Sunday, February 10, 2013

Don't be too jealous...

I am so excited to finally be blogging about our cruise. I am so far behind on my blog but it is fun to go back and look at all the pictures from our trip. This may be a long post with lots of pictures, but for memories sake I don't want to forget any of it. It makes me wish I was laying out on the beach right now....ahhh ok back to reality. Well back in August we found out that we would be going on a Caribbean cruise! Trevor's work told us the good news that were taking us on a trip! Yes, taking us! We were so lucky that they let us tag along on this vacation. We went with Trevor's bosses that we are also good friends with and their significant others. When they were planning it I didn't care where we went or what we did I was just excited for a little R&R, well they chose an awesome cruise line and some awesome places. We went with Royal Caribbean on their newest boat which happens to also be the largest cruise ship. We went to the Western Caribbean which for us included, Labadee Haiti, Falmouth Jamaica and Cozumel Mexico. I was super excited but kind of nervous about leaving Claire this long. with all of the travelling time we were going to be gone for about 9 days!! I knew she would be in great hands with both of our parents and some siblings in there to help out but I think I was mostly worried for myself and how much I would miss her. We are so lucky to have awesome families who are always willing (and seem excited) to watch her and let us get our couple time in! The trip started with a red eye flight to Ft. Lauderdale Florida, where our ship would be leaving from. It was a long flight but once we got there and on the ship, I couldn't believe it! It was like its own city/world on this ship! It had everything you could think of from tons of restaurants and cafes, rock climbing, ice skating, zip line, wave riders, its own central park, boardwalk and mall! Yes, I said mall! It had so many shopping areas and fun things to do I was amazed and I couldn't wait to start exploring but of course the first thing we did was eat. Since I am horrible at taking pictures, I stole a few from the internet but here are pictures of the ship...
This was where we walked onto the boat with most of the shops and a few little restaurants.
There was putting greens, tennis courts and basketball which all looked down on the board walk which had a Ferris Wheel, donuts and ice cream and fin restaurants like Johnny Rockets.
Central park was where all the fancy restaurants were and a good place to just sit on a bench and relax.
With all these fun places to go and eat we didn't even know where to start, but the first night we decided to go to the diving show which was in the water arena. It was such a good show and I was so amazed at all the divers! It was such a weird feeling watching people dive into a pool knowing we were out in the middle of the ocean.
The next day was spent lounging around by the pool and eating, laying by the pool, eating some more, taking a nap, eating and lounging. I am not gonna lie, those times were my favorite. It was much needed lazy time, but we were excited for our first stop the next day at Labadee, Haiti. I was expecting Haiti to be different than it was. That part of the island has been taken over by Royal Caribbean, which was nice in some ways but also didn't really feel like a different country. Everything on the island was paid for using our ship card and everyone on the island worked for Royal Caribbean. The island and water was gorgeous though! We just swam in the ocean for awhile then decided to do the zip line which started at the top of mountain and went across the ocean. It was so gorgeous but was a little sketchy riding up the winding mountain in the back of jeep!
The next day we were at sea again to our next destination and it was spent being lazy again. We ate a lot of yummy food and went to comedy show that was hilarious. We spent a lot of our nights on the ship at a little place called the Schooner Bar. It was a little lounge that had live music. The live music was the same guy every single night and we became pretty good friends with him. His name was Barney and he was from England. He played the piano and sang and would take any request you could think of. He knew how to play anything (trust me Trevor tried to think of the craziest songs to request.) He even sang Johnny Cash which sounded great with an english accent. I think most of our money was spent on tips for Barney. So of course Trev had to get a picture with Barney (who I secretly think is Graham's long lost twin)
On our 4th day we were finally at Falmouth, Jamaica which I was really excited for. For our excursion we knew that we wanted to hike these waterfalls we had heard of. Trevor's parents had been there on a cruise before and told us how fun they were. They were called the Duns River Falls. The ride to falls was long on a small bus and once we made it there I didn't know what to think. It was beautiful but I don't think I will be heading back there anytime soon. The people were CRAZY! I cannot handle people being in my face that much! They would run up to you and put jewelry on you and say it was free but they want a tip and no matter how much you tried to tip them it wasn't enough so they would finally take their jewelry back. They would stop you and not let you leave without buying something and they would tell you "its all about love man, where is your love. no disrespect in Jamaica" It was horrible but once we got to the falls it was a blast! We were in a group of about 15 and we had a guide that lead us up with the waterfalls coming down right on top of us and we loved it!
After the falls we went to a little part of town where they had a memorial for Christopher Columbus because he had been to that area!
We were pretty exhausted after the day we had and knew that we needed to get some sleep because the next morning we would be Cozumel. I was not super excited about going to Mexico because I didn't want to hassled by people again but surprisingly it wasn't that bad. We were wanting to go on a boat to do so cave exploring but by the time we got off the ship the boat for the caves had already left. We were so bummed but now I am so happy we didn't end up going because we ended up swimming with dolphins and it was AWESOME! We went to this little resort where they had dolphins and pools and a beach where you could go snorkeling. When we first got there they took us to watch a seal show which was so cute!
Then they took us to get in the water with the dolphins. They let us pet them and give them kisses... and then we rode on their backs and they also pushed us around on boogie boards. It was such a cool experience that I will never forget and I want to do it again so bad. I was a little scared of them at first but they were so soft and so cute and I can't believe how smart they are.
When we were done with the dolphins they told us they had a surprise for us and got us all excited. They took us to another pool where we got in and they had a manatee come over.... ummm surprise! ya a scary surprise! Sorry but they are so gross. They wanted us to feel its sandpaper skin while feeding it a head of lettuce and showing us its fingernails...yea its fingernails! After that I was ready to get out of the water.
Once we got out of that creepy manatee pool we decided to go snorkeling. I am not the biggest fan of fish but was excited to go snorkeling. Well once we got in the water I was fine swimming around until I looked down into the water and realized there were fish swimming all around me! I freaked out but Trevor talked me into staying in the water so i swam on the very top until we were so tired we couldn't swim anymore.
Once again we were exhausted climbing back onto the ship. We were done with all of our stops and just had another full day at sea. That night we went to a musical/acrobatic show which was pretty cool and then just relaxed. We were a tad confused and when we booked the cruise we thought we got back into Florida on Sunday morning so we were a little surprised when they told us we would be back on Saturday morning and we were all a little bummed it was ending sooner than we thought. We were ready to be home but sad that our R&R was over. Here are a few more random pics from the ship.
Even though we were ready to be home, we could not switch our flights so we were stuck in Florida for one more night but we decided to make the best of it. We ended up making our way to a MUST place to stop while in the swamp lands of Florida.
I mean this place was straight out of the swamp people tv show! It was definitely entertaining. The people were crazy and only had a couple of their teeth left. We walked around and saw their gators and snakes before climbing into an air boat that broke down two feet out onto the water. After climbing onto the rescue boat we were off through the swamps. They tried to get everyone to get out of the boat and walk through the alligator infested swamp I was shocked when people actually volunteered. I am sure they were freaking out when they got back in the boat and 2 seconds later we saw a gator. I couldn't believe how many alligators we saw out on that boat. The instructor even said it was more than usual.
We had such an awesome time but were definitely ready to get home and see Claire. We missed her so much! But blogging about this now....I think I am ready for another vacay!

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