Bilingual is Better

My family and I just got back from a 7-day Royal Caribbean cruise that took us to Labadee, Haiti and Cozumel, Mexico. (The ship was supposed to dock in Falmouth, Jamaica also, but Hurricane Sandy had other plans.) As you can see from the photo above, we went aboard the Allure of the Seas — the biggest cruise ship in the world! While I’ll attempt to give you a sense of what it was like through a series of photos, I think the only thing that will do justice to our whole trip is for you to experience it yourself.

But before I begin, I want to disclose that this trip was made possible by Fisher-Price and Royal Caribbean. What does one have to do with the other, you might ask? Well, Royal Caribbean has partnered up with Fisher-Price to offer all kinds of incredibly fun onboard experiences to little cruisers. From playgroups with interactive sessions for the teeny ones (ages 6 months to 36 months) to a toy lending program and even a musical birthday party show with the Little People characters, there is something for everyone!

One of my children’s favorite things was Royal Caribbean’s Adventure Ocean youth programs. Although Vanessa was sad to be separated from Santiago because of their age difference, she got over it quickly after she had the chance to experience all the amazing and fun activities she participated in each time she was there. Santiago was in a program called Aquanauts (for ages 3-5 years) and Vanessa was in the one called Explorers (for ages 6-8 years). From science to art to music, there was never a dull moment while my children where a part of the cruise’s youth programs. I must say I loved going to get Vanessa at the end of each session only to find her having the time of her life dancing!

But the aspect I liked the most and which made me feel the most comfortable leaving my kids there — especially when it came to Santiago — was that so many of their staff members were multilingual. As many of you know, Santiago is not yet fully bilingual and Spanish is his first language. As soon as I signed him up for the Aquanauts program, I asked if someone in the staff spoke Spanish and I was so very happy to find out that several of them did! Santiago was quick to make friends with all of them — the Spanish and the non-Spanish speakers alike — but I was glad that he had people there who would be able to understand him without a problem.

Speaking of which, one of MY favorite parts of the cruise was the amazing diversity not only of languages, but of nationalities among both the other guests and the crew. From what I was told, there were 70 countries represented among the crew and who knows how many more among the other guests. My kids heard all kinds of languages aboard the ship during the time they were there and Vanessa always asked what they were. Plus, we met people from the Philippines, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Colombia, Romania, Peru, England, Brazil, Puerto Rico, Japan, Panama, Canada and from a lot of different parts of the U.S. Sounds like heaven for someone raising bilingual and bicultural kinds, ¿no creen?

I have a lot more to share with you about this amazing experience, but I’ll leave it for another post. I don’t want to overwhelm you!

 

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