I finally made a decision on which excursions I'll be taking on my February cruise. Here's what I've chosen:
Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas:
St. John Half Day Champagne Catamaran Sail Beach & Snorkel
Set sail on a custom catamaran to famous Honeymoon Beach within the national park on St. John, where the crew will anchor offshore. Swim and snorkel from the boat or ride the dinghy to Honeymoon Bay Beach where you can stroll the sands, swim or relax under the palms. Back onboard, enjoy bread, cheese, fruit, and champagne, then sit back and bask in the tropical breezes on the return to St. Thomas.
• Scenic Sail: See the southern coast of St. Thomas, Pillsbury Sound and the unspoiled Virgin Islands National Park on St. John.
• Honeymoon Bay Beach: Swim or snorkel in clear waters, search for shells or just relax in the shade of a palm tree.
• Champagne and Snack: Enjoy bubbly or an alternative, served with fresh bread, cheese and fruit before the return sail
Philipsburg, St. Maarten:
Magical Highlights Sightseeing Tour
Spend an hour on a sleek catamaran touring beautiful St. Maarten from Great Bay Harbor to Simpson Bay. Marvel at mega-yachts docked around the island. Then board an air-conditioned bus for a scenic, narrated ride into Marigot, the island's French capital. Enjoy an hour of free-time shopping at open-air markets or dining at outdoor cafes. On return, see Grand Case, Orient Bay, and the French Quarter. Opt for shopping in Philipsburg or return to ship.
• Catamaran Sail: See mega-yachts while relaxing on a scenic hour-long catamaran ride from Great Bay Harbor to Simpson Bay Beach.
• Marigot Shopping: Admire the mix of European style and Caribbean charm. Shop open-air markets, or sample epicurean delights.
• Philipsburg: Explore St. Maarten's other side at tour's end. Take a short walk, taxi, or water taxi back to ship.
I am really excited about these excursions and they are exactly what I've always pictured doing while in the US Virgin Islands!
We also have a day in Nassau, but I haven't decided what I'll do when I'm there yet. None of the excursions sounded that great to me, so I might just wander around like I did when I was there in September.
Every once in a while my mom hears about something cool to do in Denver and asks me to come with her. This is what happened a couple of weeks ago when she heard about a tour being given at Riverside Cemetery for a few short weeks in October. The tour is of the cemetery's "history and mystery" by moonlight. You could chose to do the tour at twilight, sunset, or moonlight. We chose to do sunset so that we would still be able to see a lot of the cemetery before it got dark. Here are some of my favorite pictures from the tour...
Overall, the tour was really interesting and informative. I'm happy we did it and glad that we chose the sunset tour so we could see the amazing sunset over the mountains.
I know that I've found a favorite recipe when I keep going back to it every few weeks and it becomes a staple in my rotation of favorite recipes. I've been making Tomato Basil Chicken regularly for quite a while now and finally decided to put it on the blog to share with everyone. The recipes comes from MenuMusings.com. Here is a link to the original recipe, including some amazing pictures.
Tomato Basil Chicken
Ingredients: (4 servings)
What is your favorite pasta dish? Please share in the comments section!
On Friday the ship arrived back in Port Canaveral early in the morning. I chose to do the self assist disembarkation, which meant I would carry my own luggage off the ship between 7:15-8:30. I woke up to my alarm at 6:30 and got dressed before heading to breakfast in the Windjammer buffet. After eating breakfast I went back to my room for the last time and grabbed my suitcase. The line to get off the ship looked really long but it moved pretty fast. It probably only took 20 minutes to get off the ship once I got in line. Customs was really easy and I didn't even realize I had gone through customs until I saw the doors leading outside and realized I was already done! I jumped on the Radisson shuttle and was back at the hotel in another 20 minutes. It was 100% easier than getting off my last cruise!
I went to the check-in desk at the hotel expecting to put my name on an early check-in list and expecting to be told that I'd have to wait a few hours for my room to be ready. I was all set to spend the morning at the pool so I was surprised when she said my room was already set for me to go in. It was a really nice surprise and much easier than having them store my suitcase and me having to wait for the room! I hadn't slept very much the night before, so my first idea was to take a nap right away. Before going to sleep I texted and called a few people now that I had access to my phone again!
Then I went to go get some lunch at Subway and watched the last episode of Big Brother on my iPad. After that I finally took that nap I had been planning on. I watched some TV and then went for an early diner at around 4pm. After dinner I talked on the phone some more. Once I knew I wouldn't be getting any more calls for the evening I went down to the hotel pool and swam around for a few minutes before spending some time relaxing in the hot tub. I also went to the outside pool bar and got my "last night of the trip" drink. The rest of the night I watched TV and then went to sleep early at around 9:30.
The night before I had put the breakfast room service order form on my door for delivery between 8:15-8:30. I thought that by going to sleep early at 9:30 that I would definitely be awake by then. I guess I underestimated how tired I was because to my surprise the knock on the door with my room service order woke me up. I jumped out of bed and answered the door, probably looking like a hot mess! I ate breakfast and then decided to go lay by the pool. The picture above is of the hotel pool from outside my room door.
I checked out at noon and my shuttle came to get me at 1pm, so I hung out in the hotel lobby for the hour between checking out and getting picked up by the shuttle. My flight was at 5:25 and I landed in Denver around 7:15. I'm happy that I got home on a Saturday so that I had all day Sunday to unpack, do laundry, and relax before going back to work on Monday!
And that's the end of my trip! It was such a great vacation and I really enjoyed getting away and meeting lots of nice people. Now I am already counting down the days until my next trip, so stay tuned!
On Thursday I woke up just after 8 and got ready quickly so I could go have breakfast in the dining room. To me it was much nicer than eating in the buffet because you could sit down, order from a menu, and take your time. I sat with two older couples who were very nice and fun to talk to. Once I was done eating I went and played the slot machines in the casino for a while. At 11am I had a tour of the galley along with a brunch, including free mimosas. It was really cool to see the good prep stations and the food they gave us for the brunch was really good. The two mimosas alone made the $20 tour fee worth it!
After the tour and brunch I went back to my room to get ready to go to the pool. I found a chair in the shade and went to sit with my feet in the water. After a few minutes of relaxing they started the men's belly flop competition. I had a great view and got splashed every time because I was in the front row. I decided that there's no way they could convince women to do that to themselves for a free keychain!
I went to get a frozen drink at the bar and decided that I would get the same drink that I got when I first got on the ship, a wild berry lava flow, so it was a nice ending to match my beginning of the trip. At the bar I met a nice couple who were my age. We chatted for a few minutes and when they heard I was traveling alone they invited me to come have dinner with them that night. I thought that was really sweet of them!
On my way to my room I stopped by the gift shop to pick up a postcard of the ship for my Smash Book and a pen for my mom. When I got back to the room I decided I would pack. At first it was overwhelming because I had really spread out my stuff and made myself at home, but piece by piece I was able to get it all packed away. It was surprising how many souvenirs I had accumulated on the trip, but I guess that just goes to show that I was thinking about my friends and family while having a good time.
After I was done packing I took a shower and got dressed for my last night on the ship. I had dinner at 5:30 and then went to the production show at 7. Then I spent some time in the casino before meeting my new friend at the bar at 11.
Tomorrow I'll cover the last two days of my trip, which included disembarking the ship and flying home to Denver.
On Wednesday morning I got up early when I felt the ship stop in port. I had room service for breakfast and then got ready to head off the ship into Nassau.
It was easier than the previous day because we were docked so you could walk right off the ship instead of having to take a tender boat to shore. It was a madhouse right off the dock. There were people everywhere and half of them were shouting to sell us tours or taxis. It was way too hectic for me and I didn't even want to stick around long enough to decide how to get a taxi to Atlantis, so I just decided to just grab some souvenirs quickly and then headed back to the ship. It felt really great to get back on the ship and be "home" in my room!
After I dropped off my stuff I got lunch and then walked around the ship and took pictures of things I hadn't taken yet. It would have been nice for the casino or the shops to be open, but I guess with 90% of the passengers being off the ship it just doesn't make sense to keep them open. After walking around for a while I headed to the theater where they showed Maleficent. It was a movie I had been interested in seeing but not enough to pay for a ticket at the theater.
Once the movie was done I took an afternoon nap and then showered to get ready for dinner. I listened to a band in the Centrum while I wait for dinner. After dinner I went back up to the top deck and watched sunset like I had the night before. I went to the casino when it opened and then watched a game show they have called Love & Marriage.
Next is the last full day on the ship with a tour of the galley and a champagne brunch!
On Tuesday I woke up to a call telling me that my room service breakfast was on its way. I would have liked to eat out on my balcony, but I ended up eating in my room because we were having really dreary and rainy weather. After eating I decided that instead of heading to the island right away like I thought I would, I would head to the casino and wait out the weather. I did pretty good on the slot machines and broke even after a couple of hours.
After I finished at the casino the weather had cleared up some so I decided to take the tender boat to the island. I got a frozen drink, put my feet in the water, ate at the buffet, and then bought some souvenirs before heading back to the ship. Pretty much everything I had hoped to do!
When I got back to the ship I wanted to get in the pool, so I changed into my bathing suit and went upstairs to the pool deck. I wasn't up there for long before I started to feel like I could use a nap, probably from all the food I ate at the buffet! I slept for an hour or two and then it was time to shower and get ready for the formal dinner. Tonight I got a table by myself and had some really good food!
After dinner I headed to the top deck to watch the sunset. I met a nice guy who was also watching the sunset. We talked for a while and then met up an hour later at the R Bar in the Centrum. They were having a 70's disco party in the Centrum, complete with lots flying of balloons, the Village People, and a conga line! When I returned to my room I had a towel elephant waiting for me.
Up next…Nassau, Bahamas!
On Monday morning I woke up at my hotel by the port and got ready to get on the ship. I walked to the restaurant next door and got breakfast before waiting for my taxi driver to show up. He ended up being early so we headed to port ahead of schedule. The drive only took about five or ten minutes, so I didn't have to wait long for my first glance at the ship.
I was very impressed by the whole embarkation process at Port Canaveral. It only took a quick minute to get a spot at the curb for the taxi to drop me off and there was a porter waiting right there ready to take my suitcase. I walked into the terminal and was directed to get in the line for people staying in suites (one of the perks of being in a Junior Suite). There was one couple ahead of me so I got called up to the counter in a few short minutes. After checking in I was ushered into the sitting area for suite guests. Almost as soon as I sat down we were able to get up and get in line for the ship. I set foot on the ship about 20 minutes after arriving at the port, which was a million times quicker than my only other embarkation experience at Port Everglades!
Barely anyone was on the ship when I got on so I took the opportunity to take a bunch of pictures right away before there were too many people around.
At about 1:30 the rooms were ready so I went to go check out my cabin. I had looked up pictures online before leaving for the cruise, so I had an idea of what to expect but was still anxious to see it in person. The room did not disappoint, especially the balcony!
The muster drill was right on schedule and pretty painless. I had planned on watching the sail away from the top deck but it started raining and I decided I would watch it from my covered balcony instead.
I got my suitcase shortly after sail away, so I unpacked and then got dressed for dinner. It wasn't time for dinner yet so I went to the casino for a few minutes. I wasn't doing really well on the slots, so I stopped and went to the dining room. I asked if they could seat me at a table by myself and they said I would have to wait until 7:45, which was two hours later! So I ended up sitting at a table of people who didn't know each other. Everyone was nice and dinner was fast, so it ended up not being a big deal. When I left I made sure to get a reservation for the next night at a table for one. It was nice meeting the people at dinner but not as relaxing as I had hoped!
After dinner I went to the welcome aboard show and then went back to the casino for a little bit. I started to get tired so I went back to my room and showered. I packed my bag for my beach day the next day and then ordered a room service snack before going to bed. I went to sleep pretty early in hopes of being rested up for a busy next day.
Coming up tomorrow…a port day at CocoCay, Bahamas!
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.