Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Cruise January 2016

I have been putting off writing about our cruise for 5 months now because I wanted to wait until I collected all the pictures. However, most of them are on Jons phone and he has not downloaded them all yet. I don't want to wait to long though so I am just going to post what I have and write about the trip anyway. 

Jon surprised me one day after work in September with the news that we would be going  on a cruise sans kids. I was immediately excited but then quickly anxiety set in about how I would leave our kids for seven whole days and who would I get to take good care of them. I don't like leaving the kids and it is sort of a problem. I seriously don't take much time for myself other than date nights with Jon and so this would be a great opportunity to go and spend some much needed one on one time with Jon. He was so excited but couldn't understand completely why I wasn't on his level.  It took me months until it all fell into place and even then I still had anxiety about leaving the kids. I needed to get Sophia weened, make sure the kids had someone who could take great care of them and also be able to get them to and from school and other activities. Well I didn't need to worry because we got one of the Young women I taught in our church named Cambree who was preparing to leave on a mission to Spain to take care of the kids for a week. She was fully capable and things went better then I could have imagined. I had good friends help take the kids to and from school and my mom filled in where others couldn't. I am so grateful to all that helped so we could make this trip possible and to my sweet husband for planning such a fun and memorable get away! 

We flew to Florida. I had never been to Florida. It was humid but very beautiful and lush. We flew a red eye flight so we were very tired but still the excitement took over and we toured miami for a few hours until we could board our ship. We ate at a cute breakfast place right on Miami beach and walked around for awhile. We were to the ship early and didn't have to wait long to get on. We were tired but wanted to check out some of the ship and also ate right away at one of the many buffets aboard the ship. We had gorgeous views and the one on one time was marvelous! This ship was the second largest in the world and it was called The Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Seas. This ship was essentially a mall on the water. There were stores, restaurants, music halls, ice skating rink, carnival , broadway, theater, zip line, rock wall, pools, spas, library, gym, garden,  golf course, video games, arcades, arts and crafts, ping pong, basketball, and two flow riders! I am sure I am forgetting somethings but I think you get the point about how amazing this ship was! Once our room was available we went down to put stuff away and I even took a much needed nap. Our room had a balcony right off the water. It was so breathtaking to watch the sun go down and rise each morning from our room! Also the sound of the waves hitting the boat were so relaxing! I loved eating breakfast our there with room service and reading a book or talking with Jon. It felt so foreign to be able to talk to each other or eat without kids. It was glorious to have a break from it all but I still missed our kids so much! We called them every stop we took and even face timed them aboard the ship! They were so well taken care of as I said before and I felt my anxiety slowly melting away. 

Our first stop was Labadee, Haiti. It is on the Northern Coast of Haiti. It was covered in luscious green trees, the water was bright blue, and the locals were very neat to watch as they performed traditional song and dances. We thought about going parasailing but decided to just relax and enjoy the island. Jon went snorkeling, and I read a book. I haven't read a book in too long and it felt so good to be able to read uninterrupted! We ate a delicious Haitian food for lunch and walked around to buy souvenirs for the kids from the locals. Later that day we boarded the ship and got dressed for a formal dinner. I could go on and on about the food! It was seriously so good and there was so much of it all the time! Jon sometimes ordered three entrees because the food is all inclusive and why not with so many good choices to choose from! The desserts were scrumptious as well! Our waiters were very kind and fun to get to know. The ship was filled with people from all over the world, guests and workers! Sometimes it felt like we were the only ones who spoke any english at all. It was cool, but just wasn't expected. 

The next day was an at sea day. We took the opportunity to explore and use the many amenities offered. We went on the Flow Rider, played ping pong, played golf, went on a zip line, sat and read books in the adults only part of the ship, and sat in the spa for some relaxation. We enjoyed being able to talk and "date" each other again. Another thing I was so happy to do was to be able to get ready at my pace and not have anyone else to get ready! I love my kids but getting ready to go somewhere and get out of the house is always a complicated task. That night we had a fancy dress up dinner night. I miss being able to dress up nice so this was a treat in many ways! We stayed up late and went to the Broadway Cats. We had close seats in the center so it was fun to have the cast of the show come up to us and be able to see so well. Tickets like that off of the ship would be at least $150 to $200 a piece. 

The next stop was Jamaica! After a slight delay in figuring out what we wanted to do on the island, we decided to take a tour bus and head to a beautiful beach and eat local Jerk Chicken and other yummy food! It was a hot/humid ride but the views were educational and amazing! I like being able to see how other countries operate and what their people are like! After a fun day snorkeling and playing in the water. We ate at a fun restaurant on the beach while listening to music and people watching. It was annoying though because many of the locals kept asking us if we wanted marijauna and I thought that was not cool! Before our bus headed back to the ship we wanted to FaceTime our kids so we searched up and down the streets for WiFi. We ended up finding it in a sketchy part of Jamaica and I was scared for my life until we met a nice midget Jamiacan. She let us use her hut to get WiFi. I was so happy to see and speak to the kids I didn't even care under what circumstances we had to do it. Cambree and the kids had big smiles for us and said all was well. It was fun showing the kids some of the Jamaican culture as we talked too. We barely made it back in time for our bus because after we were done talking we were bombarded with Jamaicans asking us to buy stuff from their huts. We finally got away and made it back to the ship safe and sound. It was a fun but interesting day in Jamaica. 

Another day at sea. We decided to climb the rock walls. It was much tougher than it looked but we both made it! We walked around the ship, and read books again. I loved getting a Pina Colada to sip on while I read and had a whole view of the ocean, and a nice breeze right in front of me. It was so relaxing and amazing. I forgot to mention most mornings we went to run the track or go to the gym. This was also fun because the views were so spectacular and we got to run off some of the calories we were indulging in on the ship. That day we went to a fun comedy show and a we ended up staying for a really cool cirque du soleil show. Those acrobats were so crazy but good! The gymnastics was fun to watch too. The shows on the cruise were all very well performed and entertaining! Dinner at night was so good and I had the best Dill Salmon ever! Our waiters came from Romania, China, and South America. However, their were waiters and chefs from all over the world. Each night had a different theme and the food was planned around that theme. We went to here this Irish singer/guitar player perform. He was good and a lot of fun. He made jokes and called people out. I even got up to sing with him a duet of "Hey there Delilia". We also went to karaoke night. It was hilarious. Some people were good but a lot were terrible and made fools of themselves. 

The next day we went to Cozumel. We left the ship and found our way to the guides that would take us to a fun resort on the other side of the island. We went there and got to swim with dolphins! I wrote a whole post on this because I love Dolphins and had such a wonderful time! After that we toured the resort and snorkeled in the gorgeous waters. We saw colorful fish of all shapes and sizes, and looked at the coral reefs, and rocks. I was terrified of running into a shark just because the ocean makes me feel that way but it was very peaceful under the water at the same time holding hands and floating in the waves. We Face timed the kids and got to show them the beautiful views we were enjoying. I was happy to know once again that all was well back home. After we took a bus back to the main part of town. We walked to a delicious taco shop on the water. The fish tacos were delicious and we have vowed to go back to visit. The people were nice and we shopped around looking for more souvenirs to bring the kids. We got Wyatt one of those nacho libre masks, bentley a cardinals back pack, and the girls some shell necklaces. We also bought churros from a man selling them on the street. They were the best churros we ever had and were stuffed with blueberry and vanilla custard. Cozumel was our last but favorite stop on our cruise. We loved all that the island had to offer. We got back on the cruise ship and got ready to go ice skating on the ship. Later we went to dinner and then headed to watch the sun go down while relaxing in the spa. The spas rested right up against the sides of the cruise ship so we had amazing views. 

The next day was the last day at sea. We took time to enjoy the amenities once again, and to relax. We finished books we were reading, and just had fun visiting with each other and setting future goals for us and our family. We went to an amazing water show. They had professional divers, syncro swim, and acrobats perform. It was so neat and well thought out. Just when it was done it started to pour rain. We were glad it didn't rain the whole trip. We also went to an Ice skating show. Once again the performers out did themselves and we had great seats. That night we started to watched a movie, went to dinner, and enjoyed our last night aboard the amazing Oasis of the Seas.

In the morning we ate one last delicious breakfast while the boat ported back into Florida. We got our bags packed and headed off the ship. We took an Uber cab back to the airport and anxiously waited to be reunited with our kids again! 

I have such an amazing husband that is so fun to spend time with! I am so lucky we got to go on this trip together. I know it was a tough go leading up to it and I got so anxious to leave the kids but I am glad we got a break to rejuvenate and get to know each other again in ways that aren't always possible when four small children are around. 
Waiting on our flight to Florida. Two minutes in I started scratching jobs back and rubbing it and he gave me this shocked look " like you never do that". I said "what"? And he said " this is nice, I could get used to this". Haha
Miami Florida Skyrise welcoming us.
We walked to the beach and there was a TGI Fridays there. That is the place Jon and I first met so it is special to us!
We had a nice breakfast and walked along the beach

There was a hotel and restaurant named Bentley. We thought our Bentley would appreciate a picture.
Lots of home along the water. They were all so pretty.
Leaving port and headed out on an amazing cruise for the week.
First Couple pic aboard the Oasis of the Seas. We were so tired since we took a red eye flight.
Golfing aboard the ship was fun.
The center of the ship was packed with fun. That is a Jonny Rockets, carousel, and other restaurants down there.
Checking out the back of the boat. 
First night to dress up. Jon got me this new black dress for the cruise. Such a thoughtful man I have.
The coast of Haiti
Haitian Locals. I love learning about other cultures.
Reading my book while checking out the view.
Jon in his element snorkeling!
So Tropical and humid! You can tell Jon didn't want to stop to take this pic in the hot sun. haha
Me with a view of the huge cruise ship behind me. Its crazy how the make those things with so much and they just float on the water. It looks like I needed the sun to get rid of all those tan lines. haha
Some of the local children performing a dance.
Jon zip lining aboard the ship. 
There he goes......!
I went too. It was so scary being that high up over so many people. It as so fun though.
Jamaica waters!
The water was the perfect temperature and so pretty. It was crystal blue.
One more picture of the clear crystal blue water!
A Jamaican Hotel and the lush forests behind it.
Interesting game the locals were playing when we stopped to ask about WIFI
My phone wouldn't hold many pictures so most of the pictures are on Jons phone but this is one I got on the last day while enjoying one last breakfast together. Love this man!

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