Cruising-Day 7

Day 7

-Ten wonderful, crazy, exciting years of marriage for us as of this day. Our life is never boring! We rarely argue and don’t understand it when couples talk about how they enjoy spending lots of time doing their own things, separately. We love spending time together and would rather be together than with anyone else. Maybe because even after 10 years, we’re still best friends, we still hold hands and talk until it’s way past our bedtime, we still sneak kisses in the kitchen and make the kids say “ewwwww”. =)

-We started with breakfast in our room…way more than we could eat, but of course, we ate most of it! We lazed around until 10:30am and then went to the pool and read our books and dipped in and out of the water. What a life! We stuffed ourselves silly at lunch with a burger and fries and onion rings and the most amazing sundae full of oreo/chocolately goodness.

-Dinner was at the swanky restaurant on the ship-150 central park. The kind of place with 6 courses that takes 2 hours to eat and everything is minuscule and they tell you every detail about each course. It was great! The food was bursting with amazing combinations of flavors and very elegantly presented. You kind of felt like royalty. One of my favorite things was that they had 6 different kinds of salt from around the world. You would spread butter on the amazing rolls and then put a little salt on it. I liked the smoky flavored one from Washington and the one from India that kind of tasted like, well, curry! I’ll have to post pics of the food from online later….

Here’s Ammon’s photoshoot from right before dinner…for your enjoyment:

Me in Central Park ( where the restaurant was)

Our dinner place

I loved the chairs…it made the conversation kind of private because of the way they were shaped.

I really liked the gold menu…I thought it was pretty!

10 years and counting….

Random sparkly sculpture that I loved

 

Cruising-Day 6

Day 6

-Cruising today. Breakfast at Johnny Rockets. Hung around the pool, saw some shows, rode the zipline and just generally pigged out! It was a formal night this night, so we got all dressed up and went out on town…er…ship.

 

 

 

 

This was the belly flop competition. It was pretty entertaining!

King Julien from Madagascar thought so too. He was movin it!

I finally got him to dress up!

 

Cruising-Day 5

Day 5

-St. Maarten! We were planning on staying on the dutch side of the island, where we docked. However, we discovered the best parasailing was on the french side of the island. Off to Orient Bay we went! We were there early before many other tourists arrived. The beach was beautiful, despite the somewhat frequent occurrences of thonged-elderly couples strutting down the beach in all their ah-hem…glory? After waiting about 30 min to go parasailing and with no sign of our boat, we were presented with a jet-ski and told to go have fun. We happily obliged! We drove around like maniacs for the whole time, alternating between Ammon and I, both of us just about dumping the other person off the jet-ski with our crazy turns. I loved it! =) We finally got to go parasailing, which I expected to be somewhat scary (since I’m afraid of heights). Instead I discovered it was incredibly peaceful. Kind of just floating around.

 

That’s us, way up there!

What a great view we had!

-After about an hour or so of exhilaration, we were ready to chill. We rented padded lounge chairs that had a big umbrella, got our virgin drinks and just relaxed. ( in between buying souvenirs from the numerous beach vendors strolling by) Sigh….ok, I’ll go back now.

Our view

My pretty glitter toes. They were fun to look at in the sun.

This is pretty much what we did for two hours straight

The cool green ocean when a short-lived storm rolled in

Here’s what the water looked like the rest of the time

The beach got a little crowded in the afternoon…time to leave!

-We bought some more souvenirs on the way back to the ship and found AMAZING Indian food at a local, out of the way restaurant. If you ever go to St. Maarten and you like Indian food, call me! I’ll tell you where to go. =)

Another ship comparison….mine is bigger than yours is!

Not a formal night, but I wanted to dress up a little. The necklace and earrings are my souvenirs from St. Maarten

-We ended up going to an Abba impersonator group-performance. They were so good, I would have sworn it was them. I loved it! Ammon-not as much. Afterwards…if I’m remembering correctly, we did a little pool-hopping.

 

 

Cruising Day 4

Day 4

-St. Thomas! We were just pulling into port as we were waking up. It was beautiful and I could tell I was going to love this island. We (or should I say Ammon) was smart and we booked all our excursions through outside companies instead of through the cruiseline=a million times cheaper and way less people. We were picked up and taken to the north side of the island for our kayak/snorkel tour. We ended up with a private tour, which was awesome. Just us and the guide. We kayaked out to an island and then snorkeled around the reefs there for a couple of hours. The coral was unlike any I’d ever seen. It was comparatively untouched. Brain coral, fire coral, swaying, brightly colored sea fans. It was incredible. I got to hold a white sea urchin that kind of sucked itself to my hand (which felt funny!) and we swam through schools of fish by the thousands. I highly recommend snorkeling there if you ever go!

Arriving at St. Thomas

That little room jutting out over the edge is the “bridge” where the captain does his thing. It was right next to our room.

Don’t you love the color of the water

View of the harbor

Me enjoying the view….I did this a lot!

The island to the left is the one we kayaked to.

The urchin guy

My favorite sea fans-purple!! They were everywhere.

See all those little white-ish things? All fish! I’ve never seen them like this before. I kept trying to touch them, knowing they wouldn’t let me, but the kid in me had to try anyways!

Some pretty blue fishies

Another sea fan, with some other cool coral

-We kayaked over to some ruins and looked around for a while, as our guide told us some about the island and then we took a dip in the ocean before heading back to port. On the way back, our guide stopped at some lookout points and told us some of the history of the area. St. Thomas was apparently frequented by Sir Francis Drake (whom I researched back in elementary school!). He stayed there and hid from pirates.

Us kayaking over to the other shore to see the ruins. While we were there, we learned about “monkey no-climb trees” and “booby birds”. The trees have little tiny spikes all over them and although they don’t have monkeys…if they did, the monkey’s wouldn’t climb them! The birds dive-bombed the water to get fish. We just thought their names were hilarious!

Us and the ruins

Before heading back to port

-We stopped at Megean’s Bay (sp?) a beautiful and very tourist-filled beach with about 150 shipwrecks in the area. There’s a lot of shallow coral in that area and ships would try to get into the bay and sink themselves.

Us at the lookout

That’s our ship!

Us by Charlotte-Amalie

Isn’t it a pretty little town?

-We ate lunch at “The Fat Turtle” by a harbor. The food was fabulous! Fresh coconut shrimp, fish and chips and a virgin banana daiquiri. Life doesn’t get any better! While we were eating. We were joined by a cute little friend:

He kept turning his head towards me for the photo. I’d swear he was posing!

Hanging out in Central Park in the evening…I think this was the night we went and watched a Love & Marriage game show. Kind of like the newlywed game that used to be on tv, before my time…It was good for some laughs. I think this was also the night we ordered room service and ate about 6 cookies each from the cafe. Indulge much!? mmmmmmm

 

 

Cruising-Day 3

Whew! I’m back…Sorry for the hiatus. Life got in the way!

Day 3

-We were at sea on Day 3 (hee hee, I’m rhyming!). This was what we called our adventurous day. We got up and had breakfast in Central Park at the Park Cafe and then headed out to play. We tried rock climbing first. Ammon was successful…me…not so much. Not only does it scare me to death, but I had my nails done before we left and they were long, which makes it really hard to hold on to the handholds. I kept slipping off. On to the next adventure….the zipline. This was just as or even more scary to me than the rock wall. It only lasts about 7 seconds, but is on the top deck of the 17 deck ship. I did it! Ammon did too, but this was cake for him. I even went a second time to prove to myself that it wasn’t that scary. It was actually pretty neat because you could see the boardwalk with the carousel and stuff below.

This is about as far as I got…sad, I know!

 

-I attempted the flow rider….a surfing type simulation. The water is jetted out toward you and you try and ride the water with a really short board…It didn’t look that hard. It was. The guy barely let go of me and bam -whiplash. So not fun. Oh well, I tried it, right?!

-We spent some of the afternoon at the pool, reading our books and drinking virgin tropical drinks and then headed back to our room for our afternoon siesta. Sigh….I miss those naps!

-In the evening, we ate a lot par the course, rode the carousel and explored the cute and colorful boardwalk shops.

Me being silly…shocker!

Riding the carousel

A Zebra for me!

-We saw an amazing and very different show this night. It was called:

There were acrobats, synchronized swimmers and former olympic divers, all set to music.

This was the “stage” which lowered down and exposed a pool underneath. See that platform up there on the left side? That’s where the divers did their thing. My favorite thing was the trampoline stunts…These guys bounced all the way up to the platform above the blue curtains and back down. Now in the photo, it doesn’t look that far, but trust me, it was at least three times taller than the guys doing it. Awesomeness!

A few of our cruise friends

Isn’t he a hunk?

 

 

 

Cruising Cont’d

Day 2

-Arrived in the Bahamas to rain and gloom, but it cleared up quickly. We spent our time touring an old fort (Fort Charlotte) built in 1789. It never fired a shot in battle, but it was still cool to see. We even got to see the dungeons where they stretched people to death-lovely. After that, we took a water taxi over to Paradise Island. 75% of Paradise island is owned by the Atlantis resort and the rest is owned by celebrities and such. We spent a little time looking around, but of course a lot of it you couldn’t see unless you were staying at the resort.

-things I liked: the pastel-colored homes, the ocean, the Atlantis resort.  Things I did not like: it was dirty and everyone wanted a handout (tips, tips, tips)

On the elevator going to our first island-the Bahamas

Military ship beside ours in port

A pretty lighthouse we saw on our walk to Fort Charlotte

Fort Charlotte

Ammon with the cannon

A cute little guy we saw while walking

Atlantis resort

Part of the resort lagoon

We decided we’re getting one of these yacht’s once the kids are out of the house so we can go to any island we like, anytime we want….we can dream, can’t we?!

The pretty houses I was talking about

 

-After returning to the ship (and taking a nap) we got all dressed up for the first formal night. We enjoyed dinner in the main dining room. I had shrimp gratin, following by shrimp ravioli with coconut -lobster sauce and lime zest and chocolate soufflé for dessert. MMMMMMM. As if life could get any better, on a whim we decided to go see “Hairspray”. It was AMAZING! I’ve never been to see anything on Broadway, but I would venture to say that these people were broadway quality without a doubt. Even Ammon said it was probably one of his favorite shows and he’s not really a musical guy.

The pretty fountains under the Rising Tide Bar (a bar that went up and down about 3 floors every 20 min or so)

All dressed up

Cool, but rather unpractical chairs…see what happens when you try to reach the armrests?

 

More cruising later….

 

Cruising

So, I know I’ve been awful about posting the past few months. For years, I felt like I was pretty consistent, but the past two years have been even fuller than ever before. It doesn’t help that I have a little pixie that flutters around all day vying for my attention…leaves little time for being on the computer blogging. I will do an update later about March at least (since that’s all I can remember now).

For now, here is our most exciting adventure. Ammon and I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary by going on an Eastern carribean cruise. It was everything you’d think it would be and more! The BEST vacation ever and I’d do it again in a heartbeat! The kiddies stayed with Lee and Ellen who were kind enough to play “Mommy” and “Daddy” for a week. They had all kinds of fun things planned to keep our little munchkins happy and busy (a.k.a. out of trouble!). So while the kids were going to the museum and the swimming pool and the park and Chuck e Cheese, etc, we were off being “Ammon and Lauren” and enjoying paradise at it’s best.

Day 1

-Get up at the crack of dawn and fly to Fort Lauderdale. Discover it’s cloudy and raining and muggy AND that all the other ports we’re supposed to hit at going to be the same way. Pray like crazy for good weather (and we got it!)  On the Oasis of the Seas by 2:00pm EST. Tried eating lunch at the healthy restaurant (Solarium Bistro)…NOT GOOD! So, we hit the big buffet instead. Mmmmm…much better. We took a tour around the ship and then checked out our room. Ammon surprised me with the Grand Romance Package (cue the oooooooooo’s). Flowers to greet us, plush robes to keep, vanilla bean cupcakes, chilled sparkling grape juice just to start. On each of the two formal nights, they brought us canapés before dinner and little desserts for later. Oh and breakfast in our room for the morning of our anniversary. To complete the package, a portrait of us on one of the formal nights and a silver frame. I think I’ll keep him (Ammon, I mean).

Our room…after nap time( which happened daily….sigh…take me back!)

 

Our feast while setting sail

 

-We sat on the balcony and watched as we set sail. The coast guard was doing all kinds of crazy things to show off (lights, sirens and driving their boats bond-style). The rest of the evening was filled with eating and exploring our massive “boat”.

Coast guard

A few photos of the largest cruise ship at sea:

 

 

Not that big right?

How about now? (we’re the one on the left 😉

The ship is divided into 7 different neighborhoods and each one is completely unique. The thing I loved about that was it didn’t seem there were 6,300 passengers and 2,000 crew/staff members.

The boardwalk/aqua theater, looking off the aft

Another shot, inside the boardwalk

Our favorite neighborhood: Central Park

Central Park at night

There’s lots more to come, but for today (and for the sake of attempting to make this not so lengthy)…it’s to be continued……..