Monday, October 06, 2008

Caribbean Cruise Vacation

Edited to add videos~

Our vacation started with a short trip to the DTW airport and then take off to MCO. We got to takeoff out of the new terminal and must say that it was real nice. However, anything was better than the old terminal. Yikes. After our arrival in Orlando we took a short jaunt over to Cocoa Beach where we’d be staying overnight. I had found of hotel for the evening and was quite pleased at my choice. It was the Four Points Sheraton in Cocoa Beach. Camie and her crew met up with us for dinner at the Shark Pit Bar and Grill, located in the hotel. After dinner we checked out the Cocoa Beach Surf Company that was also inside the hotel. It was a large store with surfboards everywhere. Quite cool. And even better, the hotel was unexpectedly next door to Ron Jon Surf Shop. We stopped there for a bit then headed back to the hotel. Jerry and Diana arrived and by that point David and I were exhausted and headed to the room. It was great to see Camie and her crew but we needed to get rest for all of the fun ahead….

I’ve decided that if I sit and type every little thing about our vacation I’d be here for hours. I also don’t think that everyone’s going to be all that excited about the minute details.

So, here was our itinerary:
Day 1-Sunday-Depart Port Canaveral
Day 2-Monday-CocoCay, Bahamas
Day 3-Tuesday-Day At Sea
Day 4-Wednesday-St. Thomas
Day 5-Thursday-St. Maarten
Day 6-Friday-Day At Sea
Day 7-Saturday-Day At Sea

We sailed on the Mariner Of The Seas with Captain Johnny Faevelen. This captain was very cool and always upbeat anytime you heard or saw him. I’ll definitely miss hearing, “Good morning! Good morning! Good morning! This is your Captain speaking from the bridge!!”

This was my second cruise vacation but David’s first. David did get a bit of motion sickness the first 2 nights. We couldn’t tell if it was just because he was tired or if it was truly motion sickness. I didn’t have any problems. The first and last nights were the roughest. They weren’t bad by any means, but compared to the rest of our trip they were the worst.

The first night of the cruise we were in the Schooner Bar for Sing-A-Long with Simeon. This guy was hilarious and we found ourselves at this bar more often than not. He’s an awesome piano man and singer that kept you laughing at all times. We absolutely loved it. In addition to sing-a-longs he’d do “guess the song” through playing on the piano or “name that tune” via recordings. Hilarious. You know that J, David, and I each won a key chain that night. Yup yup! By the way, key chains are the thing to win on the ship. Well, not really the thing to win, but if you win a contest, that’s what you tend to get.

So, CocoCay….CocoCay is Royal Caribbean’s private island. There’s no port so you must tender in on a smaller boat. I had been to this island before. It gives you the true feeling of being on vacation. With the exception of all the people, you feel like you’re in the middle of nowhere. Everyone snorkeled while I soaked up some rays. And guess what? The water was warm…unlike our previous vacation! (even better, the water got warmer at each destination) We had the island BBQ and I got to sample the local drink, CocoLoco. Yum, very tasty.

That evening we stopped by the Lotus Lounge to check out “Finish That Lyric.” They requested 10 participants and David decided to join in. I got to say, I don’t think anyone saw him as a threat because he stood up there quietly, hands in his pockets, until he was called to the microphone. It was finally his turn and his song was “Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong. Not only did he hit it on the head but he also did the Louis voice. The crowd roared. They loved him immediately. He continued to deliver at each song and everyone loved him. Who knew I was married to a ham? And what’s even better, I got it all on video. Here’s some action:

And The Winner is:

So, obviously David won. And not only did he win a key chain, but also a hat, and ID holder, luggage tag, and a pen. Too funny.

The next day we were at sea and ate at Johnny Rockets for lunch. As always, Johnny Rockets was a ton of fun and we loved it. The crew sang and danced throughout our meal and kept things rolling.
After lunch I got to get my groove on at the pool deck with some dancing. It was then David’s turn to participate in another event….Men’s Sexiest Legs Competition. Once again, who knew David had this in him?? Mom and I ended up being 2 of the 6 judges so we did have a bias but that’s ok. David ended up winning Mr. Flamingo Legs AND Mr. Sexiest Legs. I got to say the guys had it easiest for the competition. Mom and I had to deal with the guys all trying to prove to us women that they should win. The guys couldn’t touch us, but trust me, they got close enough. It was all in good fun and everyone had quite a few laughs. Here's the crew member showing the guys what to do....

Throughout the cruise we attended multiple art auctions and even won a piece. Let me clarify, we didn’t bid on an item (at thousands of dollars, who can??) but we won and item through a raffle. Pretty cool. The auctions were eye opening and surprisingly enjoyable. No one would complain about raffles and free champagne though, would they?
That evening we enjoyed Earl Turner at The Savoy Theatre. He had a gig at Harrah’s in New Orleans while we lived there, but we never attended a performance. He was very entertaining.
Later that night was the 70s Disco Party. Everyone filled the Promenade and busted out their moves. From YMCA to Love Train, we had a blast. And the cool thing about these types of events, they last while but never too long.

The next morning we arrived in St. Thomas. It was a beautiful island. I was surprised at how hilly it was. When looking at a map you don’t know this until you arrive. We all hopped a taxi to Coki Beach and spent the late morning and early afternoon there. As with so many things on this trip it was another eye opening experience seeing how people live and also the price of getting around. It wasn’t necessarily expensive, but it wasn’t cheap either. And at the same time you know that this is what the locals depend on to survive. After finishing up with snorkeling we took a trip up the Mountain Top Mountain Top. The steep and narrow roads uphill gave my heart a rush, but the view was awesome. There wasn’t much else to do there other than get a Banana Daiquiri and take a few pictures. After that we went back to the ship to freshen up then headed back to Havensight Mall to walk a bit.
The Figure Skating show was performed that night. Thanks to Uncle Jerry, we were able to acquire tickets easily and enjoy the show.

Our day in St. Maarten started out with a bang…..we rode ATVs around the island. It was very exhilarating and totally worth the amount we paid. Luckily for us we were able to make reservations outside of the cruise line, which made it cheaper, but were on the exact same excursion as the rest of the cruise passengers. Sweet. After riding a bit we stopped off and ran into a local gentleman who had 3 live sea urchins. They moved and all. He told us about them and let individuals hold them too. After our stop we continued on and stopped at private area on Orient Beach. We spent enough time for everyone to soak up some rays or swim a bit then it was time to head back to the starting point. I would highly recommend the ATV excursion. With the exception of the smelly helmets and the initial shady feeling we had with the guys, they ended up being awesome and let us run pretty free (thanks to being at the back of the pack). For the most part we were on the road, but did a bit of off-road time. And we got to see the island. The good, the bad, and the ugly. I couldn’t believe the amount of livestock….goats, horses, cows. Goats would be tied up to the front of a house, or we passed a herd of goats, roaming free, standing on a mound of garbage, chomping away. Those are things that only live in your imagination, but they were actually happening. I can’t say that I enjoyed seeing that, but I did enjoy seeing how others live. Other than the craziness of New Orleans, I’ve never witnessed anything like it. I’ve also never been in a foreign country other than Canada. It’s a totally different world out there.
The afternoon was spent in downtown Philipsburg. In all honesty I was so tired at that point that it was very hard to enjoy, but I still liked it.

For those that don’t know, St. Thomas and St. Maarten have jewelry shop after jewelry shop. I’ve never seen so many in my life. Real crazy. And we’re not talking just tiny pieces of gold or diamonds. This stuff, for the most part, is the real deal.

The final two days were at sea. Although this may be boring to some, it helped wind down the vacation. We didn’t do all that much with the exception of walking, checking out the casino, chilling, having a drink, or enjoying Simeon in the Schooner Bar…just enjoying our time. One thing J, David, and I did was participated in a spinning class. Whew! That gave us a run for our money but I think that it’s addicting. I want to do it again that’s for sure. Like I said, it kicked our butt and hurt, but it was awesome.

After arriving back in port our disembarking went rather smoothly along with our trip back to Orlando. We were luckily put on standby for an earlier flight home and made the cut. That meant a nonstop flight and arriving home about 3 hours earlier than expected. And even more, our seats we right behind first class meaning we had a bunch of extra legroom. That was definitely better than our flight home on our last vacation. Actually, I think it’s real safe to say that everything about this vacation was better than our last and we had more fun than we even hoped for.
Even the possible negatives of the trip ended up not being issues. We didn’t break ourselves financially and budgeted quite well. And the big question is always weight gain on a cruise. When we arrived on the ship the fitness instructor said that average weight gain is 1-3 lbs per day. I was determined to not let that happen. Although we weren’t religious, David and I did make it to the gym several times throughout the week and I maintained my mileage. For the most part we ate what we wanted, but in moderation, with a few extra “rewards” that we’ve waited patiently for. My target weight is 115 lbs. With that being said, my target weight is hardly ever met and I tend to average around 118-120 lbs. I thought I had gained, by the way I felt, but in actuality I maintained my 120lbs. A small surprise, but not totally unexpected. While in Hawaii I felt heavy but found that I had actually lost weight with the amount of walking we did. David gained a few pounds on the cruise but nothing outrageous.

If I had to say we had anything bad happen it would be that David got motion sick the 1st day or so and I battled a sore throat for about 1.5 days. And lastly, David's throat started to hurt the last day and has continued through the trip home. But I think we can deal with all of that.

That’s our vacation in a nutshell. So yes, this was an awesome vacation and totally worth the gaggle that we had with the passports. Thank you to Jerry, Diana, Mom, Dad, Justin, and Cassie for allowing us to vacation with you. It was a ton of fun and we’ll have to do it again.


Anonymous said...

Good write up. Cass and I had a great time with you guys. Zig-a-zig-ah!!

Jan said...

If I had to pick a "favorite" for the trip, it would have to be the adventure to the bow of the ship, with the wind blowing and the skies being pitch black except for the million stars. I will always remember that moment. Thanks for all the memories. Hope to do it again.

Heidi said...

How could I have forgotten that?? Yes, I believe that was the best moment.