Back from the Bon Voyage

Karen and I got back into town on Thursday from our cruise vacation to Grand Cayman and Cozumel, Mexico. So for those who care, I thought I'd give a brief and random overview of our trip along with some commentary and criticisms along the way.

This was our first cruise experience, and we both had no idea what to expect. We flew out early Friday morning from Birmingham to Atlanta then on to Ft. Lauderdale FL. to our port. We took a taxi from the airport to the boat, and arrived just two hours before our 5 pm set departure. The traveling to and from went as smooth as silk (which I was particularly happy about...I did all the booking and planning for this trip, so I felt as though if anything went wrong, I would be held responsible....more by me probably than by Karen).

So we arrived at the port...and I gotta say this huge. I mean just's amazing that something that big can float. So anyway, we arrive and discover that there are nearly 2500 people on our boat...and after a little bit of wondering around we discovered that 95% of those people were, and would be for the rest of the trip, around the two 9th deck pools. We got there, and people were everywhere. It was crazy!

Now for those of you who have never cruised before, there are some things you need to know. First, everything in the price of the trip is included. Room, food, room service, and most drinks. The only things not included are sodas and alcohol. Everything you buy is bought using what they called a SeaPass card. Basically it is like a credit card that you use on the ship, then everything you bought throughout the trip is then charged to your real credit card.

Anyway our first order of business was to get our unlimited Coke card for the price of $30. This way we would be able to drink all the cokes we could stand...and we did!! However, the drink of choice on the ship was not sir. It was any manner of fermented grapes, hops, or worms (I really don't know what they ferment honestly). Now here I must say that I am not universally opposed to alcohol. I WISH that the Bible would say clearly that alcohol is WRONG, but it doesn't. So I've really tried to change my judgemental attitude toward alcohol and the moderate consumption of it. But moderation did not exist on board our ship. It was flowing...and offered at every turn! Don't get me wrong, through the course of the trip we did not experience any lewdness or drunken inappropriateness of any kind (drunkenness, yes....inappropriateness...not so much....except for that one lady who Karen just had to point out, that had a thong about inappropriate....and I mean why is it that the people who have the most to cover, decide to cover it the least!?!?!). Anyway, I did kinda get tired of the smell, and the people who offered it, and when I turned it down, wanted to know why I wasn't "putting any booze in my cruise." Then, of course, there were those friendly "Hey, How are yous" that turned into much longer conversation due to intoxication. It's surprising how long a story can go on when one has had a little alcohol...all the while I'm thinking, "Geez if my breath smelled that badly I'd really want someone to say something about it!!!"

Aside from the alcohol, which was very present and weird to be around in such extreme fashion, there were some really great things about the cruise. The food was great, the ship was amazing inside...with all the intricacies that you'd have to just see for yourself, our room was nice, the food was fantastic, the entertainment was high quality, the food was really tasty, the service was outstanding, there was lots of things to do, we saw some of the most beautiful colored water I've ever seen, and did I mention how good the food was. That's right people, food 24-7. Nonstop buffet, an all day ice cream machine, wonderful fancy dinners...I mean the food was mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. I ate a lot!! But, Karen and I used the stairs in the ship all but 2 times in our traversing the 11 decks of the ship, so all the gaining of the poundage was canceled out.

Karen and I played Bingo one night. It was our only shot and gambling....and we came close to winning...I suppose being a B-14 and a B-9 away from winning is close. We also enjoyed...or rather suffered through some karaoke. I really wanted to sing, but the list was too full, and I didn't want to embarrass Karen with my best impression of either Prince or Michael Jackson (I had it narrowed down to "Kiss" or "Billy Jean"...but alas, no such luck in singing). I went to karaoke really hoping everybody would be bad...otherwise, whats the point right??!!? Well the first and the last people were pretty good, but the other 5-6 did not disappoint!! The were dreadfully bad and wonderful all the same. We weren't making fun at them, we were laughing with them. Honestly, that was the one time I actually enjoyed having drunk people around...they are pretty funny at karaoke!

One other observation that I mentioned above...our servers were amazing! We had the best waitress and assistant waiter throughout the week...they were really great and catered to our every whim! Our stateroom attendant was great as well...she was like our maid for the week and left us the coolest towel animals! We looked forward to seeing what critter it would be each night. The entire cruise staff was a diverse group. There were some 60+ countries represented and they all spoke English with their thick accents. It was really great to be around people from such differing backgrounds and cultures. Makes you wonder why the whole world can't just get along like that.

Karen and I did one shore excursion as the are called in the cruising world. I really wanted to snorkel, as I had never done it. So Karen and I decided to do it in Cozumel. What we didn't take into account was the fact that a) there was a boat ride (notice boat...not ship) to the place where we would snorkel, which happened to be in the wide open ocean and b)that fact that we were the OCEAN! We did see some pretty neat things....a huge grouper, a way-cool reef, and some other pretty fish. What we also almost saw was our lunch! Yep, about 45 minutes into our being beaten by waves and the other 30 people in our group who couldn't figure out that in the vast amount of ocean, we didn't have to snorkel ON TOP OF EACH OTHER, Karen and I both, around the same time began to feel a little less than ideal. So we decided to go back to our boat....which seemed to be a good idea. But getting back on a boat with waves crashing and sick stomachs is harder than it seemed. Needless to say, we at that point did our own stunts, wound up on the boat with 3 huge bruises to show for it...all on Karen's legs (see pictures below). We had a long ride back to the ship..and a the rest of the day was spent with us walking as though we had indeed partaken in the aforementioned fermented beverages!

All in all, we had a really good time on our cruise. We did get to relax a good bit, sleep in a lot, and enjoy some time away. It was a great way to celebrate Karen's graduation, and I had a great time being with her. Amazing how much fun the two of us can have together! We did discover a couple of things about ourselves, the main thing being that we aren't as adventurous as we'd like to think was seen by our snorkeling disaster..I mean adventure. And we decided that our next vacation will be in a mountain cabin, surrounded be trees and shade, and consisting of 2 rocking chairs, some books, and lots of nothing!


Matt, Your Dad told me about your blog and I had to check it out. Sounds like you and Karen had an enlightening trip. I enjoyed reading about it. I have also enjoyed perusing through some of your old blogs. Keep up the good work. Take Care!

May 28, 2008 at 9:34 AM  

Thanks Stephen for checking out the blog! Good to hear from you! Hope you are doing well! What have you been up to???

May 28, 2008 at 8:57 PM  

awesome! I'm glad you guys had a good time.

That one picture (with the ship in the background) looks like you guys are getting left by the ship.

Glad you made it back with some great memories.

May 29, 2008 at 10:27 AM  

We're doing fine. Heather is expecting. She's due in September. So we're preparing for a lifestyle change. When you get a chance you should email me ( so we can keep in touch.

May 29, 2008 at 6:10 PM  

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