Cruising with Disney: Halal Dining and Much More

There have been a number of articles published about the importance of family vacations.  There have even been studies about how family vacations are more beneficial to children than buying them toys.  We try to take one big family trip each year.  We value the time we get to spend together, giving each other the most attention without the distraction of our emails, social media, video games and phone calls.  My husband and I both come back fully refreshed and ready to tackle any stress that comes our way at home or at work.  The kids are given the opportunity to see a different country and hopefully understand when you work hard, you can play hard.  The children also take away a lifetime of memories from these trips.  I don’t think they will retell stories about a gaming incident but travelling will definitely come up.  We are always talking about our past trips, years after we have taken them.

Our most favourite trip was last year on board the Disney Fantasy.  We never thought we would enjoy cruising as we are of a relax by the pool kind of family but we were wrong!  Our Disney cruise comes up at least twice a month and it’s been about a year since we went on it.  I wrote a piece about our trip for Masalamommas.com  and it was originally published there.

Every family looks forward to going on vacation. It’s a time where the family can relax, bond, reconnect and make memories. When my husband and I were planning our vacation, a cruise was not on our list. The idea of being in close proximity to thousands of people did not seem relaxing at all.  After some convincing from friends, we decided to give it a shot. While researching, I came across the Disney Cruise Line. I remembered a friend had been on one recently and I reached out to her. She had nothing but good things to say and after reading hundreds of blog posts online, we booked our first Disney cruise!

I’m sure you’ve heard a lot of people say that Disney World is the happiest place on Earth. I disagree; the Disney cruise is definitely the happiest place on Earth. From the instant we stepped on the ship and were greeted and welcomed by name, I felt like royalty. The lobby on board the Disney Fantasy was so beautiful I felt like Cinderella walking into the ball! Disney goes out of their way to ensure you are taken care of and having a good time. We were stopped by numerous cast mates and crew to ask if we were enjoying our day and if there was anything we needed. And a lot of the times they would give us a few tips on how to make our trip even more enjoyable.

Accommodations

We stayed in a Deluxe Oceanview Stateroom with a Veranda which consisted of a queen sized bed, a sofa and a veranda. While we were out having dinner, our stateroom host would magically make bunk beds appear. The bottom bunk was the sofa while the top bunk was pulled down from the ceiling. There was also a privacy curtain between the two areas which separated the kids and made it feel like two separate areas. The best part of the room was the bathroom.

If you are travelling with young kids, you know how hard it is to make them shower, well not on a Disney cruise! There are two bathrooms, one with a full-sized tub (yes, your kids can still take their nightly bubble bath) and sink and the other with another sink and toilet. This made getting dressed every day a lot easier.

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Happy New Year!

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Happy New Year!

I usually like to start off the New Year with a reflection of the old. What did I enjoy?  What did I hate? What would I change?  Throughout 2015, my family and I wrote down memories or funny moments on little slips of paper that we put into a red Christmas tin that was once full of cookies.  And on New Year’s Eve we opened the tin and re-visited 2015.  I think it was our favorite moment of the whole year, kudos to whoever decided to “pin” the original post on Pinterest.

This was a great idea because there were so many little quirks and silly things my kids did at the beginning of the year that they wouldn’t even think about doing at the end simply because they were older. Kids age and change so much in 12 months.  Reading through some of Zayn’s funny sayings was great because I would have forgotten those sayings otherwise.  The only downside was, we wish there were more memories in there.  We each made a goal to write out something once a week and put it into the tin.  That would give us over 200 moments to re-live!

2015 was a hard year medically for our family. Zayn was not at his healthiest peak.  We were constantly at the Doctor’s office or hospital.  Through all those experiences, he showed me how strong he is. I really think he’s stronger than me.  There were moments when I gave up and wanted to bury my head in a pillow and cry but he kept going.  A lot of hugs, promises to feel better and wise words from Dory to “Just keep swimming” got us through all the rough moments.  Towards the end of the year, his health had improved so much and I pray it continues to do so throughout 2016 so he can enjoy being a 6 year old.

In 2015 both my parents lost a sibling. First my dad’s sister passed away after living a long and joyful life.  She had been ill for the last few years but her death was still shocking and saddening to us all.   I also lost one of my favorite Uncles.  He was my mom’s brother and lived in Pakistan.  Every memory I had of him was a good one.  His smile was contagious and he was always in a good mood.  He went out of his way to ensure we were always happy when visiting him.  These deaths really shook my parents.  My dad has sadly dealt with a sibling’s death before but this was the first for my mom.  I cannot imagine the pain they felt.  I am very close to my three sisters.  We don’t all get together too often yet when we do they are cherished moments.  Sometimes in life, we are given shocking news but it helps put our own life in perspective.  The death of a loved one often makes us look at our own lives and think about the legacy we will one day leave behind.

I hope 2016 provides my family and I with enough opportunities to make a difference, to be happy and to show the world what we are capable of!