Tag Archives: Royal Caribbean

The Rest of the Fun

Now that I’ve told you about all our cruise excursions, you’d think I’d be done talking about this vacation. But nope. We had three full days at sea that I haven’t even mentioned. I had two more posts drafted, but I felt like that was a little excessive. So instead I’m going to sum up the main points in one post. One. long. post. See? You don’t have to hear about my vacation any more after this. Unless you want to… (call me!)

1. I bought two books before the cruise in anticipation of reading by the pool for hours on end.

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That didn’t happen. I never even went in the pool. I walked by it many times to get to the bar but actual relaxing by it didn’t happen. We spent most of our time eating (so, so much eating) or hanging out at a pool deck table chatting with Linda and Jimmy.

2. OMG. The eating.

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That’s our waiter, Anthony, posing with us. He helped us all eat five meals a day. It was ridiculous. Even when we tried to be good, it was impossible because he was hell bent on feeding us. If one of us didn’t order a certain course (like a second appetizer or meal *gasp*), he’d bring out what he thought we might like so we wouldn’t be “lonely” watching everyone else eat.

3. I ate something I said I would never eat. Snails, dude.

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I’ve been saying no to trying escargot for 10 years. I cannot deal with little, black, slimy things that look like hot garbage on a plate, but Linda insisted. So I gave in. The verdict: I ordered them every day for the rest of the cruise. Damn those things are good. Where have you been all my life you delicious, butter-drenched delights? If cruise escargot is that good, I can only imagine what non-cruise escargot tastes like. Also, that picture should explain why I’m not going to do a food post.

4.  At the Belly Flop contest, I captured this amazing shot of a man giving birth to a leg.

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5. This is Deck 5.

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Deck 5 is important for 3 reasons: Irish Pub, 24 hour pizza, and cupcakes.

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We spent a lot of time on Deck 5. The cupcakes were not included with the cruise food which did not deter me. I still bought many of them.

6. Linda and I worked out five out of the seven days on the ship since we pretty much stuffed our faces for all seven days. It is unusually hard to eat that much. That it something I never thought I would say. I mean, I wasn’t so hard that I didn’t do it. That would just be ridiculous.

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7. Our stateroom was on Deck 2.

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That means hubs and I were climbing a ton of stairs daily to get to Deck 11, which had the breakfast and lunch buffets, and Deck 12, which had the pools. By the time we climbed nine flights of stairs, we were panting and sweating. I have never worked so hard to get to a buffet. We did this at least three times a day. All the Crossfit and running do not prepare you for stairs. Stairs are the devil.

8. We went to four shows while we were on the ship. We saw a variety show, a comedy act, an ice skating show, and a dating game type show that was pretty entertaining. I didn’t take any pictures of them, so here’s a picture of Linda and I instead.

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9. We spent most nights at the bars. Although, I feel like that goes without saying.

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10.  Speaking of bars, hubs, Jimmy, and I all got the Premium Inclusive drink package.

Premium Package ($55 per day): includes house and premium cocktails (up to $10 value), frozen cocktails, beers, premium wine by the glass (up to $12 value), nonalcoholic cocktails, bottled still water, fountain sodas with a souvenir Coca-Cola cup and a 20 percent discount on wine bottle purchases.

Not cheap, but I still thought it would be cheaper than paying as we went. The package equaled about five drinks a day from my online research estimation. I didn’t plan to drink every day, but I’m no lightweight so I thought I could easily average that and make up the difference with bottled water.

Turns out drinks were way cheaper than I expected (and they had happy hour drink specials). So the package is worth it if you can drink eight drinks a day. Drinking eight drinks a day is hard, ya’ll. Of course, we didn’t want to lose money, so it became a challenge to drink as much as we could to get our monies worth. So yeah. Bad idea with the drink package. It would have been way cheaper to pay as we went. Live and learn, I suppose.

11. If you go on a cruise, bring cold medicine just in case. NyQuil was nineteen dollars on the ship. NINETEEN! Dying was cheaper, so I drank orange juice and suffered.

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12. I saw Frozen. We all watched it on the big screen at the pool the last night which was a fun way to watch. So now I’ve caught up with the rest of the world.

13.  Our last day on ship, we went to Johnny Rockets.

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We needed a break from the buffet and dining room but I think our JR waiter was friends with our regular dining room waiter because he kept bringing food we didn’t order too. We wanted a burger each and chili fries to share. We ended up with chili fries, regular fries, a bowl of ranch dressing, onion rings, four shakes, apple pie, and an extra burger. I ate all that in a bikini and felt extra sexy afterwards. Try that out if you want to feel super sexy too.

Our vacation was so fun. I’m sad it’s over. Although, I may have convinced Linda and Jimmy to join us on next year’s vacation to *fingers crossed* Ireland. My passport is lonely for its first stamp. 🙂

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Wandering Around St. Maarten

Our last, and most favorite stop, was in St. Maarten.

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St. Maarten is an island divided by two nations: a French side (Saint Martin) and a Dutch side (Sint Maarten). They are so split in two, they don’t even want to spell it the same. We visited the capitol, Phillipsburg, which is on the Dutch side.

Our visit to St. Maarten didn’t really go as planned. We tried really hard to book a snuba tour but there were only two spots left and we needed four. We even tried the wait list with no luck, so we decided to cancel our original tour (to a butterfly farm) and wing it since I really wanted to watch planes land at Maho Beach after hearing about it from my friend, Kate.

Maho Beach is a 30 minute cab ride from the port and right in front of an airport runway. Because the runway is so short, planes have to fly really low over the beach to ensure the wheels hit the runway as soon as possible. That makes plane watching extra interesting, especially when signs like this are posted.

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We hung out at the café on the beach all morning sipping Pina Coladas. I was starting to get a cold so I rationalized that those were the only things that felt good on my throat. Vacation logic. Hubs, Jimmy, and Linda ate lunch but I wasn’t hungry so I had more Pina Coladas to help my cold.

A lot of smaller planes land at the airport but the big ones are the most fun to watch, so the bar has a daily flight schedule posted so you know when they are coming in.

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After watching planes all morning from the beach café, we decided to get a little closer.

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See the plane approaching in the background?

This should be where I explain to you what Jimmy is doing. He decided at the beginning of the trip that he was going to pose like this for as many pictures as possible. He calls this pose “the erection.” So it was a delight when Linda would ask before someone took our picture, “are we going to do “the erection?” Always a crowd-pleaser.

Anyway, standing under those planes as they are passing over is a way different experience than watching from the café. It is freaky and cool. I took video of one of them but the video does nothing to capture the sound level and jet blast of a plane flying that close over you.

If you can’t see that video, you can click here too.

After watching planes all morning, we found a guy selling coconuts (illegally, because he ran when the cops drove by) and bought some.

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Well, everyone did but me because I hate coconut water. But it was still cool to watch this guy machete a coconut like no one’s business.

After that we caught a cab downtown for some shopping.

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St. Maarten is known for its shopping. There were a ton of cute shops selling all sorts of touristy stuff. It was fun checking them all out. Plus, fun fact about St. Maarten – you can walk around outside with alcohol like in Vegas and New Orleans. Basically my dream.

Downtown was about two miles away from the ship, so we just slowly made our way back stopping in just about every store on the way. I was hungry since I didn’t eat lunch, so I made everyone eat lunch #2 with me. We stopped at this awesome little beach restaurant.

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I wanted a cheeseburger in a bad way. So I ordered one because I’m an uncultured American. But I’m telling you, the burger was freakin’ amazing. (Hubs agreed.)  I was a little worried the waitress didn’t ask how I wanted it cooked, but apparently they only cook it one way: delicious.

Hubs, Jimmy, and Linda got this awesome beef plate so I ate that too because I like to eat off of other people’s plates.

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After lunch, we did some more shopping. I bought a bathing suit top and hubs bought some coconut rum with actual coconut pieces floating in it. Also, cigarettes were really cheap. (No, I didn’t buy them.) They were $17.99 a carton and $3.00 for a single pack. I think if I lived in the St. Maarten, I’d take up full-time smoking since it’s so cheap.

Oh, another interesting thing is that cigarettes had these giant warning labels all over them that we do not have in America.

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I was explaining to the lady at the store that our warnings are very small and she was like, “so that’s why everyone points out those warnings out to each other.”

Anyway, we all loved St. Maarten. Jimmy was already planning his trip back while we were there. We commented on how nice all the locals were when we noticed on the license plates that St. Maarten is called The Friendly Island. They definitely live up to that. I would really recommend visiting if you have the chance.

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I can’t get over hub’s face in that picture. He INSISTED on being the goat.

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Jet Skiing and Stingraying in the Bahamas

Now we’re gonna back up to our first port stop in Coco Cay, Bahamas. I’ve been to Coco Cay before and it’s meh if you ask me. It’s Royal Caribbean’s private island and it’s pretty because it’s the Caribbean but it’s small and boring unless you like sitting on a beach chair for 8 hours. So, I was a little bah hum bug about going back. We ended up booking two excursions for this stop and it was a lot of fun and I got to eat my words.

Our first excursion was jet skiing. Or Sea Dooing. I guess those are the same thing.

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Holding on for dear life.

Jet skiing has always been on my “too scared to try” list because falling into the water at high speeds and dying (in my scenario, I die) does not sound like a good time. So I made hubs drive and I hung on tight enough that if I was going in, he was going in with me. #thatslove. Once we started jumping waves, I starting dropping expletives. It was fun and scary and besides feeling the need to crap my pants, it was awesome!

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We followed our guide to a few spots where we stopped and waited for everyone else in the group to catch up. She’d tell us a few things, probably about the island or the ocean, that I didn’t hear because I was too busy trying to stay alive. Then we’d do it all over again. It was a good time. There was even a 70-something couple with us that hadn’t jet skied in 40 years. That’s the couple I want to be when I’m old. Smile  So overall, I didn’t die, which I like, and I’d do it again.

After the first excursion, we had some time to kill, which we did with many rum and cokes under a shade tree on the beach. We ate lunch after our morning boozing and then met up for our second excursion  – swimming with stingrays. After a briefing on what not to do around stingrays, we took a five minute boat ride over to the stingray area.

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We got into this big fenced in area where there were tons of stingrays swimming around our legs.

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It was kinda freaky and cool at the same time.

Then we got to feed and hold them which was just…omg.

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If anyone wants to style their hair like mine, send me an email and I’ll tell you how. It’s a delicate balance of wind, water, and not looking in a mirror.

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Those things weigh 100 lbs and they are all slippery and weird and interesting. They are all like, sure, hold me, it’s cool.

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There were all sorts of other things to see while we were there like sea cucumbers (so gross), starfish, and sea urchins, which suck on your hand while you’re holding them. *shudder*

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I did not hold that thing for long.

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sea cucumber

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After about an hour, we headed back. We wanted to see the pictures the guides took of us but we only had about 20 minutes left to catch the last tender back to the ship, so we skipped it. Boo.

We all loved both excursions and of course all the rum, so my second trip to Coco Cay was much better than the first.

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Snorkeling in the Virgin Islands

I’m going to talk about this cruise for a bit because it was awesome and there’s a lot to talk about. So get ready for my vacation shenanigans. I might even be able to talk about it in less posts than this girl talked about her Cuba vacation, but I doubt it.

Anyway, like I mentioned before, hubs and I went on a 7-night Eastern Caribbean cruise with our friends, Linda and Jimmy. The cruise had port stops in Coco Cay, Bahamas, St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, and St. Maarten (in that order). I was a little apprehensive about going on a 7-night cruise. I’ve been on two cruises previous to this – both only three nighters – and both times I was bored half of the time and ready to GTFO by day three.

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Well, I had nothing to worry about. I had an awesome time and I was never bored. I wasn’t too excited about our stops at first. I wanted to do the Western Caribbean cruise but Linda and Jimmy had already done that one last year which kinda bummed me out. But, the fact that I LOVE vacationing with friends won me over so I got over my snobby Eastern Caribbean ways and decided to go anyway.

If you’ve been reading this blog since the beginning of time (or 3 years, whichever), you might remember that Linda was our personal trainer for several years (that’s how we met). This is the second time we’ve been on vacation with her and her husband. The first time was a Carolinas road trip about four years ago, so we already knew we could spend a lot of time with them and not want to shiv them in the kidneys. We also knew they liked to have fun.

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See? Fun!

Anyway, our first stop was in Coco Cay, but since I’m waiting to get few pictures from Linda, I’ll move on to stop #2 – St. Thomas, Virgin Islands.

Lots of ships ported at St. Thomas.

Can’t take him anywhere.

Originally, we had planned a snuba excursion in St. Thomas. Snuba is apparently a thing and I had never heard of it until we got on the ship. It’s not quite snorkeling and it’s not quite scuba diving. When you snuba, you explore 20 feet below water and the oxygen tank floats above you. All four of us were more psyched for snuba than any of the other excursions we had booked. So of course it was cancelled because the ship was an hour and a half late into port because of heavy wind.

We booked another excursion, our distant second choice of snorkeling. We picked a tour with Cool Boats USVI that went to Turtle Bay. We sailed there on an actual ghost ship called Blackbeard’s Revenge. The ship sunk in the 80’s and then was resurrected six weeks later and refurbished. It looked like a bad ass pirate ship.

There’s nothing like the feeling of sailing on a ship that once sunk.

The trip started out pretty well other than the fact that the water was super choppy and there were at least two people barfing into buckets and two others that didn’t look so hot. Those people were not us, by the way. Other than that, it was a good 30-minute sail.

I can’t say enough good things about the tour guides, Shy and Amelia, and Capt. Jim. They were amazing and funny and told stories like they haven’t told them 1000 times before. They did things like scale the boat to open the sails while the boat was in motion.

See Shy up there? You could not pay me to do that. He didn’t even use the ladder. He climbed up by one using one of those thin ropes. Crazy mofo.

We got to Turtle Bay and I was happy the boat had finally stopped. I was starting to feel a little sea sick even though I was sitting in the middle of the boat, which moves the least. We all jumped off the boat and started our snorkel.

The snorkeling selfie.

The water was beautiful but it was so congested with people that I couldn’t swim without hitting someone with my flipper or someone else’s flipper hitting me.

See what I mean?

I bought a GoPro camera right before the trip and I’m an absolute idiot using it. I thought I was taking pictures when I was actually taking video for half a day. Then I had it set on 10 pictures per second for another part of the day and ended up with tons of the same picture. The jury is still out on that camera.

Ok, so back to snorkeling. Besides being congested, there wasn’t much to see except a lot of flat sea floor and a fairly lame coral reef.

A few others saw some turtles and a stingray but I wouldn’t have been able to get there to see them unless I started taking down little children, which normally I would do, just not with that many witnesses. So I saw nothing unless you count the shadow of a turtle in the distance, three fish, and then a turtle once I got back on the boat that mocked me with its frocklicking.

So basically, the snorkel portion of the trip was a bust and I didn’t use much of the free snorkel time after we went on the “tour” where Amelia told us about parts of the reef.

We got back on the ship and our guides started serving us many of these fruity rum drinks called Painkillers (for FREE) and that significantly improved our moods. I was looking the other direction at one point, holding my drink, and felt Capt. Jim filling up my cup. Man after my own heart right there.

Also, our guide Shy memorized all FIFTY people’s names on the boat. He went around, asked everyone their name individually, and did some weird pneumonic thing in his mind for a few seconds each time. Then, after he asked everyone their names, was able to call everyone out in order. He even knew our names when we swapped positions on the boat and were coming out of the water wet and unrecognizable with our snorkle gear on. Crazy. That dude was pure entertainment. I’m sad I didn’t get a good picture of him because he reminded me of Aaron Paul. (Hubs said he reminded him of Dominic Moynahan.)

Everyone being entertained by Shy.

We left a good tip because we loved, loved the guides but the tour itself was meh. I would have preferred a snorkel trip that carried less people and had something to look at. You go to Turtle Bay, you expect to see turtles. Amirite?

We had a little time when we got back to shore before all-aboard, so we stopped at a cute beach pub called Fat Turtle and had a few more drinks and appetizers (to prep our stomachs for dinner, of course). We asked for a local rum suggestion and the waitress recommended Cruzan which is made in the Virgin Islands. We have that all over the place in Orlando, so no. No Cruzan rum for Paula. I went with a Moscow Mule instead (my current favorite drink). I didn’t take any pictures toward the end of the day, so imagine me enjoying many more adult beverages. Pretty much like you imagine me on any normal day.

St. Thomas wasn’t our favorite stop, but we still had a great time. We heard from the locals that if you’re going to go to the Virgin Islands, that you want to take the ferry over to St. John. Apparently St. John is amazing. St. Thomas was beautiful BUT super touristy, which isn’t my thing since I already live in the land of tourism.

Ok, so that was our second stop. I’ll be back with more in a few days. 🙂

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Cruise Food

We all know cruises are about the food, right? Well, the food was one of my main reasons for not wanting to go. On our Disney cruise, there were no healthy options, I gained 3 lbs, and never lost it. I don’t have much self-control around food I love.

Well, Royal Caribbean proved me wrong. Yes, there was a lot of crap food and I did indulge on the stuff that I liked the most, but there were also a ton of healthy options. I was surprised! I mean, I still gained another 3 lbs, but my point here is that it could have been worse.

Every morning, my breakfast looked like this:

Veggie omelet with salsa, fresh fruit, and oatmeal. (Actually, it was muesli. HOLY Scott Baio dimples, why have I never found muesli before now? That stuff tastes like eating a liquid oatmeal raisin cookie. Sha-ZAM!)

There may also have been a donut incident one day. It was terrible too. I mean, who makes a bad donut? But I still ate it all. No donut left behind.

Every afternoon, my lunch looked like this: 

Salad with tons of veggies and a protein (usually turkey lunch meat since they had an area where you could make your own sandwiches).

On the last day, I tried their burger (minus the bun because it was stale), lamb curry, pasta that tasted way too good to be good for you, and 4 fries. Why 4 fries? I have no idea.

They pretty much had anything and everything at the buffet: sandwiches, hot dogs, burgers, tacos, rice, pasta, potatoes, beef, fish, soup. It was ridiculous.

Each night at dinner in the restaurant, they had a Vitality menu of healthier options. A 3-course meal for under 800 calories. They have the calories listed on the  menu and alternate options if you don’t like what they are featuring that night. My 3-course meal usually ended up being just under 650 calories.

Shaved Cantaloupe and honeydew melon with midori yogurt. (This sucked)

Grilled Seafood Brochette

Low-fat Berry Mousse.

And so on…

I ordered from the light menu every night because I knew I’d be eating soft serve like it was going out of style and drinking alcohol like prohibition was coming back.

Speaking of soft serve, check out the cute little fresh veggie/fruit animals that were by the machine. I want to make these. And then eat them.

Overall the food was much better on our Disney cruise. Food on Royal Carribean was hit or miss. When it sucked, it really sucked but when it was good, it was delicious.

Also, please know that someone somewhere on the Monarch of the Seas has this name.

Kate, if you find Bloyde, I’ll expect a picture.

Oh and this is the last Bahamas post. Pinky swear.

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Coco Cay and Kayaking

I swear I’m almost done talking about the Bahamas. But I had so much fun! It’s hard not to tell you everything. Smile

We woke up bright and early on Day 3 for our kayaking excursion on Coco Cay, Royal Caribbean’s private island. Coco Cay is a tendered island since the water is too shallow for the ship to dock there. So, we woke up extra early to catch the first tender.

It’s so surreal sitting on the tender when the ship is right next to you. Makes you realize how crazy big cruise ships are.

The first tender took off around 7:45 and our excursion started at 9:00.

When we booked the excursion on the ship the day before, the guy made sure to tell us to be on the first tender. The ride to the island is only 10 minutes or less, but if you want to make the most of your day, get on that first tender because the rest of them are uncomfortably packed with people.

When we got to the island, we met up with Sandy (it’s a MAN, man), our kayak guide, and followed him down to the kayaking area.

We filled out some paperwork that said we wouldn’t sue Royal Caribbean or anyone in the modern world if we died, and then had about a half hour to kill before our trip started.

K and I found some hammocks. Look! It’s my first time in a hammock.

This view and the cool breeze in the shade did not suck.

I’m going to have to make the executive decision that I really like hammocks. So does K.

After lounging around for awhile, we were ready to set sail. Or set kayak. Something like that.

Had I know how this picture was going to turn out, I would have done something illegal. No evidence! Or it’s proof I’m a demon.

The water had a pretty strong current so we really felt like we were getting an arm and ab workout. We would both row 8 times on one side to barely turn the kayak the other direction. It was frustrating!

We took a short break on another side of the island.

And by short, I mean I had time to take a few pictures, take my clothes off, and walk about 5 steps into the water. Then Sandy was already calling us to come back in. Lame, Sandy. Real lame.

This next picture is for Kate and Michelle. Michelle said if she could show her pregnant belly on her blog, I should post a bikini picture on mine.

This pose is going to SWEEP Victoria’s Secret catalogs across the nation.

Watch out, Giselle. I got the double guns pointing to the sky.

I had fun kayaking, but I must say it was much more fun on Castaway Cay (Disney’s private island) during our last Bahamas cruise. It wasn’t rushed and it was much more peaceful. Also, Coco Cay didn’t really have much to it which was disappointing. I mean, it was pretty but I felt like Castaway Cay had so much more.

After our excursion, we kayaked back to the starting point, dried off a bit, and hung out in the hammocks for a little while. We wanted to snorkel but left our snorkel gear on the ship so we didn’t have to lug it around. We decided to catch the tender back to the ship, eat some lunch, and come back to the island. That is, until we saw how packed the tenders were coming in. We were not in the mood for that. So, we did what any rational girl in that situation would do.

After lounging at the pool for an hour or two, we went back to our rooms to take a shower and get ready for our last dinner. *sniff, sniff*

Well, first there was more soft serve.

Then there was dinner.

And drinks.

When we woke up the next morning, we were back home in Florida.

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For those of you who asked about my dress in the last post, I got that at Ross for $16.99. I can’t be paying out mad money for clothes when I have cruises to go on and alcohol to drink. Priorities, people. And to think I wasn’t even going to wear that dress until K made me. So, apparently I should listen to her more often.

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Getting Fancy

I hope you all didn’t think I was done talking about the Bahamas. Cuz I’m totally not! I’ve already talked about our arrival, the spa night, and parasailing. Well, after parasailing, we went back to the ship to get all fancied up because it was formal dinner night.

We asked random people on the ship to take pictures of us all night and never got a good one. I think this one might be the best even though K is in a funky position.

At least it’s better than the one the waiter took by kneeling three inches from the floor. Yes. Please photograph us from the worst angle ever. Mmm k? Thanks.

After dinner and horrible pictures, we hit up the casino and took more pictures. We did a 5 minute photo shoot in front of the bartender and he didn’t even blink.   Good man. Good man.   Casino pictures are mandatory whenever you wear sequins. It’s like a casino rule or something.

I’m not much of a gambler, but I’ve been known to play penny slots just for the free drinks in Vegas. Well, no free drinks on a cruise. So I watched K play and win big money, no whammies. She walked away with a sweet $2.00.

While K gambled, I kept myself occupied with tasty beverages. (Vodka/club soda with Crystal Light mojito  mixer. Mmmm. I brought the mixers with me.)

I’m not sure how long she was gambling but I managed to take a ton of pictures of myself during that time.

After hanging out in the casino for awhile, we went to the Captain’s Welcome at The Sound of Music theatre (that was not featuring The Sound of Music, by the way). They had free champagne, so of course we wanted to go. When we walked in, I had a drink in my hand already so the waiter only offered K the free champage. 

Oh no, my friend. Oh no. I have two hands. One for each of them.

Look! Champagne holders! Perfect because my hands were getting cold.

During the Captain’s Welcome, the captain of the ship talked to the audience for about 5 or 10 minutes. He mostly talked about his history with Royal Carribean and gave us fun facts about the ship. It’s the oldest ship in the fleet that is still doing cruises and there were 2583 passengers and 883 staff on board. The largest population on the ship was from the United States, the second largest from India, and the third from Canada. I remembered all that even with 2 drinks, thank you.

After his speech, he brought out some of the top staff and had them all introduce themselves.

The Captain’s Welcome was short, sweet, and informational. Afterwards, we went to our favorite bar on the ship, Boleros, for more drinks.

Vodka/club soda with Crystal Light appletini mix for me and a Berry Colada for K.

Boleros had karaoke every night and it was terrible but we couldn’t stay away. All that terrible karaoke and drinking almost made us forget that there was a dessert buffet going on at the other side of the ship.    Almost.

After the dessert buffet, we explored the ship little, had maybe one more drink while out on the deck listening to the waves, and then decided it was time to go to bed – at 10pm. We are party animals.

When we got to our room we found a towel sloth hanging from the ceiling. Or maybe it’s a monkey. Or a sloth-monkey.

Why, of course I’ll take a picture with you sloth-monkey.

K and I had fun dressing up and wandering around from place to place. We don’t get to dress up often, so formal night on a ship was as good an excuse as any.

Next stop, Coco Cay. Smile

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Nassau and Parasailing

Alright, so back to the Bahamas. I’ve already talked about our arrival and our spa night. Day 2 of our cruise started with an easy 4 mile run on the treadmill. (The gym on the ship was called ShipShape – how cute is that?)  Before you think I’m crazy to workout on a cruise ship, let me tell you that the gym was packed. We had a little time to kill before we docked at noon, so I spent it in the gym.

Plus, you can’t beat the view from the treadmill.

K spent her time “reading.” She didn’t mention that it was the back of her eyelids.

While I was on the treadmill, our ship docked next to the Carnival Freedom.

We had a rock climbing wall that was open for like, 2 hours a day. They had a water slide. Why do you flaunt your water slide?

So mean.

After my run, K and I ate lunch which of course included more soft serve.

Then we got off the ship to meet up with Jay Dee’s Water Sports for our parasailing excursion. We planned the excursion 3 hours after the ship docked so we weren’t caught in the masses trying to get off the ship at once. At least we got off the ship ok.

Finding Jay Dee’s was another story.

I called Jay Dee’s before we left Florida and asked how to find them when we get off the ship. A guy told me someone from Jay Dee’s would pick us up and they would be holding a sign that said “Jay Dee’s” so we could find them. We saw some unfavorable reviews online that basically said the company was hard to find, no one had a sign, and no one knew of the company when the people asked around.

The price for the parasailing was great ($65 per person) and the review was from 2 years ago, which we thought was enough time to work out their issues. Not so much. We didn’t see anyone from Jay Dee’s…but we did see some cool tug boats!

We went to the Visitor’s Center and had a woman there call Jay Dee’s. They didn’t have my reservation. Of course. But Jay Dee’s said they could take us anyway, and that we needed to take a cab to the beach area behind Atlantis, and that they would reimburse us for the fare. Also, they told us that we needed to pay cash for the balance ($97). The guy told me it was written on the reservation (it wasn’t).

Awesome.

We went back to the ship to pick up our 4-page confirmation that did not say anywhere that the balance needed to be paid in cash, and some cash. We walked back to the Visitor’s Center where the woman that helped us before found a cab driver for us and told him that he needed to go to the beach behind Atlantis, find Jay Dee’s, and that they would pay him his fare. (This tidbit did not escape K and I, so we decided not to pay him and let Jay Dee’s do it.)

We got in a hot ass van-cab where I was sweating so profusely that it was like a long run in the summer. I was dripping. There was one couple in the cab with us that told us they had paid $100 per person to parasail. That made us feel better for about 2 seconds until we realized how inconvenienced we were and that we felt like we were filming House of Wax in the back seat. 

Once we got to Atlantis, the cab driver walked a block to the beach with us and walked a block down the beach asking about 7 people on the way where he could find Jay Dee’s. Man, I have never seen a cab driver work so hard for his $8.00 fare. Seriously. This guy was amazing. We would have never found Jay Dee’s without his help. Jay Dee’s was one dude in the middle of the beach, with a logo t-shirt on.

Once we found the guy, he called another guy driving the boat, who came to shore to pick us up. Finally. We were so relieved to find them, I can’t even tell you. We totally thought we were getting boned.

Once we boarded the boat, we were happy.

 And finally could do our first ever parasailing! 🙂

Being up there was really surreal. We thought it would be like some carnival ride, but it was really smooth and you don’t realize you’re as high up as you are. Kinda like being in a hot air balloon, if you’ve ever ridden in one of those.

Parasailing above Nassau was beautiful. Very serene. And the breeze was amazing. Especially after that cab ride.

After we were done, the guys “were understaffed” and couldn’t take us back port by boat. So, we got in another hot ass cab to get back to the ship.

Parasailing was completely the highlight of our mini-vacation. But if we could do it again, we would not use Jay Dee’s and would definitely pay more money for the experience not to be a total pain in the ass.

Have you ever parasailed?

What’s the most daring “sport” you’ve done?  Bungee jumping? Sky diving? (I really want to jet ski some day, but they freak me out. I think it’s the whole wiping out in water thing.)

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Spa Night

Our dinner time on the cruise was at 5:45, so we basically had to schedule everything around that if we wanted to eat in the restaurant and not the buffet. So after I won the Ionithermie treatment, we headed back to the room to get ready for dinner. They opened the restaurant late and while we were waiting in line, I found the one woman that single-handedly makes me look like an Amazon.

I’m telling you that woman could look directly into my belly button. I tried to get closer to her but I didn’t want to seem like the tall, creepy Amazon. At least not on the first night.

Once we finally sat down for dinner, we had to speed-eat to make it to our spa appointments. (I’ll do a cruise food post later that will have you all thankful I’m not a food blogger.)

First up was my hair appointment. I will admit, I was really hesitant to make an appointment with a stylist I’ve never been to that worked on a cruise ship, but she instantly put me at ease with her South African accent. It’s like an English accent and an Australian accent got together and made magical word babies.

She probably could have suggested I shave my head and I would have agreed because all her words are the words of angels. That is my  new favorite accent. *melt*

My layers have looked like crap for awhile now. They’re really choppy and look like a 2 year old cut them. It’s like a bowl was put over my head and layers were cut from there. I hate my hair in this picture, can you see what I’m talking about? (You can see the “shelfy” layers in my “Amazon” pic above too.)

The stylist blended them, and I think it looks much better. Can you tell a difference?

If you can’t, you are probably a dude. I don’t even think my husband knows I got my hair done, which isn’t surprising. I once went from platinum blonde to dark brown without telling him and when he saw me, he told me I looked “tanner.”

Boys.

After my hair appointment, I went to the Ionithermie treatment that I won in the raffle.

This treatment promises you will lose 1 – 8 inches in the area that is treated. I’m always game for losing inches off my ass, so I was looking forward to it. I had no idea what to expect since I had never heard of the treatment before. When I walked into the private spa room, I saw a set-up that looked a lot like this.

Looks safe and non-electrical.

The woman doing the treatment asked me to take off my clothes and put on the “limited edition Victoria’s Secret” underwear that she handed me. Then I had to drape a towel around my shoulders to cover up my “girls.” The underwear were black and looked like hospital booties with leg holes. Someone was a regular jokester. You can’t get those at Victoria’s Secret.

She let me undress alone and when she walked back in, she told me I had a nice physique and that people who need this treatment are never the ones that get it. Hey…I didn’t pick the prize lady. I would have gladly taken the hot stone massage the chick won after me.

After I told her I’d like to concentrate on my thigh area, she took my measurements, had me stand on a towel, and then rubbed some oil over my thighs.

I assure you. It is not.

Then she rubbed some type of lotion on top of the oil. She explained everything as she was doing it, but honestly, it’s hard to pay attention when your butt-naked in front of a stranger. After the rubbing of things on my thighs, she mixed some blue paste together, spread it over a small cushion, stuck some electrodes on the paste, covered up the electrodes with the paste, and then covered the paste with a wet paper towel.

I sat down on the paper towel and she repeated the wet paper towel-paste-electrodes-paste process on top of my thighs. Once she turned on the electrodes, my whole body jerked. It felt like when your foot falls asleep and it tingles like pins and needles, except that I was being shocked with that feeling every 3 seconds for 15 minutes. After the 15 minutes, she removed everything and had me stand to take my measurements again. According to her, I lost a total of 2 1/4 inches from the 3 different measurement areas on each thigh.

I asked her a bunch of questions during the process and found out that the inch loss lasts 24 hours depending on what you eat and drink and that the most inch loss she’s seen in a person is 6 3/4 (on a heavier person). My skin did feel smoother afterwards, but I didn’t notice the inch loss and the smoothness could have been the oil and lotion.

Overall, I have no idea why anyone would want to pay $159 for this treatment when it only lasts up to 24 hours. Maybe for a wedding? It just seems like a way to get money out of women and I can’t even say that it works, so I’m glad it was free. 🙂

Next Bahamas post will be the first stop in Nassau and I swear we get off the ship. See?

Have you ever done any weird spa treatment?  What did you think about it? Scam or worthwhile?

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The Arrival

Last Tuesday night, my friend Kristianna (here forth known as “K” because I’m too lazy to type out her full name) called me and asked me if I wanted to do “something spontaneous.” Spontaneous and K always equals some type of travel or something wacky like doing a zip line or mud wrestling small children. Or mud wrestling small children while doing a zip line.

Tuesday’s spontaneous was in form of a 3-day cruise to the Bahamas…leaving Friday.

K is an avid researcher of awesome travel deals. She found this cruise for $259 a person, so it was hard to pass up. Incidentally, that’s the same price we paid for our last 3-day cruise to the Bahamas on the Disney Wonder 2 years ago (another deal K found).

Now, I’ve only been on 2 cruises and they both went to the same place, so you’ll be getting a lot of comparison of the two ships. (Keep in mind, I have no kids and that weighs heavily in my opinion.) Winking smile

Friday morning, I woke up early to do my long run for the week since I would be on the ship for my Saturday group run. I did 10 miles at an 11:11 pace and the run was sucky. It was more humid that usual, my chest and triceps were sore from a workout with Linda on Wednesday, and I had just done a good tempo run the night before so my legs were tired. Plus, to get that 10 miles in, I ran around Lake Underhill Park 8 times. Not the most exciting run.

After the run, I did one billion errands before we left for Port Canaveral at noon, which is about a 45 minute drive from my house in Orlando.

We got through security and boarded the ship with no problem. A little tip for cruisers, even if the ship says they have a particular boarding time, they almost always let you on early. I think our ship had been boarding for almost 2 hours and it wasn’t even the “official” boading time yet. Your room might not be ready but at least you can drop off your luggage and avoid some crowds.

Our room was ready, so we went there first to put down our carry-on items. It was the furthest room down the hallway, which is awesome when you forget something and have to go back.

The room was small but but we paid an extra $10 for an ocean view which was worth it. The room had a lot of storage, so I didn’t feel like I was stepping all over my crap just to walk around like I did on the Disney Wonder (and we had balcony rooms for that ship).

When we got there, the beds were pushed together and we had to ask the room attendent to seperate them. I shared a king size bed in a hotel once with K and that will be the last time I ever do that. The girl is a hard sleeper and no matter where you are in the bed, she wants to be in that area too.

After we put our stuff down, we decided to explore the ship a little. The main promenade area has all the shops, the casino, Barnie’s Coffee, Ben and Jerry’s, the restaurants, and the guest services area.

We went to the top deck to get a few pictures of Port Canaveral.

The top deck has the salt water pools, hot tubs, the main buffet restaurant, and the rock climbing area (which is behind the circular windowed area).

Even though we boarded early, the pool was already hoppin’.

We weren’t ready to hit the pool just yet, so we did what has now become a tradition since our Disney Cruise. First thing you do when you board a ship = find the soft-serve machine. It was all the way up on deck 12, so you better believe I climbed a ton of stairs all weekend just to get to that bad boy.

I don’t like strawberry much but the strawberry soft serve reminded me of the Florida Strawberry Festival, the only place I have ever had strawberry anything and loved it. It was delicious. We found out that they make it from scratch daily on the ship. The soft-serve machine is now my best friend. Sorry, Lisa. You are out.

Touché.

K and I decided that since we would be at sea the whole night, we would get our pampering in at the spa on the ship. K booked a hot stone massage (which she said was the best massage she’s ever had) and I made a hair appointment. Because we booked spa appointments, we were able to enter our names in a raffle to win fee spa treatments.

Guess who won the first prize???

I won an Ionithermie treatment that was worth $159.00. Score! We weren’t even on the ship for 2 hours, hadn’t left port, and it was already turning out to be the best.cruise.ever.

I’ll tell you all about the treatment in one of my upcoming Bahamas posts. It was weird. Real weird. Plus, I figure if this girl can talk about her wedding for a month on her blog, I can talk about the Bahamas for a week. 🙂

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