Category Archives: Cruise

Cruise Post #4: Day at Sea and Port of Tampa

Day at Sea

Our second day at sea was much like our first.  We had some breakfast, laid out by the pool, read our books, relaxed, at dinner.  Yada yada yada . . .

A view of the Caribbean for our final night:

Then we made it to dinner:

Crab cake appetizer

Fried shrimp and curly fries!  (the picture of health, right?)

Well, after a heavy dinner, I made a deal with myself.  Unless there was something absolutely awesome on the dessert specials, I would NOT get the melting chocolate cake for the fourth time, but opt for a lighter dessert:

FRUIT!!  Look at all of those colors!  DELICIOUS!

Matt had the souffle, although he didn’t like it so much.

After dinner we headed to the final show of the trip, which featured passengers as the performers.  I really should have tried out for this.  Some of the people were GREAT, but some definitely could have used some more talent rehearsal.

I then proceeded to have a few drinks, and perform my own renditions of the songs for Matt in our room.  He was thrilled!

Disembarkation and Tampa

The disembarkation was interesting.  We had to get up at 7:45am to make it in time for breakfast.  Then we were hanging out in our room with the door open, waiting on our number to be called.  We were off of the boat by 10am.

While we were waiting, I had to take a picture of the boat carpet.

It’s orange and purple!  CLEMSON!  Every time we walked around (which we did A LOT), I thought of Clemson.

A great friend of mine from college, Mellissa, lives in Orlando and it didn’t take too much arm twisting to have her meet us for the day in the Tampa.  YAY!!  But I told her noon, so we just hung out in a courtyard by the boats until she arrived.

That’s our boat!

Finally Mellissa showed up and we had some lunch, went bowling, then hung out in a mall until our flight at 7pm.

YAY!!  So back in the day, I was living in Chicago for the semester.  Mellissa was supposed to come visit for the weekend.  She called Friday afternoon and asked if we could drive with her mom and grandma to the Mall of America (in Bloomington, MN) instead.  SURE!  ROAD TRIP!  That Saturday we spent TWELVE hours in the MoA.  We road the roller coaster, ate lunch, had dinner with my friend, Jan, and eventually saw the movie “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days”.  We’re very good at hanging out at malls!

Anyway, there’s our trip.  I do have a list of things that I learned or surprised me on the cruise:

  • How many people still smoke!  We had to walk through it sometimes in our way around the decks.  UGH!  Such a nasty habit.
  • Also, how much people drink.  My bar tab at the end of the week was about $80.  One of the raffle prizes was to pay someone’s bar tab up to $500.  HOLY COW!  People were drinking so much.
  • Maybe research a bit more the ports and decide where to do excursions.
  • Having a flexible dining time was great.  We only had to wait on the two days at sea, and even then it was like only 20 minutes.
  • Everyone was SO NICE!  Our ship was full of nice, helpful staff.  The waitress we had the first two nights was so helpful and pointed out what was good on the menu.
  • Despite eating lots of food,I actually felt like I lost weight.  I think it was from walking up and down dozens of flights of stairs every day.  I only have to walk up and down 4 steps in my daily life.
  • Our cabin was very spacious!
  • I didn’t take my engagement ring so that I wouldn’t have to worry about it.  I probably would have been okay, but at least I didn’t have to worry about it.

I hope that you all get to take vacations sometime soon!  It was so relaxing!

I have tons more pictures that I didn’t put here.  But if you’re so inclined, check them out on Facebook.

Cruise Post #3: Belize City and Isla Roatan

Belize City

When we started planning our trip, we decided that we would try to just go to the beach at the ports.  Maybe do another excursion aside from Cozumel, but we didn’t want to “over exert” ourselves.

Well, if you ever go to Belize City on a cruise DO A SNORKELING EXCURSION!  Or something.  We decided that we’d just walk around.  A friend of mine had given me several books on Belize, and we decided to take a short walking tour guided by the book.  I apparently didn’t read the sentence “Most people’s favorite activity in Belize City is to leave.”  It’s not such a nice town.

We docked at a little shopping center that you need to have a cruise boat ID to get into (to keep away the people trying to sell/steal stuff).  Matt and I braved walking through people harassing us (and asking us if we needed a taxi) to go on our walking tour.

Here’s the post office:

And a monument for WWI (“The Great War”)

And a “light house” with a memorial to Baron Bliss

Being the dorky structural engineers that we are, we had to take a picture of this shoring

Those are just little “trees” that are supporting the  floor until it has hardened and can hold itself up.  Very strange.

About halfway through our walking tour, we met up with a couple from LA (another big city, so we knew how to ignore people begging) and completed our tour.  We somehow missed the American Embassy, but I didn’t really want to stop too long and look for things.

BACK TO THE BOAT!

Enchiladas for supper (just branching out into that Mexican food!)

Bread pudding!  I was disappointed in the lack of chocolate in this dessert, but it was delicious nonetheless.

Towel animal:

Giraffe with chubby legs?

Isla Roatan

This was our favorite stop on the cruise. Isla Roatan is an island off the coast of Honduras and is so green and beautiful.  We woke up late, and didn’t realize that (due to strong winds) we were not near the beach.  So we had to make a decision to go to the beach and get back before the ship left.  Luckily we spoke with a security guard in port who informed us that we had to pay a taxi to take us to the beach, but that he would wait for us and bring us back.

Our cab driver was Jose who spoke English “un poquito”.   Fortunately Matt took Spanish in high school (you know like 10 years ago), so the two of them pieced together a conversation for the 30 minute drive to the beach and back.  I took 6 years of French, so I could help a little bit in starting a word.  (obviously not the same though).

So $20 per person for a ride to the beach, and we were off.

Here’s a view at a stop along our curvy drive from Coxen Hole port to the beach:

See, green!

Jose took us to a private beach club where we had to pay $10 per person.  At least the accomodations were nice:

There’s Matt relaxing on his beach bed.  (Back off, girls, he’s mine!)

And a few pictures of the beach:

And our view was boats!  See the banana boat on the right?  It reminded me of “Jaws” when the shark attacks the people on the banana boat.

We spent a nice, relaxing hour and a half on the beach (relaxing aside from the people who would constantly ask us if we wanted to buy something or have a massage).  Then back to the boat.

Since Jose was so friendly we gave him a $10 tip.  So add that all up and we spent $70 to go to the beach for 1.5 hours!  WOO HOO!

I took a bazillion pictures from the boat looking at the island, but I’ll spare you the repetition.  Here’s some good ones from our balcony looking back at the port:

Isn’t it gorgeous!  I loved the hilly, green drive to the beach.  Ahhh . . . I miss Cincinnati.

Time for our second formal night of the cruise:

Don’t I fail at taking pictures?  We did this on a timer and put the camera on a sign.  Unfortunately, the boat rocks, and the camera tipped back.  So we have a lovely view of the ceiling!

My appetizer was eggplant with cheese.

Cherry soup for Matthew!

A whole chicken just for me!

And Matt had a raspberry chocolate cake dessert.  Very rich.  Needed milk!

We then went to the big show of the night “Down in New Orleans”.  I had to listen to “The Princess and the Frog” soundtrack when we got  back to the room.  One of my favorite songs that they sang was “Jambalaya (Down on the Bayou)”, which reminds me of the beginning of “Steel Magnolias” at the wedding.  (one of my favorite movies of all time).

Towel animal upon our return:

It’s a monkey!  We kept him up there for the rest of the cruise to see if he would ever fall down.  He didn’t!

Cruise Post #2: Grand Cayman and Mexico

Grand Cayman

Alright, our first stop of the cruise was Grand Cayman.  We decided that it would be a beach day.  So we lathered up (50 SPF all week, no wonder I’m not that tan), and got off the boat.  Did you know that Grand Cayman is a British Island?  And that they drive on the left side of the road.  We hopped a cab to “Seven Mile Beach” while it was waiting at the light.  Did I mention that this “cab” was actually a van with about 10 people in it and we sat up front?

We soaked up some sun for a while, swam in the salty, blue ocean, and then decided to go to HELL!  Yup, Hell is a little tourist spot on the island.  We found a bus (again a 10 passenger van) outside of the beach.  To catch the bus in Grand Cayman, you have to stand on the side of the road.  When they spot you, they will honk, then you wave and they stop.  It’s a bit odd.  The bus cost $2.50 in American and $2 in CI (Cayman money).

We made our way through the tiny houses (that had a cow or two, maybe some chickens, maybe a pony) to Hell, which was a tiny little post office with a crappy gift shop.  Behind the house was a weird landscape.  The whole thing took maybe 10 minutes before we were ready to head back to the ship.  Caught a bus back (thank goodness, because we thought that we were in the middle of nowhere), and went back on board.

I don’t have any pictures of Grand Cayman at the moment, since I took our disposable camera to the beach, but I’ll try to get some soon.  Here’s a picture of another Carnival ship in port at Grand Cayman:

That night after dinner, we went up to the 11th deck and took in some (windy) mini-golf:

Our towel animal of the night was:

Cobra? Peacock? Swan?  Name it!

Cozumel / Ruins at Tulum, Mexico

When we booked our cruise, I said that there was one excursion that we had to take:  Mayan Ruins at Tulum.  From the dock at Cozumel, we took a 45 minute boat ride across the Yucatan Channel to Playa Del Carmen.

From there we took a 50 minute bus ride down to the ruins.  I have tons of pictures so here are the highlights:

These ruins are unique in that this site is the only one on the coast.  So there’s a beautiful beach right next to it.

There were giant iguanas everywhere

After walking around for awhile, we had time to kill before we could get back on the bus (it was still hot).  The area around the parking lot was full of people trying to sell us stuff (really annoying).  So we sat down at “Senor Frosty’s” for some authentic Mexican food (of course down there they just call it food).

Chicken Quesadilla.  They also brought out some pico de gallo “ei-ei-ei, ei-ei-ei”.

It was SUPER HOT!  I had about three pieces out of this bowl (yes pieces) and that was enough for me.  It has habanero peppers in it!

Here’s Diet Coke in Mexico:

Another 50 minute bus ride, and 45 minute boat ride, and we were back on board.  Time for dinner!

I had Thanksgiving Dinner:  turkey, stuffing, fried green beans, and some yucky mashed pumpkin.

Matt had Short Rib Concrete Confit.

If only we’d had my iPhone, we could have looked up what confit was.  We did later and learned it’s like stewed/marinated meat.  Not as exciting as it sounds in French.

After dinner, we went to the comedian show of the night.  I was very impressed with all of the comedians that they brought on board.  Did you know that they pick them up / drop them off at different ports.  One night we didn’t get our scheduled guy, because his flight was delayed and missed us going out of port.

I also believe that this was the night that someone fell overboard while we were in port at Cozumel.  Our cruise director, a short, rotund, Scottish man named “Weeeee Jimmy”, had warned us that Cozumel would be where people would get SMASHED, since Mexican tequila is like 150 proof.  Obviously, someone had a bit too much and decided to take a swim.  So we were delayed in leaving port, but I guess it didn’t affect our time the next day.

Towel Animal of the night:

Seductive bunny?  Jackalope?

Take your guesses on the towel animals!

Have you ever been to Mexico?  Were you harassed by people wanting you to buy stuff?

Cruise Post #1: Embarkation and Day at Sea

Yup, we’re back!  Better get these posts started.  Lots to talk about for a seven day cruise.

I hope that you enjoyed my two little posts while I was gone.  In case you missed them:

Wedding Inspiration Board

How We Met

So let’s see.  We left Hartford (where it was cold and rainy) on Saturday afternoon.  We had a three hour layover in Detroit where we took a few laps of the airport and did an experiment to see which was faster: walking or taking the train in Terminal A.  The train won, FYI.

Anyway, got down to Tampa around 11pm, had to find taxi from the airport to the hotel (since their shuttle was done for the night).

Embarkation Day

We both woke up early on Sunday (early for us is like 8:30am).  Must have been too excited to sleep.  Around noon we caught a shuttle to the Port.  So if you are going on a cruise, I think I would recommend getting there earlier (like we did).  Check in and such took about an hour, and our checked luggage was waiting for us when we got to our stateroom.  Picture of said stateroom:

I was pleasantly surprised at the amount of space.

Now Matt and I, being the dorky structural engineers that we are, figured out that we would have to pass under the Sunshine Skyway Bridge in order to leave Tampa Bay.  They announced that we would be passing under it around 6pm, so we were set up on the top deck with our camera in hand.

Our ship barely made it under.

Fun Day at Sea

We spent the first day on the cruise we trudged along through the Caribbean Sea.  Did you know that cruise ships only go about 20 Knots (about 20 mph)??  No wonder we had to take a full day to get to Grand Cayman.

Here’s the view from my deck chair:

(Can you see my reflection?)

After lounging around for two hours (that’s the longest we could stay out in the sun), we made it to the gym.  I forgot my camera both times we went, sorry! :(

By the way, we kept up with my rules of going to the gym twice and NEVER (absolutely NEVER) taking the elevator.  We got our little work out.  Our cabin was on the fourth deck.  The buffet (breakfast and lunch) was on the ninth deck.  Upper decks 10 and 11, then the follies (theater) was on the second deck.  The second day my calves were KILLING me!

Anyway, exercised for about 45 minutes.  That was when I could feel the boat moving the most.  Especially doing the side bends up and down . . . it was almost too much.

The first night at sea was dress up night number one.  I wore a nice little hot pink top with my “ho” earrings (background story:  my mom gave me these earrings for Christmas a few years ago and said “Aren’t these those ho earrings you like?” Yes, she called me a ho on Christmas).  Anyway, I thought it looked cool with my spiffy new haircut.

Finally, food pictures:

Pumpkin Soup

Duck.  I’d never had it before, and it tasted kind of like beef.  So I wasn’t a fan.

Melting chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream.  It was so gooey the first night.  Yes, I did have it twice more over the week. :-D

After dinner we had some time to kill before the show that evening, so we went up to the 9th deck and had a drink:

This was called “Kiss on the Lips” and made with mango puree.  I was so full from dinner though that I could barely drink it (or feel the rum).  Matt had fun playing with the umbrella that came with it.

We made it to the 10:30pm show called “Le Jazz Hot”, which had a few great numbers in it.  The singers and female dancers were pretty good, but the male dancers were a bit lacking of technique.  Oh well, still VERY entertaining.

Upon our return to our cabin, we discovered a towel animal, two chocolates, and itinerary for the next day:

I am taking a poll to see what you think this animal (and any of the upcoming animals) is?

There’s post #1, I think there will be four of them.

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