Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Cruising through the Caribbean!

David and I finally went on our Cruise!  
We had wanted to go on one for our 5 year anniversary, but the timing just wasn't right.  We are coming up on our 8th anniversary and decided the timing would never be just right, so we booked it and went:)  Oh it was so fun and just what I needed to get out of the winter blues and into the sunshine!   
This was our picture coming onto the cruise.  It is not the best picture (who wears a sweatshirt on a cruise?), but it reflects our day (and night) just trying to get to the cruise.  It was a little stressful getting out there because our flight got cancelled due to a storm in Denver.  They didn't cancel the flight until 10am and we were leaving at 3pm, and by that time, there were no other flights with that airline to get us to Tampa on time.  We were super stressed and had to end up booking an overnight flight with 3 separate flights on another airline that was more than triple the price of our original flight plus we lost our hotel we had booked!  We were not happy and it put a huge damper on our trip in the beginning, but we made it, even though we were exhausted, and knew we had to make the best of it anyway... and we did!
We took a 5 day cruise on Royal Caribbean's Jewel of the Seas
 Here we are leaving Tampa, we're on our way!
 We got a beautiful sunset on our first night and went under this bridge

 We got plenty of food and relaxation

Formal Night
I do have to say, we were not prepared for how nice the cruise was.  We felt so under dressed and had no idea things were so formal.  I was lucky to have a dress and David a button up shirt to kind of pass for formal night!!

 Our cruise ship was 13 levels, and this was looking down a glass opening from the 13th floor all the way down to the 4th floor.
They cleaned and tidied up our room twice each day, and everyday, they left a towel animal on our bed with the schedule for the next day.  The rooms were actually way better than I had anticipated.  I had no idea the service and amenities would be so incredibly nice!!  I almost felt bad for receiving such Royal treatment in every area on the cruise. 

1st Stop:  Grand Cayman
For our excursion here, we went Kayaking and Snorkeling which was a lot of fun.  The water in Grand Cayman was incredible.  I have never seen anything like it!

 We couldn't dock here, so we took small tendering boats to shore.  This is a picture of our cruise ship.


2nd Stop:  Cozumel, Mexico
For our excursion here, we went to some Mayan Ruins in a city called Tulum.  We were a little nervous about making it back to the boat this day, because our excursion was all day.  We took a 45 minute ferry ride to the mainland and then an hour drive to the ruins, but we made it and LOVED it!
On our way, we stopped by a shop with all handmade things from people of Mayan descent

 TULUM-  Comes from the Mayan word "wall",  The city was walled in and was just incredible.  I was fascinated by all the history and correlations to the Book of Mormon.  Our tour guide was great, but we missed having an LDS perspective.  

There were iguanas everywhere!

Our tour guide, Juan.  He talked about a Heavenly Being that came down to the inhabitants of all the surrounding areas, and they had a carving of this face.  They all had different names for him, but it definitely looks like Jesus!

 One of their tombs
 Temple of Fertility
 A face was carved in this one

 This city was beautiful, right along the coastline 

 It was definitely a jungle and so humid.  We were grateful for it being overcast that day. We heard all sorts of animals and birds and felt like we were in another world.  It really was just like that movie, "The Testaments"  if you have ever seen that.

This spring was their fresh water source
We bought a personalized souvenir with Mayan writing on it.  It has our names and wedding date on it
A macaw

 This ship next to us followed us to all our stops.  They were docked right next to us and it was funny to look over at them.

The Food!
Oh how can you even begin with the food!  We ate like every half hour and could have just about anything we wanted at just about any time!! 
My first time to eat lobster.  It was really good.
 The biggest cake I have ever seen in my life and part of it is even gone
I scream, You scream, We all scream for ice cream... we ate a lot of ice cream I'm afraid to say:)

The dining room was so fancy.  We sat at the same table every night with couples around our age.  It was fun to get to know them and see familiar faces around the ship.

The boat had so many fun things to do!
 Luckily they had some active things to do after eating all that food!  We ran the track and went to the indoor gym they had.
 We played ping pong everyday and I think I almost beat David once, maybe!
I had never played shuffleboard before and it was really fun.  I had to show proof that I actually did get a 10, which was really hard to do by the way:)

Miniature Golf
  We only got to go rock climbing once though, because it got so windy up on the top deck.  Friends that we made on the boat said they saw us in the highlight video at the end, playing ping pong and mini golf:)  We also swam and played volleyball and basketball on the sports court they had.  So fun! 
I actually caught David taking a snooze! H/H!  He never does that! 

Shows and Entertainment
The entertainment was really good!  I was again just amazed at the quality of everything and how clean it all was.  I had heard stories of how inappropriate shows can be on cruises, and we did not encounter any of that.  
I volunteered myself to the game of "60 Seconds" (Minute to Win It).  When I got up there my heart started racing, and I couldn't believe what I had just done, but it ended up being really fun, and was good for me to step out of my comfort zone a little.  I feel like as I have gotten older, I have become a little boring and less adventurous, so this brought me back to my younger years a little:) H/H!  
I had to stick my nose in Vaseline and then pick up cotton balls and drop them into a basket across the room.  Of course I ended up sticking my entire face in the Vaseline and getting numerous balls stuck to my face.  They said I cheated, so we had to do it all over again!!  It was pretty funny and I actually slipped into one of the tables and knocked someone's drink over (luckily it was soda).  Through it all, I did win first place though!
Back to Tampa.  It was a beautiful morning there.
 One thing David and I loved about the cruise was being at each others side the whole time with no everyday distractions and busyness.  It was so wonderful to be together!
Even though we had such a great time, we really missed our kiddos and were anxious to get back to them.  We had no contact with anyone for the entire time we were gone.  We were so grateful for our family who took care of them.  Here they are sporting their souvenir shirts from the Cayman Islands.