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.
There's just over two weeks until my cruise and I'm getting so excited! This weekend I spent some time putting together the outfits I'll be wearing, so I wanted to share them with you like I've done with my past cruises.
Day 1: Flying to Fort Lauderdale
Day 2: Boarding the ship
Night 2 & 6: Dinner
Day 3: At sea
Nights 3 & 7: Dinner
Day 4: Beach day at Labadee, Haiti
Nights 4 & 8: Dinner
Day 5: Fortresses excursion in San Juan, Puerto Rico
Nights 5 & 9: Dinner
Day 6: Excursion in St. Kitts
Day 7: Party boat in St. Maarten
Day 8: At sea
Day 9: At sea
Day 10: Debarking ship & flying home to Denver
And that's it, all of the outfits I'm bringing on my cruise! As you can see, I've opted for mostly workout clothes for our port days. I figure they will be cooler and more functional for the hot weather we're supposed to have. Besides, I've got the evenings to dress up and wear pretty dresses!
Like I said, I'm getting so excited and definitely counting down the days (18 days until I leave)!!
Excursions for Upcoming Cruise
Exactly six weeks from today I will be boarding the Navigator of the Seas with my friends for an 8 night eastern caribbean cruise. I've been looking at the excursions for the last few weeks and have finally decided which ones to do. Here's a look at our ports and what I'll be doing at each of them.
On our first port day we will be visiting a private island called Labadee, which is in Haiti. Most of the excursions this day are activities that take place on the island, like zip lining, a roller coaster, and a water park. Since none of these things sound very relaxing, this day will be a quiet beach day to lay around and soak up some caribbean sunshine.
We will be getting into San Juan in the early afternoon, so we've only got a few short hours of daylight while we're in port. I decided that I'd like to take a tour of the fortresses near the port. Here's the description from the website:
Explore Old San Juan's magnificent 17th century fortresses on a guided walking tour. At San Felipe Del Morro, enjoy amazing bay views on a guided tour of the Spanish fort and museum. At Castillo San Cristobal, step inside the tunnels, dungeons and barracks built to keep the city safe. Afterwards, browse shops on Fortaleza Street. Stay late or walk back to the ship with your guide.
From the pictures I've seen of St. Kitts it's a gorgeous place and I'm really excited to see it in person. I decided that the best way to see the sights is to take a tour that will show me as many things as possible. Here's the description from the tour website:
Take in the rugged beauty of St. Kitts on a leisurely driving tour that includes breathtaking vistas and historic landmarks. See historic Romney Manor and its pristine gardens. Then stretch your legs at the 300-year-old Fairview Great House, meticulously restored to its former colonial glory. Outside, take photos in the lush botanical gardens planted with a wide variety of fruit trees, palms and flowering plants. Pick out souvenirs at the gift shop.
I visited St. Maarten on my last cruise and the one thing I wish I had done was to go see the planes landing at Maho Beach. I've seen some videos online and it looks amazing, so I knew that's what I wanted to do this time on the island. I found an excursion that sounds like exactly what I was looking for. Here's the description:
This tour featuring National Geographic Snorkeler makes a great snorkeling experience even better. Experience the thrill of watching St. Maarten’s world-famous beachside airport traffic while on a lively boat cruise through picturesque Maho Bay. Enjoy a welcome drink aboard the Airport Adventure SXM, a five-deck oceangoing vessel, while gliding around the tropical island. Be awed as airplanes land and take off from Princess Juliana International Airport merely 60 feet above nearby Maho Beach. Onboard you can sunbathe, snorkel, swim, dance to DJ music, grab lunch or sip cocktails.
Don't these sound like a lot of fun? In addition to our four port days, we will also have three sea days on the ship. So I'm looking forward to laying by the pool, playing mini golf, and also spending some time in the ship's casino. Now I just need the time to go by faster so I can get the trip started!
I'll be posting more about the cruise once I've decided on the outfits I'll be taking. I'll try to include some packing tips as well. Stay tuned for more!
Next Cruise is Booked!
It's been almost a year since my last cruise and I finally decided to book another one! This time I'll be sailing on the Navigator of the Seas on an 8 Night Eastern Caribbean itinerary. We leave on April 30 and return on May 8. There will be 4 of us going on the trip. We've all traveled together before, so I know we're going to have a blast!
Here's what we'll be doing on this trip:
Day 1: Board ship in Fort Lauderdale
Day 2: Sailing at sea
Day 3: Labadee, Haiti (private island)
Day 4: San Juan, Puerto Rico
Day 5: Basseterre, St. Kitts
Day 6: Philipsburg, St. Maarten
Day 7: Sailing at sea
Day 8: Sailing at sea
Day 9: Return to Fort Lauderdale
We haven't booked our excursions yet, but it looks like there are a lot of cool things to do and see in these ports, so I'll be excited to share our plans once we've made them!
As always, I'll be doing a trip report when we return so I can show you my pictures and tell you all about our adventures. Stay tuned for more!
On my last day of the cruise I had a long list of things I wanted to do. I started the day by going to get breakfast at Johnny Rockets on the Boardwalk. Once I was done with breakfast I went to the casino and had a really lucky morning on the slot machines. After playing for a long time I decided to go back to my room and to start packing. I had been packing for a while when I decided to take a break and went to the wine bar, Vintages, for a lunch of tapas. It was the best meal of the trip!
At 3pm I had the ice show to go to so I went and got a spot for that. I thought they did a pretty good job, especially for how much the ship was rocking. It always makes me nervous watching them do all of those jumps on such a small ice rink and we did have a couple of wipeouts so that took a little away from the show for me.
After the show was over I wandered through the Promenade and I finally got a chance to go into the pub and get my cider that I had been planning on drinking. I was even able to buy use my two-for-one coupon and get one for free! I took one of the ciders up to my room to drink it while I got ready for dinner and then headed to the dining room. I realized as I was getting ready that the sun was setting so I was able to go out on my balcony and take some really nice pictures of the sunset, which was a nice ending to my last day on the ship.
For my last dinner of the trip I ended up sitting with my favorite couple that I met the whole week. At the end of the dinner they gave me one of the wife's business cards, so I have already reached out to them and hope to keep in touch. I sent her some links to previous cruise related posts, so she might even be reading this blog right now! If so, "Hi Pamela"!
Once I was done eating I went back down to the casino hoping that my good luck would continue from the morning. It really did stick around and I ended up winning back all of the money I spent in the casino during the whole week. It felt good to break even! At one point I had to stop gambling and go up to my room so that I could put my suitcase out in the hallway for them to take to the airport for me because I was using their luggage valet program. I went back to the casino and kept playing for little while but eventually decided I was done gambling for the trip. I went up to Central Park to walk through and enjoy the scenery one last time. Then I went to bed shortly after that because I knew it would be an early morning the next day and that I would need plenty of energy in order to make it through a long day of travel.
I woke up earlier than expected on Saturday morning and was able to watch the last sunrise of my trip in the port. It was beautiful!
Next I ran down and got a coffee from Park Café and then came back upstairs so I could shower and get ready to leave. Before long I was ready to hit the road and I went down to debark from the ship. As I was waiting in an hour long customs line I realized I had forgotten to eat breakfast in the buffet like I had planned! No wonder I was so hungry!
After a quick taxi ride to the airport I went to the information desk to find out if it was possible to catch a ride downtown because I wasn't able to go to my gate until two hours before my flight. At this point it wasn't even 10am and my flight wasn't until after 4:30 in the afternoon. Sure enough there was a free trolley that could take me downtown so I went outside and grabbed the trolley. Once we arrived downtown I went into the welcome center and they were able to point me in the direction of a good breakfast place down the road. She warned me that there would be a long wait but that the food was good enough that it would be worth it. Sure enough the wait at the Old Fort Lauderdale Breakfast House was 50 minutes. The weather had warmed up and the sun had come out so I sat outside and drank some coffee while I waited for them to call my name.
Once I was done eating I decided I was ready to head back to the airport. I caught the trolley near the welcome center and rode back to the airport where they dropped me off. I still had about an hour and a half before I could go through security so I got settled in a spot on the floor and relaxed until it was time to go through security. At about 2:30 I headed to my gate and grabbed some food on the way. I ate and charged my phone at the charging station until it was time to get on the plane.
I had already decided I wanted to sit on the left side of the plane so that I would have a nice view of the sunset we would have on the way home. I sat next to some really nice ladies who had also gotten off a cruise that day. We talked about our trips and discussed the differences between our two ships.
The flight felt really long so I was happy when we finally landed in Denver. I met my mom, who came to pick me up, and we went to go grab my luggage. Thankfully my suitcase had arrived and came out almost as soon as we walked up to the carousel. I drove us home and I lugged my suitcase up the stairs. Very soon after that I collapsed into bed, exhausted from the long day of travel.
Overall, my trip was amazing! It went by so fast because there was always something to do or see. I didn't spend as much time relaxing as I thought I would, but I was happy that I did everything I had hoped to do on the trip.
Typically by now I would have already booked my next cruise, but I think I have gone everywhere I want to go on a cruise ship for the time being. Eventually I would like to go on a southern caribbean itinerary and I'd also love to do a Mediterranean cruise, but I'm going to save those for later.
I hope you enjoyed reading my trip report! Thanks for following along!
Thursday was the first of two sea days and my second to last day on the ship. I had planned on sleeping in because I didn't have anything specific I wanted to do but I ended up waking up earlier than expected anyway. I looked at the calendar of events and made a list of everything I wanted to do. Here's what I came up with:
So much for not having much to do!
First, I went down to Promenade Cafe to get a coffee and then went back to my room to get ready to go to the pool. I had gotten too much sun the day before so I knew I wanted to find a good spot in the shade. I found an awesome spot in a cabana type area and got situated there. I left my stuff and went and got a custom made omelette at the Wipeout Cafe and brought my food back to eat in my chair. I relaxed for a while and then decided I was done laying around so I gathered up my stuff and made room for someone else to take the great spot I had been hogging.
I started the afternoon by going to the Men's International Belly Flop Competition. I had already planned on getting a spot on the upper balcony so that I could sit in the shade and get a good view for my pictures and videos. After the competition I was hungry for a late lunch so I went to the Mexican restaurant, called Sabor, on the Boardwalk. I had tableside guacamole and a cheese quesadilla along with Yucca fries that were actually really good even though I didn't know what to expect.
After lunch it was time to head to Vintages for my wine tasting. There was a large group of people that had signed up for the wine tasting but I got a great spot right in front of the guy who did all the talking so I had a great perspective of the whole thing. We didn't just taste wine like I had expected, instead he told us quite a bit of information about the regions in Italy of the wine and some of the history of winemaking. Altogether it was very informative and I actually really enjoyed the wines even though three out of four of them were reds which I typically don't like. My favorite part was that they had a cheese plate in front of us and had us tasting cheese along with the wine which really enhanced some of the flavors. It was a really cool experience and definitely unique to have my first wine tasting on a cruise ship in the middle of the ocean.
After wine tasting it was time to head to dinner. I went to my room and watched sunset from my balcony as I got ready. I went to the dining room and was seated with two older couples who had known each other for a very long time and had an enjoyable meal with them, talking and enjoying our food. I went to the casino after dinner for a short while and not long after that it was time to head to the theater for the Come Fly With Me aerial show. I really enjoyed the show and got some really great pictures and videos that only capture the basics of the show, it was much better in person.
Once I left the theater I headed to the Boardwalk for the fountain show at the Aqua Theater. I got there early enough that I had a great spot and chatted with the woman who sat next to me while we waited for the show to start. The show didn't last for long so once it was done I headed to the casino for a while. The last item on my list for the day was the Quest game show. They describe it as an "adult scavenger hunt", but other than that it is hard to describe if you haven't been to one. By the time Quest was done I was ready for bed, so I headed to my cabin and found a towel monkey hanging out waiting for me. I added him to the group of towel animals on my couch.
Tomorrow will be a combination of my last full day on the ship along with my trip home the following day. Stay tuned for this last segment!
On Wednesday we arrived in St. Maarten at about 7:30. I had an excursion booked that started at 8:30, so I had to be off the ship as soon as they opened the gangway. We were told right away that the water conditions were really rough and they gave us the option of skipping the catamaran tour of the coast for a discount of 25%. Having just been on a catamaran the day before I didn't feel like I was really missing out on much by skipping the water portion of the excursion. Plus, I had met a really nice pair of ladies who I hit it off with and they were going to skip the boat tour as well, so it all worked out the way it was supposed to happen. We got on a bus and the driver gave some commentary as we drove through first the Dutch side and then the French side.
When we got to Marigot we were told we would have two hours to explore, shop, and eat lunch. I grouped up with the ladies I had clicked with. Our first stop was a French bakery called Sarafina's that I had read about on Cruise Critic and that they had heard about from a friend. I had eaten breakfast earlier than usual so I was ready for lunch by the time we got to the bakery. I ordered a cheese sandwich on French bread and my favorite French drink called Orangina. For dessert I had a hard time deciding from all the options but I ended up getting an amazing chocolate mousse-type dessert that had a chocolate macaroon on top. It was heavenly!
After eating we still had a lot of time to kill so we wandered down to the water and then through the market where all the souvenir vendors were set up. We also walked through a small mall and then relaxed on a bench in the shade until it was time to get back on our tour bus. We took a long winding ride along the coast and even drove past a nude beach. The driver offered to let us out for a few minutes to explore but we all declined. I saw enough skin from the bus window that I didn't need to get any closer!
Pretty soon we were back at the ship and I parted ways with my new friends. I went back to my cabin and took my first and only nap of the whole trip. I watched sail away and sunset from my balcony and then headed to dinner.
After dinner we had the 70's disco party so I grabbed a spot on the upper level of the Royal Promenade to get some pictures and video. I didn't stay the whole time because it was so loud and crowded, but it looked like everyone was having fun. After the party I wandered over to the Boardwalk and took some pictures now that it was night. Then I went to the casino and stayed up well past midnight since I didn't have an early morning the next day.
Tomorrow's post will be my next day at sea. This one was much more relaxing than the last one, so I won't have as much to write about. It's hard to believe the trip report is almost over. I hope you are enjoying reading it as much as I am writing it!
On Tuesday morning we arrived in St. Thomas. When I opened my blinds in the morning I couldn't believe how beautiful it was! The water was an amazing shade of turquoise and there were sailboats along the beach, so amazing!
I started the day by getting breakfast in the Solarium Bistro. On my way there I managed to walk into a glass wall! I obviously didn't see it coming and smacked right into it! Thankfully the only people around were a couple of kids. With nothing majorly hurt except for my pride, I continued on to breakfast. It was a light breakfast and very healthy.
We arrived to the port at 10 and I was able to get off the ship almost right after we got there. I wandered through some shops and then relaxed on a bench in the shade while I waited for it to be time to meet with my excursion group. Pretty soon we were on an open air bus that had to drive up and down some crazy hills and maneuver down an impossibly narrow "2-lane road".
Eventually we made it to the catamaran and got loaded up. I was lucky enough to get a seat at the very front of the catamaran next to one of the nets. I did get sprayed a few times, but it was totally worth it! We sailed to Honeymoon Beach on St. John and then got geared up to snorkel. I had planned on staying on the boat and just relaxing, but for some reason I changed my mind at the last minute and decided I wanted to try snorkeling.
It took me a while to get comfortable with it and we had a strong current to deal with getting from the boat to shore. But once I was in calmer water I felt really comfortable and enjoyed myself. Pretty soon it was time to head back to the boat, where we were served copious amounts of champagne and rum punch, which were both delicious!
Once I was back on the ship I grabbed a snack and headed to my room. I was still hungry so I ordered room service and then took a shower after eating. I could see the sunset from my balcony, so I took a couple of pictures. I was pretty wiped out by that point but it was so early that I made myself get out of the room.
First I went to the casino and then I wandered to the very back of the ship and relaxed for a few minutes. I also took a walk through Central Park, which was even more magical at night. I finally decided that a long drawn out dinner just wasn't going to happen, so I went back to my room and put on my bathing suit so I could go relax in one of the cantilevered hot tubs in the Solarium. I also tried out one of the big chairs at the very front of the Solarium and it was so comfortable!
I eventually headed to my room and got ready for bed. I went to sleep at about 10 and had an alarm set for an early wakeup at 6:30.
Tomorrow I'll be writing about another busy day in port. My St. Maarten excursion got changed at the last minute, but I'll explain more tomorrow. Stay tuned!
The third day of the cruise was a sea day. I had a busy day scheduled for myself and got through almost everything! Here is my to-do list from that day:
See how I had to schedule in time to relax in the afternoon? No wonder I was exhausted when I got back from my vacation!
First I woke up around 6am to watch the sunrise from my balcony. I had figured out ahead of time that there would only be two days when I could see the sunrise from the comfort of my cabin, so I made it a point to wake up early on this day so I could watch the sunrise without having to leave my room. After the sun was up I showered and got dressed so that I could go eat breakfast in the main dining room.
After breakfast I went to the Cruise Critic Meet & Mingle. I talked to a few people who seemed friendly, but didn't make a strong connection to anyone. After that I went to bingo and didn't win anything. I knew I wanted to play at least once, so I was able to cross that off my list!
By that time I was ready for lunch, so I went to Izumi for sushi. They didn't have many fish-free options on the menu, but thankfully they were willing to make me a vegetable roll, which was really good. Once I was done eating I was ready to chill out & relax, so I headed to the Solarium. Unfortunately there weren't many spots open, so I moved to a few different chairs before finding a good spot. I guess I wasn't in the mood to relax because after a short time of sitting still I was up and moving around again. I went to get some soft serve ice cream and then headed back to my room.
When I got to my room I changed and went to the Rising Tide Bar for a lesson on making martinis. It was a really cool experience because I learned some really good martini recipes and I was able to be in a cool bar at the same time. The Rising Tide Bar is a moving bar that rises three stories to end up in Central Park, almost like a big elevator that serves drinks. Altogether it was a really unique experience and I'm happy I did it!
Next I had planned to go to the wine tasting at Vintages, but it turned out I needed a reservation. I ended up signing up for another one later that week. Instead of doing the wine tasting I spent some time at the casino before dinner. I ate with some more nice couples and then relaxed in the room for a little bit before my evening activities. At 9pm I saw the comedy show and at 10:30 I watched the Love & Marriage game show. Then I went back to the casino and turned $35 into $95. I called it at night after midnight.
Coming up on tomorrow's report is my champagne catamaran sail in St. Thomas. Would I be brave enough to try snorkeling for the first time ever? Keep reading to find out!
On the first full day of the cruise I woke up to the call from room services saying my breakfast was on its way. I got set up on the balcony and took my usual "breakfast on my balcony" picture, which is always a favorite of mine. Whenever I am wishing to get away I look at those pictures and remember the feeling of being completely relaxed and at rest.
After my quick breakfast I decided to get a mocha because the room service coffee was terrible. I really liked that my room was so close to Central Park because it quickly became on of my favorite spots on the ship! The coffee I got at Park Cafe tasted nothing like a mocha, so I grabbed a packet of hot chocolate and made my own! Now that I had a coffee I could drink I went back to my room to shower and get dressed. After that I grabbed my camera and set out to take pictures of the whole ship. I had hopes that it would be less crowded with some of the passengers out in port. I started at the top and worked my way down, also giving myself a nice tour of the areas I hadn't seen yet.
After I was done taking pictures I went back to my room to charge my phone a little bit and grab the stuff I needed for the golf tournament. I also took some time to write out my journal for day one. Then I headed to the Solarium Cafe for lunch. They had some tasty food that was supposed to be healthier, plus I was able to check it off my list of places to eat! Next I spent some time relaxing in the Solarium in a comfy chair drinking a frozen drink and waiting for my golf competition.
After spending some quiet time in the Solarium I decided to check out the Sport Deck. I watched a couple of people do the zip line and decided that if it freaked me out to watch someone else do it there was no way I could do it myself! Then I went and watched a few people do the Flowrider surf simulator. Some people were really good but most of them could barely stay up for a few seconds!
Next it was time for the golf competition I had planned through Cruise Critic so I headed over to the mini golf course. I was there about 10 minutes early and asked a couple of people if they were there for the tournament, which they weren't. I stayed until 10 minutes after we were supposed to start and nobody ever showed up. I was really disappointed and honestly upset that nobody had bothered to come. It actually hurt my feelings a little bit because I had expected that maybe half the people would show up but it had never occurred to me that nobody would come!
After that disappointment I went to the Wipeout Cafe to try the fries I had heard were really good. They were actually pretty tasty. Since I had some free time I went to the casino next.
After that I went back to the room to get ready for the formal night dinner. I was a little late to dinner but it all worked out because I sat with two really nice couples. We had good conversation and one couple even invited me to sit with them during Cats. Right after dinner I headed to the Royal Promenade to hear the captain speak. Then I ended up skipping Cats and after some more time at the casino I decided to call it a night and go to bed.
Thanks for sticking with me through today's long report! Tomorrow's report will be much shorter because it was a sea day and I didn't take very many pictures. Stay tuned for more!
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.