Wednesday, April 13

Caribbean Cruise 2005

I didn't have proper internet on the ship so here is a collaboration of post and pics from my time away. You can click here to find more pics on my flickr page.

Mon 3/28 Day 1
The ups and downs of today. Well let's start with yesterday, Easter Sunday.
Down- I couldn't go to church because my clients believe in getting to the airport a full 2 hours before departure.
Up- We couldn't get 6 seats together so I sat quite peacefully by myself without kids for the 5 hour flight.
Up- Staying at the Four Seasons in Miami.
Down- Kids on California time not going to bed until 1am. Up- Ryan being fairly peaceful and quiet this morning while everyone else slept.
Down- Bad Weather preventing us from going down to the pool.
Up- Cruise Ship Time!!!
Down- Figuring out that I don't have a cabin to myself like I thought I did therefore leaving me hostage in this room even when the kids go to sleep.
Up- Clients booking me the spa treatment of my choice for tomorrow morning.
Up- Sitting next to another nanny during the emergency drill... we hope to hang out alot together with and without kids. She has her own room. I got jipped.
BIG HUGE DOWN- my little suitcase zipper broke sometime between when I handed it over to their porter and when it arrived at my room. Now that I have unpacked and organized absolutely everything I find 3 important things missing from this bag (and I am praying hard that they are on the ship somewhere). 1. My sonicare 2. My cell phone charger... not that the phone works here but it's my only form of a clock in this room. 3. My bag full of jewelry including my grandmother's tahitian pearl necklace. My heart is breaking. I was crying in the bathroom and Jack came all concerned. It was sweet of him. He says my grandmother is probably looking down on me saying that it's no big deal. And he's probably right. It is just another earthly object, but it still saddens me because it was one of the most special earthly objects I had. I am praying that the ship crew is able to locate it in the morning.

The view down to the lobby from the glass floor on 8 floors above

Tue 3/29
This morning started off with an Ionithermie Spa Treatment complements of my clients. Ionithermie... very strange. It feels like you pins and needles pricking you. Basically, it is a body wrap that uses "the gentle action of faradic and galvanic stimuli combined with thermal clay and biologically active natural ingredients" and results in firmer smoother skin, improvement of cellulite, circulation stimulation, and temporary inch loss on buttocks, abdominal, and thigh area. I lost 6 2/8 inches in the process. I think I should have just had the absolute face and body treatment... 105 minutes of massage including hair play... totally more my style. Maybe an opportunity will arise later in the trip.
Great news... Lost and Found had my jewelry, my sonicare, and my cell phone charger. Tonight I wore my grandmother's majorica pearls. It was a formal dinner night. I don't get all that many opportunities to wear cocktail dresses.

Wed 3/30
A Day At Sea... Today after waking up late, we all headed to lunch for breakfast. Then I put the kids in cruise camp and gave the hot new swim suit the debut it deserved at the adult pool. That lasted all of an hour before I was paged to the camp to pick up the kids. They had been sitting there on strike refusing to participate in the fun. So with kids in tow, I end up at the kids pool where I am the life of the party. I make Ryan a grip load of new friends by being the fun adult who plays shark with them and the fact that I have a hot new swim suit becomes trivial. Unexpectedly, all the kids decide they want room service so that they can go to magic night at the much dreaded kids camp. I, all of a sudden, have a night off with no plan. I was scared to do much because I figured I would be getting a page to go get my reluctant kids any second but it never came. My new ally, camp staff.... they tell my kids that they paged me and I didn't respond but they didn't page me... they just knew that my kids would get over it and just resolve themselves to have fun, which they did. God bless lying counselors. So I first attempted to get internet access in my room, but the techies came and said it wasn't going to happen. So chances are you will get this mass of updated posts all when I get back to Miami or San Jose. Then I got all dressed up and walked around the ship where I finally found Gemma. Gemma is my new friend. I happened to be sitting next to her during the fire drill the first day and it ends up she is also on the cruise as a nanny. So we've been hanging around when we can get free time simultaneously. Last night we went to the night club and Dad watched the kids. Tonight we had her kids for a bit. Then when she was done, we played some pool. The pool table is trippy. It has a movable surface that automatically adjusts to counter the motion of the ocean. While we played we chatted it up with this chap named Duncan whose from Manchester (Gemma is British too, but lives in Florida). Then we got my kids out of camp and ordered cocktails to my room. Kids in bed and we watched Little Black Book while sipping Pina Coladas.

Gemma and I at Starquest trying to find the young single crowd

Sat 4/2
The last 3 days of bliss started in San Juan, Puerto Rico. I bought majorica pearl earrings to match my grandmother's necklace. (Trips are often distinguished by their accompanying purchases). I shopped with the family in the morning and had the afternoon to myself. A big highlight was cell phone coverage. It's US territory and is covered by Sprint. I can't wait to see those roaming charges.

Me with a backdrop of the beautiful Puerto Rican Waters

My Cruise Ship... The Brilliance of the Sea

Christ Lives Here! I loved it.

Looks a bit like Bourbon Street, huh?

Me and little miss Ryan
Next stop was St. Thomas where we missed the ferry to our excursion and had to make up our day. We took a ferry over to St. John Island (not to be confused with St. John, the province in Antigua). We hung out at Trunk Bay and it was pure luxury. There is great snorkeling there, but I was too distracted helping newbies Jack and Gemma along. The sand was so soft and the water was great. I didn't really get a chance to shop. I made up for it though today in Antigua.

St Thomas Bay of Boats

St Thomas View

St John's Trunk Bay where I spent the day
Today was my "day off" from vacation, meaning that my boss said that I could take that day and go off by myself on a different excursion than them. I decided on the Sea Kayak and Snorkeling Eco Adventure, and what a good choice it was! Gemma was able to get the time off from her boss to come with me. I want to do more kayaking back home. One of the most fun parts of the day was riding on the speedboat, even though our boat broke down twice leaving us temporarily stranded at sea. It was still fun. And the snorkeling was great. And I learned a bit about the coral reef ecosystem, and about sea turtles, and other caribbean wildlife local to Antigua. Back at the ship I was able to squeeze in some mini spa treatments... nails and scalp massage. It was the best day of the trip... so far.

Gemma making nice with our speedboat

Bird Island where we snorkeled in Antigua

Speed Boat Liz having a blast.

Sun 4/3
My frustration with the ship: a lack of clocks. I know we are on vacation and they are trying to just let the day flow for us, but I'm still on a schedule as are the kids. I can never find a clock when I need to and I've had 3 watches break on me in the last week here.
What I love about the ship: Adventure Ocean- the kid's camp on board. It took some time for the kids to warm up to the idea, but now they love it and can't wait to go the second we get on board. This means lots and lots of free time for me. And this camp is open until 1am. It is a beautiful wonderful thing to be able to have them disappear and find time to read or blog or tan or swim or mingle and act like an adult whose on vacation for just a while.
Today was St. Lucia. We went to the Aquabelle which is basically a glass bottom boat ride around the coral reefs. Then I bought a few things and laid out by the pool. Then Gemma and I went to dinner at Portifino, the nice Italian restaurant on board. It was nice to dine without the kids. But the ship was pretty quiet so we didn't do much after that.

St. Lucia City View

Gemma and I getting friendly with the maitre d' at the restaurant

Tue 4/5
Another Day at Sea... I'm starting to have alot of fun on this cruise... a bit too late seeing that I have only 2 more days. Actually, what am I wining about. I'm going to change my outlook on that. 2 days is like having a whole weekend left. I had so much fun tonight. I met a bunch of new people. It was formal night so Duncan, Gemma, and I took pictures. Then we met this guy Ryan and his brother whose name I forget [editor's note: Jason], but they were really cool. Then I met a bunch of South African guys. I hated to have to leave all the fun to go pick up the kids, but it must be done. After all, that's why I'm here. Today was just a day at sea so we all just hung out by the pool and got tan.

Duncan, Me, Gemma chilling poolside on the ship

Go ahead. Jump overboard. We'll save you.

Me with 2 very handsome studs at our formal dinner

The Gorgeous Perry Family

Me and Gemma
Yesterday we were docked in St. Maarten. The morning was just catching up on sleep and then lolling around the room. The plan as it was explained to me was that the parents would go into town and at 1:15 I'd meet them the dock with the kids and we would trade off. So it sounded to me that I would have the afternoon off so when Duncan called that morning I was eager to make plans to go explore the island with him. I don't think I've explained Duncan yet. Duncan is from Worcester, England. He's here with his parents and siblings whom both have spouses and kids. So he's alone alot so Gemma and I adopted him. He's a nice bloke. He's teaching me British slang. Did you know "pants" to them are underwear... or more precisely, guys' tighty whiteys. So if I walked up to a chap in England and said that I liked those pants on him, he would give me a strange look and wonder if I'd been spying on him getting dressed. Anyways, back to St. Maarten. I made plans with Duncan and then my boss came back to the ship a little earlier than planned and picked up the kids since they were ready. And as I send them off he says "Are you going to leave the door open?" And I realize that I'm coming with so I say no and go grab my stuff and call Duncan from the lobby to flake. Now I hate flaking on people so I am pretty guilt ridden over it. And I don't mention anything to my boss. Then we take a ferry and a taxi to Marigot (the French side of the island) and they don't even need me. As a matter of fact, it's about an hour into it that Dad says that I can wander off as long as I make it back on the boat by 4:30. And this upsets me because I've flaked on Duncan for nothing and the whole time I'm bored and not enjoying it knowing it would have been more fun with Duncan. Plus I wouldn't have gone to the expensive side of the island where all I get is and overpriced $85 tank top. I maybe would have really liked it under different circumstances and if I had a ton of money to blow. But it's not worth mentioning the whole inconvenience to my boss. I made up for time lost by spending the evening hanging out with Duncan.

St. Maarten Beach

Leaving St. Maarten during sunset

Wed 4/6
Today I was in Labadee, Hispanolia. At least, that's what it says on the itinerary. What they are not telling you is that it's in Haiti. But it's a private beach for only Royal Caribbean's use and it gives the appearance of being very safe and secure. There was an aqua park there that we spent the morning at. Then the kids went into Adventure Ocean and I went and got my hair braided. Now I'm starting to really look the part of my African American heritage... the braids mixed with the dark tan. Tonight I got to stay out until midnight. I had so much fun with Ryan, Duncan and Gemma. We were like the 4 muskateers. And this night Duncan really stepped up to be my hero.

View from my chair... beautiful waters, haitian mountainside, waterpark, cruise ship in the distance

1 1/2 hours with 6 girls actively braiding... I have alot of hair

The Gang... Me, Ryan, Duncan and Gemma

Duncan considers this a Page 3 picture... ask a brit.

Ryan and I- He leaves on Friday for a 1 year army stint in Korea.

Laying on the Glass Floor. We're so risky. *sarcasm*

Thu 4/7
Today was the last real day on the cruise. I grabbed lunch with Duncan and then hung out at the pool with the kids. Then I joined in on a game of water volleyball which my team won. Then I went and climbed the rock climbing wall, which was harder than it looked. Then after dinner I packed and then partied with the boys. Gemma had to work so she missed out.

Water Volleyball Champs- Oisin, (no name), Me, Neil, Aaron

Me and my boys- Ryan and Duncan

All the Party Boys with their favorite bartenders.

Fri 4/8
It's all over and I have post cruise blues. I thought I'd see people this morning, but they send everyone to different sections to wait until departure and I didn't get to do some proper goodbyes. So I decided sometime in the Virgin Islands that I was not coming home. I changed my flight. I'm going to Sarasota for a few days to hang out with Gemma. I escorted my family to the airport and bid them farewell. I met up with Duncan and got my rental car and went to lunch. I dropped him back off at the airport and then started my 3 hour drive to Sarasota. I had to pull over and sleep though because I was no good to drive after such a late night. I got to Gemma's and we went out to this club with her cousin, Adam [fresh from England and such a cutie]. That night ended with me being more drunk than ever before... still not much, but the most yet. I think it had to do with a shot of vodka.

Sun 4/10
Yesterday was a completely kick back day. We were so exhausted from the trip that we decided just to relax. We were going to go out, but we opted for renting movies and eating ice cream. Today we hit the beach. Sarasota is home to Siesta Keys Beach, ranked one of the top 3 beaches in the world. The sand is pure fine powder. It's really nice. The water was still a little cool, not as warm yet as the tropics. And it did a nice finishing touch to the tan I had been working on. To lay on the beach finally with no kids... no sand castles or piggy back swims... just relaxation. It was great. Her folks BBQ'd and then we crashed. I think we are still catching up.

Tue 4/12
Finally home in my own house. It's good to be home, but I miss the ship and my friends. The kids miss the ship too. At work, they kept talking about going back and what they missed. Yesterday I met up with Gemma, John (her boss), and the kids she watched and we went out for lunch. John is a really sweet guy who unfortunately is suffering from MS and is doing his best to lead a normal life. I got to know him pretty well on the cruise. Gemma and I had such a wonderful time that we decided that we have to do another cruise next year. So we spent the kid's nap time planning this out. In May 2006 we are going back to the Caribbean for either 6 or 7 nights. We are going to invite all of our friends and have them invite their friends and Duncan and Ryan will come and bring all their friends and we'll have a huge network of young people going. It will be so much fun. And in the meanwhile I am considering a small 4 night cruise maybe in November for my birthday. So keep May 2006 open and start saving your money so you can come with. Details to follow. (oh, and some place in there I drove across the treacherous Alligator Alley in the dark and moteled it in Miami for a night to catch my early morning flight home)


Blogger Duncan said...

A few things -
1) I'm not from Manchester.... eughh.... (sorry to any Mancs reading this).
2) The other lads - there was ONE who was South African and the rest were Irish.
3)Yes - I was your hero... and so was my Dad (the one whose walkie talkies they were)
4)The day I afford another cruise is the day I win the lottery (which is also when I pay for you to go on one!!!)
5)F**k me it was a great time in my life

5:49 PM  
Blogger Sheila said...

Cool pics Liz! You look great! I can't wait to see you!

9:07 PM  

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