Sunday, February 17, 2013

Cruising the Caribbean

That's right ladies and gents, it's time for my post vacation details. I absolutely LOVED my 7 day cruise to Jamaica, Cayman Islands, and Cozumel Mexico. I had the pleasure of going with my family, grandparents, and my uncles family-a total of 12. My whole vacation was the week of January 19th-29th, we spent a couple extra days in New Orleans. So we departed SLC Saturday morning very early and got to New Orleans that same afternoon with a layover in Phoenix that only last 30 minutes.
playing phase ten on the plane

New Orleans is very green, swampy, and the people are very friendly. We stayed in Metairie the first night-our hotel was very nice the service wasn't the best but what can you do. That first night we just ate dinner and relaxed-flying with 12 people was exhausting. Sunday morning we headed to the ship that set sail at 4:00 pm sharp after we did a send off we never looked back! We first sailed off the Mississippi which took almost 6 hours then we got into the ocean. You could definitely tell the difference from river to ocean, it was not as smooth and it was nice and blue. Sunday was spent touring the ship and getting lost as well. Our ship was the Carnival Conquest it had 12 levels with the top 4 being just decks. Deck 9 or the lido deck was the buffet deck, they had anything and everything you could imagine. Pizza and Ice cream 24-7 and also room service 24-7 too. The average weight gain on a cruise is 10-15 pounds...yikes. That is really hard to imagine because you have to walk everywhere plus the wait for elevators was usually so ridiculous you were better off walking 5 flights up or down. Besides the buffet area each cabin was assigned to a dinning room at night that they could go to instead of the buffet. The dinning rooms were so nice, you had to dress less casual. They also waited on you and entertained you as well. The food was delicious I had the opportunity to try shark, duck, frog legs, mahi mahi, and many other things. They were also famous for their melting cake dessert. I had it every night...don't judge me. The waiters also had to remember our names and they did so good! I loved our 3 waiters and hope they know how much we appreciated them. Every night after dinner we would go back to our rooms and find some sort of animal made from a towel laid out on our bed, the service offered from carnival is almost unexplainable. The amount of details they look into is just amazing! Our rooms were cleaned several times a day if needed and the ship was spotless every day too. Being on the ship also made me realize how mush I depend on worldly things like clocks, alarms, my phone, the internet, TV, etc. The ship doesn't have these things and It was just an eye opener to me.  

dinner at the hotel restaurant 
Mississippi River
Woke up Monday on the ocean!
Top of the ship

one of my favorite towels! We first walked in and thought we didn't have one!
our room
our room was on deck 8 

Monday and Tuesday were our days at sea, I loved the days at sea. The ship had so much to do everyday it was almost overwhelming. most people have this idea that you get to rest and relax on a cruise (which is sort of a lie) but you are always running from event to event and you are up early and up late too. They had plays, movies, game shows, comedy clubs, dance partys on top deck, pools, hot tubs, and plenty of chairs to nap in the sun. I only got motion sick once but took a pill then was fine the rest of the trip. Our first port was on Wednesday in Montego Bay Jamaica, let me tell you it was the worst port ever. The people are too pushy and the area we were in was just awful. Their government takes all the money and keeps it for themselves, the people only get like 40% where the government gets 60%. My parents did an excursion in town and it wasn't much different there for them. It just breaks my heart and makes me grateful for the government we have here in the USA. 
looking off the ship onto the shopping tents
For some reason this area was abandoned! These buildings are all empty!
This was fascinating to me and it shows how big Jamaica is!
Our second port was Great Caymens, I loved the Cayman Islands! They had good shopping, weather, and people. We also did an excursion there, my family went on a pirate ship that sailed out to open water and then let us just off the ship and swim. It really was a blast, I was skeptical at first but in the end ended up having a great time. Holly and I were buddies all week and loved our time together, we were always the last ones in our family back on the ship because we loved to explore. We walked all over the Cayman Islands and loved it. The worst part about the Islands was the fact that they had to tender us to the port; the port area was not deep enough for our ship to dock so they had us get on other boats to get to the Islands, It took forever! 

Tender boat on/off our ship
Pirate Ship
View of the city!
Our last port was Cozumel, Mexico it was awesome. Our excursion was snorkeling! I loved looking under the water and looking at the beautiful Ocean bottom. Our tour guides would swim down and usher the fish up to us, my mom freaked out it was so funny! We also saw a sting ray and got to pet a sea cucumber. After our excursion we just went shopping, they had the best shops out of all the ports so this is where I spent the most money. The next day and a half was spent hauling it back to the USA. Our last two days on the ship were those do or regret it days, time to do everything so you don't regret it. We went to all the shows and towel folding seminars, ate at places we hadn't before, and just experienced our ship to its fullest! The day we docked in New Orleans was a mixed emotion day, I was grateful to be back in the US but also felt like I was leaving a home is that weird? I don't know how else to explain it. 
Yep 7-11 in MEXICO! 
They had these huge containers of alcohol! It was crazy! 

These are the things I did the last fun day at sea:

towel folding seminar

My brother is a pro at making ice cream

Loved watching the Sun rises and Sun sets! 

Loved hanging out with my beautiful sister! 

My wonderful grandparents were in this hilarious skit, it was priceless!
The next two days was spent touring New Orleans, my mom really wanted to take us to the French Quarter so we rode the city bus (it was so much fun and so cheap) down town and explored the city. We ate beignets at Cafe' Du Monde which was located on Decatur street, they were to die for! We saw where the Superbowl was being held and also lots of Marti Gras stuff and even bought a mask. We loved exploring the city and did it all day long.

Very common store decor

Freaking sweet toilet seat automatic cover!! At the airport ha

Tuesday we departed early and got into SLC that same afternoon. We again had a layover in Phoenix longer than last time but we needed lunch so it worked out.  We got our luggage and vehicles then headed back to my uncles to pick up the rest of our vehicles. We said goodbye to our family and got on the road to come home. It was a very long drive but we made it and it was definitely good to be home. I loved every second of my vacation and getting to know my family members better, we are now a much closer family and I love it. I am a witness that cruising is the BEST way to travel. It was comfortable and required no effort to get to/from destinations. You played all day, slept all night then woke up in a new place! I am just glad we didn't break down like that ship recently! Don't let that keep you from cruising that can't happen very can't. My family is now hooked on cruises so we may or may not be planning our next one already.