Some more thoughts on cruising. I have one more post besides this one, which I'll schedule for tomorrow. Then moratorium on cruise talk and we'll shift gears into MOVING talk ... maybe a little job hunting talk (things are heating up) ... and finally nesting and settling talk ... a girl can dream!
I slept a lot better than normal on the ship, probably mostly because I didn’t watch as much TV (only turned it on to look at the map of our progress). But also the rocking motion of the ship made it peaceful and easy to drift off, and the cabin got pretty dark with the block out curtains and very little light pollution – just what the ship itself created!
My favorite port was Cozumel. We took a really fun speed boat ride, the Twister, to Isla Passion for lunch, swimming and relaxing in hammocks. Then we came back, got cleaned up and went out for Mexican -- margaritas in Mexico YUMMO! We took a sunset cruise (although the sunset was covered by clouds, the water was still amazingly beautiful) and then it was back to the ship for departure! We had the most time in Cozumel, so it was the most relaxing. I didn’t worry about getting back to the ship on time because we had plenty!
Cozumel was the first stop, and after a “fun day at sea” we were at Grand Cayman. Unfortunately our "fun shore excursions" that we booked through Carnival weren't synced up with the time we'd actually be in port, so we ended up only being able to do one there. And that was OK. We were able to go down in a submarine and see the coral reef, which was pretty fun. We were scheduled to do a bus tour around the island but instead ate seafood (but not turtle – the national dish!) at Paradise Café, went to the National Museum and did a little shopping. I saw some sea salt, but didn’t get it, thinking I could find it again. Of course I never did, so now I’ll have to buy sea salt like everyone else. Oh bother.
It only took an overnight sail to get to Jamaica, and my first impression: GREEN. We only had time for one excursion, but it was about five hours long – we were pretty much scheduled to be on the island for only ~six hours! First we went by bus to an 18th Century plantation. We rode on a tractor-pulled open-air cart and learned a bit about Jamaica, the plantation and its exports (lime and all spice). We toured the house and got great views of the sea from up high, plus all the greenery around. Was really vibrant. We got to sample Jamaican coffee, I bought a shell necklace and we also got to drink rum punch. We saw a man climb a coconut tree and we got to sample coconut water and fresh coconut meat.
Then it was off to the beach – Dolphin Cove. We saw some dolphin swimming, but we didn’t pay the extra to swim with them. We got to the beach, which was a little disappointing in that it was small and cramped and just a tiny swimming area. BUT it is something to be able to see the big ship in the distance, surrounded by blue green water. We were fed lunch at the beach, including some jerked chicken – spicy and YUMMO! Then it was racing back to the ship … and I was too worried about the time to try to go back to the shopping center (walking distance) to get anymore souvenirs.
I’m glad Shawn and I got the time alone together. And after being off the ship for a week-plus and worrying about all the hassles of moving and job hunting … I appreciate the vacation time more, and the fact that we got to relax and put off the real world changes that are coming at us so quickly was invaluable to our sanity and relationship stability.
Some thoughts from my vacation journal:
Cruising seems like such a weird thing to do -- American excess on display. I don't know that I can fully leave my troubles behind -- immerse myself in vacation mode -- but I'll do my best to avoid writing about that here.
It feels like I'm at summer camp -- but with my best friend as my roommate! We don't know what we're doing, where to go, etc. But we'll figure it out together, just like we have our first 2+ years of marriage, which we're celebrating on this trip.
We're really lucky to be taking this vacation. I'm trying to keep up a good face and leave the snarky, gloomy, Eeyore-ish Mari back in New York. But I am who I am -- a white trash product who can't quite get it right in higher society. (Not that this was really high society, but it was masquerading as such!)
Now -- gentle rocking, rain clouds, Shawn on my shoulder, funny family to watch and listen to (who needs TV? "Shut the front door!"), ambient restaurant clatter, ink on paper, sun peeking through a bit. In love with my husband, deep breaths, holding eyes closed to capture my memory.
I am humbled by the scope of the sea -- the expanse of the sky. Water and heavens as far as the eye can see. Soak into my soul the power and majesty of our Lord and King.
A little bored during the days at sea -- and overwhelmed by the pretention. Giving you hamburger and telling you it's steak kind of thing -- and the people are eating it UP!!!
Shawn: "Being uncouth is a requirement to be on this ship." after I told him he wouldn't want to be uncouth while he buttoned his shirt amidst the den of adults playing Marco Polo -- in an indoor pool -- at the top of their lungs -- screaming and squealing all the way.
Weird there isn't a chapel on board, although the majesty of sky and sea is definitely a worshipful experience.