Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Cruising the Caribbean (Part 1 of ?)

We had the most amazing time on our 7 night cruise to the Eastern Caribbean. We were on Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas, one of the world's largest cruise ships. It was a much needed vacation and an 8-year overdue honeymoon. When we were married the only honeymoon we had was 2 nights at a hotel on the beach in Ft Lauderdale.

We packed all our bags on the night of the 11th. We were off of work starting on Friday the 12th. That morning, we dropped the dogs off to be boarded at the vet and picked up the rental car. We ended up with a dodge caliber. Not the best car for packing 4 suitcases though the cabin was roomy. We then proceeded on our 10-11 hour drive to Cathy's parents house in Davie,Florida. We arrived at their house about 9PM and unpacked the car.

Saturday was spent seeing family. We spent the morning with my mom,brother, and nephew. We had dinner with Cathy's family and then it was off to bed.

Day 1-Setting Sail (12/14/2008)

Sunday morning, we got up, packed up Cathy's dad's car and headed down to the port of Miami. They dropped us off about 11:30 AM. While all the paperwork says boarding starts officially at 2PM, I had been informed by several cruising regulars that you can usually board around 11AM. We dropped off our checked luggage and made it through security fairly quickly.We were inside the terminal at 11:30. We were informed, however, due to an increased number of people on the previous sailing who came down with a GI bug that we would not be able to board until 1PM. We found a "cozy" spot on the wall and sat down and chilled out. We lucked out and was able to board around 12:30

Once we boarded the ship, we were getting hungry and we knew our rooms were supposed to be ready about 4PM. We headed over to the self serve buffet known as Windjammers. We grabbed a bite to eat and relaxed for about an hour.

We walked around the ship for awhile and took lots of pictures. The cruise ship was all decked out for Christmas which made things feel extra special

We took a tour of the spa and checked out the gym, the pool deck, the rock wall, and the flow rider

We toured the spa and Cathy got to try out some sort of hydro therapy thing that was like a heated water bed that vibrated

We were finally able to get in our room just before 4PM. We had a balcony suite with a really comfortable queen sized bed. We checked out the chocolate-covered strawberries,flowers, and champagne that came as part of the romance package I ordered for our cruise.

At 4PM, we did the mandatory sit around in your life jacket assembly drill. We lucked out that our meeting spot was inside one of the restaurants so we got to sit in the A/C while others stood outside. After sitting around for like 15 minutes twiddling our thumbs were were allowed to leave

Sail away was 4:30. We tried to find the elusive helicopter deck that is not well known. I mistakenly thought that it was on deck 8. After googling it on my cell phone, I found out it was actually on deck 5. We rushed down to deck 5 and it was definitely worth it. There were very few people here and the view was so much better.

As we were waiting there, some idiot in a speedboat decided to fly by our ship in a no wake zone. What he didnt know was that a coast guard ship was waiting to escort us out. Next thing you know, the coast guard boat chased him down with lights and sirens. I dont know if he got a ticket or a warning, but he was quickly able to proceed on.

We headed out as the sun was going down. Shortly we were out of the channel and out to sea

After sailaway, we headed back to our room. Only Cathy's luggage had come so far. We found out from our stateroom attendant, George, that it would be ok to go to the main dining room in shorts the first night. We had dinner and met our table mates.

After dinner, we came back to the room and crashed. We were completely worn out after two very long days.

I will end this post here as there are lots of pictures, lots more pictures to post, and lots more to tell. Coming Up

Day 2-At Sea (a very rough sea at that)
Day 3-San Juan P.R. (an amazing dinner)
Day 4-St Thomas (Tour,Shopping,bucket of beer, magic show)
Day 5-St Maarten (Shopping and more beer)
Day 6-At Sea (Trivia, Belly Flops,Game Show, 80s music)
Day 7-Last Day at sea


Steve Stenzel said...

That's a HECK OF A TREE! Looks like it was a blast! Can't wait for more photos!

Merry Christmas!!

Lisa Slow-n-Steady said...

Sounds like a lovely trip. Looking forward to reading more about it.

Merry Christmas.

Chris said...

Wow Kevin! What an awesome trip!

Merry Christmas !!

Karen said...

I am jealous! Looks like you both had an awesome time :)

teacherwoman said...

Wow! looks like tons of fun. I think someday I will do a cruise...someday.

I look forward to reading more!

Mendy said...

Man, I'm soooo jealous! Good for you guys to take a trip like that. Sounds very exciting!!! The pictures are great.

Merry Christmas!!!

J~Mom said...

Looks amazing!!!