First family holiday overseas? We’ve got the perfect itinerary!
Happy Thursday everybody! I hope you’re having a fulfilling week so far and the weekend is right here so it can only get better. I apologise for my absence and lack of posts in the past few weeks. I’ve missed posting for you but if you’ve been following me on Instagram you’ll no doubt know that we’ve just come back from our first family holiday overseas with Little Miss H. First time taking a toddler overseas = planning, preparation, may a little strees? = lack of blog posts. This is just a quick little post to give you an overview of our itinerary and then I’ll have some separate posts for you on each different places. Hopefully this info will be of help or interest to you if you are visiting Hong Kong or Okinawa, Japan soon, or if you are embarking on your first family holiday!
Our son Mr D is three years old, almost four, and Little Miss H was ten months at the time of our trip so packing a bunch of nappies and carrying around a pram as well as our luggage was just one of the extra things to think about when planning for our trip. All in all it was one of the most happiest and amazing weeks we’ve had yet and I can’t wait for the next one.
Day 1: Hong Kong sights & board ship
Day 2: Xiamen, China
Day 3: Cruising
Day 4: Okinawa, Japan
Day 5: Cruising
Day 6: Hong Kong & Dinsey’s Hollywood Hotel
Day 7: Disneyland
Day 8: Disneyland & depart for Melbourne
Depart MELB 14:30 Arrived in HKG 21:00
We flew Cathay Pacific to Hong Kong which was around a 9.5hr long flight and arrived at ten in the evening. We saw the bright city lights as we had a taxi take us to our hotel (we stayed overnight at L’Hotel, Causeway Bay) where we checked in and slept ready for the next day.
Day 1: Hong Kong sights then cruise departs for Xiamen at 17:oo
We checked out the areas of Victoria Harbour and Causeway Bay seeing the sights, doing a little shopping and, enjoying the cuisine before catching another taxi to the Kowloon side to board our cruise ship Voyager of the Seas, which is part of the Royal Caribbean fleet. We had never been on a cruise before and were in awe as we walked through the check in terminal at how huge the vessel was that stood there docked in front of us. It was all happening on the pool deck where vibrant music played and a dance party greeted everyone as the ship left Hong Kong.
Day 2: Xiamen – Day 3: Cruising – Day 4 Okinawa, Japan – Day 5: Cruising
Our cruise was the 5 Night Okinawa and Xiamen Cruise that alternated between days of cruising and days at the ports in Xiamen, Okinawa and of course, Hong Kong. There was such a great variety of activities on the ship and without spoiling my upcoming blog post, let me just tell you that from sports, to music, the ship had it covered. We were spoilt for choice when it came to which experience to pick from each day. We were even so spoiled for choice when it came to the food (I’ll talk more about this in the coming posts!). One thing I hadn’t expected was how much we all loved and missed the staff/crew on the ship when we had to disembark. Imagine if we went on a cruise longer than five days! I think I’d be crying having to leave everybody that made our trip so special. (Or maybe I’m just a tad bit too sentimental!).
Day 6: Hong Kong sights & Disney hotel check-in
After saying our goodbyes to the amazing staff on board, we made our way to Disney’s Hollywood Hotel on Lantau Island at around . We decided to explore more of Hong Kong and spent the rest of the day in Central and Causeway Bay eating and shopping our way through the busy and wet streets (it was pouring rain!). We made it back to our hotel in time for to see the nightly fireworks show (upon our arrival at the hotel we upgraded to a room with a view of the fireworks). The kids were squealing with excitement seeing the explosions of colour in the dark night sky.
Day 7: Disneyland – Day 8: Disneyland and departed HKG 19:10, arrived in MELB 06:25
The next two days were dedicated to the magic and happiness that is Disneyland. Hong Kong Disneyland is the smallest of the six Disneyland parks around the world and it was such a great one to visit with Little Miss H and Mr D. We spent one and a half days there and still didn’t get to see all the things we wanted (we missed out on watching the Lion King show and seeing the Paint the Night parade as it wasn’t running due to Halloween preparations) so we will definitely be coming back to catch Lightning McQueen in the night parade. With shuttle buses running every few minutes between the two Disney hotels and the Disneyland park, it was so convenient traveling with the kids to the character breakfast and Disney dim sum we had booked. I’ve posted a few photos of the most adorable little buns you’ll ever eat on my IG feed and I’ll post more here in my upcoming posts!
Our flight back home was a night flight and with all the wondrous things the kids saw at Disneyland during the day, they both slept through almost the entire flight They were still sleeping when we landed in back in Melbourne.
How the cruise and trip to Hong Kong ticked all the boxes on First Family Holiday Wishlist
The above itinerary totally hit the spot when it came to all the things we wanted to do and see. The hubby and I love trying new things and visiting new places together and having Mr D and Little Miss H there with us made everything even more unforgettable. When planning the trip we had a few things on our wishlist and below is how the above itinerary ticked all our boxes.
1) Somewhere we’ve never been – We wanted our first ever holiday as a family of four to be somewhere we’d all never been before. That’s the thing about traveling. When you’re in a place that’s new, unfamiliar and far from home, it immediately brings you to the present moment. No routines, no auto-pilot, no pre-existing behaviours allows for total immersion into something new and, either exhilarating or terrifying. And with that something new shocking your system, it brings about learning and growing as you are forced to learn about and adapt to the environment around you. With the cruise we were able to unpack just once and visit multiple destinations. You’re traveling and covering ground (or water!) while you’re asleep so it’s a great way to get from one place to the other. Okinawa’s Shuri castle was grand, Hong Kong Disneyland was a dream and we took the obligatory pic with Bruce Lee’s statue. Somewhere we’ve never been? Tick!
2) Warm and sunny – We wanted to go somewhere that was summery and bright. It was hot in Hong Kong (although it did rain there during our time at Disneyland) but not as hot as it was in Okinawa. The suns rays helped us to defrost from Melbourne’s winter chills. It was just so nice to lay around in the sun all day and the kids coped rather well with the change of climate. They didn’t complain and Mr D loved covering himself with sunscreen.
3) A bit of shopping and trying out the local cuisine – The hubby loves city destinations and Hong Kong with it’s amazing food, shopping and bustling city vibe was just the ticket! When the hubby had booked our trip and I had started Googling things to do and see in Hong Kong, I couldn’t believe we had never been there before. And now after having been, I know we’ll totally be back for more!
4) Ease and Convenience – Haha I did say “wishlist” right? But yes, we wanted to go on a holiday that would be as fuss-free and as relaxing as you can get with two little kids. Hong Kong is not too far away but still far enough to feel like you’ve gone somewhere totally exotic. The time difference is only two hours so none of us experienced any jetlag and we were able to get straight back into the swing of things when we arrived home! The availability and options of food on the cruise was perfect for our little ones – they could have ice cream whenever they wanted and they could pick from so many different types of dishes (our kids love to eat!). Swimming pools open 24/7 and meet and greets with the Dreamworks characters were another things the kids loved. With everything organised, all the hubby and I had to do was relax and just show up. Ease and Convenience? Big tick!
I think one of the biggest things that surprised me was how much we were able to do and see in such a short amount of time however our energy levels stay high and we weren’t ending each day feeling exhausted. I think what helped with this was that we stayed right near the Disneyland theme park and it was super easy to get back to the hotel and relax. And the other thing that helped was the cruise. Cruising has never really been something that’s on my bucketlist. I never had the urge to really want to go on a cruise ship, but my parents had recently been on one and raved on and on about it when they got back from their trip. The hubby also spent a lot of time trying to find something that would suit what we wanted to accomplish during the short amount of time he had off work that wasn’t too expensive. With all inclusive packages and super friendly crew on board, I now see why cruising is such a crowd favourite.
I think one thing to think about before booking a cruise is to check that the cruise line you’re inquiring with are actively doing something to combat the impact that they have on the environment. It wasn’t something I had thought about before but after spending time staring out at the beautiful big ocean on our trip, and seeing such a huge vessel carrying thousands of people to different destinations across the seas, I wonder how air pollution, waste management and fuel consumption is being addressed. I’m so new to the world of cruising and would love for everyone to enjoy a holiday on one as it was so incredible – all the more reason for us to be aware and choose wisely.
We had the most wonderful experience traveling as a family overseas for the first time and we can’t wait for the next adventure! Royal Caribbean were amazing and we’ll definitely be looking into cruising with them again. Hong Kong has just way too many things for us to see and do so we’ll have to come back for more! Next time I really want to see the life-size replica of Noah’s Ark. We didn’t get to visit it this time round because we didn’t want to cram too much into our days but it looks ginormous!
The hubby and I are very similar in the way that we are quite open to trying new things, cope well with unexpected situations and are organised but also flexible – thank you Wes for being such a good travel buddy, baby daddy and all round companion. Thank you for carrying Little Miss H so close to you even though the sun was scorching down. Thank you for looking after our kids while I waited in line to try the FlowRider hahah! Thank you choosing the cruise and the places you did! Our holiday wouldn’t have been as fun as it was if it weren’t for you!
We celebrated our wedding anniversary while we were away and here’s hoping we have many more adventures to come! I hope this post was helpful and if you have any questions at all leave me a comment, or if you are going to Hong Kong soon let me know what sights, restaurants or shops you’d recommend to visit!