Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Our Caribbean Cruise Adventure

Friday afternoon, we still didn't have a plan of what we were going to do.  About two hours before we were going to get on the plane and we got a call from the cruise people.  We got on Royal Caribbean's Independence of the Seas, which is the largest ship in the waters right now. We were so lucky to get on this boat. It holds about 4,600 passengers and 1,500 crew members. It was giant to say the least.

We spent Saturday, Feb 7 & Sunday, Feb 8 at sea. The seas were a little rough and the boat was rocking a little but it got better as the days went on. We did a lot of reading, sun bathing, swimming in the different pools, eating ice cream and having delicious meals. They had some really amazing fruit art and I took lots of pictures. They also had a basketball court, mini golf course, ping pong tables, ice skating, swimming pools, a soft serve ice cream machine, and the Flow Rider to keep us busy. They also had a golf simulator that Brad, Ron & Vaughn hit some golf balls around in.  Royal Caribbean has some really amazing show. We went to a show everynight.  They had ice skating, singing, dancing, comedians and jugglers.  They were all fantastic.  The talent on that ship was mind blowing.  


Monday, Feb 9 was our first stop in San Juan Puerto Rico. Brad & I have a friend (Joey) that lives there. We worked with in Alaska last summer. He was very nice and was our tour guide. He took us around some of the island and shared some Puerto Rican history with us. We stopped by a food stand on the side of the road and had some really amazing fried food. I don't remember what any of the names are but it was delicious. He then dropped us off downtown so we could do a little shopping before we got back on the ship. Thanks again Joey, you were great!!!


Tuesday, Feb 10, we stopped in St Thomas in the Virgin Islands. My parents went on a bike riding tour on Water Island and had a blast! Brad's parent and Brad & I went to a beach called Megan's Beach. One of the taxi drivers said it was one of the top 10 beaches in the world. He must have been mistaken, it was in the bottom 100 beaches in my book. It was a rainy day but it was fun to be in the ocean while it was raining. The beach was about 20 mintues north on the other side of the island. The taxi's there are trucks that have 3 or 4 metal rows of seats in the back. The side of the truck where you get in didn't have a cross bar to keep you in so you had to hold on tight. They also drive on the other side of the road, so that was a little scary as they would whoop around the corners going 10 miles an hour, while we are holding on for dear life. I wish I had gotten a picture.  I also ran into one of my friends from high school, who I have not seen since then, Wendy Brown.  It was great to see her and meet her husband. Of all the places to see each other, small world.



Wednesday, Feb 11, we stopped in St Maarten. Vaughn, Elaine, Ron, Brad & I all went on snorkeling excursions. It was called Tiki Hut Snorkel Adventure.  First, they asked my dad to hold the Tiki Hut sign and yell out "Tiki Hut Tour, anyone going on the Tiki Hut Tour", he was really good at it.  They gave him a free drink, but dont worry Mom it was just a bottle of water.  They took us out on a little boat that looked like a bathtub.  When we got there, it was a long dock all linked together with a hole in the middle they called the "pool".  We sat around there and got a few safety tips and then we were off.  The snorkeling was pretty lame.  I have snorkeled in Hawaii where it is ten times better and there are tons of fish to see.  Here the only place we saw fish was in the "pool".  They had a kayak there that Brad took for a little ride.  They also had a floatie noodle thing that we could play on.  It was so good to be back in the ocean.  My, how I have missed it.  On our way back, we had them drop us off in town so we could do some more shopping.  I think the best thing we found was POPCORN.  My mom had be carving popcorn all week and we found a little stand on the beach that was selling it.   It was such a good little treat and my mom was so happy to get some popcorn.



Thursday, Feb 12, we were at sea.  We did more of the same we did the other two days we were at sea.  More eating, playing, swimming and eating some more.  For those of you that don't know my mom, she is a avid runner and she even managed to get in some running while we were at sea.  They had two formal nights that we got all dressed up for.  Sometimes it is fun to put on your nice clothes and get all pretty.  We had an amazing waiter, who definately made our dining experience.  Royal Caribbean does a really good job with training their employees with great people skills.  Thomas and Renal, were our waiters and they remembered what everyone was drinking and bought that to us every night.  They also knew, after one time of ordering, how we wanted our meal cooked.  They were very impressive.  

Friday, Feb 13, we were in Labadee, Haiti.  Not one of my favorite ports at all. We went jet skiing and that was so much fun.  My mom, dad, Brad & I had never been jet skiing so we were in for a treat.  Jet skiing in the ocean was different, especially when going against the current.  There were some pretty big waves and I thought for sure I was going to fall off.  But I held on so tight that the next day, the inside of my thighs were burning.  Brad had white knuckles from holding on so tight.  There was about 8 of us in the group.  We had a leader in the front, who showed us the way.  There were a few areas that had a shallow reef and they didn't want us to get stuck or rip up the bottom of the skiis.  But it was a great time and we can't wait to go again sometime.  

Saturday, Feb 14, we were at sea again.  They had a flower shop on the boat and every time we walked past it, I said to Brad, "I wish I would get flowers".  So he gave me some for Valentines.  Sadly, I had to leave them behind, I couldn't take them through customs.  But they were great for the day I had them. He is so thoughtful.  On the top floor, on the back of the ship was the Flow Rider.  It is a wave pool that you could surf or boogie board on.  Brad, Ron, and Vaughn had all done it earlier in the week and I knew I wanted to do it.  It took me a while to get my nerves up to do it.  I am so glad that I did it....it was a real thrill.  



Sunday, Feb 15, we had to get off.  We planned to go on an Everglades excursion.  After our long wait to get off the ship, they picked us up with our luggage and took us out to their set up.  We went on a airboat tour, saw 5 alligators and some really big birds.  It was way cool to see the gators out in their natural habitat.  I was starting to feel like a tourist in Alaska when they don't see animals in the park....it took us a while to see a gator.  After the boat ride, they were having a gator show.  This crazy man was holding the alligators mouth open with his head.  They had a baby gator they were letting us hold & we got to hold it.  Brad & I were so brave.  After the tour, they took us to the airport, where we got to sit for 6 hours and wait.  But we made the best of it.  

It was cold and snowy when we got into Salt Lake @ midnight.  We were not excited to come back to the snow, but it was good to be back home.  Thanks to my amazing husband, my mom and dad, Vaughn & Elaine for making our vacation wonderful!!!!  It worked out amazing perfect for not having a plan.  

Brad & I celebrated our one year anniversary on the cruise, Feb 8.  Vaughn & Elaine, thank you for raising such an amazing son.  I am so thankful he came from an amazing family and grew up in the gospel.  Brad, thank you for being the best thing ever.  I am so thankful I found you.  Thanks for being an amazing husband and being my best friend.  I LOVE YOU!!!
 
Here are two of my favorite wedding pictures:






Thursday, February 5, 2009

Florida - Caribbean Bound


So we are leaving on my parents house tonight in Soda Springs. Then we are getting up in the morning and driving to Salt Lake. We are dropping my car off with a good friend (thanks again Nativa & Derreck) to babysit it while we are gone and then off to the airport. We leave @ 1:25 pm and get into Fort Lauderdale at 10:45 pm. Brad's parents will get in on Saturday morning around 10:30 am and then let the vacation begin. We still haven't heard if we got on our cruise or not but hopefully we will hear something tomorrow. Wish us luck, we will post pictures when we get back when in 10 days.