Finally, a vacation! Cruising the Caribbean.

Hello Readers!

I’m back from my vacation.  I haven’t had a vacation since before I bought my house in 2013.   I really need to take better care of myself and that includes taking a break from life now and then. 

On April 17, I departed for Miami for to go on 7 day cruise with my cousin, her husband, and one of their friends to the Western Carribbean!  Specifically, the Bahamas, Jamaica, Grand Cozumel, and Mexico.  We cruised on the Norwegian Getaway.  We booked this trip last April.  I was anticipating this trip for a long time.

April 17, Day 1: Flying and Embarkation

Can I just say how much airplanes bother me?  The act of flying itself does not, but airplanes do. I just feel so confined.  Checking a bag and getting through security are not big deals to me, but sitting in a cramped airplane seat does.  I’m constantly moving my legs because otherwise they would go numb from the uncomfortable seat.  It turns out, numb legs were not to be my biggest concern.   I went into a mild anaphylaxis.  Why?  My cousin could only surmise that the airplane cabin filter hadn’t been changed in a while and the pollen was just recirculating in the cabin.  I managed to take a Zyrtec and thankfully the stewardess came by shortly with soda and pretzels.

The rest of the flight was uneventful after that.  I landed in Miami and basked in the beautiful heat and humidity.  I met my cousins at their hotel and then we headed to the port.  I haven’t been on a cruise since Fall 2011 and I was on the Norwegian Jewel.  The Getaway is a much larger ship!  It’s like twice the size of the Jewel.   We got on, explored, and set sail.   I also visited the full sized Mandara Spa on the ship and purchased the week-long pass to the Thermal Spa Suite.  The thermal spa suite had a hot tub, hydro-therapy pool, saunas, salt bath, and a mosaic hot stone lounge chairs.   More importantly, the thermal suite was child free and a quiet zone.   We unpacked and ate and I went to the spa!   So relaxing!

April 18, Day 2: Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas
Great Stirrup Cay is Norwegian Cruise Line’s private cay.   You can snorkel, parasail, lounge on the beach, swim, eat, and drink.  You can do all of that provided the seas are permitting!  In order to get the cay, you have to take a small boat called a tender boat to the island.  If the waves are too high, it isn’t safe to tender.   So we had an extra day at sea.  Some of the passengers were pissed off.  This was supposed to be the free beach day.   So, we relaxed and my cousin and I went to spa.  Readers, you will notice that the spa was really a part of my daily crusing.

April 19, Day 3: A day at Sea

Again, another relaxing day of being at the spa, eating, and drinking and not worry about cooking or cleaning for myself.  Glorious.  We did more ship exploration, played some cruise games, and attended some port shopping reviews.   I’m also discovered a drink called the Miami Vice: It’s a Pina Colada with Blue Curaçao liqueur and strawberries. I also cackled at one of my cousins thinking that the cruise chefs were feeding us diabetic desserts.   Yes, there are diabetic desserts onboard, but we had to explain to him that American desserts, and other foods, are so full of extra sugar that when Americans eat regular foods that we think something is wrong.

Later that day, we went to the onboard shops.  An associate tried to sell me a $12k ring for $2.9k.  Cool deal, bro. I still didn’t buy anything.  I told him that I was just browsing.

April 20: Ocho Rios, Jamaica

Finally, a port!  Pulling into port was absolutely stunning.   The coastline was amazing and the water was blue.   We disembarked and did some walking around and shopping.   We eventually agreed to go on a small tour with a local taxi.  Our taxi driver was born and raised in Ocho Rios.   He drove us all around the town and showed us the local culture.  It really made me sad that a country so rich in culture and resources is dirt poor.   After about 20 minutes, we noticed the locals would stop the tax and try to sell goods or perform acts for money.  We eventually had to tell the tax driver to stop taking us to every place where a local was trying to get money out of us.  We simply didn’t have the resources to tip everyone.   The funniest part of the whole trip was the taxi driver taking us a literal hole in the wall so my cousin’s husband could videotape the waterfalls without paying the $20 entrance.  Yeah…mmhmm.  

On the way back through Port Authority, I asked if they could stamp my passport.  They said that they don’t bother to do that anymore.  You would seriously think that I’ve never been out of the country because my passport is stampless.  One of the port authority guards also told me that “Sometimes, you look a lady and other times, a girl.  Your face needs to make up its mind.”  Thanks, port authority guard.  I ended my day with dinner and a trip to the spa.

April 21: Georgetown, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands

The port shopping specialist was correct; Grand Cayman should be called “Brand Cayman.”   All we saw were shops and banks that wealthy people hide money in.  We didn’t stay long in Georgetown.  We went back to the ship and played some of the cruise games.  When I went back to my room to change for my evening spa ritual, I turned on the international news and saw that Prince died.   I stayed in my room and listened to the Purple Rain album before heading out.

April 22: Cozumel, Mexico

This is the only port where I booked a shore excursion.   We went to the Mayan Ruins at San Gervasio National Park and the beach.   For some odd reason, the cruise director let all of the passengers disembark at the port at the same time instead of letting the excursion ticket holders go first.   After what seemed an eternity, my cousins and I finally managed to meet with our tour guide at the proper spot.  His name was Jesus and he was quite the character.  He was of Mayan descent and provided so many extra details about Mayan culture while we were at the ruins.  While at the ruins, I became dehydrated from the heat and almost fainted like a Yankee.  I’m a southerner.  I should be accustomed to the heat!  I was able to get some snacks and drinks at the onsite convenience store.  I had a Mexican Pepsi.  It’s like angel tears.  There cannot be another.  I haven’t touched American Pepsi since I’ve been back to the states.

FYI, if you are ever on a cruise, please listen to everything your tour guide tells you.  Our tour guide Jesus told us not to shop at the ruins because we were on a timetable and there would be plenty of time to shop back at the Punta Langosta port.  So what does one guy do?  He shopped and Jesus left him behind like a sinner in the apocalypse.  The guy got lucky when one of the shop owners used a golf cart to get him to the bus before we left the national park.

On the beach, it was lovely!!!! I live for the water.  I got in the water as quickly as I could. My cousins lounged and took pictures.   So we had about hours at the beach.  Our tour guide told us to be back on the bus at 3:45.   I got out of the water around 3:30 to dry off and get dressed.  Guess who came swanning down to the beach like he has all of the time in the world?   The same idiot that was left behind the first time.  Normally, I prefer to let stupid people have their follies, but I decided to be nice and alerted him to the fact that he only 15 minutes to soak up the sun and water before we were scheduled to be back on the bus.  He didn’t get left at the beach.  Another fool almost get left instead.  She was at the beach restaurant waiting for her beer as if there wasn’t a ton of alcohol on the cruise ship.  The lack of situational awareness is astounding.

After the excursion ended, we walked around the port awhile and then got back on the ship.  More food, more spa time.

Quotes of the day: 

The shop owners will tell you ‘oh, your tour guide won’t leave you.’  That is a lie.  – Jesus, our tour guide.

Come in!  I have more flavors than Baskin Robbins. –  Tequila bar owner

April 23: Last day at sea
Le sigh.   My final day to relax before returning to the life.  I got my last time at the spa in and just spent the rest of the day day trying to win various raffles and other lighthearted pursuits.

April 24: Disembarkation and Flying

I did not end up with sea legs this time and the airplane ride back home didn’t make me sick.   

I had a blast.  I really need to move to a warmer climate.   I’m happier in the sun and sand.   My skin looks better and my allergies practically disappear.

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