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Saturday, December 28, 2013

Caribbean Cruise: Christmas 2013

Synopsis: I always spend Christmas and New Year's with my parents. This year, along with my grandmother (Mom-mom), we decide on a Caribbean cruise for Christmas. This will be our 2nd Caribbean cruise all together (we did New Year's 2007), and my 4th Caribbean, and 6th total.

Trip Overview:
Day 1: Miami and embarkation. My parents and I arrive the night before and stay in a hotel. Mom-mom arrives the day of and we meet her at the port. Board the boat and walk around and check out the amenities. At dinner, our staff are super friendly and cool, Jerry and his crew.

Thoughts: I'm on a boat!

Our cruise ship, who's name will not appear in my blog until I receive some royalties :-P

The family getting ready to set sail

American Airlines Arena, where LBJ, D-Wade, and the Heat will lose game 3 & 4 to the Spurs

Day 2: Nassau, Bahamas. We have been here many times, so we decide not to do anything touristy, but to check our Miles Munroe's church in the heart of Nassau. We have the wildest and most entertaining cab driver. I have no idea what he is saying! It is a bit farther than we expect, so we end up having to leave the service early to get back to the boat on time.

Thoughts: The Bahamas are really exciting the first time you go. And the second time. Third time, it's a bit less exciting. Fourth time, you don't even go for tourism and it's more like visiting a city you go to all the time. What will I do next time I go there?

At Miles Munroe's church

The Christmas-themed service

Heading back to our boat

The whole family

Dinner on the ship

Day 3: Day at sea. We have some time, so we all decide to workout together. In my zero hours of fitness instructor training, I learned that if you workout on a cruise, you'll have the gym to yourself because everyone else is in the dining area. Whew, that was a tough five minutes. Let's hit the hot tub!

Thoughts: I worked out everyday on the cruise and there were several times when I was legitimately the only one in gym, or one of two or three (Ana-Lucia and her sister). I ate everyday, but I was NEVER alone there. Even the midnight pizza buffet was packed.

Playing spades at the poolside bar

Foam rolling after a good workout

To the hot tub!

Beautiful day at sea

Towel animal... your guess is a good as mine. I was thinking it was a gorillephantatelope... fish

Day 4: St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. We walk around a bit and find ourselves in the middle of the hood. It's nothing new for us, so we just walk through and wave at the locals. We find the tourist area. Walk around and end up at a restaurant with some authentic island food.

Thoughts: Walking around was ok, but it sucks that we didn't have a legitimate island tour or some kind of historical information. It was just another shopping-for-souvenirs trip in beautiful weather.

Other side of cruise port in USVI

I still want my royalties

Good quote, good food

One of the shows on the ship

Day 5: Christmas in Puerto Rico. Hmm, arriving on Christmas day, and nothing is open. So, we just walk around San Juan looking at the historical monuments that are setup in public areas. The main square is decorated nicely for the holidays...

Thoughts: I don't think the cruise people thought this through, by showing up on Christmas day. Probably should be a day at sea. But, Puerto Rico is still nice and the weather is good, so we can walk around and see the island. I got to practice my Spanish a bit, and I think I did well. At least I was able to get the locals to say "Hola" back.

Chris (Columbus) and I

At the Castillo de San Cristobal

In a guard tower

Mailing postcards

Back on the boat, playing volleyball

Our wait staff was so fun and entertaining

Lookin' good

Lookin' good too

Cap off a great day with some delectable sweets

Day 6: Grand Turk. We are limited to the beach and small shopping center behind. My dad and I go in the water. I don't close my lifeproof case for my iPhone all the way, and i take it in the ocean. You know the rest of the story. For dinner, we try new things each time, and tonight, snail is on the menu. My dad orders it and my mom tries it. She is less than excited about the taste.

Thoughts: Again, it would have been nice to get a tour of the island or at least see a local that wasn't associated with the tourism industry. The look on my mom's face after trying snail has made this entire cruise worth it.

Ready to get off the boat and see the beach

Astronauts just be fallin' out the sky here

Mom-mom and I walking the beach

Mom doing a photo shoot

Dad wandering off and then taking selfies to show us where he has been

My Lifeproof case enabled this photo, but this also ruined my phone

After a hard day of laying on the beach, I need a soak

Mom trying snail for the first time... see reaction below

Apparently, you have to seal the case completely to ensure it's waterproof

Day 7: Day at sea. Just relaxing throughout the day, catching rays, playing games, and enjoying the cruise activities. We stay up late and participate in all the night time events as well.

Thoughts: Aaaaaaah, so relaxed!

Breakfast of a champion vacationer 

My dad doing the Wobble at the Captain's dinner

Final Thoughts:
My family does not sleep! My dad is the king of line dancing and every time someone even thinks of playing the electric slide, the neurons in his brain fire rapidly and he is the first person on the dance floor! Mom-mom is a super globetrotter. I travel so much just to try to catch up with her on how many places she's been. My mom is the wonderful catalyst that does all the planning and makes these amazing adventures happen. I love my family!



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