Vacation !

On Sunday, Bo went to the mens breakfast at church with my dad then dad took us to the airport. We arrived at about 930am, our flight left at 1130. I purchased the tickets back in August and had seats assigned at the time but when we checked in at the gate, they advised we didn’t have seats yet and they would call our names after the passengers boarded to get the last seats if they were still available. This was after finding out they charge for bags and we had to pay extra for that as well. Not a good start. We got on the flight and made it to Chicago on time. Transferred planes and took off to Baltimore. I was getting sick on the ride so Bo asked if they had some crackers or bread or anything small so I could get something to settle my stomach, they said no, only the snack boxes available for $8.99 to purchase. Nice. It was a turbulent ride and the fasten seat belt light was on but Bo had to use the restroom so he got up. We were in the last row before the galley where the restrooms were located and Bo was in the galley waiting to use the restroom when a flight attendant passed by, Bo excused himself politely and got out of the way and got yelled at for being up while the seatbelt sign was on. We were not very pleased with our travel but arrived safely to Baltimore at about 930pm Saturday night. We couldn’t board the ship until Sunday at 1230 so I decided we’d just stay in the airport for the night because I’m cheap and heck, I’m a world racer, I can sleep anywhere, anytime and need no comfort. Bad idea. We had packed to go to the Bahamas, shorts, tank tops & flip flops and it was 8 degrees in Baltimore when we arrived with snow on the ground. Good thing we didn’t plan on leaving the airport. We found the “meditation room” and figured maybe we could sleep in there even though the sign stated it closed. We snuggled up on the floor in the corner in front of all our luggage and tried to sleep. Apparently I’m not cut out to be a world racer anymore because it was a COLD, HARD floor that hurt to lay on, I hadn’t packed well and had nothing warm to wear and couldn’t get warm enough or comfortable (pain free) enough to sleep. We were able to rest uncomfortably in there until 630am Sunday morning when they kicked us out.

We decided to go have breakfast and check out the transportation options to the port. I had planned on walking to the bus stop, taking that to the light rail to another bus then walking to the port from the stop. That would have been about a 2 hour ordeal in the snow for only about $15 less than the cost of a cab direct to the airport in about 20 minutes so we decided to do that instead but didn’t want to leave for a few hours so we found a different hallway that was nice and warm and laid down again to get some rest. We napped and played games for a few hours and got up at about 1130am to go get our cab and got passed by at least the 100th airport employee who had seen us laying on the floor who asked when we were leaving and told us we should have gone up to the “observation deck” where we could have slept all night in warm, comfy recliners watching the planes take off and land with pillows and blankets. REALLY!?!?!? We searched all over for a comfortable place to sleep and never found one and 14 hours later, someone tells us about it. Ugh.

We made it to the port, got checked in, boarded the ship and got our room and luggage. We walked around on the ship and saw the outer decks were all covered in ice. Bummer. We’re packed for a HOT summer vacation and the decks/pools are all ice. We froze some more. We set sail Sunday afternoon and hung out on the ship until Wednesday when we arrived in Florida. We got caught up on our sleep, saw all the shows on the ship, participated in some activities, tried our luck at the casino, ate some great food and had lots of pictures taken.

We met our table mates the first night,Tim & Aarone, the other couple we’d be having dinner with together each night and connected pretty quickly and sat at the table and talked until they asked us to leave as the dining room had closed. We’ve done that pretty much every night since then as well. They’ve been a fun couple to chat with each night over dinner. We met another nice couple playing poker who we’ve continued to talk to each night as well and look forward to our conversations with them each day.

Wednesday we arrived in Port Canaveral, Florida and Bo’s uncle was there to pick us up right as we stepped off the ship. He took us back to his house, we played pool and chatted with his Great Uncle who had just arrived from New York on his vacation then headed out to a Cuban restaurant for lunch. We picked up his aunt on the way and had a great time at lunch catching up with them all. Then we hit the bowling alley and bowled 3 games then headed back to the ship. We had a great day catching up with his aunt, uncle & great uncle and were so happy to spend the day with them.

Thursday we arrived in Nassau, Bahamas where we had booked an excursion to go see the Atlantis resort. We hopped a bus with a bunch of folks, took a walking tour of the property, saw tons of cool aquatic life, walked around with the couple we had met at the poker table then I had to try my hand at the casino just so I could say that I’ve done it and lost my small amount pretty quickly so we went back to the port and walked around there for a while before getting back on the ship.

We also found a Starbucks in the Atlantis…. :)

Friday we arrived in Freeport, Bahamas early and had booked a sailing/snorkeling excursion and as we excited our room to go meet for that, we found a note stating it had been cancelled due to low attendance so we were switched to a power catamaran/snorkel excursion. We met with the group outside in the freezing cold (wearing a swim suit, tank top, skirt & flip flops) and caught the bus to the resort where it was located. We hopped on the power catamaran and “set sail”.

It was FREEZING! They said the outside temp was around 60-65 which really isn’t that cold but wearing the nothing that we were wearing clipping along at a good speed on the water in the very windy conditions, it felt VERY cold. We arrived at the snorkeling location and everyone on the boat just sat around looking at each other to see who, if anyone, was going to go in first. Everyone stripped down of their sweats, hats, socks, sneakers and we all jumped in. Except Bo, I had made a number of laps around the boat snorkeling before he decided to get in. We snorkeled up and down the Lacaya reef and saw some pretty amazing fish. It was a lot of fun and not too bad once we got in the water. We all got out, snuggled up in our towels and got ready to head out.

The captain started the boat but we only traveled about 2 minutes very slowly before he stopped for us to spot the sharks he had seen in the area. That was pretty scary seeing them so close to where we had just been in the water but neat to see nonetheless. We “sailed” back to the resort, caught the bus back to the port, found a coffee shop to get a hot coffee to warm up with and got back on the boat to go take a hot shower. Friday was our last elegant evening so we got dressed up again, took pictures everywhere around the ship and went to dinner with our buddies again. After dinner we went to another show, attempted to make a bankroll in the casino and went to bed.

Saturday was our last “fun day” on the ship. We ate, went to the shows and found a couples massage workshop to take. It was $50 for 1.25 hours of learning how to massage one another and practicing. We had a massage therapist in the room teaching us each how to use the techniques they use on their massage clients and we each got a nice massage. We also sat out on our balcony and watched dolphins putting on a show for us for quite a while, we can’t even count how many we saw jumping out of the water from right up against the ship to as far as our eyes could see, it was really cool.

I entered a slot tournament, I’ve never done it before and it was only $20 so I decided to give it a try. There were about 90 people that entered and played the first round. I was in 2nd place after the first round and had to come back at a later time to spin again for the grand finale. When I came back, the top 9 winners from round 1 and a wild card entry were ready to spin for our prize. They sit everyone down at a machine that has 0 credits and unlimited spins on a 5 minute timer and you just spin and spin and spin as fast as you can for 5 minutes and whoever has the most credits at the end wins. That just happened to be me! WOO HOO!!! I won a hat, t shirt, 24 carat gold plated plastic “piece of ship” and $500 cash!!!

There was a dance party on an outside deck one night and just after the party started we heard overhead paging for “Operation Brightstar” which we thought was some sort of party call. Bo was already headed up to the party deck and when he arrived he found that “operation brightstar” means that someone had collapsed and the employees were performing CPR on the gentleman. He had been part of the dance competition and had just collapsed on the deck. We found out later that they were able to revive him with CPR and defibrillation and he was airlifted off the ship by the coast guard later that night in stable condition.

We had the same wait staff every night as well, Lourdes from Peru and Arip from Indonesia, they were a ton of fun and sang and danced for us and with us when Bo “party boy’d” Lourdes…

We have lots of people we look forward to recognizing for excellent service during our cruise, we had a blast even though the ship was quite a bit older than the previous ones we’ve cruised on, therefore not as nice. But the staff is always exceptional and make it a great time.

One of my favorite things is waking up in the morning and sitting out on the balcony for quiet time. Here’s the view… BEAUTIFUL yet freezing!

We finally had to say goodbye to our friends and head home. We’re descending into Seattle airport as I type this and looking forward to getting home, seeing Bows and having the day off to sleep in, recuperate, clean laundry & buy groceries. I’ll post the rest of the photos on FB.

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