Monday, March 03, 2008

Here it is

So, I have politely been informed that I need to frigging POST ALREADY about the cruise :)

It was a really good experience, and so much was packed into the week we were gone that it's almost hard to know where to start.

We flew down to Miami from Toronto early Saturday February 16 and arrived around lunch time. We boarded the boat that afternoon. The most exciting part of this day for me was being in Miami. I'd never been to Florida before and that is a rare thing being from Ontario... just about everyone I've met here has been in Florida at least once. Plus it was exciting because of CSI Miami. And ... The First 48 (I like crime TV... hmm... a lot of crime TV is set in Miami).

When our ship pulled away from the dock it was bright and sunny and WINDY, and we got some fun pictures on the deck.

Sunday was spent "at sea". Let me tell you, I was a bit freaked out by finding myself in the middle of the ocean, no land to be seen. I didn't think this would bother me but I kept thinking of Titanic and The Poseidon Adventure (starring Fergie from the Blackeyed Peas. Extremely classy movie) and wondering what would happen if the ship sank. Oh, and sharks. I had a hard time not thinking about sharks. Oh yeah, and I had a hard time not picturing myself falling off the side of the ship and getting sucked into the propeller blades. Other than facing my irrational fears, hanging out on the ship was fun. There was a lot to do... food everywhere (including 24 hour self-serve soft icecream stations, a.k.a. HEAVEN), various lounges, decks, pools, hot tubs, stores, bars, etc.

The next day we stopped at our first island, "Half Moon Cay". This island is very tiny, and uninhabited by people (as far as I could tell). I think only cruise ships stop there. The weather was fabulous, and I got a nice burn. I was amazed by how clear and beautiful the water was. Also, how cold it was. I always thought caribbean water would be really warm, but it sort of just felt like a Canadian lake in the summer. It was still awesome though.

The next day we had another day at sea. The nights on the ship were great... after being served a luxurious meal with unlimited servings (gluten-free! the ship was great for gluten-free) we would go to see that night's show. Over the whole week we saw lots of good dancing, a hypnotist and a magic show. Oh, and a country singer, but that part wasn't a highlight.

The NEXT day we stopped in St. Thomas, one of the U.S. Virgin Islands. Aside from having a massive headache which made me horrendously nauseous and grumpy, I managed to deal with it and have one of the best days the whole week. I really loved St. Thomas, with its hills and sailboats and gorgeous view. Luke, Rebecca and I went on a kayaking/hiking/snorkeling adventure with an eco-tourism type group. It was interesting. The thing that sucked about this day was the horrible experience of having to stand in line FOREVER to go through U.S. customs on our way off the ship. It was really unorganized. Basically we had to line up with all the thousands of people on the ship, and I think about 4 people or so at a time had to go through a security check and customs with their passports and ship I.D. Not too many people were pleased with this, and apparently it isn't commonly done this way on most cruises. Overall, brilliant day though.

Next day: at sea.

Next day: San Juan, Puerto Rico. This was another highlight of the trip. We got to walk around old San Juan, which is gorgeous. We toured an old fort that had some cool history. We got ice cream from the Cold Stone Creamery (awesome). We at dinner at a beach-side cafe. I bought some cigars from the outdoor market.

The next day we stopped in Nassau, an island in the Bahamas. Apparently a lot of famous celebrity-types have houses here- Oprah, Tiger Woods, Michael Jackson, Nicolas Cage (I'm totally name-dropping right now) etc. It was a neat place to see, though we drove through areas of pretty brutal poverty to get to the beach, which was eye-opening. We had an interesting experience at the beach, sitting in front of a pimp/drug dealer, sitting beside an old American man and his 'escort', and sitting within earshot of many drunk and loud old men (tourists). We could have picked a better spot because it was a beautiful beach. We were really close to the Atlantis hotel, which has suites that go for something like $25, 000 a night. CRAZY.

The next day we arrived back in Miami. The week FLEW by. Being on a ship was fun... I didn't get seasick like I thought I would, though staff on the ship said it was one of the rockiest cruises they had experienced in a long time. A lot of other people got sick.
Oh yeah, we also got to watch the lunar eclipse on one of the top decks of the ship, which is a pretty prime place to be to watch something like that, so that was a highlight.

I had a good time on the cruise... other than occasionally feeling claustrophobic and getting sick of standing in line no matter where I went (I guess this is pretty standard for all touristy experiences) the trip was a lot of fun.


Luke 11:14 PM  

good post... seems pretty similar to mine though. it's like we were on the same cruise or something....

Anonymous 12:11 AM  

I didn't mean it in a mean, cattle prodding way. Just a gentle hint. :) I'm also commenting before I've read the entire thing ... I just got past the first sentence. Haha.

Anonymous 12:17 AM  

Ok, now I've read the post. :)

I think the best thing about the "At Sea" days were actually the nights, when you hang out on deck and see other ships across the ocean. Just little light blobs.

I also had the thoughts about going overboard, and being eaten by sharks, or being sucked into the blades - if I ever really wanted to disappear (wow, bad vibes, haha) ... I'd definitely get real drunk and jump off the side of the ship.

Definitely want to take a Caribbean cruise ... though the Pacific coast of Mexico had some pretty nice spots (well, one, Ixtapa/Zihuatanejeo) ... I didn't mind the cruising, since I'm not a big drinker and drinking is ridiculously expensive.

Glad to hear you enjoyed it. And that unlike me, you have people that share the same memories, and know what the weird photos are of.

Dorothea 11:12 AM  

wow it sounds like you really had a blast. I am really impressed that the ship has gluten-free food. Were the meals on the ship included in the cruise price?

Sonya 6:59 PM  

Sounds like such a hoot! I could definitely see myself doing a cruise in the future.

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Luke 6:17 PM  

^^^ is this blog spam?

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