Glenn and I wanted to get out of town alone and since Carnival has such cheap prices this year, due to several unfortunate incidents, we decided to try a cruise. I'd only been on a 3-day cruise with my family once years ago and Glenn had never been. He was a little skeptical but has some friends from church who love to cruise and talked him into trying it. Seriously, there is no cheaper way to see so many different places in one short trip. And so nice to be able to just get back on our hotel every night, to the room that we unpacked in just once, and wake up in a new place nearly every morning. Very cool.
My mom was able to come and watch the boys at our place while we were gone. We were gone a very long time this time. A whole week away and I was nervous, as always, leaving for such a long time. I'm so lucky that my mom has been willing to watch them when we are able to get out of town. It would be so much harder to leave them with anyone but my momma. She is amazing and loves them like I do. She took them to the pool almost every day and spoiled them rotten. They both cried when she left and didn't miss us much at all while we were away. She's so wonderful!
We got very few pictures of our trip. We were too busy relaxing to take pictures most of the time. And do we really need pictures of us laying in chairs or on towels by pools or on beaches? Not so much. And that's how we spent a large majority of our time.
Here we are on the ship before we left Miami.
It was a massive ship. There was tons to do and obviously a ridiculous amount of food available all the time. Some was really good, some was less really good, but we did our best to make the most of the good food and hit up the gym at least once a day to compensate for all the eating and lying around time. The shows were not great. A little cheesy and boring so we only went to those once. They did have movies on the deck at night and comedy shows and other things to do at night so we took advantage of the other fun stuff. We really feel like we made the most and the best of every day on our trip.
Our first stop was the cruise line's little private island, Half Moon Cay. The sun was hot, the water was clear and cool, and the sand was soft and white. It was the perfect day for just lying on the beach and we did just that. Well, I did just that all day long. Glenn got antsy at one point and went for a long hike past a few signs that said, "No trespassing" and such and found some cool old ruins.
The next day was a sea day as we traveled to our next island. It was pretty windy and that made reading and getting sun on the deck a little more difficult, but we made the most of it and had a nice, relaxing day none-the-less. During the day we found out that a tropical storm was in our path and we had to change our itinerary a bit. We ended up going to San Juan, Puerto Rico the next day and they had to cancel the stop we planned to make at St. Thomas and told us we'd be going to Nassau the last day of our trip instead. Bummer. We really wanted to see St. Thomas. Maybe next time.
San Juan was really cool. Glenn had been there before on Ocean Classroom when he was in high school so he was excited to go again and to show me around the old city. We got off the boat stinkin' early because Glenn didn't want to miss anything...unfortunately everything didn't open for a couple of hours so we took a little bus tour around the city, got our bearings, grabbed some pastries for breakfast and then set off to see some old forts.
That's El Morro. The most famous of the two forts on the island. It's in all the touristy pictures and such.
An old graveyard beneath El Morro. Amazing.
I think Glenn and I both liked the bigger of the two forts, San Cristobal, a little better. There was a lot more to see and had a lot more information about how the soldiers lived in and defended the fort.
That's our massive ship in the background.
I love old buildings. There's something almost romantic about being in buildings that are hundreds of years old.
It was a nice morning. Not too hot for the first couple hours but then it got muggy and gross. We wandered around most of Old San Juan. Saw a few churches, beautiful tiny streets and plazas. It was a really lovely little place. We had lunch at a place one of Glenn's friends recommended and ate a Mofongo. It was basically mashed plantains stuffed in a big cup with yummy meat and peppers shoved in the middle. It was delish but it didn't really look it. Never would have ordered it without the recommendation. So glad we did, though.
El Morro as we drove away on the boat. San Juan was a very cool stop. Glad we got to see it and wouldn't mind seeing more of it again some time.
Our next day was spent in Grand Turk. We didn't even bring the camera off the ship because we didn't want another thing to carry or to worry about it in the sand all day. Carnival had this little section of the island all laid out with shops and manicured beaches and a pool. We hopped on a taxi to explore a bit and find some place to shop or tour, or a less-crowded/touristy beach. As soon as we left the little carnival compound the island got really sad really fast. It was very poor and dirty. We took a taxi to the center of "town" which was basically a run-down little strip mall and a couple of food shacks (where Glenn ate some fried conch...I passed on the conch and had some ice cream instead.) We started walking down the street in search of a beach to park at for a while. We met a lady who gave us a ride in her golf cart to a beach up the road a bit. It was much less crowded and the water was gorgeous. We relaxed, read books, soaked up sun and swam when it got too hot. It was a very nice few hours, then we headed back to the cruise ship area until it was time to go.
The next day was another sea day. The weather was MUCH better than the first sea day and we spent most of the day on the deck reading, swimming, and going down the water slide when we got too hot. It was awesome. So much relaxing. Every night we had dinner in a big dining room with this newlywed couple. The conversation was really forced and kind of like pulling teeth to get them to say anything, but the food was usually good so we kept showing up. The chocolate melting cake was amazing. I might have eaten it every single night. I have no desire to know how many calories are in that little cup of chocolate goodness, but it probably wouldn't have stopped me if I did know. It was SO good.
We spent our last day in Nassau. We had booked a sail and snorkel tour on a catamaran for the morning. We sailed out for an hour or so and then snorkeled for a bit and sailed back. It was the perfect day to do an excursion like this. It was kinda gloomy so we didn't feel like we were missing any sun by being out on an adventure. There were tons of fish, a few really brightly colored ones. Really glad we booked at least one little excursion and Glenn was happy to get out on a smaller boat for a bit.
He's a sailor at heart. I think he'd live at sea if he could.
The rest of the afternoon was spent wandering around the Atlantis resort. Turns out there are very few places you can see and play in at the resort unless you wanna pay a lot of money, or are staying there, of course. But it looked pretty amazing. Maybe some day.
Then we went back to the center of town and did some shopping before heading back to the ship.
We had an absolute blast. What a great first cruise. I think next time we will go to some different islands, but this was a great first trip. I'm so glad we made the plunge and spent the chunk of money to get away together. It's only going to get harder to do as the kids grow up but I hope we can make it a priority because, man, was it nice to be alone for so long and realize that we still really like each other and that we're pretty dang fun together.