The dirt road blurs past me under my bicycle tires. I grip the handles tight to stay steady with each bump and lean forward to get as much speed as possible. I am the invincible swamp princess, faster than light, flying down the hill with great delight!
Growing up on the countryside, there were endless possibilities for imagination and endless possibilities to end up with some scrapes and bruises. Even so, I wouldn’t change those memories for anything.
I would head back to the house for a temporary timeout to get patched up. I am convinced it was the magical hugs and loving encouragement that helped me jump right into my next adventure.
Even now, life’s emotional scrapes may require a little timeout to get patched up, a hug to feel better, and encouragement to keep going.
Did you know that science has determined a hug that lasts 20 seconds has medical healing qualities that can relieve depression and anxiety? I think that’s pretty amazing!
Hugs. What an interesting thing we humans do, right? Tradition and culture drives some of this for sure.
We hug our kids, our pets, our friends, and our families. Hug when you arrive and hug when you leave. Hug for celebration and hug for consolation. I remember growing up we would say goodbye and give all our hugs then chat a little longer and give another goodbye hug or two before actually leaving.
All hugs are meaningful and good for the soul. I think it is because it connects us and exchanges the love we share, and we still need that connection.
Things have changed in the recent days and hugs are, for now, off limits. It is more challenging to find ways to connect and encourage others. And the world really needs that now. Whether it is loss, loneliness, joblessness, isolation, sickness, fear, anxiety, most of us are feeling something these days that is bringing us down.
Sometimes we need the hug and sometimes we can give the hug, so I am here to offer you my warmest virtual hug. #Freehugs
I believe that knowing someone cares is a big virtual hug. I am sure you can remember a time when you melted into a hug.
It came at the right time and someone knew you needed it. All worries melted away, time stood still, and love surrounded. With renewed strength and courage, you would exhale and know you can face another day.
So I hope you can melt into this virtual hug as it belongs to you, by way of encouragement and love. Wherever and whoever you are, be encouraged.
Because you are important, and I care. You have strength inside you bigger than you understand, that will help you to move on beyond brokeness. You are courageous to face things we have never seen in our lifetime and maybe never will again. I know it is scary, and things we were used to may now forever change. I know and I understand.
I also understand you have an amazing spirit of resiliancy. You are smart and amazing. No one is like you. Your uniqueness brings something in this world that no one else can. There is goodness and greatness in you and you can let that shine to give those around you hope. Always remember that.
So please, take a free virtual hug. If you don’t need a hug, someone else might. If you are able and willing, please pass it on. Gift that virtual hug of love and encouragement to someone in need.
There sat Pinterest perfect Grand Turk dressed in brilliant blues and greens and snuggled in by the warmth of the sun. It had captured my heart with delight and beauty yet it was just out of reach.
The excitement for this day started well before I embarked on my cruising adventure. I had been looking forward to this day in particular for a long time. I spent plenty of time looking at videos and photos of this special port destination. It’s simply dreamy.
Yet, this was one day that a wave of sadness and disappointment fell over me. That has never happened before. On past vacations, I have had bad moments and sick days, but nothing heart sinking like this has ever occurred.
What happened, how could I be sad on a cruise?
It was a glorious morning, we will be arriving at Grand Turk pretty soon. I decided to peek at the ocean before meeting friends for breakfast. I couldn’t quite make out the island, but the sun is warm and the sky is sparkly! I climbed up the stairs of the hot tub to look over the Plexiglas. We are not close yet, no sign of any island.
Despite of my lack of sleep the night before, I knew this was going to be an amazing day. We have a beach and pool day planned with many friends. In my mind I am going through what I thought the day might bring. There is a beautiful white sand beach, pool at Margaritaville where we would likely spend most of our day, and a small port shopping area.
Some of the beach hangouts even have dogs! I love this, it brings me such joy to see the owner’s dogs. It reminds me of some of those dogs I’ve come across on my port days.
The island is small and everything is right off the pier, long walks are not necessary. I had seen this port in many pictures and videos, seemed like it would be practically everything I dreamed of in a beach day.
Breakfast in the dining room was nice, grits and avocado toast did the trick today, even though the real treat awaited me just a little bit away. I remember a moment where I silently sat and looked at the big smiles surrounding me at the table. Everyone was chatting and laughing. A little extra sparkle in their eyes, just how I felt too. I think they were all looking forward to this day as well. This was going to be a special day with some really great people. Memories of a lifetime just waiting to be made. Since there would likely be dogs at this beach, my friends offered to give some of their left over bacon and biscuits to me so I could save them in a plastic Ziploc and hand them out when we got to the beach. Seeing those cute puppy faces would be such a delight. To my right, a large window framed what I could almost make out to be an island. We are getting close! The water is brighter than the big ocean where we came.
After breakfast, we had docked finally in Grand Turk. I couldn’t believe we were here! Bright blue and turquoise water, relaxing beach chairs and umbrellas line the beach and port shopping and restaurants await a bunch of excited visitors. I could not wait to experience the beauty firsthand.
I was dressed for the beach, swimsuit and cover and beach bag. We waited to be cleared, and a while later we still have not gotten clearance. I went out on deck again to see this place, it is so lovely, that water, those gentle waves, the beach are so lovely.
Beauty to the right, beauty to the left. These views just take my breath away.
I suddenly have a very bad feeling something is wrong. It’s now been hours since we docked. Why won’t they let us off? This is breaking my heart! I was confused and sad. This beautiful place was almost within reach, yet so far. It was the top port I had been looking forward to this cruise. Not to say the other ports were not amazing, they were, they were even better than I had expected. It’s just that I had heard so many things, I had never been here, those pictures and videos were locked in my head. Guys, this place looks remarkable. Standing at the railing with other passengers and their backpacks and beach hats, I shake my head, this cannot be happening.
I am able to visit with friends in our common meeting place called Ocean Plaza. This is a venue where they host trivia and musical events, so there are many places to sit. One one side is the coffee shop and further down is the sushi place, and on the other is the Alchemy Bar where craft cocktails are being mixed.
On either side of the Ocean Plaza are doors to get outside to the outer deck, where loungers, chairs, and hot tubs can be found. This has been a good meeting place to sit and visit. Oh the laughs and shenanigans that have ensued in this place. Sadly, today feels very different as everyone’s spirits are sinking. My friend offered to buy me coffee which was so kind, what a golden heart, that really made my day.
As we sit, we all try to keep a positive attitude. Even though deep down in our hearts we are breaking, we know this port visit is not likely to happen. Hours creep by and the Cruise Director and the Captain make several announcements that we are waiting for clearance… sorry for the delay… we apologize… bear with us. Over and over we hear a modified version of the same message, and playing in my mind like a slow motion movie as the voice gets deeper and deeper and the dread starts to set in.
A few of us make an attempt to go find some beach chairs in the sun by either of the pools, we make our way up to the lido. It is packed, every chair has someone in it, both pools are packed shoulder to shoulder. I guess everyone had the same idea, just some of us were smarter and came up earlier.
It is after noon and I decide to change out of my suit, I’ve partly given up yet there is still a sliver of hope. A few of us meet up in a cabin and enjoy their balcony and visit then go have lunch.
During lunch, the Captain makes the announcement that we unfortunately cannot get off the ship. What we knew was already true, is now official.
The Grand Turk Government would not allow the passengers on our ship to come to the island. Even though another ship docked next to us was allowed to.
I honestly felt a bit crushed, just like someone broke a promise and didn’t care how it made me feel. I realized I had to shake off this heavy, sad blanket that now is drenched from the tears of my heart. I have to let the things go that I cannot control, clearly this is one of them. I cannot control what happens in a day sometimes, I can only change how I react and what I decide to make of the rest of the day. Yes, it has taken enough of my day.
Be happy in the moment, that’s enough. Each moment is all we need, not more.
Come to find out we have flu sickness on our ship and positive Covid-19/Coronavirus cases both on the island of St. Maarten that we were at a couple days ago and on a neighboring ship in San Juan the day before. From the Captain’s announcement, I also learned we were only allowed to disembark two medical (non Coronavirus related guests) and sent on our way. It wasn’t until this day that I started to realize how virus serious this thing could be.
I was able to get a glimpse of us leaving. This ship was turning so fast when I noticed we were leaving. They did not waste any time to get out to sea. This means we have another sea day.
The crew was very helpful for us, they added a few events on the schedule and gave us all $100 on-board credit. This was not their fault and they treated us well. I am grateful we arrived home and non of us got sick. I am grateful for friends who helped me find happiness in that day so that the intense disappointment faded like the beaches of Grand Turk at sail-away.
As I look back, I realize with all that is going on it was likely a good decision. It is also a good reminder to make the best of each day, learn to go with the flow, stay safe, be grateful, hug those loved ones. Check out my full day of adapting to new circumstances, in my new video.
This peaceful seascape at Nachi Cocum is a welcomed change from the animated scramble that often is Cozumel. Cozumel has so much to offer, stunning beaches, steamy beach parties, exhilarating excursions, and some of the world’s best food in my opinion. Here, at Nachi Cocom Beach Resort, my busy mind is finally hushed and I slip into blissful relaxation. I have been to a few all inclusive resorts in Cozumel, Mexico, Nachi Cocom is now my favorite.
“The ocean stirs the heart, inspires the imagination, and brings eternal joy to the soul”
If you prefer to watch, check it out!
Nachi Cocom is a short 15 to 20 minute ride from either of the cruise ports in Cozumel, Puerta Maya or Punta Langosta. This intimate resort holds 130 guests and costs $55 for an all inclusive resort experience.
Though it is small, Nachi Cocom has a lot to offer and it may be a pleasant surprise to what you might expect at an all inclusive resort.
Up the slight incline from the taxi drop-off is a large seating area that is open on all sides. The breeze moves the grass flowing from roof and there are plenty of comfortable chairs and tables. A small podium is set up with an employee taking payment for the guests. It was a slight wait for me, maybe 5 minutes as they worked down the line taking MasterCard or cash payments and providing a wristband for the day pass.
Between the eating area and the pool is a sunken bar, you can see the pool out the back.
Many options of seating are available near the pool or the ocean. Crowds are not an issue here, there would plenty of places to pick from even if we were at capacity. My group chose spot by the pool. There are loungers, wicker love-seats and chairs, and tables with umbrellas and chairs to choose.
The Pool was really nice and clean. The hot tub is connected to the pool and looks very inviting. I love how you can stand behind the pool and see both the pool and the ocean with the palm trees!
The pool and hot tub have a swim up access to the bar which was really handy and the bartenders were very attentive and friendly. I got several margaritas and they were delicious!
Down the stairs from pool, I took a walk in the sand to get to the beach. Along the way there is a directional sign, massage salon, another smaller bar, and hammocks.
And then there was beach! This is a quiet and most relaxing beach! The water is really pretty and the sand is semi-coarse. On either side of this beach there is natural undeveloped land. Beyond that on one side only is Mr. Sancho’s Resort, you can tell because of the blow-up water slides and activities.
There is a pier here as well, it is painted white and if you are close you can tell there are some chips from that paint. It is a fun place to walk out on and get a picture of the resort from the ocean’s view. I found this place extremely clean too, with plenty of chairs.
The food building is very nice, it sits along the beach with a great view of the ocean. The food was fantastic. The service was great as well, we had several servers coming to help us or bring us drinks, food, etc. They were all very responsive to our needs.
With the all inclusive resort cost, you are allowed one appetizer, one soup or salad, one entree and one desert. They have really spicy pico de gallo, but it hurt so good!! Plus tons of guacamole. It was awesome!
In summary, if you are looking for a change of pace from the typical Cozumel party vibe, check out Nachi Cocom. It is a great place to relax for a day while you are in port!
I guess I’ve come to the point in my life where I wake up in the middle of the night and think about things. All sorts of things, where I’ve been, where I’m going, people in my life that have come and left, and worry about things that may not need that level of worry. A few nights this past year, I would wake up and think of people in my life that have really made an impact on my life, in big or small ways.
My thoughts kept going to how we trudge through life and may not say a word on what a person meant to us. Maybe assume they know already. This time I decided I would follow through with these inner thoughts to make sure they knew.
So my Best Friend Thank You Box idea was born. Similar to a subscription box people might pay monthly and subscribe to receive something, I am doing the opposite, I am making a friend my subscription as they are my gift. I figured this year, I would send a thank you box to someone each month. Here is how it came together:
Make a list of 12 people that have inspired me
Assign a word or two that would describe them
Describe how they inspired me
Find a quote or phrase that matches their personality
Decorate a box and put that phrase inside the box
Write a letter on fun stationary paper
Shop for custom items for that person
Make a video of putting the box together.
Started with a list, write a name in a box, next to it write a word to describe them in a circle, and how they inspired me in another circle, then finish the line with a quote that fits that person.
Next, I would decorate the box, once I have the quote I bought some stationary that comes in multiple colors and designs from the craft store. Usually about $15 for 150 sheets. This will give me many options for decorating the box and writing the letter.
I also bought letter stickers, fun stickers, tacky glue, hard letters, and plain white and colored card stock. I had an Xacto knife so I could cut out letters too for something different than sticker letters.
Decorating the box usually required a fun paper from my paper pad and some plain white or colored card stock for the edges the paper did not cover. I would measure and cut, then tacky glue just the edges. I also tried to have a theme or at least put a little thought behind why I chose what I did. One box I had a quote about butterflies and used paper butterflies and stickers to decorate that. Or one person is into travel so my decorations were maps and travel related.
Once that was in place, I would put the quote on the box using the sticker letters and the cut out letters. This took a while because I wanted it to be fun so I cut out a lot of the letters, then measured and glued them in place.
Then finish off with stickers! Fun! One box I actually cut out the letters of the word I used to describe them and put it across the box using twine and mini clothes pins.
To assemble the boxes with gifts I actually looked for 3 people at a time. As I worked on their box, I would shop and put things in their box. The word to describe them, how they inspired me and their quote was put in a note on my phone to help spark ideas.
I don’t have a set amount that I will spend, I just really try to customize what I pick to that person.
Some items I found to pack
Candy and treats
Something from my local area (magnet, coozie, ornament)
Something they would enjoy or use (blanket, socks, gloves, coffee mug, candle) maybe in their favorite color
Custom gift, for example someone loves tea so I found a nice box of gourmet tea and a tea mug, or someone like lake retreats so I bought a wall tapestry of a lake so they can always have that
I took my camera when I went to the store in case I found the perfect thing. I also did some online shopping, take time and figure something they would enjoy. At the end, I did a video with the contents of the box and the letter and sent a link to that person once they receive their box just for something fun if they wanted to see the process.
At the end of the day, it’s making people feel special. I have enjoyed this process so much even though my dining room table has been lost under boxes and decorations and part of my bedroom too. It is all worth it to send a small thank you to those special people who inspired me to be a better person.
From a dark room with no windows and no morning alarm, quiet slumber lingered well into the morning. Have you ever felt like you did not move a muscle all night? That is what happened this morning. Amazing sleep stacked on waking organically to my internal clock is making this the beginning of an enjoyable sea day.
If you prefer to watch, check it out
Sea breeze and blue sky cravings pull at my heart on a cruise, especially when I stay in an inside stateroom. So usually the first thing I love to do is breathe in some fresh ocean air and watch the ship start to wake up.
My favorite breakfast on this ship is the veggie taco at the Blue Iguana Cantina. It’s pretty filling and I like to spice it up with the options at the salsa bar. There are a few of us getting our Cantina fix on this morning so there is a little wait to get our food. I feel bad for the Cantina workers who are visually hot, that grill for the meat is obviously extremely warm. I appreciate their efforts and patience with all of us hungry cruisers. Island music plays by the pool and people are picking their lounge chairs to occupy for this lovely sea day.
Up winding stairs by the pool is the best way to get a better view of the ocean. This morning was breezier than most, which makes it way easier to get natural sea hair. I tend to let the breeze manage my hairdo on a cruise, instead of arguing with it to do it my way. I never win that argument, I guess the saying goes… pick your battles, this is no different.
I spent some time walking around various outside decks. The ocean is so very blue and it is windy yet pleasant. The sea is moving quickly. I love watching the waves and white bubbles whoosh around the ship. I choose to go to a deck where I can see the ocean without a plexi-glass obstructed view.
I love taking advantage of hanging out with friends whenever I can on a cruise, so today I am meeting a couple of our good friends at the Sea Day Brunch. I may even get a fresh squeezed juice! I wish they had that option every day and not just on sea days at the brunch.
It was not long before we were seated at a table meant for a group much larger than 4 people. We had the whole table to ourselves, plus I got to sit by the window and watch the ocean go by, that is such a fun view. This qualifies as second breakfast, so it is likely I am part hobbit.
Fresh squeezed juice charged to room card and delivered to the table in mere minutes. I get the Pineapple, Lime, Turmeric, and Honey fresh squeezed juice. This is the best $5 I have spent in a long time, probably since the other juice from the last Sea Day Brunch just a few days ago. It tastes really good. Maybe it’s because I have had a scratchy throat for a couple days, but it’s tasting even better than normal and so soothing on my throat. I need to avoid that cruise crud and fight it with everything I have. Toast and coffee and with almond milk arrived too. This was such a special time with friends, Donna and Carl. There are always good laughs and memories made with these two.
There is some time before the next event so there is time to do a quick load of laundry to make sure I leave with some fresh clothes. The laundry room is on my stateroom floor and it is so loud in there! If you are lucky there will be an open machine. There are 3 washers and 6 dryers. It costs $3 a load, and $1 for detergent. I found a washer and threw things in, paid with the room card and it charges to your room once you pick your lucky washer. OK, set timer for 30 minutes and then come back to switch the laundry to the dryer. I had never done laundry on the ship, it was pretty easy. I think i would take detergent and dryer sheets next time if I was planning to do a few loads.
After putting the clothes away, it’s time to head upstairs to the casino. We are doing Group Slot Pull 2.0 with folks from our cruise. This time we put in $120 each for 10 $12 spins. It was not too long and all of us had pushed the button for our chance at a huge hand pay. Today, it was not meant to be. We did not lose it all, and it was still so much fun. Maybe we can find luck later!
I decided to go explore a little since it is almost the end of the cruise. First, checking out the stores for good deals. Sea days are great days to find sales in the halls of the shopping corridor. Buy 2 tshirts for $20, buy 5 things for $40, Buy one get one half off.
There is a sale for everything you could possibly need and a probably for more than a few things you don’t need. I did see some fun shirts in the gift shop and shot glasses that caught my eye.
On my way out I hear something happening in the theater so I stopped in to see what was going on. There is a game called Lights, Camera, Interaction where people end up dressing in a costume piece by piece and then performing a famous scene from a movie, like Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean. When I look around there is only handful of people sitting in there. Not much happening here and I want to go check out the pool deck now that it has filled up.
The island heartbeat of the steel drums fill the entire pool deck creating an relaxing Caribbean vibe. This pool deck has layers and layers of lounge chairs, many of them are filled. People trying to soak up those last hours of sunshine before heading back to their homes. Perhaps where they will be going is much colder than here.
I wore jeans this morning and surprisingly I am uncomfortably warm, it was not the best choice on my part. Oh well, I want to go all the way to the very top of the ship. This means up to the mini golf under the Whale Tale. Along they way is the running track, lounge chairs, and shuffle board.
A very heavy metal gate was the entrance to get into the sport court where there is a smaller basketball and volleyball court. It is filled with teens and kids having a good time, maybe some of them are making lifelong friends. I find my way around the volleyball game, trying not to be in the way and head up the stairs in the back to the mini golf. This looks like a fun time, its just so windy, it would be hard to hear people you are playing with. Its nice and sunny! I really love this sea day weather.
Back downstairs, I am able to freshen up before meeting all my friends up in the Serenity lounge. My hair is wind-blown, knots everywhere!! It was nice to sit for just a bit and cool off. Interesting that the casino has delivered mini cookies to our room, we must have played a bit to get those.
I love the Serenity Deck, its an adult only place where you can find lay down loungers or sitting chairs that are very comfortable. There is a bar for refreshing drinks, or a water jug if that is all you want. Many people will get food from the buffet, a burger, or burrito and bring it up to Serenity.
I have to admit, it’s a great place to hang out with an amazing view of the ocean. There is also very nice seating with lots of room to visit with others. I think I was up there a couple of hours, spending time with a great group of friends. I am happy to be living in this glorious moment, the ocean, the sunset, and the friendships. If you could bottle delight, this would be it! I love the moments where I can catch the sunset too. Beautiful!
We all head back to our rooms before dinner and decide to meet at Alchemy Bar for a quick drink. I have been so good at trying new drinks at the Alchemy Bar, they have such a fun menu. Today, I could not pass up getting another French Kiss that I had yesterday and did not try something new. We were also given a tasty little snack tray with olives, almonds, and cheese cubes. Both the drink and the snacks were so delicious. We have a little visit with everyone before going down for dinner.
There are so many things that I want to do this evening. We ended up going to the Piano Bar and to the 80’s Party in the Atrium. Lots of fun there! We spent a lot of time in the casino and visiting. It was such a nice time, even though the casino was hot. I had to go outside and get some air. Colorful lights bring life to the dark pool deck and its really a neat sight.
A couple of my friends who were still up at this hour decided to go sit out on Serenity, even though it is dark, the air is cool and the breeze is really relaxing.
It is crazy how time flies on a cruise. There is so much to do, yet still plenty of time for relaxing. Well, this is the end of this Diary of a Cruiser. It has been so wonderful having you along. Until next time, happy cruising!
When I awoke this morning, the Carnival Glory had already been firmly secured to the Mahogany Bay pier in Roatan, Honduras for quite a while. I have been to this port once before and only ventured as far as the Mahogany Bay Beach adjacent the port.
Today, we are heading to Infinity Beach and Resort, a brand new experience. I love that my friend, Carl, has arranged all the details to and from and all that, he is very good and I trust his plan as it has always been a good time!
Prefer to watch? Check it out!
I woke up a little later than I should have because I was up late doing some pretty fun stuff such as the Love and Marriage Show, Quest Show, and Casino time on the ship. I definitely need to pick up a coffee before anything. It is a good thing I don’t need any math skills for a Beach Day!
The Atrium is the perfect place to wait for other people from our group. With my coffee, I sat down in the big orange chair. Goosebumps appear on my legs because the chair is cold where the jean shorts end and my skin touches the pretend leather. On the other hand, it’s nice to have warm hands from the coffee.
I am excited and a little nervous to visit Infinity Beach. I have been to Roatan before, but I’ve never left port. It has either been Coxen hole port shopping, just never beyond the gate where they post a sign leave at your own risk. That has always been in the back of my mind, and it has deterred me from wanting to adventure farther. The other time, I spent a glorious day at the Mahogany Bay Beach, you don’t leave the port for that either. So this is a very new experience for me. I know it’s usually a lot of worry without any substantial backing, but that is the real me, I do worry.
My thoughts go to my friends, I can’t help think of the fun I’ve already had on this cruise. From laughs to full on guffaws that make your eyes water and you lose your breath is what you get from this group of friends. There is not much in life that can match that. I am so very grateful for those moments and those people, all of which have been forever stamped on my heart.
It wasn’t long and we were all ready and off the ship. The air is warm and the sunshine greets me like an old friend. It’s a beautiful port. Lush and green, to the right you can see the port beach and the ski lift chairs in the sky and to the left is the Duty Free shop where you cannot see beyond because of the trees.
In this port, like many others they force you through the duty free shop. It is air conditioned with lots of goods and snacks, it’s actually a nice looking shop, I just did not need anything and was carrying plenty already.
I passed the Mahogany Bay welcome sign up the path from the Duty Free Shop and then continue up the slight incline to the port area. This really is a nice area if you do not want to leave and just shop or go to the beach with direct access from this port. I love the beach area here, it is so very nice, clean, safe, and beautiful. It’s just a walk down the hill through the jungle looking trees, there are benches along the way and natural photo op spots. It’s also a great place to get a nice picture of the ship from the ocean. See my pictures from my last trip to Mahogany Bay.
The port is one of the nicest I have seen, there are wide paths to walk, places to sit, really cool stores, and a couple places for drinks or food. I think you could see a few Diamonds International type shops, but many others too.
It is hot and muggy out today, I am already warm and I have quite a trek ahead of me. I am heading all the way through the other side of the port past the taxi and bus area, up the hill, out of the secure port area to meet the privately arranged taxi. Whew! It was definitely a little hike, but well worth it, we reached our guy at the bottom of the hill. I will endure this minor headache to see what lies ahead and a little water will help. Although, so would that advil I stuck in my beach bag, oh wait, I didn’t so there’s that. I brought the largest water from the ship so that I could have plenty and my head thanks me.
The taxi was a van and many from our group were coming along, it has quite a few seats so its roomy but only because we did not fill the whole van. I think there was a sigh of relief when there was air conditioning.
And we are off on the small roads of Roatan. It seems they are working on improving a lot of the roads, I saw construction and some of the buildings are being rebuilt. We stopped at a couple overlooks where you could see a couple of ships – Royal Caribbean’s Harmony of the Seas and the Norwegian Dawn. It was neat seeing the ships from on top this hill or small mountain. Colorful shops lined the edge of the parking space and vendors young and old were trying to entice anyone to come look at their goods.
We also drove by what is called West Beach. This is an obvious tourist area. There are people walking and shopping, crisscrossing the street as the cars slowly drive by. A few restaurants out on piers over the ocean mixed in with watercraft rentals, water taxis, and beachy things shop. It was super cute and nothing unsafe about it. You could tell many tourists come here to spend their day and I completely understand why.
Soon we arrived at Infinity Bay Resort. They have a swim day pass for $20 all day, pool and beach. Out the door of the resort and down the hill I was greeted by a huge infinity pool, it is clean and bright, flowers and plants line the area where they have loungers and sitting chairs with tables. There is a bridge that cuts the pool in half with “Infinity Bay” written across it. Looking past the pool you can see the ocean, and it definitely calls to my heart.
The beach is incredible, the water is that light blue for the entire beach, it turns darker out a ways where some of my friends snorkels that day. I am so excited to get in that water. I found my way back to the group to check in and pay for our wristband, but not before I was stopped 3 or 4 times by beach vendors. I almost bought a bracelet as they are very convincing that I should take their deal. They had some cute ones with turtles or shark teeth. It was a good deal I am sure, I just don’t think I need anything. Off to find our chair and get in the water. They offer food and drink in their bar area right off the beach, too.
The water was cool, and my feet were filled with delight to feel the sand under my toes. No shells!! I love this beach, to my right as I walked in was a pier with a couple small boats, to my left I saw a blow up water slide and underwater space masks as an excursion. I was right where I needed to be, the sun warm on my face and the cool of the water surrounding me. I believe I was out there over an hour before coming back in.
I found the bathroom which was near the bridge over the pool, its down the stairs. I nearly fell as the tile was slippery, that would have been a surprise. I could only imagine breaking something on vacation! Thankfully, it was no big deal. Shake it off!!
I decided to sit on a chair near the pool to dry off and reapply sun lotion. The weather today couldn’t be more perfect, the company of friends also had me smiling. It’s so good to vacation with amazing people. This is absolutely one of my favorite things about cruising.
A couple of lizards or iguanas blessed me with their presence before quickly making their escape in the nearby greenery. I find it so odd to see those large creatures at a pool just feet away from me, yet it must be so normal here, in this little slice of paradise.
I’ve dried off enough and I would like to try that pool. It’s so intriguing, there is a waterfall at the bridge and it is curvy and interesting, plus, you can go to the edge and look out at the crystal clear water. If you stand back it looks like the pool is connected to the ocean, so your crystal clear blue green keeps going and going as far as you can see.
Climbing in the pool was not hard there were steps and railings to help. After the near fall I may have been a bit more careful than I needed. I spend the next hour at the pool, soaking and visiting. It was exactly what I needed today.
It’s back to the ship for all of us. I can feel I got a little sun, but it’s not bad. It is 130pm and I am hungry, we all are. I chose not to eat at that restaurant on the beach and will eat back on the ship. The taxi was able to drop us right at the port so we didnt have to make the trek up the steep hill. A small walk through the port shopping, and I won’t lie, that Mahogany Bay Beach was calling me. If I wasn’t tired and hungry I would have gone, and I may regret it, that beach is lovely. I feel it is one of the prettiest beaches at a cruise port I have been to with such a breeze to get to, just down a path from the ship. Maybe soon I will be back to enjoy that for the day.
Back in the room, I stretched out on the bed, here I had a moment to think, this day really was a highlight of my week. Good times, good friends, and making memories, that’s what it’s all about. Finally showered and changed, I am all ready for the evening.
I was a little early to meet everyone for drinks at the Alchemy Bar, so my husband, Brian, and I played a little in the casino, we ended up ahead a couple hundred dollars after just a few minutes and hitting a good bonus. That’s exciting! What a great way to start the evening!
Just a short walk from the casino, is the Alchemy Bar. It looks like a science lab, with flasks and drawers for ingredients. We sit around a round counter on high stools watching what appear to be science experiments. One French Kiss for me, drink that is, although I cannot say I mind the other. My drink is red and it has berries at the bottom, sparkling wine and lime juice. It’s a sip and snack all on one! We also enjoy a complimentary tray of nuts, cheese, and olives a clever combination when you eat them together. Chatting turns to laughing as the first drink sinks in. We all clink and drink, cheers! I would say we are all in a good place when it’s time for dinner.
There is a steel drum and band playing as we walk past the casino, down to level 3 to main dining room. It’s nice to have music in various places on the ship, there is easy listening music in the Atrium Lobby too.
Once we arrive at the restaurant,we are shown to the table near the back. I have pre-ordered my meal, as a gluten free vegetarian. It’s an Indian Dish with chickpea, basmati rice, and thin rice cracker, plus the chocolate melting cake, very good.
There is a hum of chit chat and laughing in the dining room. No doubt, people reliving the day, the adventures they went on or spending the most relaxing day at the edge of the pool. Our table was not excluded from that chatter, not all of us went to the beach and there were stories to told on both sides. Also, I think I may have caught an almost proposal happening among the conversations. Sometimes I just sit back and let everyone do the talking, I love seeing people interact and I am taking in every moment, and I am so lucky to be here at this moment with these people, so very lucky.
Of course I never mind dinner takes a while with friends, it is longer than usual, which is fine. I’m so full I don’t think I can move a whole lot anyways, but if I sit, I may fall asleep.
After dinner, it’s to the casino, it’s time to see if we can repeat our Max bet group pull. All of us get our turn to hit the button. This is so much fun with friends, the excitement is high, we are cheering each other on, and happy even with small wins. We did not come out winners, but the smiles on our faces show that we are winners, in friendship, that counts for something, right? Better luck next time.
I am getting tired, so I go and sit by the windows on the couches bear the casino. This is a neat spot and you can people watch. Often there is a band playing on the small stage near the casino bar. It’s nice to relax a bit.
After a short visit, I decide to head to bed, it’s another nice sea day tomorrow, and I am looking forward to it!
I couldn’t resist rolling over with the fluffy blanket and catching a few more minutes of sleep this morning. The room is pitch black, except for the blue light coming from my usb charging block on the vanity counter, so I guess other than that it’s quite dark. I’ve often thought I should put some black tape over that one glowing button. I don’t normally get to or can sleep in, so this was nice there was no rush to get going today.
It is a casual schedule today of walking around and shopping in the port of Costa Maya, Mexico. I did not plan on any excursion; however there are plenty of things to pick from. We docked together with 3 mega cruise ships, Royal Caribbeans Harmony of the Seas, the Celebrity Edge, and Norwegian’s Escape. Our ship looks like a baby next to these giants of the sea. I love seeing all the ships while in port.
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I had some veggie tacos at Blue Iguana up on the Lido Deck and sat by the window to see the NCL Escape. This wonder of a ship has a special place in my heart as my first cruise ship ever. First cruise is the sweetest! It was such a surprise to see it and brought back some happy memories. Someday I would love to get back on that ship!
The wind is strong here, it always is here in Costa Maya. I noticed the Harmony of the Seas docking once breakfast was finished and went up the stairs by the pool to deck 10 to see the ship come in. They had closed the pier while the Harmony pulls in for safety, so if you were not off yet you were waiting at least 30 minutes.
I pushed in between a couple of lounge chairs to get to the railing. It looks like a people zoo on the other ship, or maybe we were the people zoo from their perspective. Many people sitting in their balcony lounge chairs, some people inside their cabins, some up on top having breakfast, or waving at all of us looking at them. I am really surprised how much we could see into the other ship. People are very comfortable inside their balcony cabins with their curtains open. It is such a grand ship, and looking at it from our top deck with several decks still towering over me is such a humbling moment. Seriously, it’s fun to see the neighbor ships at the ports.
I am meeting everyone down in the Atrium at 1030 am today because we are all just taking our time to get off the ship. Some of us have been here before and really we just want to walk around the port shopping area. But first, coffee, so nice to get free coffee with the drinks package, so it was a vanilla almond milk latte for me. Yum!!
The Atrium is quiet, but there is still a buzz of excitement. It’s fun watching people and groups come in, sit a while then leave, or get a drink from the Atrium Bar. Maybe an exciting chapter of Costa Maya will be written in their life story today. Could it be an ATV adventure, ziplining, tequila tasting, dolphin swimming, or maybe a relaxing beach day massage with a 2 for 1 beer special? Whatever it is, cruising is a great way to get out there and find something you like. I absolutely love that about cruising, something for everyone!
Time to go to the port, I gather all the important things and head to deck zero. The breeze might catch a hat or two today, hang on to your things! Costa Maya would not feel the same without it.
It’s a little walk down the pier, our ship is next to the Harmony of the Seas which is a mega ship. It feels like I am going through a tunnel between these two ships. This place is humming with activity with people sharing the same pier to get off. I have a feeling that this port is going to be super busy. I have never seen 4 ships here at one time. I don’t think this port really can handle all those people. It will be an interesting thing to see.
It’s always fun to take pictures of the water here, even though it’s not calm, it’s really pretty and the chaos of the crashing waves has a charm. Who doesn’t appreciate a little beautiful chaos.
I enter into an area with just a few vendors, a sign with large letters spelling Costa Maya, another multi directional sign for various things at this port, and an excursion sign up if you are looking for something to do today. To the right of the entrance are people dressed in native Mexican garb of elaborate feathers and leather, drumming and dancing. Of course, you can also can get your picture with them for a small fee or tip.
Through an open building to the main port shopping area. Brightly colored hats, bags, clothing and collectibles seem to pop from the vendor shops. Above the shops there is a rope bridge throughout the whole port, you can pay a little extra to walk above everyone for a new perspective. People going in and out of shops and passionate sales people asking if you would like to come check out their things.
There is a show in the main courtyard with traditional Mexican Dancers atop a tall spinning pole, only to make their way down to the ground while they play flutes without safety harnesses. That scene is a little unnerving to me and probably a lot of people but we watch anyways.
People seem to meander through the streets looking for that perfect gift or souvenir to bring home. I like to walk by the shops to catch some air conditioning. It’s the truth! I think the jewelry shops have the coldest air wafting from their stores. I think they know what they are doing, people want to be cool, so maybe they will want to stand a look and of course buy jewelry. So many people shoulder to shoulder here today. It is really warm and sticky and there is not much of a breeze coming through at all.
All the benches and stone wall ledges are packed with people. An actual people jam slows everyone down in a squeezy spot on the path near a large pool. It’s the one way through. That pool actually looks very inviting, its bright and sparkly since the sun is out. There are lounge chairs to claim and pool music if you just want to have a fun, relaxing pool day. Many palm trees are scattered through the seating area offering much needed shade from the hot sun.
Across the pool, people are enjoying their authentic Mexican food and margaritas at an open air restaurant with colorful wooden chairs. There are lots of additional restaurants throughout as well, although today it’s very packed. Down the path behind the pool there are flamingos, parrots, a chocolate company with samples, and many places to try some tequila. Visitors are also swimming with the dolphins. Just past the dolphin pool I caught a glimpse of the ships in port. The Carnival Glory is hiding, but it’s there.
The whole port layout looks more complicated than it is. The paths curve and turn, go around a pool and various things, but in the end it leads you back to the entrance and reveals that the port is actually not that huge. The back exit is the taxi and excursion area, this time I did not go back there, it was just fun just wandering these streets.
Time to head back to the ship, it’s a long walk and its so nice when the air conditioning hits you as you enter the ship!! It was really hot out. I got back to the ship and grabbed a rice bowl from Blue Iguana Cantina and met all our friends in the Buffet. The buffet has a sailing theme, sailboats and blue and tan colors. I think we all drank a bunch of water after being out in the hot air.
Time to head back to the ship, it’s a long walk and its so nice when the air conditioning hits you as you enter the ship!! It was really hot out. What a neat view to see our ship from this side of the port.
I got back to the ship and grabbed a rice bowl from Blue Iguana Cantina and met all our friends in the Buffet. The buffet has a sailing theme, sailboats and blue and tan colors. I think we all drank a bunch of water after being out in the hot air.
The rice bowl filled me up and I need to cool off so I head to my room. Once I had time to freshen up, I decided to stop at the coffee shop for vitamin water and hot water for tee. My throat felt a little scratchy and I wanted to try and prevent it from getting worse. I sat on the couches between the Alchemy Bar and the casino, the the grand Harmony of the Seas is outside the window. This is a really good day.
There is country music trivia in the Atrium and our group is going to do their best to get a ship on the stick. I am afraid I am not much help here, I can think of song titles but artist names are tough.
Before it starts, I cannot resist the temptation to go out on deck 3 and see the ocean. The Norwegian Escape has left port and sails into the evening. Adios, my fair ship! The Celebrity Edge is next and then us. Deck 3 has a few chairs but is mostly open for walking, and a railing to lean on and see the ocean, it is nice it is not full plexi-glass so I can feel that Costa Maya wind, its feels great!
It’s time for trivia. I will be the first to admit, for me anyways, some trivia games are quite dry and not very exciting. This one was so much fun. Our group teamed up and knew the answers! It was a jolly good time singing along with the songs. So it is trivia that brings us all together. Who knew? It came down to a tie breaker with another team and ours, and Josh from my team won! Yay for the ship on a stick. And yay for good times with good friends which happens to be one of my favorite things on a cruise!
Somehow the day has quickly escaped me and it is late into the evening. Up next is the Love and Marriage Show. This is absolutely a do not miss event. It really is a good time, at least for the audience. The theater is lit in colors of love. On stage, brave couples with varied lengths of marriage answer embarrassing questions to see which couple knows each other best and gets the best match. Do you know your Boo? I couldn’t go up on stage like that and reveal all those things in front of everyone! This time, the cruise director made it quite entertaining calling the room of one of the couples to speak to a sister and another time asking the older couple some questions to make the older lady blush, but it is all in good fun. Champagne prizes and hugs and kisses by each couple ends the show and we head out of the theater which cheeks hurting from laughing.
The night is not over even this show was, it is time for the adult scavenger hunt game called Quest. Lots of laughs found here! If you haven’t seen it once you should. The room is split into teams and they must find creative ways to bring things the leader asks for to get team points. There are things like a fruit, a bra on a man, lipstick; however, beware it can get crazy. It is not for the easily offended audience.
It is late after the Quest show but most of us hit the casino for just a bit before heading to bed. It is now past 1 am and I am exhausted!
You had me at dreamy ocean blue. This was definitely one of Cozumel beaches at their best! Today, we will spend time at one of the all-inclusive resorts, Mr. Sanchos, in Mexico!
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The day started with a mess of bed hair like I haven’t seen in a while. I was reminded by my head that I must have partied a bit more than I expected to last night when I woke up. Coffee from the Creamer is a must, and breakfast of grits and fruit in the main dining room will do the trick today.
It’s back to the room to change into suits and pack up the essentials in the beach bag. I am so excited, I have been to another all-inclusive resort for the day and they are a lot of fun. So it will be great to see this one too.
I make it all the way down to deck zero, behind all the magic. It is not a typical guest area, they are not going for pretty or good show here. It is an all white area, floor to ceiling, with no pictures. In the end it doesn’t really matter and I understand why it’s that way. Just that I notice details, this is where everyone gets off at ports so it was surprising it doesn’t have a little color life.
With my required room card and license in hand, I head through the security check point, down the ramp, and onto the pier. I’m actually always thinking I might drop my room card into the ocean between the ship and the pier as I walk down the ramp, not today though thankfully!
We have arrived! Hello Mexico, it is nice to see you again! Mexico returns greeting with a warm breeze and a sun kiss! The skies are perfectly clear and I absolutely know this is going to be a great day!
Our group of eight make our way through the port streets of Puerta Maya, to get to our taxi. We pile into a large van and make our way to Mr. Sanchos All-inclusive resort. Its $45 for this place, all you can drink and eat. Near the entrance, we are greeted by local vendors selling their goods of all kinds, hand painted figurines, sombrero or other hats, backpacks, purses, henna tattoos, hair braids, and more.
Waiting for everyone to pay, I get my first view of this place, more vendors inside, along with a large food open air building with tables, chairs, and serving tables, lots of palm trees, chairs, and cabanas. The pool is beginning to fill up and party music fills the air. I can only catch a glimpse of the ocean, bright and beautiful. I cannot wait to get up there and see it!
We are assigned a server for the day, “EZ” who escorts us to our table under a grass hut roof, with 8 chairs. Before I can settle in, I must see that ocean, its calling from just past the loungers. Its absolutely beautiful!! The water is as clear as can be and the prettiest color I have seen in a long time!
This is very different from what I saw last time we came to a Cozumel all-inclusive resort, where there was a ton of smelly sea grass pushed up on shore. It was a mess, workers were using wheelbarrows to bring it away just to find their efforts gone and more and more had come on to shore. This was the complete opposite, absolute perfection. It’s one of the reasons I love cruising.
Back up to the chair and set things down and order a Sprite. Everyone put their drink order in and we all head down to the ocean. The water is cool at first but the sun is warm and it’s just delightful. The ocean floor does have a few shells so it is not powder soft, but it is still very nice. I am surrounded by stunning beauty and friends which is making this day one of the best ever!
Time goes by when you are having fun! This place has something for everyone, there are a couple of pools, spa, and multiple bars. One bar has rope swing chairs to sit at while getting a drink.
We spent a couple hours in this heavenly water and finally back to the table to have some food. We are able to order tacos, chips and guacamole, etc and drinks. From my experience here, the service can be slow. There are a lot of servers, but there are a lot of guests. I would recommend ordering food early it will take 45 min or so to get food, and order more than one drink at a time, especially when its warm. I changed in the hanging room into dry clothes which was really nice before heading back to the taxi.
Back through the port of Puerta Maya, I like to stop and take pictures by the Cozumel sign with the ship in the back. They have some loungers to use if you want here and enjoy the day. I have done that and it was super relaxing!
This is a very photogenic cruise port, this little area is filled with palm trees and greenery. I like that it is very clean and feels safe.
The duty free shop is the gateway to the pier and our ship has a couple of neighbor ships and that’s really neat to see when in port.
Being out in the sun really exhausted me so I actually rested for a little bit when we got back. The inside room is really dark so afternoon naps are no problem at all.
There is something about sunsets on a cruise ship, whether over the open sea or at a port. I am not always able to catch them if we are doing things inside the ship. Today I was able to, and it was really special. When the sun has just set, golden hour begins and it makes the ship glow. It’s so pretty and a wonderful reason to catch those sunsets.
The evening was pretty low key for me. I actually did not feel very well and turned in early. I had dinner and sat in the Atrium to listen to music a while after we ate. Tomorrow is another beautiful day I cannot wait!
It’s so refreshing to wake up with near 8 hours of sleep. The beds on this ship, Carnival Glory, are super nice, and pillows too. I will admit, the pillowy softness had it’s grip on me to stay in bed. I would have stayed just a few minutes longer, except the coffee shop, Creamers, is calling and of course I am going to answer. I must get up and tame this hair nest of mine, as I declare it’s National Almond Milk Vanilla Latte Day!
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I was a little early for our meeting time with my friends for Sea Day Brunch so decided to sip my coffee and relax in the Bar Blue, a cool venue for nightlife karaoke. I had to peek outside as I kept hearing clunk clunk and did not know what was going on. I still don’t know. This little space is neat, even though it has a strange theme, peacocks. I am not kidding. If you are looking for a color hug, come here. Blues, yellows, and greens everywhere you look. There are couches and cushy chairs with smaller tables facing a stage. The carpet even has a peacock feather design. There is a bar at the back. I am pretty sure someone will finally make it big tonight with the karaoke song they have been practicing for months. Way to go, big star!
Sea Day Brunch is one of my favorite meals as I am able to order a fresh squeezed juice! I don’t know if you know this about me, but I am obsessed with fresh juices, mostly green for me. I have green juice every morning before work and I may be somewhat of a green freak, but a nice one. This morning, my heavenly juice has pineapple, lime, honey, turmeric, and love. I am very impressed and delighted that they put a little extra love in there as its absolutely delicious. Did I mention I also LOVE love? In the end, worth every penny of the $5 charge, I highly recommend it.
The breakfast takes about an hour and a half and then it’s off to explore the ship a little. There is always that pull to see the ocean, for me at least, when I am on a cruise ship. I often sneak away to go outside and just look at it. Its almost like a memorizing fire pit, so many senses come to life! I made my way up to the pool deck and aft pool to get some great pictures. What a difference it makes when the sky is as clear as can be, blue sky, blue sea! Today, my heart was inspired by some of the bluest blues I have seen out on the sea.
I love Sea Days, for me it’s a time to relax and really enjoy the day. I usually pick low key things to do and this day is no exception. I found myself up at the Serenity Deck visiting for a couple hours with friends.
The Serenity Deck is quiet, and is a great place to get away from loud music. This adult only lounge area has a bar, padded lounge and sitting chairs, two hot tubs. It’s a great place to spend an afternoon! I would move my chair to sneak a little sunshine, step away for a minute to look at the ocean, and maybe share some of that in pictures and video for the family stuck in the snow back home. Just doing my duty. Trying to send a little sunshine when I can!
After a couple hours, I was a little hungry and decided on getting a bite at the Blue Iguana Cantina, just a rice plate with veggies and beans and brought that upstairs to the Serenity Deck. But the time I had gotten back, most of the group went to the casino to play some games. Maybe they were just waiting to slip away! Oh well, I will be seeing them at dinner. I decided I would wander the ship a little more before I get changed for elegant night in the dining room.
Time to try the Alchemy Bar for another interesting cocktail. I am meeting everyone here before dinner so this will give me a chance to try some of the creative cocktails. Today is the Martini Seduction. I am telling you, this is so delicious and refreshing. It might be a little too easy to drink. This is a nice moment, I am here with my friends on this cruise, I couldn’t ask for better company, my heart is full! Chuckles turn into full blown laughs with this crew I am with, so many stories and jokes keep the energy high. Many laughs later and another drink called 40 is the new 20, we all head to dinner. My dinner is not very exciting, but it works, a few vegetarian sides; however, laughter with friends is quite exciting!
After dinner, I was able to play a little in the casino, this time around we did actually win a little. Ups in a casino seem to come and go, and that is alright. I found some fun games to play followed by a few moments to sit and relax on the couches near the casino and visit with friends.
I got so hot in that casino! So I head outside into the wind tunnel. Up to the Serenity to cool off. This ship is so pretty at night! I love walking around when its all lit up.
My friends and I decide to head to the Atrium to watch the Motown music show. So many people singing pieces of songs together, dancing, and laughing. I didn’t realize I knew so many Motown songs, it’s a really fun party. The cruise director will get everyone dancing and singing even up on different levels of the Atrium.
The Bartenders here are great! They put on a show and really make you feel welcome. They start recognizing you and what you like to drink. I was having vodka cranberry, simple and delightful. It wouldn’t be a party until a glass breaks. This time, it was me, I broke a glass at the bar. Oops, I think I talk with my hands sometimes. Truthfully, I have only a little grace, you only need a little, right? Maybe its time to leave the bar. One last final donation to the casino before heading to bed! What a night!
I woke up on this day with overflowing inspiration and excitement. It is cruise day!! I cannot wait to board the Carnival Glory Cruise Ship that is waiting for me at the New Orleans Port.
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As always, I had not packed a separate pre-cruise bag and had to unload most of the packed suitcase to find what I needed, then repack everything. I don’t know if I will ever learn to pack a small first night bag. Finally ready, its downstairs to meet up with friends who will be joining us on the cruise and we make our way through the streets of New Orleans to the cruise terminal. I triple check we have passports and printed boarding pass in my purse, yep, they are still there.
Parking in the ramp was pretty simple, we chose to park close to the elevator door. Only Princess parking will do 🥰, just kidding, but it was nice to not be far away. There is a little chaos in security. So many people trying to keep their family and luggage together, dropping things everywhere, and leaving their boarding passes as they try to hurry. There are several security lines, so I decide to pick one further away with less people. With my super-girl strength, I launch my over-packed suitcase and my extra bag with the wine I brought onto the conveyor belt. “Oofda”, I am pretty sure that a little bit of Minnesota slipped out. Next to the security table for the full wine bottle inspection, and I’m all set to enter the seating area in the terminal.
Once in the terminal, I got my first glimpse of my home for the next week. This week is going to be epic! Cruising and friends is the perfect mix of awesome. Just like all cruises I take, it doesn’t feel real until you see that ship. I wonder what great memories are in store for me. I was able to find my friends saving a seat for me and make my way over even though I got in trouble by the room attendant because they had that area roped off already. Plus, I went to get two other friends to sit next to me who were sailing with all of us us. Too many people not following the rules!! I promise, these are the only folks coming to sit over in this section. I could sense the disapproving glare and it got me feeling a little smaller in my chair like a little kid getting in trouble, oopsies.
It is a rule that we all sit down, not stand and wander, not sure why. I do get a chance to snap a couple photos of the ship smack dab in front of me. There is a refreshment stand to purchase snicky-snacks, restrooms, and loads and loads of people waiting just like me. A wedding section to hold quite a few people is still empty, I hope they make it in time for their magical wedding on the ship!
It seems like only minutes and they announce my group, Faster to the Fun (FTTF). Which is a fancy way of saying, “pay a little to get me on first”. This time it’s worth it, I feel a like a VIP!
The suitcase is full and I could have left it with the porter; however, this time I can get to my room right away and decided to bring it on myself. Up the gangway, it’s a bit of an incline and pulling probably fifty pounds of beachwear, extra clothes, shoes, necklaces and who knows what else is not easy. I must question my packing expertise, how many times have I put way to much in my suitcase, I am certainly paying for it now, but who knows if I will ever learn to do it right. On a positive note, I count this as my last pre-cruise workout!
Once inside, I am sent right into the Atrium. This space has color changing tiles in the ceiling and comfy couches and chairs to surround the small stage. The elevator bank is the ship’s feature wall. It sends your eyes all the way up to the top of the ship where you see a glass ceiling, talk about raising the roof! Neon lights set the mood and people are already starting to get their first drink of the cruise. I love this feeling on embarkation day! Once you cross that gangway and step your first foot onto the ship, it feels so official! I can sense the excitement and it’s contagious. All of us have had our countdowns for this cruise that tick slowly and finally the day has come! I am looking forward to this week of vacation so, so much!
Because I have the “get me fun fast ticket”, I knew the elevators should not be too busy and it would be nice to leave my good friend Ol’ Samsonite in the room while I get this party started; and considering Ol’ Samsonite doesn’t like to party anyways. It only took a few minutes for an elevator and up to 7th deck. I arrive in in the room just a few minutes later and do a quick video of the room before I drop and run off to the fun promised to me!
We are finally back to the Atrium, where many more people are gathering, getting drinks, and pulling their suitcases. So many matching t-shirts for larger groups and people of all ages have come to enjoy a bit of fun in the sun this week. The energy is high, you can feel it! Maybe first time cruisers who stand in awe of the detail in this room, what will we do first?? I remember my first cruise, I was so nervous, I had booked and cancelled so many times before and this was the one final time I kept the booking and finally went on a cruise. Such great memories and I am so glad I tried it, it’s really is a wonderful way to meet people and see parts of the world I would not have normally.
Our group of eight have assembled in the Atrium and I sip my tropical drink without a straw, they will give you a sugar straw if you ask. My heart is happy. This is going to such an amazing time with amazing people, I thought to myself I have to cherish all of this, every moment!
After visiting for a while, I want to explore the casino as we will be spending some time here throughout the week. I must find all the winning machines. This casino space surprised me. Outside the strange Egyptian decor, it is very nice and pleasantly spacious. The coloring is not off-putting either. I have been on some ship casinos that almost you feel like you are in some strange, shiny closet. Seriously, can you feel the migraine headed your way? Anyways, in this casino, I was impressed by the space between the machines and tables and did not feel stuffy or crowded at all.
You will find large Egyptian statues scattered throughout. I am a detail person and I was surprised to see the themed ceiling, there are hieroglyphics and drawings I am not sure what they are. I also noticed on the ceiling carvings of camels in stone. Very interesting; however, I do think the deep red carpet with golden triangles and squares seems to bring the space together. There are mustard color chairs for the slot machines and high tops for the table games. Lots of great games here too, it will be fun to hang out here. On one side of the casino, you will find a bar with stools and a couple of bartenders and what seems to be a smaller dancer floor; on the other side, a sports bar. There is a tiny stage on the edge of the casino and nice looking couches, chairs, and tables ready to enjoy some live music.
Up to the pool deck to the Blue Iguana Cantina to grab some lunch. Rice and veggies and all the toppings for me. Luggage has taken over the pool deck, everyone who cannot get into their room have to hang on to those suitcases. It makes for quite a crowded space. Then I head down to the room to unpack. There is so much storage on this little inside Stateroom, it will fit all I have plus some space left over. There is a vanity space with drawers and closet with lots of hangers, shelves for everything. I pretty much just grab my folded items and put in the shelves, hang as little as possible and throw the suit case under the bed (its great having so much space to store the suitcase underneath). I also have a tradition to put out my whiteboard outside and write some fun checklist items on it. Hey wala! I am all moved in!
Alright, move it, move it!! I don’t want to be late for muster drill and I fear I am. Off to Muster Station F, deck 4 outside. At this point I am thankful it’s not raining or too chilly. We line up with our fellow Muster F shipmates like cadets and receive important safety info before being released to enjoy our vacation. It always seems to take forever for it to be done even though we all know its necessary. It got to the point where I stood on one leg and rested my other like a flamingo then switched to the other leg. There has to be a better way to do this, its not often we have to stand for muster, many times I have been assigned to a dining room or something. It’s a good thing this group passed Muster and they release us first. That’s a big A+ for Muster Training on my report card!
I head straight up to the Lido for sail-away party. I have a new pep in my step, weaving around other walkers, a skill I have now perfected for sail-away day. This is one of my favorite things on a cruise. Since we are sailing out of New Orleans, we will be in the Mississippi River for several hours. It’s a very different type of sail-away from seeing the bridge and muddy river water to barges with fire lighting the sky and boats along the river even into the night. It’s a different kind of cool.
Before the dance party, I am able to get some video and pictures of New Orleans drifting off into the distance.
Of course, I must dance a little or attempt dancing. So I get on the dance floor and join in the celebration. People are at their happiest usually on this day of the cruise, it’s great being around everyone.
The Red Frog Rum Bar is hopping during Sail-away, it’s nice to have a place right by the pool to get a drink. Its slightly chilly outside, so we chose a spot along the pool to sit where the sun could still catch us. It won’t be long and the sun will be gone for the day. For now, it feels warm, the drink in my hand feels cool, and that, my friend, is one enticing combination.
Off to the Casino, which has now opened and hoards of people make their way to hopefully create their winning story this week. Unfortunately, my friends and I did not win big. This round goes to the Casino.
Before dinner we are all meeting at The Alchemy Bar for a clever named cocktail. There is usually something unique in each one. I chose the Beautiful and Bold Berrytini. It was really good. The half -circle bar with stools and another longer table make up the seating for this small bar. I love themed decor. There are flasks and drawers for ingredients behind the bar. The Bartenders are dressed like scientists and they mix, shake, and pour their science experiments, which is a show in itself. On to dinner with eight of us in our group. I have to admit, the first night seems a bit chaotic with the staff and service. Its not going to ruin my night, but I feel like they could use a few extra hands, it must be tough doing all that they do. Dinner takes a while and it’s good, I get some vegetarian sides and pom-tini, and still leave plenty full.
Its group slot pull time! This was one of my highlights of the evening. Six of us put in $120 each and run through $12 a spin. I don’t know how it was possible but we end up about $100 up each! It was so much fun cheering for everyone pushing the button. People would walk by as I am sure they were wondering what was up with all the cheering, high-fives, and clapping. It was a good time! I played a few other slot games and tried the Let It Ride Card game for the first time and won $30. Yay me! Making it rain.
The rest of the night went by fast as we spent a good portion of it visiting. I was worn out and took a minute to sit in the Atrium, the music had stopped and it let me think about this entire first day. So many things went right today. My favorite thing of the day was spending time with friends, seeing them smile, hearing their stories; it’s so wonderful and I’m so grateful for all of them. I cannot wait to see what we do tomorrow, day two of our cruise!
Now I am off to the lil’ cabin, get in my comfies, and snuggle in for the night. I am excited it will be my home for the next 7 nights!