Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Cruise-tastic 2011

At the beginning of April we had the amazing chance to go on a Caribbean cruise with our friends Sam and Jennifer. The Baths & Whitneys couldn't make it this time, but we're looking forward to the next one with them!

The day we left there were 4 inches of snow on the ground. We were trekking to the airport in capris & flip flops, hoping that there really would be sunshine when we got to Florida. And there was! Hallelujah. We only got 2 hours of sleep the night before we left (who knew it was such a task to get Emme all packed and sent off as well!?), but look at these faces. So excited!

Here we are on the shuttle to get our rental car.

Hooray! We made it to Florida. When we walked out of the airport into the sunshine for the first time, Chris got the biggest smile on his face! He couldn't contain his excitement for a week of relaxation!

Our ship was the Norwegian Sun. It looks like a tiny thing next to that other ship, which is why I took this picture. But the line to get back onto that other boat was over an hour long at each stop, and we walked right back onto ours. Score one for the little guy!

Our stateroom was small (they all are, really), but comfortable and quiet. We took great naps in there! Oh how I love naps. Whenever we started to miss Emme, we would pull out the ipad and look at pictures of her. Then we felt better.

Our first stop was Nassau, Bahamas. We took a water ferry over to Paradise Island, which is where all the rich & famous have homes. The tour guide pointed them all out to us along the way. Then we walked through the Atlantis Resort on our way to the public beach. (Note to self: next time, stay at the Atlantis! It's pretty sweet.)

The water was amazingly blue, and the sand was incredible. It was like the consistency of sugar or something, as opposed to the rocks we call beaches in the US. Amazing.

Sam & Jen going for a walk.
We took a taxi back from the beach and did some shopping around Nassau. There were locals selling all sorts of starfish & conch. But what did we buy? None other than a woven purse with the face of Dora The Explorer on it. For Emme of course. (The best part of the whole trip was watching Chris carry that purse all through the airport on our way home as his "personal item." Hilarious.)

A cruise wouldn't be a cruise without the obligatory towel animals.

Our next stop was St. Thomas. We took some pictures of the scenery from the boat before we were let off.

Then we took a water ferry over to St. John's to do some snorkeling in Trunk Bay. It's one of the top 10 most beautiful beaches in the world, and apparently "the place" to snorkel in the Caribbean. Here's a view from the road up above. Look how blue that water is!

I've never seen anything quite like Trunk Bay. The water was so clear - it was like snorkeling in a bathtub. But with fish. You get the idea. I didn't know places like that existed! It was so beautiful.

There is an underwater "museum" in Trunk Bay, so you can follow plaques or signs on the bottom of the ocean that tell about the sea life as you snorkel. It was really neat. We saw some amazing coral, sea urchins, starfish, etc. The fish were so used to people that if you held still and floated, they would swim right up to you really close. It was so neat!

{mask faces}

Apparently the rich & famous buy houses in St. Thomas as well. Our tourguide pointed out homes owned by Madonna, Michael Jackson and Tim Duncan on our ride home.

{Tim Duncan's house on St. Thomas- white with orange roof. He's from St. Croix which is 40 miles away.}

Here's the Marriott timeshare resort on St. Thomas. This is so where we're staying next time we come. Get working on that Kelli, mmmkay? Thanks.

Our next stop was St. Martin. We rented scooters and drove around the entire island. This was by far our favorite stop! Probably because we actually got to see the place and get a feel for it.

We stopped at a few various beaches on our way around the island. This one had starfish & conch in the water that you could pick up and touch.

We stopped at another that had really shallow water that you could walk waaay out into, up to your waist. The water was so blue!

Sam went for a swim and the rest of us relaxed in the shade. I read two books while we were gone -- These Is My Words and the first Hunger Games. I forgot how much I like to read! It's such a luxury.

The next beach we stopped at on St. Thomas was called Orient Beach. It's the most popular beach on the island -- the one where all the ship-sponsored shore excursions take you. It also happens to have a nude beach at one end of it. Turns out the parking lot (where we had to go to park our scooters) is right by the nude part. Go figure. Needless to say, we didn't stay very long. Double ew!

{The regular side of Orient Beach}

{The yucky side of Orient Beach.}

Next we stopped in Marigot, the capital of the french side of the island, for lunch.

We ate at a French/Italian seaside cafe, with the most beautiful views ever! It felt like something right from a movie.

{What was left of our gelato for dessert. Yum!}

Chris and Sam consulted the map numerous times. Not a single map we were given had any street names whatsoever! Ridiculous. So we kept stopping to count the roundabouts on the map, and used those to navigate.

We stopped at a roadside fruit stand and ate fresh mangos. Yum! I wish we could have bought fruit to take back onto the ship because it was amazing.

Look at the size of this avocado! Holy guacamole, batman! I wanted one of those so bad.

Next we stopped at the beach by the St. Martin airport. It's listed as one of the most dangerous airports in the world (thanks, Jeremy!), because the runway is so short and planes have to land and take off very close to the fence.

When a plane is about to take off, everyone on the beach across the street runs over to the chain link fence and grabs hold with their hands. The jets from the engine blow so hard that it lifts your feet off the ground and you dangle in the air by your hands. Scary!

A pretty view from the scooter. It was such a fun ride around the island. I loved sitting on the back of the scooter because we got to talk about everything we were seeing as Chris drove. It was so neat.
Here is where Chris will work someday when we figure out how to move to St. Martin.

Blue water off the edge of the ship! I couldn't get enough of it.

We had some amazing sunsets while at sea.

The food on our ship turned out to be just okay. So we ate at a cover-charge restaurant on two different nights. The first was the steakhouse and the second was the sushi. Yum! And it was a fun excuse for us girls to force the boys to wear their suits.

This was such a fun trip! Chris described it as a second honeymoon. We really hadn't been on a relaxing vacation like this since then (almost 5 years ago!), so we loved every minute of it. I think childless vacations should be mandatory every once in a while, so you can remember how much you love each other without any noise of the world buzzing in your ears.

I love you Chris! Thanks for such a fun vacation! And thanks to Sam & Jen for being such fun travel buddies. Love you guys!