Cruising: On the ship

Since Frank didn’t talk much about our time on the ship in his last post, I think I’ll write a little bit about being on the ship!

As he mentioned, and much to our dismay, there were kids everywhere on this ship! Don’t get me wrong, I like kids, but we don’t have any and I don’t want to spend my vacation watching while other peoples kids get up to shenanigans! And no, I don’t want to watch Sponge Bob do some silly dance at the pool!

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But there were several fun things that we did do on the ship! Especially since we made the mistake of leaving out of New York when it was still cold, we spent a lot of time indoors. One of the best things we did on this whole trip was Martini Tasting for the ladies and Whiskey Tasting for the men. I say that because that is how we signed ourselves up, but we all went to every tasting (I think there were 4 days worth) and we pretty much all tried everything! I don’t remember the best whiskey, but the dark and stormy martini was excellent!

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Here are a few of the whiskey selections that we remembered to take pictures of. They had Canadian Whiskey, Scotch, Irish Whiskey and Kentucky Bourbon I believe…

There were several days of tastings and there were several tastings at each setting. Maybe 4 different whiskeys on 4 different nights. And 4 different martinis! I personally don’t like chocolate (I know, it’s shocking, but you’ll get over it!) And apparently my mother in law doesn’t like olives!

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I do, however, get motion sickness. So if you’re one of those people who gets sick in the car, plane or boat, I highly recommend staying out of the room at the top of the ship or taking motion sickness meds. Best thing to do, take it the night before and again in the morning everyday you’re on the ship.

And splurge for that balcony room! We watched the Statue of Liberty go by from our balcony, we saw people getting on and off their excursion rides, we watched the sunrise in the Bahamas while we had breakfast, and we took in the fresh air without all the other people on the ship!

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Cruising: Our first should have known better moment

Being the world travelers that we were, we decided that we were ready for whatever travel deals we could find. So the winter after we got married, we booked a trip through some discount travel page. I had decided that I wanted to try a cruise, Emily and her family had been on a couple and talked about them all the time. We were still young and didn’t have a ton of money so we booked a cruise with Norwegian out of New York City traveling to the  Bahamas in…..March.

I know….I know the writing is in the wall, how could we possibly have not thought this through but, we didn’t.

The start of the trip went really well. We travelled down from Maine to New York with no problems. My mother and her husband came with us. We met up with my in-laws and my wife’s aunt and uncle traveling up from Pennsylvania, again with no issues. In fact we timed it so well that we both arrived on the Marina parking deck within 10min of each other.

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Getting on board from what I was told was pretty standard. We hadn’t paid for any upgrades or higher end rooms so we had to wait in line with everyone else. “So what? We are on and adventure.” This is when I started to notice it……lots of backpacks…….small backpacks…..with small people attached. Oh no. Emily and I do not have children of our own, so things like “school break” elude us. Oh well it’s a big ship with lots of adult only entertainment, casinos, shows, bars, and the like everything will be fine.


We got on board with no incident, the crew had taken our bags and tagged them and let us know that they would be in our rooms later. We set off to check out the ship, we made our way to the top deck, which housed a couple pools and couple bars. WOW! Drinks on the ship not cheap. We picked up a bucket of Sam Adam’s and relaxed in a couple loungers near the pool. This is when the second realization hit me….we were dressed for winter, drinking cold beer, in the sun, and shivering……oh well it’s an adventure, the Bahamas will be warmer.

After awhile we went up to the front of the ship to watch as we pulled out of harbor. OMG. No warning to that horn!

Most of the trip went really well. The food was okay, the temperatures got warmer after a day or two, much better than the New England winter we were having, and we were on an adventure!

Our first port of call was in Port Canveral and our small group got split up trying to go on an excursions. We couldn’t get off the ship at the same time, ended up on different buses and ultimately Emily, my mother(Edie), her husband(Fran), and I went on a airboat ride with the crocodiles while the rest of them were 10 minutes or so behind us. We got to try deep fried crocodile, had a great boat ride on a nice day, got within 10′ of some rather large animals, and finished off with a reptile show. It was definitely a nice break to the cold breeze on the deck of the ship.

 

Our next port of call was a private Norwegian island. The island didn’t have much in the way of entertainment, but we got some food and some drinks. Emily and I snorkeled nearly half way out to the cruise ship around a small rock island that was there. Unfortunately there wasn’t really anything to see, but at least it got us out of the hot sun and in the water for a bit.


Our final port of call was Nassau. We spent the first half of the day on a snorkeling excursion that turned out to be a bit colder than we had hoped. We saw a lot of fish and even got a few good photos with out rudimentary underwater cameras and housings. The second half of the day we walked around the port, checked out the shops, and got a chance to stretch our legs, before getting back on the boat to begin our journey home. That is definitely a down side in my mind to taking a cruise, once you get back on the boat for the final port of call, you are already headed home. It kinda makes it feel like you are cutting the trip short.

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A couple things to note about the Bahamas in March. Yes it is much warmer than a cold winter, but water sports are still pretty cold. Secondly and what to date has turned me off from another cruise, was that there were kids everywhere at all hours of the day. You would have thought that a show at 11pm would have been adults only, but no. Kids crying, five year olds staring at you as the couple on stage talked about the first time they had sex, while driving down the highway towards Atlantic City. I don’t know if it was the value cruise, the timing of spring break, or maybe just Norwegian, but wow.

All in all this trip truely was an adventure. One we will never forget. But we definitely cemented in our minds, you get what you pay for. I would definitely go on another value vacation again, anything to travel really, but some more research before jumping in would definitely be warranted.

All-inclusive Travel, Jamaica 2010

I’ve talked about the wedding and the ups and downs of doing a destination wedding, but now I want to say a little bit about the fun we had as a group at an all inclusive!

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When you travel to an all inclusive, you don’t have to worry about anything. It’s actually a little strange when you sit down to dinner and then you just walk away without paying. But one of the best parts is hanging out with friends! We had a great time celebrating one of our friends birthday while we were on the resort!

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Or just chilling out at the many lounge areas! We brought games to play, we sat an talked, we drank coffee and watched the water. There are just so many great places to relax on an all inclusive resort. And when you go with a group it’s a lot of fun to just hang out and relax.

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As you’ll see as the blog grows, my husband and I love water sports. We are big divers, but in 2010 before I was certified to dive, we did things like sailing, and kayaking and snorkeling. Most of these non-motorized water sports are available on all inclusive resorts.

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And dining options are plentiful! There is always a place where you can get something to eat at an all inclusive. On this resort they also had a french restaurant (shown above) and an Italian restaurant and a beach restaurant. Even dining right on the beach. We love the options and it’s so much fun to try them all. If they tell you to make reservations, do it. I know it sounds silly, but it’s fun to go to these special places while you’re on vacation.

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And the bar. If you like to try new drinks, this is the place. My family sat at the bar one day and ordered every drink on the menu. They passed them down the line so everyone got to try it. Even if you don’t drink, going to an all inclusive and trying the non-alcoholic pina colada’s at the pool or the beach is fun and relaxing.

Where it all began…travel the world, from the tree tops to your flip flops

I’ve been traveling my whole life. My parents love to go. When I was a kid, they would pack us in the car and go for “rides”. Let’s just say, those rides seemed like torture as a kid. But as an adult, now they seem like an adventures. So thanks mom and dad for all those rides. For packing my bike, my sister, and a twin size mattress in the back of the truck and setting off to destinations unknown.

In 2008, my husband and I set off on our first adventure. We finally had saved enough money to get away for a few days. This trip is just the beginning of what we hope is a life full of adventure. We climb something on every trip, hence the tree tops. And our favorite thing to do is dive…you got it – the flip flops.

This first trip helped us to decide to get married in Jamaica. This photo was the cover of our save the date. 2-years later, 45 people showed up in Montego Bay Jamaica and watched us say “I will” and spent the rest of the week with us on this adventure. But more on that later.

Welcome to Jamaica…2008.

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