Jamaica, Key West and Grand Cayman were the destination for this years cruise. It was a fantastic, very hot and humid week! Lot's of walking and more water than I have ever consume in this body!!
Many moments I'll never forget...especially my too few hours in Ft. Lauderdale with my sister Debbie's family as well as my Dad and step-mom.
Our trip began with a drive to Atlanta at midnight and catching a quick flight to Ft. Lauderdale. Yes, we could have flown from Nashville...however, due to jobs and driving with a toddler, as well as it being much, much cheaper to fly from Atlanta...Our trip planning extraordinaire (Jamie) organized our itinerary! Which worked out perfectly! Not only did we make our flight and Miss Jersey did wonderful, we were able to meet up with Jamie's family from West Virginia and head to our hotel. The Ft. Lauderdale Sheraton which is on the beach and beautiful!! It's shaped like a ship! While there my sister and her family drove up from Palm Beach with my Dad and step-mom as they were down visiting as well! We enjoyed an amazing day at the beach and Bubba Gumps for dinner. The streets were alive with music!! The moon was full and shining so radiantly across the ocean! We walked and walked!! It was just toooooo short a time with my sister and the boys!! They are growing so much and seeing them made me miss being in FL that much more!! :(( Shoot....if I keep talking about them the tears will never cease!!
SO.....Here are some moments / memories from the cruise:
The first night I ended up in Medical at 11pm getting my ankle wrapped from a trip over an unseen cord. While many people rushed to my aid, I can say,,,next to falling on my face in front of my 11th grade boyfriend some many years ago,,,I was quite embarrassed ugh!! What a fuss these total strangers made over me as apparently no caution sign was posted to forewarn anyone. Roland and Katherine from Ft. Lauderdale (strangers) argued and put up quite the protest with the housekeeping supervisor as I waited, foot swelling,turning a lovely shade a blue and my face....red as crimson!! They demanded my cruise be paid in full and an accident report be filled out. Looking back as embarrassed as I was, as well as aggravated with myself for being a klutz...they were very sweet to come to my defense. My foot was sprained and sprained quite well but fortunately nothing was broken!! With the exception of hiking up Dunes Falls in Jamaica I was able to do most everything we had planned! The great part was the ocean and pool being cold were amazing aides in healing! :)
Jamie and I enjoyed blowing a few dollars in the casino and yes I say blowing it! I walk in with a set amount and expect to loose it. If I come out ahead.... yippee!!! I can play one poker machine for hours on 20.00 so for me it's just great entertainment while at sea, late at night!
Key West was our first port and while I've traveled this city and love what it offers my only goal here was to purchase Mr. Bret a certain cigar! lol! That was my goal other than getting the kids to the Southern Most Point and getting Miss Jersey a silver spoon for her collection. While there was a line at the Southern Most Point it was nothing like I'd seen in the past. We were so lucky!! The weather was incredibly HOT and HUMID! We walked from the ship which was approx. a mile and a half but felt like 5miles that day! I tell you, there was no cooling off! People were searching for trees and awnings to stand under everywhere you looked! Fortunately Jamie had his cell and was able to call a taxi to pick us up and return us to port. The taxi fella was such a sweetheart! For the four of us he charged only $8.00 and that wasn't even his minimum. We must have looked rough!! lol! This is when tipping to me is that much more important! He had a sheer joy about doing his job and it showed! We were so thankful that Jamie saved us that walk back!
The following day was an "At Sea" day and we enjoyed the Champagne Art Auction and I even bid on a piece but let it go to a higher bidder. It was, after all, only the second day ... I do so love the art auctions they offer from Park Avenue! We enjoyed the company of Jamie's family and explored what all the ship had to offer from the amazing lunch buffets (Mongolian and Thai!) to your comfort foods. We shopped for Stephanie some earrings to match her engagement ring as it was bought on-board from Diamonds International. The ship offered the pools, the water-slide putt-putt slide, bingo, the comedy hour and my favorite....Nap time with Jersey!! :)
Jamaica was our next port. Jamie worked a deal with a local and we all got to travel via a bus for an island tour. What a great tour too!! The locals spoke of the rich history of the island and of the unfortunate poor economics today. He stopped many, many times and let us meet other locals selling their goods and creative arts. One many over the age of 80 lived simply behind a sheet and had carved out heads all along the walls that he called his home. It was a sight! Part of my soul felt terrible as I sat on a tour spending money on simple souvenirs while these people had no money to feed themselves, much less their families. What really surprises me it that it is owned by the British Royals and you would think with it begin such a huge tourist industry there would be more employment. We all did our part with contributing to this gentleman as well as several others we saw. The tour guide was quick to tell us, "only give a dollar or two because other buses would come by." I didn't understand that at first but she later explained that some people (like the lady in front of us who handed out $50.00 bills like they were $1) would give and give to those at the beginning which left those at the end of the tour with little or nothing. Basically she was saying, "If you want to offer them something thats great, there was no obligation, just do so sparingly and spread it out as they are everywhere. " and....everywhere is an understatement!! They began knocking on the windows. Begging us to buy a necklace for just $1.00. I'd never seen anything like this except on a mission trip years ago. As part of the tour we traveled to Dunn's Falls where you walk down a hillside to the ocean then hike back up it in a freshwater creek. Oh my was that water cold!! As much as my heart wanted to do this I didn't want to cause havoc with my ankle/foot so I chose, along with Jamie's parents, to watch Jersey and take photos of Steph and Jamie as they hiked it. It was beautiful and looked like soooo much fun!
Jamaica was gorgeous and considering a tropical storm had affected their island just days earlier you certainly couldn't tell it!
Another couple days at sea and then the beautiful Grand Cayman! The day started early
|Chubby and the servers singing on our last night...Jersey loved this man!|
more photos soon