Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Cruisin'

I have not blogged in a while because Rob and I were gone all last week on a cruise! We had so much fun that now I am going to blog all about it. This is a super long post so be prepared!

I got the idea a year ago that I wanted to go on a cruise in January. The idea derived from the fact that it was our first winter in Idaho and I was trying to find a way out. So I looked ahead to this year when I would not have a nursing baby! I reasoned that we could say the cruise was to celebrate our ten year anniversary. My mom kindly flew out to take care of my kids and my sister in law helped out a bit, too. My it is hard work getting ready to leave but once we were gone it was so worth it! My mom did a fabulous job with my kiddos, too. It was nice leaving them in such capable hands.

The hardest part of our trip was getting to Miami. We wanted to cruise on Royal Caribbean because all the veteran cruisers we had talked to said it was the best. Unfortunately as of winter 2010 they cancelled their shorter cruises out of California. We thought at the time- "oh, we won't have our kids- it won't matter that it will take us 3 flights to get there." Well, here is the short and quick version of that long and drawn out travel day:

The first two flights went smoothly- Boise to Salt Lake, Salt Lake to Atlanta. Then we were delayed for 31/2 house in Atlanta, finally departing at 1:30 am, arriving in Miami at 3:00 am, sitting at the gate for 20 more minutes while they tried to figure out how to move the walkway, getting our luggage by 4 am only to find that one of the wheels on my suitcase had been totally shorn off (by the way- they don't cover that! Thanks, Delta- for charging me $20 each way to break my bag!) then finding out that the free shuttle to our hotel doesn't run between 1 and 5 am, taking a taxi who took us to the wrong hotel, paying more money for that hotel shuttle to take us to the right hotel...finally getting to sleep at 5am." Thank heaven we didn't have any kids with us on that trip.

Things brightened up quickly for us the next day as we went through a very smooth process of getting on the ship. We were starving by lunchtime since we had slept through breakfast so as soon as we boarded we headed to the buffet.

It had a beautiful dining room with windows overlooking the ocean. As soon as our hunger was assuaged a bit we looked around, looked at each other and both commented on how we felt like spoiled Americans. But don't worry- over the course of the cruise we embraced it and enjoyed ourselves greatly.
Miami is such a neat looking city. We did not have time to explore the city but I am definitely intrigued. I am not a huge fan of palm trees but I loved them here. They just fit!

I found this road so interesting. It is just a long narrow stretch of land between two bays and the road takes up all of it.






It was overcast the day we got on board the ship but as we were pulling out the sun came out just a bit. I love how it made the water look blue.


Right before our ship pulled out we saw another ship coming in. There were several dolphin swimming ahead of the ship. As we pulled out we saw several more but our attempts to capture them on camera failed.





When we got to the buffet entrance that first day we were met with these delightful carvings.





Here are some views of the ship. This one is looking down several decks to the main deck.






A fancy chandelier type thing.




I loved looking out at the ocean whenever I felt like it. Most of the days were overcast, but the second day on the ship was beautiful and sunny.



The popular pool hang-out.



Rock-climbing wall...




Sports court (we spent a lot of time here)



I didn't get a picture of the gym, but I can say I enjoyed running when it was on a treadmill looking over the ocean!

Each night we were served a fancy dinner in the dining room. Here are some of the couples at our table. We were served very elegant foods- some of which I had never tried before such as roasted duck and lobster tail. It was fun trying new things. Everything tasted delicious.



Here we are on the "formal" night.


Every night after dinner we would go back to our room and find our towel rolled into a cute animal shape.








The second day on the ship was a day at sea. All day at sea, you might ask? What did you do? Well, a lot. We stuffed ourselves at the breakfast buffet, worked out in the fancy gym, played basketball, played soccer, went swimming, spent time in the hot tub, ate some more, (did I mention they have soft serve ice cream available all day?) played miniature golf, watched the Ice Dancin' show, watched the Ballroom Dance show, had a fancy dinner, etc.
The next day we docked in Cozumel, Mexico. It was rainy and overcast that day but we went ahead and spent some time at the beach.



It was raining when we arrived so we were handed a big umbrella.




Brenna had specifcally requested that we bring her back a seashell so we took a walk along the shore and collected several.






I went for a short swim just to say I had been swimming in the Caribbean. The water is so nice and warm. The weather was nice and warm too- don't feel bad for me that it was not sunny. While sunshine imporves any situation in my opinion, it was still 70 degrees or warmer and I was not going to let anything spoil my fun.


Aren't those ships huge?




A view of Cozumel as we pulled out.






When we got off the ship these people were awaiting our arrival- hoping to convince us tourists to take a picture with them and then buy it.




Here are Rob and I skating in the ice skating rink on the ship. I had never been ice skating before. It was a lot of fun. In this phot I had just lost my balance. I didn't ever fall, though!





Here I had just lost my balance and careened into Rob.


Our next stop the following day was Belize.

Belize has one of the largest barrier reefs in the world so we were unable to dock. We took a 'tender'- aka smaller boat- to the shore.


Some of the fauna in Belize.





Our excursion this day found us taking a bus ride across the country (a whole hour and forty minutes) to see some Mayan ruins. When we got off the bus we crossed the river on this hand-cranked ferry.



This sign shows the way to the ruins we were viewing: Xunantunich






We hiked up a short hill and then saw this...


see the huge temple looming in the background?









It started pouring down rain as soon as we arrived. (It was in a rain forest, after all). We took shelter in a covered picnic area while our Mayan guide shared some interesting information with us. As soon as he finished it stopped raining and the sun came out.







We were able to climb up the tallest temple. It was very slick since it had just rained and Rob and I both had the thought that we would never be allowed to do this in the US- especially with no railing. Some of the pathways were only 1.5 feet wide!


Our guide told us that the mounds and hills in the area look like natural hills but really they are other ruins that have crumbled and become buried but have not been uncovered yet.

There were some interesting carvings on the left side.




Overlooking some "hills"

Very slick and dangerous...

Overlooking Guatemala. The ruins site was right on the border of Belize and Guatemala.



Isn't it beautiful? When we first arrived we heard what we were told were howler monkeys in the trees. They sounded like Star Wars space ships to me. I am pretty sure George Lucas used them for his audio.

I can see where rain forests get their name. Even after it had stopped raining for an hour, it sill sounded like it was constantly raining in the trees because of all the moisture that kept falling down through the leaves. I loved the sound.




The next day was another day at sea and then we were back in Miami. After another long but not as delayed trip, we were home.
Rob and I certainly enjoyed our experience. We definitely want to do it again sometime. There was so much to do and it was all so accessible. So if any of you are planning a cruise in the future- let us know. We just might have to crash your party.