Friday, February 24, 2012

Grand Cayman, Jamaica, and Haiti

Last week, I missed my "week in review" post.

Because I was out of the country!

Shane and I, with the MAJOR help of my mother who kept all four of our children, took an amazing 6 night cruise to the Eastern Bahamas. It was absolutely the best time in my life.

Those that have known me for a while know that Shane and I have been fortunate to have been on many trips, because I was a PartyLite leader and consultant for several years and earned many trips to some exotic places (Cruised to the Bahamas, went to the Atlantis Resort on Paradise Island, and went to Hawaii--twice. Once to Oahu and once to the Big island.)  But this trip far outdid those other ones.

Shane and I, on the plane, headed from Indianapolis to Ft. Lauderdale!

Our hotel in Ft. Lauderdale--very beachy!

After unloading our stuff, we headed out to dinner... Kiki's. :)
These two are a major part of why our trip was so special--
we went with our wonderful friends, Tom and Jen!
I never thought I could enjoy a trip so much. Shane and I had a wonderful time together,
but it was so special for ALL of us to be together as well!

The boys being silly before dinner

I ordered the full Red Snapper. It may look strange, but it was delish! 

The next morning, it was off to board the ship!

We got on with no problems, and headed straight to the cafe to have lunch.

It was the most amazing view! We were 14 stories in the air.

This picture is for my mother, who was afraid I would fall off of the ship.
See mom? All the railings were to my shoulders! You had nothing to worry about! 

Tom and Jen had a great balcony off of their room....

....and our room was super cool--it was at the very front of the ship, 
so we had more space than a normal room....

....and two windows!

View of the helipad/front of the ship out of our right window

We decided to explore the ship before we left. This is on the very front of the ship 
that you can see in the picture above! :) I was the King of the World. Ahem.

The Grand Staircase in the formal dining room, The Nutcracker

Our view from the top of that staircase

The pool/spa/Jacuzzi area on deck 11

The name of our ship was the Navigator of the Seas

Taken in the arcade for my little Mario Kart lover, Ethan!

Putt putt course on deck 13....

...and right by that was the rock climbing wall, basketball/volleyball courts, and ping pong tables.

That night, we had our very first dining experience. Cruises have the BEST food!
And lots of glasses. *giggle*

And, great shows, too! A comedian that we got to see on two different nights. 
Very funny!

After the welcome show the first night, in front of the theater

The next day was our first day at sea. We found some lounge chairs and tried to get a picture,
 but the sun was SO bright. Shane and I were laughing so hard!

My view :)

That day, we didn't do too much. I'm a lounger on vacation. Shane is more of a do-er, so it was good that he had Tom and I had Jen. They went and played basketball and air hockey in the arcade while we worked hard on our tans.

Later that night, we had our first 'formal' dinner. It was so fun getting all dressed up!

After dinner, it was windy! Jen started joking about being blown off of the ship....

We decided to hit another show, but snapped a couple of pics first. 
This one is one of my very favorites from the whole vacation!

We found an awesome little 'club' on the 14th deck that was empty, and decided to play some cards. 
Little did we know how much time we would really spend there! 
We played almost every single night and had a blast.

Tom insured that we wouldn't be interrupted. *giggle*

Sunrise coming up over our first port of call, Grand Caymen

In Grand Caymen, you aren't allowed to dock; so our ship anchored and we
 took little boats (called tenders) to shore. Got a great shot of our ship!

Heading into the island to explore

Grand Cayman was very beautiful, and very clean.

We found a gorgeous part of the beach where there were very few people. 
This beach, called Seven Mile Beach, is one of the top 10 most beautiful beaches in the world.

We could see all the ships docked--there were four or five that day.

Gorgeous stretches of sand and water...

I decided to lay....

.... while Shane decided to play.

Having a great time, but still missing our babies!

We went on a seashell hunt for the boys.

....and then enjoyed the water for quite awhile.


We were supposed to "snuba" in Grand Cayman (a cross between scuba diving and snorkeling) but because of dangerous conditions, the excursion was cancelled. We were so disappointed, but made the best of it by exploring all the little shops and stands. 

I got to try my very first real coconut.

It was so neat, the way they hacked them up....

I really enjoyed mine!

Back on the ship, and time for dinner again! This night was casual.

After dinner, we changed clothes, snapped a couple of pictures, then headed off to another show. 

We went every night, and they were all good!

Our second port of call was Jamaica. It started out as a cloudy day, and Jen and I were afraid we might not get any sun in! The boys thought the beach was boring.... they went to find their own fun. They found a fisherman on the pier, and for quite 
some time, they helped him pull in his nets.  They didn't fare as well as they'd hoped--only 
caught fish that were about the size of sardines!

Next idea: jumping off the pier.

That fun lasted for quite some time!

Shane in over his head; Tom still touching. It's deep for the shorties.

After a while, they were waaaaay out there.

When the 'calm' swimming got boring, the boys went in search of some more adventure.
They found it.

Shane taught Tom a game he likes to call 'thrashing'.
Basically--you sit where the waves break and let them crash on you.

Boys are weird.
(And, yep--they're under there.)

It turned out to be a really fun time.  Even Jen and I got in and played, but mostly we just watched the boys get hammered by the ocean. (That was really fun, too.)

I was just floating for a while, and Shane kept telling me to take off my glasses. I knew if I did, I wouldn't be able to see, and plus--I was staying way away from the breaking waves, so I just kept floating while wearing them.  Well, all of a sudden, without really thinking, I decided to ride one in and lost my glasses right off my face!

Ugh....that beach did some damage, for sure--but was so fun in the process.

There was lots and lots of sand in lots and lots of places!

And it turned out, after about an hour, to be the most beautiful day of them all!

Eating some lunch. A Jamaican feast, including some VERY good Jerk Chicken.
And, yes, I am squinting....I couldn't see!

After lunch, we went on the best adventure--climbed to the top of Dunn's River Falls. Below is a stock photo, because clearly, I needed my hands to climb this, since I didn't have my eyes! *giggle* Tom took lots of great pics with his underwater camera, though. It was so, so much fun and beautiful!

If this looks a bit familiar to you, it is because these particular falls have been in several movies, 
including Last of the Mohicans. This is only a very small portion of the falls.

The view of Jamaica from our ship

I took these pics for my boys, who are Star Wars lovers--these 
posters were in the hallway, right outside of our stateroom.

This night was "semi-formal", but another opportunity to get dressed up? I took it!

Leaving the coastline of Jamaica at sunset

Jen and I. I find this picture funny because she is in flats, I am in heels, and she still towers over me :)

After dinner we chilled for awhile then went to another show. There is such a variety on the ship--we saw everything from Broadway musicals to comedians to jugglers to a past Star Search winner (that's a whole other story for another day....)

Yikes! Talk about picture overload....the second half of the cruise will have to wait for another day!


Nancy said...

Dev, I had so much fun reading your post and looking at the pictures. What a great time!!! Looking forward to reading part 2! :)

Leanne said...

Devin, I lived vicariously through you while reading this post!! I love the beach, it's my all-time favorite place!!!

I'd like to go on a cruise on my
20th anniversary, which also happens to be the same year I turn the big 4-0!!!!

Looks like you guys had such a good time and I really enjoyed this post!