We're back from our wonderful cruise vacation. While I'm glad to be back home with my sweet little babies (and internet access), I sure do miss that boat already! We sailed to Nassau with Royal Caribbean on the Monarch of the Seas this past weekend, and despite the rain and a hiccup or two, we had a fabulous time! How could it not be fabulous when it started like this...
We went with our best friends Melissa and Rick. We have been trying to plan a vacation together for quite some time now. They have also been trying to get pregnant for while. Well guess what? Yep. As soon as we planned our trip, she also found out she was pregnant! So I had to chuckle just a little bit when we sat down for drinks and she ordered a Shirley Temple. Of course I had to take a picture!
We spent Friday afternoon getting our drink on and checking out the boat. A note about cruise ships - they make strong drinks. I guess they think they're doing you a favor, but when you're a lightweight like me, you like your drinks to taste good, right? So after I switched from mojitos to tasty mango daiquiris, I lost a little bit in the casino, and then it was time for dinner.
Friday night was pretty uneventful and we decided to turn in a little early and rest up for our fun Saturday. They had room darkening blinds in the cabins, so imagine my surprise when Melissa called and woke me up at 9:00 to ask if we were going to make it to breakfast before they stopped serving at 9:30. We haven't slept that many consecutive hours in months! By the time we finished eating breakfast and getting ready, we were in port in Nassau.
We hopped in a cab and headed out to Sandals. The cab driver told us that a lot of the resorts were closed due to damage from hurricane Irene, but Melissa had been assured by Sandals that they were open and day passes would be available. After our 20 minute cab ride out there, we found out otherwise. Sure enough, they were closed. We just rolled with it and had the driver bring us all the way back to the Hilton that was near the port.
When we got to the Hilton, it was pretty quiet. We paid for our day passes, and headed to the restaurant. CLOSED. OK, we decided to just head out to the pool and eat at the pool bar. CLOSED. Are you starting to see a pattern here? The clouds were starting to roll in, and we were all hungry, so we sat down at the inside bar to eat. While we were eating it started raining, and it never stopped. We didn't let it bother us. OK, well maybe I was just a little bothered by it, but we didn't let it spoil our good time. Melissa and I talked babies while the guys sampled the top shelf rum, and we still had a great time.
We couldn't leave Nassau without stopping by Senor Frogs for a little excitement and a couple souvenirs, and of course a few drinks. We were all having a pretty good time by then, rain and all.
We headed back to the boat a couple hours later to get ready for dinner. It was formal night, so Melissa and I went to the salon and had our hair done. As always, the stylist tried to make my hair a big poof ball, but she finally listened to what I wanted and I ended up loving my hair that night. Too bad she doesn't live here! We got all dressed up and headed out to dinner.
I hadn't been all that impressed with the food so far. Don't get me wrong, it was good, but it wasn't as awesome as I thought it was going to be. Saturday night I started with escargot and had shrimp ravioli as my main course. I was definitely impressed with that meal. YUM! We even ordered an extra dessert to share that night, and of course I had to buy a drink in one of those cool cups that had lights at the bottom.
When we got to our room after dinner we were greeted by a super cool bunny hanging out on our bed...
We changed out of our formal wear and headed up to the pool for the dance party. They had the light up cups there too, and I couldn't come home with just one. Melissa even got her water in one so she could be part of the party too.
Shortly after we got our drinks, the DJ played Cupid Shuffle, so we had to get our dance on too.
When that song was over, we started scooting back over to the rails when the music started back up and a group of women came running out to the dance floor. They were doing some new dance that I didn't know, so I stood there and tried to figure it out. One of the women grabbed my hand and taught me how to do the dance, and within a few seconds I was at it again. I danced so much that I was dripping with sweat when we were done. I can't remember for the life of me what the dance was called, but we jumped back and forth, shook our booties and did the cha cha more times than I can count. I had a blast!
I found out the day before we left that one of Brian's aunts was also going on the same cruise, so she hooked up with us at the dance party that night. It was so cool that we ended up cruising at the same time, and on the same ship!
Sunday was pretty much a repeat of Saturday, only it wasn't as expensive. We were supposed to be at Royal Caribbean's private island, CocoCay, but pretty much as soon as the anchors were dropped, they were raised back up. It was raining too bad to stay there, so an alternate itinerary was made and the boat headed back home very slowly. We had rented cabanas on the island, and Brian and I were thinking about parasailing, but instead we spent the day with our friends just making our own fun. Yes, there were drinks involved. And roulette. No, I didn't win.
Around 6:00 that evening, Melissa and I went to the gift shop to pick up a couple "prizes" for the kids, and when we came back to the casino, our husbands were gone. Rick and Melissa had invited us to join them for dinner at the specialty restaurant that night for an 8:30 reservation, and apparently the guys thought they needed a nap before dinner. When I got to the room and found Brian sleeping, I grabbed $20 and figured I would check out the casino one last time. If I had laid down, there was no way I was making it to dinner.
I got to the casino and put my $20 into a slot machine called "The Munny Returns". It was a penny machine. Hey, $20 doesn't go very far in a casino. I'm always picking on my mom for playing penny machines, but I figured since it was a 125 max bet and had a $200 prize, I might as well stretch my money as far as it would go. I sat down and spun a few times and before I knew it, I hit $150 in one spin! I cashed that out and put $20 back in and just could not lose on that machine. I got a few more bonuses, and as much as I hated to cash out, it was 8:00 and I still had to get back to the room and get dressed for dinner. I ended up with just over $180 and headed back to the room. My mom was very proud!
I got back to the room, woke Brian up, fixed my makeup, threw on my dress, and we met our friends for dinner.
We decided to eat at Jade, which we thought was an "Asian-fusion" sushi bar and steak house. What we didn't know is that you cook your own meat on a hot stone. It was pretty cool. We had our sushi appetizers and then they brought the sauces for our meat and seafood. I just thought the setup was pretty so I had to take a picture.
Next came the entrees and the hot stones. You could feel the heat coming off of them as they set them down. I ordered a petite filet mignon. Rick ordered a T-bone, and when he slapped that sucker down on his stone, I just had to snap a picture. It was huge!
It was definitely a different experience and the food was very good. The desserts on the ship had all been good, but the Mud Pie I ordered that night was particularly awesome. And yes, I ate almost the whole thing!
After dinner we raced back to our rooms to get our luggage packed up and out in the hall by the directed 11:00 cut off, and then we headed to the "Quest" scavenger hunt. We didn't participate, but it was sure fun to watch. Basically, your team has to run up to the stage with whatever item they asked for. Some of the fun items were men with a black and a white bra, a man and a woman switching clothes, and the grand finale of a man with no shirt and no pants, wearing a bra and a lot of makeup, and carrying a purse. It was hilarious just watching the transformations! I have never seen people rip their clothes off in public so quickly. The activities director then taught those men some dance moves and she said they were looking for the next "Beyonce of the sea". It was quite entertaining.
We had to wake up and get off the boat way too early this morning, and I am exhausted. That is the sign of a good vacation, right? Hey, we definitely got some rest and relaxation in. We couldn't help it with all that rain. A vacation is what you make of it, and we made it a great time. This was our first vacation since our honeymoon over 4 years ago and we were together, with our best friends, and had awesome food and drinks any time we wanted them. We couldn't have asked for much more. Well, being able to see the sun might have been just a little plus.
All in all, we had a fabulous time, and we can't wait to do it again! My mom was here having her own adventures with the kids, and I was afraid she might have her stuff packed up and ready to go when we got home, but they had a great time. They even went to Sea World! I asked her when we would be allowed to go on vacation again and she said "tomorrow". Phew! We will definitely be booking another cruise next year. We will probably even take Rylie with us. I think she would love it. And then Bryce can go the next year.
Thank you Melissa for being our "travel agent". We are so glad we were finally able to make those travel plans a reality, and we couldn't think of two more awesome friends to go away with!
Oh! I think my scale broke while we were gone. It sure reads higher than when we left. Wait, how many calories are in a fruity drink?