Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Cruising, 2010

After a very long check in at the Toronto Airport, we were finally on our way to San Juan. The security was unbelievable. We went through one check fairly quickly and were surprised and excited to be way ahead of schedule. We looked for a Timmy’s or Starbuck’s to grab a coffee and relax, as we had over an hour and a half before we were to board the plane. As we got off the escalator that led to the gates, we noticed a HUGE line up going towards our gate. We checked it out and were told that it was a second security check. Realizing that there was no way we would be able to chill before the flight, we got into line with the rest of the cattle...err...passengers.

There were separate lines for men and women because there was some serious frisking going on at the end. Believe me, I needed a cigarette after the lady gave me my pat down!!! While I was being body checked by the lady, a man went through every single thing in my purse...right down to looking between each and every bill in my wallet. It was crazy. The lady then patted Threepeat down and checked the bottom of his little shoes and we headed to the plane...just in time. We arrived at the gate at 10:15 and took off at 10:30. We had arrived at the airport at 7:30. UGH!

The plan ride was great...very little turbulence and the kids were all very, very good. We arrived in San Juan at about 4:15 and after a short wait for our luggage, headed out to grab a taxi. We arrived at the Port at about 6:00 and went through a very quick and easy embarkation process (this has always been the case with Carnival...they are great with embarkation) and headed up to the beautiful ship, the Victory. We went straight to our rooms to drop off our hand luggage, which was very little due to the security issues and then went up to the Lido Deck for our dinner. We had a great buffet dinner and by the time we were done, our luggage had been delivered to our cabins. Perfecto...thanks again to a wll-organized Carnival Cruiselines.

We were exhausted, but decided to go up to the Lido Deck to watch San Juan disappear as we sailed off into the night. We got into bed at about 11:30 and slept like babies, gently rocked to sleep by the beautiful sea.

We woke on Monday morning to the magnificent and majestic view of St. Thomas. An absolutely stunning island, lush and green, was beautifully kissed by the morning sun. We took our time in getting up, had a nice buffet breakfast and then headed down to the gangway to get a taxi to Emerald Beach. Our taxi driver, Smitty, was wonderful and told us many things about his beautiful home. We arrived at the beach at about 1:00. To say that the beach was perfect would be an understatement. The kids frolicked and played for two full hours until it was time to head back to the ship. We weren’t in the taxi two minutes when Threepeat passed out cold...exhausted from the sun and sea air. He slept for two hours and woke up ready to rock again. After our showers, we made our way to the Pacific Dining Room for our first sit down meal of the cruise. Our waiter, James is a very, VERY tall black man with such a wonderful personality! He is funny and is great with the kids. Our meal was amazing...I had assorted seafood...it was deeeelish. Boy Oneder had his favourite, steak. Threepeat had pasta and Middleman had pizza. LOL. BIL and Future SIL’s kids and our kids had a great time together and get along so well. It’s like Future SIL and her kids have always been a part of our family. Although I miss Joanne dearly, and wish she was here with us, Future SIL has really filled a big hole for both BIL and the girls and she is just such a wonderful person.

We decided to check out the karaoke bar at 10:00...for those of you who know me and my karaoke, I must say that I stayed away from the microphone completely. I knew if I got that baby in my hands, there would be no stopping me and no one else would get to sing, so I opted to watch instead. C sang “Travelling Soldier” by the Dixie Chicks and she sounded like an angel...absolutely brilliant. After a little coaxing, BIL got up and sang, “Please Release Me” by Englbert Humperdink...what a laugh.

We got into bed at about midnight and slept until 9:00 on Tuesday!! Dominica was not the prettiest island, although, I personally didn’t leave the ship. Hubster, Mum, Boy Oneder and Threepeat went to the port market and for a short walk to the church we saw from the ship and they were not impressed...they were back within an hour of leaving. BIL, Future SIL and their kids, however, had a fab time in the rain forest and raved about their tour. I don’t think I’d go back there...it’s an eco-type island, not a beachy island...I guess you’ve now figured out that I am the beachy type!

After our formal dinner, where I indulged in lobster tail AND prime rib...yes folks, TWO entrees, we headed back to the karaoke bar because BIL auditioned for the part of Elvis Presley in the final show on Saturday night. After his amazing rendition of “Hound Dog”, no one else would dare attempt to compete with him, so he made it! We spent the rest of the evening at the karaoke bar laughing and drinking. In bed by 12:00ish, we fell asleep easily.

Wednesday morning was Barbados. We had a leisurely breakfast and headed off to the gangway at noon. BIL, Future SIL and their kids spent the day at the Barbados Hilton and Mum, Hubster, the boys and I took a taxi to Hole Town, where we spent the day with some locals on a small, quiet beach. Barbados is beautiful, but the beach we went to did not do it justice. Too many rocks, a sharp drop off in the water and so many beggars put a damper on the island. I feel sad that Mum really looked forward to Barbados, but we chose the wrong beach. :o( The sun was still lovely though and Threepeat wiped himself out throwing rocks into the sea while Hubster and the older boys went jet skiing for half an hour. They loved it and raved about it for quite a long time!
We headed back to the ship at 3:00, but before getting back on, we called Hubster’s Mom to check in from the terminal. She was pleased to hear from us and loved talking with the boys. We had a great dinner in the dining room (I had salmon tonight) and then watched a fantastic juggler and a hilarious comedian in the Caribbean Lounge. Percy Crews was the comedian and he was absolutely fantastic...I laughed so hard that I cried and the kids had a blast too! Mum and I spent a couple of hours on the Lido Deck, watching beautiful footage of underwater life on the big screen, while we tapped our toes to some great calypso music. Hubster and the boys have a busy day tomorrow in St. Lucia, as they are going on a zip lining excursion that leaves at 7:30 am, so they retreated to the cabins at about 11:00. Threepeat was out cold within minutes, so Hubster was able to spend some quiet time watching TV. It’s 12:30 am now and everyone is sound asleep, so I guess I will update my FB status and turn the lights out myself.

We had a great day in St. Lucia. Hubster and the older boys went zip lining and loved it! Mum, Threepeat and I stayed on the boat for most of the day, venturing out to the port market for an hour when the boys got back. We enjoyed a beer in the beer garden (2 beers for $3.00) and watched our fellow passengers get completely wasted...great price for beer! LOL!

We had our second formal dinner and got some beautiful photos from the professional photograhpers on board...will share those when I get home. We spent the evening vegging out on the Lido deck, watching a beautiful video of fish and coral and then Boy Oneder watched over Threepeat (he was sound asleep) while Hubster and I went to see the adult version of Percy Crews’ comedy...this guy is fantastic! We laughed until we cried and hit the hay at about 1:30. When we got back to the cabin, we found Boy Oneder crashed out, hugging Threepeat...so adorable.

Today, we spent the day at St. Timothy’s beach in St. Kitt’s. A beautiful beach with very friendly locals and a great little bar/restaurant. The kids snorkelled and frolicked in the ocean for four hours before we headed back to the ship. Once again, I am sitting in my cabin, with Threepeat out cold beside me, while Hubster, Boy Oneder, Middleman and Mum are pigging out on the Lido Deck buffet. We spent the day with Future SIL, BIL and their kids, but they got caught up at the port by the rastafarian dude with the green velvet monkeys...the girlies ADORE animals and these monkeys were the cutest things ever, so I don’t expect them back for a while!

Tonight is a casual night in the dining room and then there are tons of activities for the kids, so hopefully the adults can enjoy some partying!

Sadly, tomorrow is our last port...St. Maarten. We are still undecided on what to do, but I am already depressed about going home. :o(

St. Maarten was lovely. We spent the day at Orient Beach, playing in the waves and loving the sunshine...the kids had a BLAST. BIL, Future SIL and their kids went horseback riding, but we chose to spend our last day doing what we do best...chilling on the beach. Boy Oneder and Middleman rented boogie boards and rode the waves for three straight hours while Threepeat and I jumped and played and Hubster and Grandma sunbathed. A fantastic end to a fantastic trip.

After dinner, the kids all gave our fantastic waiter, James, a hug, and Threepeat ended on a high note...he puked all over him. Poor James. Threepeat had been fighting off a terrible cough and because my poor schmoop inherited his Daddy’s overactive gag reflex, his cough caused him to vomit all over James and the floor. LOL.

We watched a great show, with our fellow passengers karaokeing (is that a word?) to songs by Madonna, Britney Spears, Frank Sinatra, James Brown and many more...it was fantastic. We stayed up way way late and then retired at about 11:45. Before the show, I had packed our bags, so we were ready to rock first thing in the morning.
We had to be off the ship by about 11:00, so we headed over to the airport and spent two hours in a restaurant...that was fun...NOT. Our flight was uneventful and we arrived back in the tundra that is Toronto at 8:40 pm. We got to bed at 11:45 and life went back to normal on Monday morning, returning to work and the rat race that is life.

We had an absolutely wonderful time and made memories to last a lifetime. As hard as it is to return to normal, I realize how truly blessed we have been in having this trip. It was everything we wanted and more. Pin It

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