Let me tell you my friends, I had an amazing time on the cruise! I don't think I could ever go back to the old way of vacationing, planning what to do, looking for restaurants, hotels, etc. They take care of everything for you, and everyone has a pleasant demeanor! If you're bored, there's 8 things for you to do at any given time. If you're hungry, there's always many places to eat, or receive complimentary room service. It's fabulous to have so many things to do, but not feel bad if you don't want to do any of it! Cruising is the way to go.
Now I'm back here in the real world, and it's the pits. I'm swamped at work, and I still haven't really unpacked. My suitcases are "unpacked", but really they just vomited all over my room, and I haven't started to clean up the aftermath. Another day, another time.... maybe.
We had long days of traveling, but it was worth it. We boarded early on Thursday, and had a great welcome buffet. Everyone was still pretty tired, and anxious to get settled in from a long trip the day before. We met up with Cathy (she flew from Chicago) and got our bags, unpacked, walked around. (It seems like that day was forever ago, I don't even really remember what we did.) Oh, we had a drill, that was fun walking around in fabulous orange life jackets... hot. Our rooms were a lot more spacious than I thought they would be. Cathy and I had an interior room (aka a cave), but it had ample storage and space. Everyone else had a balcony room. They were beautiful, and had an extra bench, but I liked the interior rooms layout better. Even if you did wake up to pitch darkness every morning. It was like time was non-existent in our sunless room.
For our days at sea, we ate a lot, explored the ship and had a strict regimen of at least 3 morning hours of sun on the Lido deck. It was a rough life, but eating a huge breakfast tires you out, so it's a good thing we had to lay in the sun for a morning nap. That's pretty much how all our days at sea went. Got up, ate breakfast, sun-napped, ate lunch, walked around, ate ice cream, went to an activity, ate more ice cream, more activities, ate second lunch, more activities, happy hour, 5-course dinner, went to a show, went to bed. It was a gruelling schedule, but we managed to stick to it, and come on, with 24-hours a day ice cream, how can you go wrong?
Our first port was on the island of St. Maarten. It was a beautiful island with many beaches. We had registered for a snorkeling tour around a shipwreck, but found out (the minute we were supposed to leave) that it was cancelled. There had been storms that week, and the water was too churned up to see anything. Bummer, but my lungs were saved. So, we spent the day on the beach and walked around to different shops (spending far more than we should have), and enjoyed the great weather.
Our next stop was Barbados. We went on a long excursion that took us around the entire island. We saw plantations, a mahogany carving farm, and the rum distillery. It was really interesting to see the island in its entirety. Unfortunately, I was pumped full of motion sickness pills and was narcoleptic on the ride home.
Our final port was Martinique. It was a beautiful island. We took a catamaran around the island to a bat cave, but it was too rough to take the boat inside (thank goodness!). Then we headed over to a black sand beach where we got to snorkel (with gear of questionable hygiene, blech). The water was really murky and we couldn't see anything in the water, so we scraped the gear and just swam to shore. They stopped about a half-mile away from the beach, it was quite a haul! We body surfed and enjoyed the soft black sand, then took a dingy back to the catamaran. We had a nice long ride back to the docks, so Cathy and I sat out on the netting in the front, and looked in the water, but saw nothing. It was so beautiful, and really neat to be lying on a net with only the water beneath you, and the quiet wind blowing in the sails. This port of call was my favorite.
Now I'm back in the land of ice and cold. Booo! Whatever happened to the days of relaxing in the sun? Or the 75 degree "chilly" days? Or the 5 course meals with a wait-staff of 3? I'm sad to say that those days are now gone my friends. This is a sad day for all of us cruisers. :-(