Friday, July 20, 2012

Back From Cruising

Our cruise ship in St. Thomas

A few days ago, we returned from 11 days in Puerto Rico. Well, Steve spent 11 days there. I was there for a few days on each end of our travels, but spent the majority of that time on a cruise with Lily, Semira, and my mother. As I mentioned in a previous post, this really was a spontaneous, last minute idea. I haven't been on a cruise in a long time; last one was in 2003, I believe. It was just something different and I figured the kids would probably love it (hint - they did). They had a blast, enjoying a week in a "paradise" that resembles a Las Vegas for kids. The week was not really relaxing (for me), but was instead filled with non-stop action. I know sympathy will be in short supply here, but I am back feeling like I need a vacation to recover from my vacation! Steve, on the other hand, is pretty mellow. He spent the week taking Spanish, doing CrossFit on the beach, learning to kite-board, working, and exploring the city of San Juan via foot and public transit.

People have been asking me why Steve didn't go with us. Well, that is never going to happen. In all likelihood, a cruise is his version of hell. I confirmed this sentiment in my head many times last week. The atmosphere is just too crowded (people at every turn), glutinous (people eating at every turn), cheesy (variety shows, casino, bingo, shopping, etc., at every turn), and boring (sitting at a beach or by the pool). He would crawl the ship walls and probably beg to be abandoned at sea (or at least one of the islands). Of course the kids missed him and now want him to go on another cruise with them sometime in the future. They came back reporting all the cool things he could do including being in the poolside "hairy chest" contest. Now that would be fun, and given his hirsute chest, maybe he could even be a contender!

Steve (left!) working out with Mike of CrossFit Fuerte in PR
On the other hand, I can acclimate to a little laziness and cheese now and again. The trick is to just roll with it. Our itinerary was packed with five of the seven days spent in port (St. Thomas, Barbados, St. Lucia, St. Kitts, and St. Martin).  While there weren't too many hours of just sitting around, I did manage to relax by the pool and beach for a few hours each day, sometimes enjoying a glass of wine or two. Plus my mom and I managed to have a few dinners alone as Lily and Semira preferred to spend the evening at the free "Camp Carnival" for kids. At this stage in my life and given my kids' ages, the cruise really is a good fit for a vacation every now and again. Plus it's actually a pretty good vacation value. Who knows, maybe we will go again, assuming I can convince some family or friends to go with me :-).

Steve getting ready to ditch us in Puerto Rico
The girls and me with my mom
Every evening excitement of chocolate and towel animals in our cabin
Enjoying the sail away festivities in San Juan
St Thomas
Coki Beach, St. Thomas
Sunset on they way to Barbados
"Elegant Night" in the dining room
Lily and Semira on the catamaran in Barbados
Snorkeling with sea turtles in Barbados
The Pitons in St. Lucia
Enjoying the mud baths in St. Lucia
St Lucia
The birthplace of Alexander Hamilton in Nevis (Who knew?)
The ferry from St. Kitts to Nevis
Old sugar mill on Nevis
St. Kitts (the Atlantic Ocean on the left, the Caribbean Sea on the right)
St. Kitts
St. Martin (the Dutch side of the island)
Orient Beach, St. Martin (the French side of the island)
Orient Beach
The girls with their new friends