I have been totally MIA over the last few weeks and there is a real reason for that!
A couple weeks ago, Mike was out of town for business. The week after, I left town for a work conference. When I got back, Mike left again for work and once his work stuff was done, we left for a week long vacation to the Caribbean. It’s been a whirlwind these last few weeks, but I’m finally back home in a real routine that doesn’t involved packing for the next thing or solo-parenting- hooray!
When I say this vacation was much needed, I mean it. The last time Mike and I went on vacation together without Maddie was before I got pregnant with her. To put that into a little perspective, she’ll be two in October. About 2 months ago, we sat down and decided we needed to take a vacation just the two of us. Maddie is a little easier to handle now in the sense that she doesn’t need a bottle every three hours and she can entertain herself a little bit, so we asked my parents if they would be willing to take care of her for a week and they happily agreed (seriously, my mom made up a camp name and wants to do it yearly. I’m not complaining, I think it’s awesome). We decided at that point to go on a cruise and we decided on a Carnival cruise out of Miami that went to Jamaica and Grand Cayman.
After a few busy weeks, travel day finally came and we were off. It was a little weird, logistically, since Mike was flying to Atlanta to meet Maddie and I after his business trip. My parents live in the Atlanta area so it just made sense to meet there rather than have him fly to Nashville and then drive to Atlanta really late. Friday evening, we all made it to my parents house and Saturday morning Mike and I flew to Miami. We spent Saturday and Sunday with Mike’s family there and we boarded the ship on Monday morning!
We spent Monday afternoon and evening getting to know the ship’s layout and what not. We met our table group for dinner- everyone was really nice which was a relief! After dinner, we checked out some on board activities and called it a night.
Tuesday was a full day at sea. We started with brunch and then spent the day hanging around the ship. Whenever we were on the boat, we found ourselves on the Promenade deck often. The Promenade deck had a casino, a nice bar, a comedy stage, and a few other rooms where the ship hosted karaoke. A lot of the trivia that was on the ship was done there as well and we participated in those a lot (more on that later). At night, the area had live music which was a good time (more on that later as well).
Wednesday was our day in Ocho Rios, Jamaica. We decided to do an excursion that took us to Dunns River Falls and a private beach for drinks and lunch. Dunns River Falls was definitely not what I expected but I think it was my favorite activity of the trip. I thought we would hike up a mountain and jump off a waterfall but I was so wrong. We hiked THROUGH the middle of the falls! It was about 1000 feet up and it was such a unique experience!
After the hike, we went to the beach where we were served Jamaican food and drinks. I tried a bite of everything and it was delicious!
Thursday was our day in Grand Cayman. We did an excursion that took us to Stingray City, a sandbar that allows you to get very close to stingrays, and a turtle farm. Stingray City was amazing! The water is so clear and it’s so cool to see the stingrays in their own environment. There were dozens of them swimming around! I was able to hold one and feed another one which was amazing! After Stingray City, we went to the Turtle Center which is a turtle farm. It sounds a little weird, but the backstory of the center makes the experience a little more interesting. When the Cayman Islands first became inhabited by humans, the Green Turtle was seen as a delicacy. The turtle was eaten, gifted to visitors, and used for a lot of purposes. As a result, the turtles became nearly extinct. The Turtle Center farms the turtles and then releases them so they can repopulate the species. The center has helped the green turtle population increase by 900%! At the center, we did a short tour of the facilities, got to hold some turtles, and then spent the afternoon in the resort section where there was an amazing pool and waterslide.
Friday was another full day at sea. We started the day with brunch again and spent the day with another couple we met earlier in the week. Remember how I mentioned trivia earlier? Friday was the day that we really cleaned up. On Monday, Mike had won a prize for participating in a game, Tuesday we won Friends trivia and Trivial Pursuit, but Friday we won even more! By the end of the trip, Mike and I earned 6 medals, 1 trophy, and a little monopoly game between the two of us. It was so much fun! Friday night was extra special because I was able to sing with the house band on the Promenade deck! I sang karaoke nearly every night on the ship because I love karaoke, but Friday night was a whole different experience. We were in the Promenade area listening to the house band and singing along and decided to give them a tip after one of their sets. One of the singers saw my treble clef tattoo and asked if I was musical, to which Mike replied, “Yeah, she’s really good, you should have her sing with you guys.” I was so embarassed but the girl was more than happy to have me on stage so I mentioned a few songs I could sing and, sure enough, she called me up during the next set! I sang one song and people wanted to hear more so I ended up singing three songs with them! It was such a cool experience.
On Saturday, we returned to Miami, ate lunch with Mike’s family, then flew back to Atlanta and we drove back to Nashville on Sunday. Overall, it was a really good vacation! This was my fourth cruise, my second with Carnival, and I was very happy with it. The food was great (the sushi and the tacos were incredible!), the excursions were fun, the drinks were good (maybe a little too good), the activities on the boat were a blast, and the ship crew was amazing!
Now that we’re back, it does feel good to be back into a normal routine. The past month has been crazy and fun but I’m glad to be home!
Questions for you:
Have you ever been on a cruise?
Did you go on vacation this summer?