Iris, and our baby girl Abigail — hit a bump within a few moments of stepping aboard the cruise ship. Greeting us was a very professional-looking photographer and we were so excited to get our photo taken. Then, we were informed the photos were $139.99 for 20 photos. Then, we were informed that the internet package was something like $30 a day, and then that the drink package could be up to $100 per day for cocktails and $15 per day for soda.

Keep updated on our adventures

We got a pretty good lunch at a self-serve cafe and went up on the top deck to a family-friendly dance party before ducking back inside to turn in from the cold. We raced in the ship between shops with free gifts and raffles and information sessions, passing the time, breathlessly, doing nothing at all, and having nothing, save a pocketful of unspent raffle tickets, and plastic wrapped plastic charms and metal-plated plastic bracelets. This went on till midnight, where there was a cool balloon drop that our baby girl momentarily loved before being frightened by the loud popping.

The next day was worse before it turned around. We waited for then took a crowded elevator for a dip in a freezing cold baby splash zone. We visited no less than three restaurants for breakfast which had all closed fifteen minutes prior to our arrival. We made a full circle of the entire ship, advertised as being longer than the Eiffel tower was tall, to have lunch at Main Dining 3.

Main dining 3, lunch

We loved our lunch so much. It was very family friendly and still felt very fancy. Our baby girl, Abigail, was very happy in her high chair with her fruit plate, and we were over the moon with our three-course, white-tablecloth lunch. We took our time, just talking to each other and making funny faces to keep our baby girl entertained. We talked about the shore excursions in Roatan, Honduras, and Cozumel we had planned already, and there was an announcement on the PA system from the captain, promising warm weather ahead, soon. We talked about the ocean and the waves, and we talked nostalgically about our future.

We'd learned to relax and slow down and enjoy ourselves without the internet. We lived more in the moment and opted for spontaneous selfies instead of posed photos against perfect backdrops. We didn't get the alcoholic or soda package. We splurged occasionally for cocktails and cold beers.

After lunch, we learned to Salsa at the Boleros lounge on Deck 5. After that, I went upstairs to put Abigail and myself asleep for a nap, and Iris went to the spa. And so we carried on, lounging around, dancing, swimming, playing, watching shows, and dining well. We watched a different show every night, and we settled on a regular dinner time. We always had our wonderful waiter, Jamie, and assistant waiter, Chadrick. We were delighted that as we got closer to Roatan the weather got much warmer and the outside activities were much more enjoyable.

Zip-lining on the Harmony of the Seas

Harmony of the seas, baby splash zone

We'd made our way around the ship well and found the right times to go rock climbing, slide down the 10-story tall Ultimate Abyss, and surf on the FlowRider. Abigail absolutely loved the carousel, the children's playroom, and the parades. We allowed ourselves to unwind and catch up on much needed sleep. Luckily, Abigail found the waves very soothing and slept through the night.

Our cruise would take us to Roatan, Honduras, and Cozumel and Costa Maya, Mexico. We just relaxed and had fun.

Roatan

Macaw in Roatan

In Roatan, we got to hold guinea pigs and macaws. Abigail was great friends with the guinea pigs and she even got to interact with monkeys! She was so brave when the monkey jumped on her head; Iris screamed, though. We went snorkeling afterwards and got to see incredible coral, conchs, and schools of fish. The sun was hot and the ocean was refreshing. We gave Abigail a dip in the ocean too, and she fell asleep, settled by the gentle waves. Everything was just perfect.

Costa Maya

Margaritaville

Mayan ruins in Costa Maya

In Costa Maya, we went deep into the jungle to see Mayan ruins. Abigail loved all the steps of the ruins and loved climbing up and down. Iris and I loved the history. It was just something else to be taken back in time and imagine, the struggles, rituals, and grandness of the Mayan empire. We learned that there are more of these Mayan ruins and even more which lay undiscovered, reclaimed by the jungle. We also enjoyed shopping at the markets but buyer beware, the same sunglasses, mugs, and bags can have two to five times the price between shops. Finding the souvenirs with the best value was fun, but a little stress inducing.

Cozumel

Waterpark in Cozumel

In Cozumel, we took a break from all the adventuring. We lounged on a beach and then lounged some more. The food and drink was good, but napping on the beach was better. We got to go kayaking and sailing. I'd never gone sailing. I knew what sailboats looked like and saw videos of sailboats sailing, but it was quite something else to feel the wind pushing us forward and to put my hands in the water and feel the water flying by. Abigail didn't get to go sailing with us, but she did enjoy the water park very much, and had quite a good time trying out all the water slides.

These excursions happened during the day and we'd always be back by three. Afterwards on board we had yet more activities. We settled into a routine: carousel, baby splash zone, dining and show. We'd look at the schedule and add in piano music, the robot bar, dancing, karaoke, game shows, and more.

Columbus musical on the Harmony of the Seas

By the last day of the cruise, we'd truly learned to relax and had days of pure, true relaxation. Something we hadn't had for quite some time now, between our work, school, and raising Abigail. But, the cruise was coming to an end. As we approached Galveston, Texas, where we would disembark, the weather turned from warm to cold. It got too cold to go to the baby splash zone. We played dodgeball on the top deck, while simultaneously freezing. Iris was shivering when she got her medal for winning. We were still having fun, but we could feel our cruise come to end.

Then it did end. We were back in the United States, where we had cellular data and the internet. Our phones were flooded with emails and we didn't have white tablecloth dinners every night. We were invigorated and ready to take on the world again, and we very much look forward to our next cruise.