Sorry for the delay in posts! I've been busy with work events and didn't have time to write until now. Let's continue...
On Tuesday we were in port in San Juan, Puerto Rico. We weren't supposed to arrive until 2pm so we had all morning to hang out on the ship and relax. By this point we had started a routine of meeting each other for breakfast in the buffet at 8am. After eating breakfast we decided to play Phase 10 because we knew we had quite a while before we had to be ready to get off the ship.
After playing cards for a while Marisa and I decided to go get lunch at the buffet. We were surprised when we walked past the windows and we saw that we were pulling into port already. We were both really bummed out that we didn't have our cameras because we went right past one of the fortresses on our way in. It would have made a really cool picture and it was too late to do anything about it. I went back to my room to get my stuff ready and heard the announcement that we had arrived early due to a medical emergency. So obviously that was more important than getting a good picture.
Later when I was on my balcony I saw two ambulances on the pier and saw a younger looking girl who didn't look too sick getting loaded up but then also an older gentleman who look to be in pretty bad condition was put into the second ambulance. It was sad because you could see that his wife was really upset and they were also traveling with family who also got off the ship that day. I definitely sent up a prayer hoping that everything would be okay for them.
Now that we were in port I went up to the top deck to get some pictures of Old San Juan. While I was up there I got some pictures of the sports deck and pool deck as well.
My excursion was due to meet at 2:30, so I got my stuff together, slathered on a ton of sunscreen, and headed down to the ice rink where we were supposed to meet with our group. The excursion I had chosen for San Juan was a walking tour of the 17th century fortresses in Old San Juan. The fortresses are pretty close to the port but they still loaded us into a small bus and drove us the 10 or 15 minutes it took to get to the first fortress which was Castillo San Cristóbal. Our guide did a great job telling us the history of the fortress and pointing out interesting facts and features.
After about an hour looking around the first fortress, we hopped on the bus for another 20 minutes and headed to the second fortress, which was called El Morro. I think this one was my favorite one of the two because I really liked that it had really amazing views of the water and it also had a really cool looking lighthouse at the top.
When we arrived our tour guide and explained that there are six levels to that fortress and that we had come in on level five. We had the option of either going with him and exploring the bottom four levels which he explained would involve climbing about 200 steps on the way back up or we could explore levels five and six on our own and take pictures of the scenery around the fortress. I decided that not only were my feet too sore to do all of the steps but that I also wanted the time to take pictures of the amazing water views from the top level. So I went off and did my own thing for about 45 minutes.
The guide gathered us up when it was time to leave the fortress and walked us through Old San Juan, continuing to point out interesting buildings and telling us some more history. When we were in the middle of Old San Juan he gave us another choice, which was whether we wanted to go off on our own and do some shopping and head back to the ship on our own time or follow him all the way back to the ship. I had booked an appointment at the spa at 6:30 so I decided that I needed to get back in time so I could take a shower before I went for my massage.
By the time I got back to my room I was hot and sweaty and ready for a shower. So I cleaned up and then headed up to the spa. They had a deal where you could get an hour and 15 minute neck and shoulder massage, scalp massage, facial, and foot & ankle massage, all for $120. I decided it was a great deal and a great way to relax so I signed up for it that morning. I arrived at the spa and there was a little bit of confusion about the time they had in their system for me, but they were ultimately able to get me in to see someone. The whole experience was really relaxing and I did enjoy it a lot. It felt like a great way to pamper myself on such a great trip.
Because Mark and Marisa had an excursion they got back pretty late and we knew that we wouldn't be able to all eat in the dining room like we usually had been doing this trip. So we decided we would meet at the Windjammer buffet for dinner. This was my first time having dinner at the buffet and it was pretty good. I had heard good things about it being nice and quiet and relaxed, which is quite the contrast to how busy and somewhat crazy it can be for breakfast and lunch.
After we ate dinner we headed straight to the theater in order to see a ballroom dancing show. The guys weren't really interested in seeing it so Marisa and I went and watched it. I thought they did a really good job and I really liked a lot of the music and of course the costumes were a lot of fun to see as well. By the time the show got out we were ready to meet back up with the guys and set up to play some more Phase 10. We played for quite a while and I don't think I got to bed until about 12:30am. The next day we would be in St. Kitts, arriving at around 10:30, so we didn't have a super early morning to worry about. This was actually the first day that I didn't go to the casino at all, which was actually okay because I wasn't winning anything anyway and wasn't really loving many of the machines either. When I got back to my room I had a towel friend waiting for me.
So that's all for the fifth day of the trip. I can't believe we're only halfway through! There's still so much for me to write about!! Stay tuned and hopefully I can get day 6 posted tomorrow.
On Monday we were scheduled to arrive in Labadee, Haiti, which is a private part of the island you can only get to by cruise ship. As was becoming my routine, I woke up that morning in time to see sunrise. We hadn't quite gotten to land yet, so it was another beautiful sunrise over the ocean. Because I woke up early I had time to go get a coffee from the cafe and also take some pictures of the deserted Promenade.
The ship arrived at about 7am but we had decided the night before that we would take our time and not rush to get to the beach right away. We met for breakfast at 8am and then grabbed our beach stuff to get off the ship. I had already scoped out the map of the island and new exactly which was the best beach to go to. The island is not very big, so it didn't take us very long to get to Columbus Cove. The attendant grabbed four lounge chairs for us and got them situated so that one of them was in the shade for me. We got in the water right away and it was heavenly. It was so blue and so refreshing and it honestly felt like we were in paradise.
For some reason I have a hard time relaxing on trips and can't sit still for very long. So I broke up my time on the beach by listening to an audio book and also listening to music. When I got too hot I would go hang out in the water and then go get a fruity drink from the bar. It was a good way to break up my time and it let me do a bit of relaxing without getting too bored by staying in one place too long.
After a couple of hours we went and ate the buffet lunch they were serving. Then we went to the souvenir shop and I found all kinds of fun stuff to take home. By that point I was pretty much ready to go back to the ship and we only had about an hour left before we had to be back onboard. So I took my time walking back to the ship, got one last frozen drink for the walk, and took some pretty pictures along the way.
Once I got back on the ship the first thing I wanted to do was to take a shower to wash off the sweat, sea water, and sunblock that was all over me by that point. I felt like a new woman after getting all cleaned up and then I was ready to meet up with everyone for some more Phase 10. We played until it was time for dinner and then we went and sat in our favorite section with the waitstaff we had enjoyed so much the night before.
One of the tricky things about being a vegetarian on a cruise is that there aren't a ton of options at dinner. There's one pasta dish that's available every single night and then one option that changes every night. On this night I wasn't too excited about the eggplant parmesan choice on the menu so I asked if they had a vegetarian Indian option for that night. They said they did and I decided to give that a try. I'm glad I did because it was really good!
Once dinner was over we thought we'd try to play a game of mini golf. We went up to the top deck but it was way too windy to play, so we ended up grabbing the cards and played some more Phase 10. We got wrapped up in our game and didn't go to the theater in time to get good seats for that night's show. The others decided to stand at the back of the theater and watch the show but my feet hurt too much to be able to do that, so I decided to call it an early night and go to bed early. I had been waking up early every morning so I definitely needed a chance to catch up on my sleep. I was in bed by 10pm and was out like a light.
Stay tuned for tomorrow's post to read about how I spent the day in San Juan, Puerto Rico!
I woke up early on Sunday and was able to watch the sunrise from my balcony. I don't know what it is about sunrise and sunset, but for me they feel like magical moments. So that's one of the main reasons why I love getting balconies when I'm on a cruise. After taking a bunch of pictures I decided to go down to the café and get some coffee. I had ordered room service breakfast but it wasn't scheduled for another hour so I knew I had time to go get something to drink.
I don't think I mentioned it yet, but I decided to get a drink package on this trip. Royal Caribbean has an option for a Royal Replenish package which includes soda, coffee drinks, bottled water, and virgin frozen drinks. I got this one knowing how much water I would be drinking plus I do love the virgin frozen drinks, especially by the pool. And of course, I like getting Starbucks in the morning. I also like knowing I don't have to pay for my drinks one by one. Did I mention it's unlimited?
So after getting my coffee I went back to my cabin and my room service showed up not long afterward. I ate breakfast out on my balcony, which is another reason I love getting balconies on cruises. I also saw something I've never seen before, which was a water spout.
Once I was done eating I showered and got dressed and then went down to the casino to play for a little while. I had a meet and mingle scheduled at 11 with the Cruise Critic group. We had over 100 people there, which was impressive, however it also lowered my chances of getting a raffle prize. Sure enough I didn't win anything!
After the meet and mingle I was supposed to meet my friends for lunch but suddenly I wasn't feeling very well. My stomach was kind of upset and I was really tired from not getting much sleep the night before, so I decided to go back to my room and lay down for a short while. Once I was able to get a nap I felt much better so I went and met my friends in a nice quiet spot on the deck. For some reason on a cruise, even though it's supposed to be relaxing, I just can never sit still. I think it's because I know there are so many things I could be doing that sitting around is impossible for me. So I sat there for all of five minutes before I got up and decided to go back to the casino.
After a while I decided I was done gambling for the moment so I rounded up my friends and we decided to go see a seminar in luxury watches. After the seminar we decided to go play bingo. I realize how dorky this sounds, but I was most excited about having a dauber for my bingo cards. We were close on a couple of games but ultimately none of us won anything, which is a bummer because the cash prices were actually really good.
We still had some time before dinner so I went to the Next Cruise desk and actually booked two more cruises. They had a really great deal where you only pay a $100 deposit and they give you a $100 onboard credit on your account for the cruise you are currently on. Plus I got entered twice into a drawing for $300 on this cruise. So the plan is that I will go on a shorter cruise this fall and then I'll go on another cruise at the beginning of next year. I'll probably do both alone unless someone wants to come with me...hint, hint!
Right after I finished booking the cruises I went to the library to meet my friends to play Phase 10. We played until it was time to go get ready for dinner, which was also our first formal night. I got ready fairly quickly so I had some time to go to the casino before we met for dinner. My favorite game was called Cougarlicious, as in older women who prey on younger men. It was as cheesy as you would imagine!
I met with everyone for dinner and we sat at a new table. We really liked our waitstaff so we decided that we would like to eat with them for the rest of the trip. When we were done with dinner we went and got seats for the evening show, but we didn't really love it so we left after about 15 minutes. After leaving the show we played some Phase 10. I made it to bed at about 11:30.
That's all for today! Check back tomorrow for another day of my trip!
On the morning our cruise started I had some confusion with the time because my Fitbit was still on Denver time. So I thought I woke up at 4am when really it was 6am. When I realized it was later than I thought I decided to just get up because I was too excited to sleep any longer.
My shuttle wasn't scheduled until 11:30 that morning so I knew I had quite a bit of time before I had to be ready. I spent some time writing notes about the day before and also took some time to get my suitcase and backpack situated for getting on the ship. I also ran to the Walgreens next door and picked up a few last minute things and grabbed a couple of small snacks from the breakfast buffet to take up to my room. Another important order of business was to walk to the nearby Publix and get my two bottles of wine that I could bring onto the ship with me.
By the time I got back from the store I decided to check the flight status for my friends and realize that they were going to be about 20 minutes early. I decided that I would pack up and go down to the lobby to see if I could catch an earlier shuttle to the port. They did end up having room for me, so I was on my way sooner than I expected. No complaints here!
I got to the port at around 11am and met up with one of my friends, Todd, who was already there. Our other friends, Marisa and Mark, were on their way from the airport so we waited for them to arrive. Once they got to the port we were able to breeze through the security line because I am in Royal Caribbean's platinum loyalty program and they let everyone else come through with me. We still had a little bit of a line for check-in but nothing as bad as the last cruise we went on two years ago, which was absolute chaos. This was absolutely a pleasure in comparison!
We were on the ship by 1pm and walked around for a little bit before we went and got lunch at the buffet. A lot of people say that the first day at the buffet is crazy and hectic, but it didn't seem that bad to me. Maybe it's better when you know what to expect. After lunch we explore the ship a little bit more and then I decided to go back to my cabin to unpack before the muster drill. My suitcase wasn't there when I got back to the cabin, but it showed up just a few minutes later so I didn't have to wait too long.
By the time I was done unpacking it was time to go to the safety drill so we did that and then the ship started moving almost immediately. We had already decided to do sail away from my balcony so we met in my cabin after the drill and drank some champagne to celebrate the start of our trip.
By that point I was ready for a quick shower so I got cleaned up and dressed before dinner. I had some extra time before I was supposed to meet my friends for dinner so I checked out the casino for a little while. I did notice that even though they have a lot of machines in the casino I didn't see a lot that I really wanted to play. I was a little disappointed by the lack of variety but decided maybe it was a good thing that I wouldn't be spending as much time in the casino (or as much money).
On our last cruise we did traditional dining which means you can either choose from an early or late dining time. On this cruise we decided to do My Time Dining, which basically means you can show up without a reservation and get seated wherever you like. They do recommend that you make reservations and then that way you don't have to wait in a long line each night. We decided to choose 7:30 is our dining time and they were able to get us a table for four. Dinner was just as good as always.
We had some time after dinner so we walked through some of the shops on the promenade and also listened in on a piano sing-along in one of the bars. They had an adult comedy show at 10:15 that we went to and sat in the balcony. I thought the show was pretty good and it definitely ended on a really funny set of jokes. I was crying from laughing at the end, which is always a good sign!
After the comedy show I decided to try out the casino a little longer and decided that my original assessment was still the same. I still didn't see a ton of machines that I wanted to play. I headed up to my room and spent some time on my balcony before I went to bed at around midnight.
So that's everything for day 2 of the trip! Tomorrow we'll be spending time on the ship on our first full day at sea.
The night before my cruise I saw that we were supposed to get 1 to 3 inches of snow overnight. So when I woke up I was happy to see that there wasn't any snow on the ground...yet. Unfortunately, by the time I left my house it was snowy and wet and cold outside. I had a safe drive to the off-airport parking lot and took the shuttle to the airport.
Glad that I had made it safely to the airport, I would face the next hurdle while checking in and dropping off my baggage. When I packed my suitcase I knew it was close to the weight limit of 50 pounds, but my bathroom scale wasn't being consistent when I weighed it, so I had no real idea how much it actually weighed. When I put it on the scale it said that my suitcase weighed 50.0 pounds! Phew, that was close!!
As I walked around the corner to security I was still smiling about the fact that I hadn't had to pay $75 extra for my suitcase weighing too much. That smile quickly disappeared when I saw the longest security line I have ever seen at the Denver airport. If you have ever flown through Denver you know that the security line can be unpredictable. I always leave myself plenty of time just in case, but I thought that maybe today I would be cutting it close based on how long the line was. Surprisingly the line moved really fast and it only took half an hour to get through. Pretty soon I was on the train to my gate. Not long after that I had a bagel and iced coffee in hand and I was sitting at my gate waiting for boarding.
I sat down next to a lovely couple (hi to Keith and Carma, if you're reading!) who would also be going on a cruise from Fort Lauderdale. Their trip, however, would consist of five different cruises including two transatlantic cruises and a bunch of time over in Europe. It will be seven months before they return to their home in Denver. It was a really cool experience to meet them on their first day of such a big adventure and the trip of a lifetime! I even had the honor of taking their picture for them at the gate. What a cute couple!
Because of our wonderful conversation my time flew (no pun intended) and it was time to board. Our flight was running a little bit behind because they had to de-ice the plane, but before long we were on our way. The night before I had downloaded a movie (The Maze Runner – The Scorch Trials) to watch on my iPad. I had just finished reading the first book and was excited to see what happen next in the story. Well...now I can tell you from experience that watching an intense and somewhat scary movie on a plane is not the best idea! I had to keep reminding myself of all of the people around me in the moments when I usually would have been gasping out loud or yelling at the screen for the characters to run faster!
So at one point I decided I would finish the movie at my hotel room that night and ended up having a two-hour conversation with the woman sitting next to me. I just realized now that I never got her name, but we had a lot to talk about, including comparing the cruises we've been on and talking about our favorite ports and excursions. Time moved quickly and soon it was time to land! Oh what a difference a flight can make in terms of weather! I had left cold & snowy Denver and upgraded to warm & sunny Florida.
Thankfully my suitcase came quickly and soon I was heading outside to catch a shuttle to my hotel. If you have ever waited for a hotel shuttle at the Fort Lauderdale airport you will probably remember how much chaos and confusion there is while waiting outside. It's basically just a hot (literally) mess!! My shuttle finally arrived after about half an hour and we quickly made our way to the hotel. I got checked in and went up to my room. My first priority was to order food to be delivered to my room because I was starving and didn't have a car. After ordering pizza delivery I decided that I needed to change rooms. There was a man in the room next door who was coughing up a lung and I knew that if I was annoyed by it in the first 10 minutes I probably wouldn't make it through the night. So I saved myself the hassle of unpacking & repacking and went straight down to the front desk to get a new room.
In a new, and much quieter, room I got unpacked and waited for my food to arrive. After dinner I walk to the Walgreens next door, which is one of my favorite features of the hotel I stay at in Fort Lauderdale. I bought some bottled water plus some bug spray because I had been hearing how the Zika virus warnings had been escalated in a couple of our ports. When I got back to my room I finished watching my movie and went to bed at about 10pm. I had a feeling I wouldn't be sleeping very well that night because I would be so excited about boarding my cruise the next day!
That's it for the first day of my trip! Coming up tomorrow is our embarkation onto the ship.
First of all, it seems impossible that it's already been more than a month since my last blog post! I am sorry for my radio silence and for leaving you hanging. Not only have I been incredibly busy, but I've also been working out some life stuff, as you'll see in this post.
I'm going to make the assumption that most of you know about me signing up as a Beachbody coach back in October. Even if we're not connected on Facebook or Instagram, I've also been writing about it pretty regularly on this blog, so I'll skip that part of the story.
As you probably know, coaching was a big part of my life for six months. What most of you don't know is that I have recently made the decision to stop coaching. I'll say upfront that there is nothing wrong with being a Beachbody coach, so I have nothing bad to say about it. In fact, I met some of the strongest and most dedicated women I know through my coaching team, so I'd never have a bad thing to say about it.
In fact, coaching is an amazing opportunity. You are given the chance to build your own business from the ground up. You can literally make coaching into anything you want it to be, whether it's a small part-time business or a million dollar empire. Honestly, I didn't sign up to be a coach in order to make any extra money. Before signing up I was missing passion and purpose in my life, so coaching gave me the opportunity to wake up in the morning and have a reason to get out of bed.
If coaching is so amazing, you might ask why I stopped. The short answer is that I don't know. The complicated answer is that it just wasn't the right path for me to take at this point in my life. Being a coach kept me super busy, which is one of the reasons why I decided to stop. I'm an all-or-nothing kind of person, so I couldn't find a happy medium where I gave a small percentage of my time and attention to my business. I was working every free minute I had, usually for at least 12 hours a day. It got to the point where I started to resent being a coach because I was putting so much into it and not getting enough out for it to be worth it to me.
Ultimately, being a Beachbody coach was an amazing experience and I am truly glad I did it. I wouldn't even rule out the idea of doing it again in the future. But for now, it's not the right time for me to be a coach or run my own business. Actually, there are some potential life changes that could come up in my near future, so I will keep you updated as I find out what is going to happen. As always, stay tuned for more!
Today's post isn't the only thing I have in plan for you. I've got notes and pictures from my entire Caribbean vacation to share with you, so keep checking back for posts on my latest adventure!
My name is Beth and I live in Denver. I am a single lady in my 30's and wanted to start sharing my awesome and amazing life through a blog.