Dream Shard Blog: The Scintillating Adventures of Our Household

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Apr '07

Cruise Report

I was cleaning out my My Documents folder on my laptop today and rediscovered a journal I had kept during our cruise in January to the Caribbean. I had super good intentions when I started the journal at the cruise’s commencement, but alas, I only have entries for about half the cruise.

Here it is:


Sunday, January 14, 2007
Depart from Ft. Lauderdale, FL enroute to Freeport, Bahamas.

We arrived on our ship, the Carnival Liberty, at about 1:00 today. The weather in Ft. Lauderdale was sprinkly, but warm. About 75 degrees and cloudy. Fortunately the lines were short to get on the ship, and we got on in about 45 minutes with Josh and Hannah and their baby Logan, and Hannah’s parents, Brian and Charlotte, and Hannah’s brother Hyrum.

leaving Ft. Lauderdale
(Josh and his baby Logan as we’re leaving Ft. Lauderdale. That’s Ft. Lauderdale’s gorgeous beach.)

Right away we went to the Lido deck where a buffet was available. I had fresh fruit and roast beef on a baguette for lunch while John had chicken and a slice of really yummy chocolate pie. We ate with Josh and Hannah and Logan. Afterward John and I set out to find our cabin, room 8305 on the Verandah deck.

We booked a balcony room, which is nice because we can stand or sit out there and watch our ship’s progress, enjoy the starry night, or scope out the port we’re at.

our room

Tonight it was fun to stand out there and see, in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, five (five!) other cruise ships traveling in the distance right along with us. I guess they’re on their way to the Bahamas or some other nearby island, too. They were beautiful! Like lit Christmas trees glowing in the darkest of night.

other cruise ships

After finding our room John and I walked through the ship, trying to get our bearings on where things are. The Liberty is large, about 11 decks that hold about 2500 guests (plus 1000+ crew!).

Liberty lobby

One of the highlights of the night was dinner in the Silver Dining Room at 5:45. We’re seated at the same table as Josh, Hannah, the Weights, and Sara and Brandon (Hannah’s sister and bro-in-law). We could really feel the rocking motion of the ship, but as dinner went on we got more used to it. The dining room is beautiful. Elegant. And the dinner was superb. We all ordered appetizers or salad (or both) and the main dish at the same time. Then later they brought out the dessert menu. I had iceberg wedge salad with bleu cheese and bacon for the starter and spring lamb Dijonaisse for the main entrée. It came with potatoes and carrots and broccoli, and I thought every bite was succulent. I truly enjoyed the meal. Afterwards I ordered the chocolate melting cake, which apparently is a specialty that’s offered every night. I guess they’re supposed to be mostly cooked with pudding in the middle, but ours were like brownie batter—all soft. Even so, it was good and I enjoyed it.

Dinner took a full two hours. So at 8:30 or so, upon John’s suggestion, we changed into swimsuits, grabbed a towel, and went up to enjoy a hot tub on the Lido Deck. Ah man, it was so very nice and relaxing to sit in that tub. It was a nice bubbly tub, and not too many people either. The wide-screen TV on the deck was showing the movie Finding Nemo, which we watched while we soaked. We probably stayed there for at least a half hour. A couple in the tub with us were on the cruise by themselves; they had left their kids at home. They said that they had told their kids that the cruise ship would have nothing interesting for them, so they were better off not coming (wink wink). They said that their kids would be so jealous to learn their parents watched Finding Nemo while soaking in a hot tub. I guess their kids are nuts about hot tubs.

my favorite hot tub
My favorite hot tub, on the Lido Deck.

Giant TV on Lido Deck.

Finally we came back to the room, showered, unpacked, and got ready for bed. It’s been a nice day, and a good start to the trip. I hardly notice the ship’s motion anymore. Tomorrow: The Bahamas!


Monday, January 15, 2007
Freeport, Bahamas

I woke up at 6 a.m. this morning, just as our ship was pulling into the Freeport dock. I stood on our balcony, watching as the ship approached the dock, then as three workers grabbed a rope from the ship and tied it around a cement pillar to keep the ship stable.

John and I made our way down to level 0 in the ship by around 8:15 a.m. On Sunday night we had tried to book the biking excursion for Freeport through Carnival, but it was sold out. We were pretty bummed, and went ahead and booked a kayaking excursion for Grand Cayman on Wednesday so we could count on having something to do then.

When we got off the boat this morning we were surprised to see very cloudy skies and feel rain on our shoulders. I had even worn a tank top over my swim suit because I expected nicer weather. Oh, well. At least we weren’t so disappointed about missing the biking. We met up with Josh and Logan and Charlotte, and after standing around a while outside the boat, trying to figure out what to do (the ship docks at a very industrial port where there’s nothing to do within walking distance) we took a taxi ($5 per person each way) to Port Lucaya where there’s some shopping and to Lucaya beach. Cars drive on the left side of the road, because the Bahamas was a British principality. Drivers were crazy! Thankfully we were okay.

It sprinkled and then it rained and then it poured! We walked around the flea-market type shops while it sprinkled/rained. The native merchants try to get your attention to pull you into your booth by talking to you and calling you things like, “Hey sexy lady with the blue bag, come try this on!” They used the word “sexy” a lot. A lot. I bought a necklace for $9 (which John thought was a rip-off but I don’t feel too bad about it. Some of the other necklaces at other vendors were $16).

When we thought it was drying up we walked over to the beach, and then it poured. Nonetheless, John and I ran from overhang to overhang until we found the beach. If I came all the way to the Bahamas, even if it was hurricaning, by gosh I was going to at least see the beach. So we saw it, got soaked, and ran back to shelter.

Bahamas rain
Us near the beach in Freeport. Yes, it’s positively pouring behind us.

Finally, around 10:30 a.m., the rain gave up and the sun came out. Suddenly it was a beautiful beach day. Josh put Logan in a swim diaper and I rolled up my pants and John and I frolicked on the beautiful beach for an hour. The sand wasn’t white, but it was very fine, which made it nice and soft against the feet. Really nice. The water was a little cold upon first contact, but it warmed up fast once you were in it.

Us on beach in Bahamas sunny
After the sun came out. Ahhhhhhh.

We went back to the shops and Josh bought a necklace from the same place I got mine for Hannah. It was black and white with pretty stones on it. It’s a little fancy looking, but Hannah wore it that night to formal night, and the next night with casual clothes, and it looks good on her. Josh spent a long time picking out a conch shell. I helped him pick out both the necklace and the shell, and he got both for $20. It was fun hanging out with him and spending time with my brother like that.

shopping in Freeport
My brother Josh and Logan shopping in Freeport in the rain.

After we finished up at the beach and the shops we took the taxi back to the port and got back on board. That night we went to a dance revue by the Liberty dancers, which was pretty good, although I thought it was cheesy at first but improved as it went on. Many thongs.


Tuesday, January 16, 2007
At Sea

John and I didn’t do a whole lot today. I felt a bit sea sick at night, and I was abnormally tired, so I was more than happy to get to bed early, soon after dinner.

Dinner, by the way, was served in the Silver Dining room every night at 5:45. We have two personal waiters who know our names and remember our preferences (like they always put out a glass of milk for me because I wanted it my first night). We can order whatever we want, as much as we want. I usually order a starter like a soup or salad and then an entrée, followed by desert. The starters have always been good. The entrees have been mixed. I loved the lamb the first night, but haven’t been as impressed since. The best dessert is the warm chocolate melting cake, which is served with vanilla ice cream. It’s like a chocolate volcano, with cake on the outside and pudding on the inside. Yum. Josh ordered it every single night without fail. And the waiters know to bring him two bowls of ice cream instead of just one.

We sat in the hot tub again tonight. It’s very relaxing.


Wednesday, January 17, 2007
Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands

This was my favorite port, by far. We docked around 8 a.m. off the shore of Grand Cayman, which is the largest of the Cayman Islands, south of Cuba. This is a British principality, too, with a leader designated by Britain. (So cars drive on the left side here, too!) This is a tender port, so we had to get in line for the tender boat to take us to shore. It took about ½ hour, and we were finally on the island by about 9:30. The ocean at this island is beautiful. For the first hour John and I just walked along a road near the shore to see what was there. We walked through a glass-blowing studio, and I used the restroom at a Burger King.

Then it was time to meet up with our group for the tour we had signed up for: kayaking and snorkeling in the ocean. I was a little apprehensive about this, since my last kayaking experience in the rapids of Colorado River near Moab last July were pretty frustrating and so not fun. But let me just say that this experience, kayaking the blue waters of Grand Cayman, were totally different. Oh man it was so much fun. So beautiful.

There were only 12 in our group. A bus took us around to the south side of the island where we met our tour guide Andrew, a black man with an accent that sounded Jamacian. He had bare feet. We slathered on a little more sunscreen and then hopped in our kayaks. Grand Cayman is a coral reef, and there is a large area of shallow water that’s only 1 ½ to 8 feet deep. Then, once you get past a certain point the depth drops drastically to about 6.000 feet. You can tell where that is because you can see the waves crashing there, far in the distance. We started off kayaking near the shore in water about two feet deep. My one major regret is that we forget to bring our water camera, so sadly we have no pix to remember the water or kayaking by. But the water was gorgeous—blue, crystal clear, and warm. You could see straight down to the ocean floor wherever you were. And it was the gorgeous blue color you see on postcards.

Andrew had us stop at two spots along the shore where he told us about Red Mangroves, a protected plant that survives on salt water, and the jellyfish. We kayaked into a little water cove where you could see little green shaggy things the size of the palm of your hand on the water floor, and those were jellyfish. He said they were Cassiopeia Jelly Fish, which have a very mild sting. He held one up for us and let us hold it if we wanted to. So I held it in my hand. It was cool! Kind of slimy; it left a slime on my hand I had to rinse off in the water afterward. It doesn’t sting your palm but it does your wrist. It feels like hot sauce.

Then we kayaked out to a platform about a half mile (?) out into the ocean, still in the shallow parts. The water there was probably about 5 feet deep. We got off our boats and put on snorkel gear. This was my first experience snorkeling, so I was a little nervous. But I wore a snorkel vest (like a life jacket but smaller) and it was actually a lot of fun! Part of the funness was definitely due to the beautiful water. You just stick your head under water and instantly you can see ahead, below, to the sides—everywhere. It’s crystal clear. We saw black spindly sea urchins (don’t step on those!), lots of conch shells, and a coral reef where tons of fish hung out. There were beautiful colorful tropical fish (bright blues and yellows with black stripes), huge, huge fish, and smaller grey fish. It was pretty amazing. And the blue water was perfectly warm. Nice and pleasant and perfect. John helped me by letting me hold onto him a little so I felt more secure in the deeper water. It really was amazing!

When we finished snorkeling we climbed back onto the platform and dried out. Bryan and Hyrum (Hannah’s dad and brother) were on this tour with us, and they were pretty adventuresome snorkelers! They went almost all the way out to the rocks marking the break between the shallow water and super deep. Sitting there on the platform was really like sitting inside a postcard. The sun was shining. The water was that bright tropical blue you always wish you could see in person. And there we were! Honestly, I so wish we had our water camera!!!

When it was time to kayak back to the shore we took our time because it was so lovely to be out on the ocean. It was a warm, perfect, slightly breezy day. We really, really enjoyed our time there.

us after kayaking Grand Cayman
Us after kayaking. So relaxing and fun.

After we were shuttled back to the main city area we walked around and shopped with Bryan and Hyrum a little. Cruise ports typically specialize in jewelry, alcohol, and touristy souvenirs, and this port was no exception. I just bought postcards (which I mailed the next day to some family and friends) and was lucky enough to buy 2 small jars of homegrown and homemade mango jelly, which I plan to give to Tara and Jonathan and the Deans (who are taking care of Kyra while we’re gone). The jelly was really good! They were $5/jar.

It was almost sad to get back on board, because I liked being on this island so much. I would actually consider flying back there someday for a week. Andrew, our tour guide, said he’s lived there for three years and really loves it. He said it’s as nice as you might guess. The only downside is that because everything has to be imported, everything costs more. Milk and bread are around $10. Gas is about $5/gallon. Etc.

But we had to get back on board by 4, so we did. John and I both got more sun than we meant to because our sunblock apparently washed off. I ended up with a nice tan on my arms, back and legs. But it was the only tan I got all week. John got burned on his arms.

We were exhausted and ready for dinner by the time we got back on board. We barely had time to shower before dinner, and boy were we hungry for it.

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