Return to New York!

So….it’s now been almost nine weeks since we returned home from our Epic European Christmas trip. I love my home, really I do. I don’t really travel to “get away” from my regular life; I love my family and friends, I have a challenging and (mostly) fulfilling job and I don’t feel like I’m stuck in a rat race or languishing from boredom when I’m at home. But I do feel like the best way to appreciate your home is to get out and explore other places on a regular basis. So after a long rainy January and a slightly shorter, but no less rainy, February here in beautiful British Columbia, it’s almost time to hit the road again, destination New York and Beyond!

Our trip to New York actually started off with my research into doing another Disney cruise. I had been hoping to try a seven day Disney cruise at some point, so with a bit of extra money saved up in the vacation coffers I was eagerly awaiting the release of the March 2016 itineraries and prices. Well, the release day came and I was very excited….for about ten minutes. A quick check of the cruise prices during our spring break in late March and it was clear Disney Cruise Line was out of our league. The smallest inside cabin on the Fantasy for a one week Caribbean cruise would have cost over $7000 Cdn, and that’s without tips, transfers, excursions or flights. I really do love Disney cruises, but not that much.

So with that idea out of my head, I began to look into what else I could get for a similar amount of money and it was very interesting. After a lot of research, we eventually decided on a seven day Bahamas cruise out of New York City on Norwegian’s brand new Breakaway. For less than the cost of the cheapest room on the Disney ship we were able to book a one bedroom suite with a verandah and access to an exclusive pool and deck area reserved for the guests in the 42 suites on the ship. For our family, one of the downsides of cruising is the tight quarters and we’re excited to try a little bit of a splurge for this trip.

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As for the port; I’m aware that sailing out of New York in late winter is a bit of a gamble, as the unfortunate folks on the Anthem of the Seas found out a few weeks ago. We likely won’t have balmy tropical weather for a good part of the cruise and storms are a real possibility. But there are some big advantages as well. For one, many of the people sailing from New York are local and the cruise prices vary considerably based on the local school calendars. Since it’s not spring break in the Northeast that week we got a fantastic price for the cruise. Also, we love New York! The kids have been asking to go back ever since we went on our New York New Years trip just over two years ago and we’re happy to oblige.

We will have just over four full days in New York after the cruise, a little more time than we had on our last trip. We’re staying in Manhattan right near Times Square and we hope that after a week of relaxing on the ship we’ll be energized and ready for some busy days in the city. A return trip to the American Museum of Natural History is a must after watching Night at the Museum recently and we hope for some decent weather to spend more time exploring Central Park. We’ll probably go to the top of something tall again and check out some of the city’s great book stores and toy shops.

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Since I like to check out at least one new place on each trip I’m hoping to get out to Brooklyn at some point. The family museum pass we got last March in San Diego will give us free entry into the Brooklyn Children’s Museum, the oldest dedicated children’s museum in the United States, as well as the New York Transit Museum, which is also in Brooklyn. In between is Prospect Park, the Prospect Park zoo and botanical gardens and many really interesting looking neighbourhoods. Hopefully we’ll get a good day to wander around a bit and really check out this part of the city.

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For the adults in the family there’s an extra special treat in the form of two tickets to the new hit musical Hamilton, which opened in New York last fall and is currently completely sold out for months in advance. My husband decided to get tickets while it was still in previews and I was a little reluctant at first when I saw the prices, but since tickets are now selling on resale sites for $700-$1000 it looks like he made a wise decision! We’ve been listening to the soundtrack a lot at home and for some reason it gives me a lot of pleasure to watch my five year old son colouring while singing, “Alexander Hamilton…….my name is Alexander Hamilton” under his breath. I’m looking forward to the day we can go to shows like this as a foursome.

And that’s our New Years and Beyond spring trip in a nutshell. It has a little bit of everything; big cities, sandy beaches, a bit of luxury, a bit of penny pinching. But all of it will be an adventure!

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