Obviously, I'm not going to give a blow-by-blow of our whole time in the Cayman Islands. However, to help others and myself (for future trips) I will just recount what did and didn't work for us. So, without further ado, here are the highlights, good and bad...
What went well:
1. The location of our room. Originally, we had a "suite" (just one big room) because we thought the extra space would be necessary. When we went to the pool the first day, we realized that they had ground level rooms with a patio door so you could walk right out into the courtyard. This was sooooo much easier that going into the hotel, up an elevator and down three hallways to reach our suite. We checked out one of the available courtyard rooms and realized that it would still be big enough for two cribs. The switch made things so much easier. And at night, we could sit in the courtyard and order dinner/drink/talk/relax and still hear the babies, just in case. This will now be a "must-have" for us in the future because I am a big believer in early bedtimes, even for toddlers, and don't want to be trapped in silence after 7pm on my "vacation." If anyone has any recommendations of other hotels like this in the Caribbean, I'm open to suggestions!
2. We cheated and hired a babysitter. Everyone warned me that vacations are no longer vacations; they're trips. This is oh-so-true. However, having a babysitter made some parts of the trip vacation-like. We had the same woman, Sandra (in the pic with Billy and Collette), the whole time and she got very good at handling the twins by the end of our trip. The company came highly recommended by the hotel so we were very comfortable working with her. She could watch the babies during their naps or walk them around in the stroller while Billy and I could go for a swim in the ocean, eat lunch, dip in the pool, do a little sunbathing, etc. And it was cheap!! For a 7 hour day, it cost us less than $80! And I'm sure it would be even cheaper in less expensive countries like Dominican Republic or Jamaica.
3. Get a spot at the pool early! The first day, we scoped out the pool and decided where the best spot would be for us and the babies. We needed shade and extra space, and an easy get-away is always nice, too. So, each morning, we brought our stuff down to the spot to stake our claim and went back and forth throughout the day. We set up the sundome next to our chairs and there was still room for the double snap'n'go.
What did not go well:
1. Sleep. Well, I should have known that they would not sleep as well as they do at home. Naps were abbreviated and nighttime sleep was, in a word, awful. I think we had to get up to pacify a baby every other hour. And they woke up very early. Sometimes before 5am. And they were just so restless which means they were loud, even while sleeping. So, in that respect, the trip was not so relaxing. I can imagine that a 2-room suite would be great, but they didn't have any. Our friends suggested using the bathroom (that's what they do) but, alas, they have one baby, one crib. I think if we had brought their crib bumpers, that may have helped but who knows.
2. The heat. Ya, the Caribbean is hot. Duh. And we have winter babies so they just were not accustomed to all that heat and sunshine and it made them fussy. Also, it was very hard to find shade during the afternoon, so our time outside was often cut short. Thankfully, no one got heat rash or sunburned. Just cranky...
All in all, the good outweighed the bad. I would say it was definitely worth it - you just have to lower your expectations a bit and prepare for everything! We are going to El Salvador for Christmas so I'm glad that we already have one trip under our belts - lots of valuable lessons learned.