No longer a cruise virgin.

After a long day of traveling last Friday, J and I arrived in Tampa around 4:30 in the afternoon and grabbed a shuttle to our hotel. We got dinner in the hotel restaurant and went to bed pretty early. J’s parents drove to Tampa from Minnesota and arrived sometime around 4 a.m. so they crashed in our room once they arrived.

The next morning after dropping off my in-laws’ car, we headed to the docks. The check-in process was surprisingly smooth and before we knew it we had joined our friends who were lounging in deck chairs near the pool!

I was worried about having bad motion sickness (especially once we started sailing) but throughout the trip, I really didn’t have any problems. I took Dramamine twice — once during our snorkeling trip and once before bed.

Here are some of the highlights of the trip:

Days at sea

1. The food: Lobster tails, the out-of-this-world chocolate melting cake, tiramisu — I could go on and on.

2. The sun: when you live in Minnesota, nothing beats laying out in the sun all day.

3. The entertainment: I’ve never been a big fan of comedy shows. Or maybe I just never think of going to them. In fact, I think the only stand-up comedy shows I’ve been to are Bob Saget and Seth Meyers. But the comedians on the ship were actually pretty hilarious.

Also, they had a big trivia game show the first day on the ship and J got chosen to be a contestant! He started out strong but ended up in second place. 😦 Bummer — still pretty cool though! Photos to come.

4. Spa and fitness center: it took awhile to get used to running on a treadmill while on a moving ship. But once I did, it was worth it because the treadmills are located right at the front of the ship so you have a great view of the open water.

IMG_0942

Then, on our last day we treated ourselves to spa treatments — I got a facial and a massage. Getting facials is dangerous for me though. I got quite addicted to them after getting a few leading up to our wedding.

5. Casino: I’m not a big gambler, but I like people watching in casinos and playing some slots. J also had some good luck at the Blackjack table one night!

Grand Cayman

So beautiful.
So beautiful.

We were only in Grand Cayman for about six hours so when we got there, J and I hopped on the public bus and headed to the beach. The weather was perfect and the water was warm. We alternated between laying out in the hot sun and cooling off in the water. Then out of nowhere it started raining and it was time to reapply sunscreen so we headed back downtown and got drinks (pina colada for me) and some food at Margaritaville. (I also think I kind of fell in love with our bartender.)

Then, we enjoyed some $1 beers and Appleton rum before heading back to the ship.

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Where did the rum go?

Cozumel

Sunset over Cozumel.
Sunset over Cozumel.

Our friends had researched excursions ahead of time and found this amazing little place that does snorkeling tours. The water in Cozumel is just gorgeous and we had perfect weather for a boat ride and then snorkeling. Our crew was fantastic, making sure we always had enough cervezas, fruit and cookies.

Enjoying our cervezas
Enjoying our cervezas

We did a two reef tour. Unlike the last time I went snorkeling in Jamaica, I didn’t swallow any salt water and actually saw quite a few fish (lots of barracudas) and a lobster! But eventually I started feeling a bit nauseous and cold so I decided to swim back to the boat. On the way, I got stung by a jellyfish (lame) so I decided to sit the second reef tour out. I’m still regretting this decision since the second reef was in more shallow waters and there were even more fish and sea creatures to be seen. I’ll post some photos later that my friend took with her underwater camera!

After snorkeling, we were starving so we rushed back to downtown Cozumel before they started shutting down the streets for their big Mardi Gras parade (it was Fat Tuesday). We decided on Margaritaville again where I enjoyed the best burger ever and a delicious strawberry margarita.

Mmm margaritas.
Mmm margaritas.

Then we met up with the rest of our group, did some shopping and found some 99 cent beers before heading back to the boat.

We got back to Tampa on Valentine’s Day morning and our friends flew back to Wisconsin, my in-laws started their long drive back to Minnesota and J and I got picked up at the dock by a family friend of ours who showed up around nearby Plant City, treated us to lunch, took us out to one of the barrier islands and then dropped us off at the airport. By the time we got home it was after Midnight (but felt like 1 a.m.) and we were exhausted! I’m definitely glad I took Friday off of work.

We spent the weekend adjusting to reality — getting in workouts and making home cooked meals. Reality will really set in tomorrow when we head back to work! Hope you all had a wonderful weekend!

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12 thoughts on “No longer a cruise virgin.

  1. Glad it was a great trip! I love going to Margaritaville when we’re in Myrtle Beach. There’s nothing like a cheeseburger in paradise and a margarita when you’re at the beach 🙂

  2. i feel like if i was on a cruise i’d have to have a magarita a day! so glad you had a good time but the jellyfish would’ve scared me! i am so scared of getting stung by a jellyfish that when i went to mexico with my fam i skipped out on reef snorkeling. sadly reading your story makes me glad i did, not motivated to try it next time bahaha! running on a treadmill on a moving ship would certainly be weird but you can’t beat that water view!

  3. My first thought when I heard about the Carnival Cruise was “Oh no! Hyedi is on a cruise right now!” Glad you weren’t on THAT ship! I was stung by a jellyfish before…not fun! But otherwise, looks like you had a great vacation! Welcome home!

  4. I’m pondering a snorkel trip on my upcoming vacation in hawaii. I get some motion sickness and I’m worried about it. Did you feel ok after taking the meds? I really want to do it but dont want to get sick!

    Sounds like a great trip!

    1. Yup — I felt totally fine after I took something for it. Others have told me it’s better just to take something before you even get motion sickness in the first place since it can be hard to get rid of! Oooo I’m jealous that you’re going to Hawaii!

  5. Looks like you had a fantastic + relaxing vacation! SOO glad you weren’t on the Carnival cruise! I can *almost* feel the warm sunshine on my skin just looking at your pics 🙂

    Welcome home!

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