Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Some highlights of my first cruise

Back in January, my family blessed Brent and I by paying for us to go on a cruise with them and my sister and her husband. The idea of the 6 of us going was exciting, since the niece and nephew are usually present; but this was an adults only trip. :) I've always wanted to go on a cruise, and I'd never been to the Bahamas, so it was a trip of "firsts."

We left historic Charleston, SC on January 17th and boarded Norwegian Cruise Line's "Norwegian Majesty." As a first-time cruiser, I really had no expectations (which I think is a great thing) because I simply enjoyed it for what it was having nothing to compare it to.

After locating our compact room and trying out the vacuum toilets (!), the boat eventually set sail and that's when the trouble began....
I honestly thought I'd be a-okay on a ginormous boat. I have always been a sailing/boating/jetskiing lover, and have never had motion sickness on water. Boy, was it a shock to my system. I was completely incapacitated for the first two days as we sailed for the entire duration. Being pregnant, I began wearing Sea-Bands which have helped me with airplane motion sickness in the past. Thankfully, we randomly ran into a childhood best friend and her family on board. Her mom gave me ginger supplements which seemed to help.

Nevertheless, I cannot tell you how many times I was constantly asked, "Have you taken the ginger pills?" "How do you feel now?" "Maybe if you look out the window...." "How about some fresh air?" Really, I know my family was only concerned, but I was rather content to sleep since that was the only time I had a reprieve. I guess since I hadn't had any morning sickness with the baby, this was some sick joke to make up for it. I tell you, I really feel sympathy for those moms who suffer with it. My trashcan and I became fast friends...literally. :)

The good news was that as soon as we would anchor or dock, I was my normal self again. I got to eat after day two and finally begin enjoying the trip. Our first stop was Great Stirrup Cay. It was gorgeous....

Great Stirrup Cay was quite windy and cool, therefore I never got into the water. What a bummer! But I simply soaked up the view and the amazing teal color of the water. After only a few hours at GSC, everyone was evacuated (!) due to the high winds. The captain was concerned about the tender boats being able to safely get passengers back on board the cruise ship. We left reluctantly, and my time on land was all too fleeting.

We later ended up in Nassau which was much nicer than I had thought it would be. (When we honeymooned in St. Lucia, we quickly became aware of the extreme poverty). Nassau reminded me of Charleston with its pastel buildings paying homage to flamingoes. We walked around the area and went through the famous straw market (which was exactly like St. Lucia). Brent and my father left to go on a snorkeling excursion while I stayed back with my mom. Later that night, we went to a colorful Bahamian restaurant, Cafe Kalik. We feasted on yummy conch fritters (my first time) and coconut shrimp. The place was decorated with lots of Junkanoo (Bahamian Mardi Gras) costumes and masks. Here is one that our waiter created by hand...

We boarded the cruise ship and set sail for Freeport at Grand Bahama Island. There we met Audley, the nicest tour guide ever. He drove us around for 3 hours everywhere on that island. I was amazed at how simple the houses and shops looked. Some were rundown, but most just looked very plain compared to American homes. After getting off of the van and getting ready to board the cruise ship again, Brent noticed that his wedding ring was missing. Believe it or not, it wasn't the first time. And because of that, I honestly had a nonchalant attitude. (I gave up the sentimentality when the original wedding band was swallowed by the Atlantic Ocean a year ago).

Naturally, when we returned to our room, Brent just felt awful about the ring. I suggested we pray about it and ask God to bring it back to us. Now here is the weird/miraculous part... flashback to the day before when Brent went snorkeling...he jokingly told me he'd lost the ring then, and said "Just kidding!" and slipped it back on his finger. Flash forward to after we had prayed... Brent decided to look in his backpack as a last resort, and there it was. Some might say that he never put it back on to begin with, and that's where the ring had been the whole time. But Brent and I say that God brought it back to us, because nothing is impossible with God.

The next day we docked at Cape Canaveral, Florida and took a day-long expedition to the Kennedy Space Center. It was such a great experience, I'd go back there again and give more time to it. We were unable to do everything on a single-day pass. I've never been immersed in space stuff all that much, so it was a real treat learning the science behind everything. Here are some fun pictures... and I betcha didn't know that shuttles zoom around at 17,500 mph!

Those were the happenings off the ship, but we had lots of fun onboard too. There were nightly trivia games which asked absurd questions, song and dance shows, a comedy team that was hilarious. The comedy team, "Blackstreet Boyz," is made up of two guys, Alfred and Seymour. Their show is a mix of hip hop, physical humor, dance, and audience participation. The best part was when my dear mom was chosen from the audience! She got pulled up on stage and they started doing funny pictures with her. At one point, they were using her camera to take the pictures, and Seymour tripped and the camera went flying across the stage, breaking open. I think my whole family's jaws were dropped and in shock. Thankfully, it was a gag because he had switched the cameras...good grief. I especially enjoyed watching audience members get heckled, and some of them weren't even aware of it!

I think one of my favorite parts of the cruise was truly the staff. Yes, the staff. I have never met friendlier or more helpful people anywhere. Most are internationals and do not get to see their families for several months on end. They honestly seemed pleased and satisfied to help you, how often do you come across that attitude? One sweet server even brought me out a plate of crackers and green apple slices to help me feel better. Not only that, she brought me a barf bag. :)
I apologize for the few photos to post (I have more on facebook), but because I wasn't feeling all that well, my camera was the furthest thing on my mind. Thankfully, my family took lots more pictures and even caught me sleeping while seasick on the top deck :-p
The only travel plans for the future as far as I can tell will be to our family's beach house in the summer prior to the baby's arrival.

1 comment:

Tiffany said...

I checked out all your photos on Facebook too! It looks like you had a fabulous trip... sorry that you were sick for a fair portion of it. I've been seasick too many times to count when I was out fishing with Daddy. It was at least always comforting to know that after I barfed a dozen times, he would usually take me back to land! It would be tough to convince the captain of the cruise ship to do that I guess!