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9/17/2012

Caribbean Cruise 2012

Warning-this will be a long post...as this is my own personal account of what happened on our fabulous trip, I want to remember all the important stuff...you know...for posterity.
Ah what a wonderful world we live in where for a moderately priced ticket one can board an insanely sized boat, travel to far off places, eat to our heart's content, and party all night long. We had a wonderful experience with our Carnival cruise. This was the test cruise, neither of us were sold on the whole "cruising" thing, thinking we were "all-inclusive" people (we still have yet to test that theory), but we are definitely Cruising people.
Saturday September 1st we flew into Miami. Because of the 3-day weekend the city was crazy! We sat in traffic for almost an hour just to drive 6 miles from the airport to our hotel in Miami beach. Haha...oh I slipped...our "hotel"...I meant our bed. Because really...to call the place where we stayed a "hotel" is an insult to the beautiful resorts that surrounded us. Though because this wasn't the climax of our trip, all we needed was a place to sleep, so it worked fine. When we got in our room, there weren't towels we went down to the lobby to ask the Cuban receptionist for some, and he ran to the back room, and came out with a towel draped over each arm. At first I was convinced he had grabbed those from a stack of dirty ones, but was a little comforted when I took them and they were warm, right out of the dryer, so I convinced myself they were clean.
Regardless, we strolled on the beach that night, and spent the day on the beach all Sunday, and enjoyed delicious Cuban food for dinner.
Monday we woke up, caught a cab, and headed for the Port of Miami. This is quite a sight for someone who has never seen a port before. The cruise ships are so gigantic, it seems silly, but it just boggled my mind. It took a little while to get through security and to board, but finally we were in. They ushered us to get some lunch, while our room was still being prepared, which seems like a good idea in theory, until 3000 hungry people just waited in line for 45 minutes and are now rushing the buffets. So we ate a little, then wandered around and found the big Theater and hung out there until we could get into our room. We totally lucked out there. Ours was one of only 4 handicap rooms. Though that may give you a laugh, we just got assigned an open one, and the handicap rooms are like twice as big as the normal ones, so we were happy, plus we were on the same deck as all the food and the pools.
We got our bags delivered, and I unpacked them (I'm really into making hotel-stays as homey and comfortable as possible, which means taking advantage of the drawers and cabinets and closets). Then we headed outside to watch us embark! It was so cool, everyone on the ship stood at the railings and waved to passengers on other ships as we started off. Then there was this live music show on the deck where the band and singer were going to entertain us. So we changed into swim attire, started sunbathing and waited for the show. I then figured out that there is a stigma for people that perform on cruise ships for a reason. The live singer was just horrible. She kept singing these previously wonderful songs and it was so loud we just had to escape. When we finally did, we vowed not to listen to her ever again. (to be continued...)
That night we continues to explore the ship, and went to our first dinner. We picked late dining, thinking there would be less kids, surprisingly we didn't see many kids the whole trip. Anyway dinner was totally charming. We had a team of 3 waiters serving us who quickly learned our names, and the food was even pretty good. After showing my enthusiasm that night for this molten chocolate cake, the waiters teased me about it the rest of the trip... We were supposed to be sat with another couple, but they never showed up all week, so we had a nice quiet table just the two of us and it was some of my favorite time of the day.
Then we attended the first show in the theater, where our cruise director "Sparkles" came on stage and started trying to shmooze us over to buy stuff. Then they did a sampling of the comedy and the live shows. Then....the live singer came out, and proceeded to ruin some of the same songs she had ruined earlier in the day, we were trapped! We couldn't just walk out of a show! But we did. Everyone was drunk, and talking, we were the least rude. trust me. Then that night we went to the hopping "Point After Night Club" and danced! We had so much fun, even if we were the youngest, and only sober people on the dance floor. Everyone was having a blast, and it was so cool that this night club was on a boat. Crazy.
Tuesday was a day at sea, which consisted of pool time, tanning time, and a ton of people watching. I don't know about other cruises, but Carnival is a par-tay boat. From the minute you step on, to the minute you step off, it is about FUN and of course FUN equals booze, and expensive booze at that. This made for great people watching. The weather was perfect, it was amazing to be surrounded by the ocean, and music was playing and we laid out just relaxing and watching people almost the whole day! That night was elegant night for dinner, and meeting with the Captain. Well that night we also hit really rocky water, and though my seasick patches work well with normal movements, I found out they don't work so well on really rough water, so I made my way to the middle of the boat and convinced myself not to throw up after downing a few dramamine. It worked! And though I a had very little appetite for dinner, I was able to make it through the night just fine.



Wednesday was Grand Turk day, and power snorkel excursion day! so we woke up early and disembarked and waited for our guide. We had to take a bus to the bottom of the island where we were snorkeling, and the bus driver was so cool, and gave us a tour as we went. The poor island has to import drinking water. I don't think I'd like to live there...
The power snorkeling was so cool. I've never really snorkeled before, but I have found a new passion. Though the little scooter things they give you are nice, I actually prefer to snorkel just with flippers. There was a big baracuda that followed our group the whole time, and we saw a sting ray and a lot of fish. Jared was using the scooter to dive down to the reefs. We had a ton of fun and I'm glad we picked that excursion. Also here are some videos! Pardon the shakiness, and the noise, kinda hard to steer a scooter and film and snorkel all at once. Also I don't know why the color is all off...the originals aren't like that, just when I uploaded them...

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The rest of the day at Grand Turk was uneventful, just relaxed on the beach, then we boarded the ship and headed out again.
Next stop on Thursday was Half Moon Cay, a private island owned by Carnival. This was mine and Jared's favorite day. I've never seen a more beautiful beach. We had to take little ferries from the cruise ship to the shore, but it was cool, we had to pull into this cove they called "pirate's cove" hidden from the beach, and walk to the beach. However, on our ferry, I saw this girl that looked really familiar, and when she shot me a dirty look, I realized it was that live singer that we totally hated. She was on our ferry! Wasn't she like working? Well luckily she didn't sing, and we got to the island and escaped.
It was just so beautiful, the water was crazy aqua and so clear, and the sand was so soft I wanted to lay in it forever! Since we only brought one snorkel, and I was dying to do it again, I rented one for the day so we could both do it instead of switching back and forth. Note to self, just invest in one, and bring it next time, it's worth it!
Later in the day Jared went on shore and I was still snorkeling and I found a barracuda all on my own, and this one was three times the size of the one I saw the previous day. he was just hanging out on the bottom of the sea, like 10 feet below me, and he had his mouth kind of open, and it was a little scary...but so cool. Then when Jared came back out I found a Stingray all on my own, and we watched as it swam out to sea. Then we just waded on the shore. it was so relaxing and so gorgeous, I could spend all day every day there.
That night, we went to this passenger talent show, where 4 brave souls sang to the audience, it reminded me of EFY. I was thoroughly enjoying it until the 3rd act, when the lady bravely singing "I will always love you" had a back up singer backstage. Pitchy...off key...too...loud...it was the live singer lady! We could not escape this woman! We did stay though, and I was oddly proud of my fellow passengers who were way braver (and drunker) than I was.
Friday was Nassau, Bahamas, and it surprised me. There we got much more of a tourist experience, and got to see the life of the island. I actually felt like I was in a foreign country. Jared and I walked to find a beach, where of course we snorkeled a bit. Then we walked around the city and shopped and totally enjoyed the experience. Jared bought me this pretty elephant bracelet that means good luck and I love it.
After we exhausted ourselves we got back on the boat and spent the rest of the afternoon in the pool, with people getting last minute vacation wasted, and talking about the 25 other cruises they had been on. I loved it. Then Friday night we went to all of the comedy shows (2 comedians, 3 acts). One of the guys had toured with Gladys Knight and the pips, for like 12 years, he was hilarious!
Saturday morning we got back to Miami, where we got through customs without a hitch, were the 3rd family off the boat, and quickly caught a cab to the airport for our long flight back home.
We loved our cruise and can't wait to go on another one. We are so happy we were able to go! Also in closing I'd like to share this video...a clip from my ever-favorite Gilmore Girls. This is all I could think of every time we ran into that live singer lady...
http://youtu.be/bCuPs7upsVI?t=3m