Monday, December 22, 2003

!!!!!!!!!!!!Dec. 13-21, CARIBBEAN CRUISE!!!!!!!!!

The cruise was WONDERFUL! I'd definitely go again! So would DH! We left Norfolk to Miami, with a stopover in problems with the flights at all. Had to leave at 4:00 a.m. but hey, we were on VACATION!!!

Got to the ship about 11:00, and checked in. One of the kids (V, DS's friend) was assigned to my BIL's room as their 3rd person...well, instead of a "blue" underage card, V received a nice shiny gold card. We thought OK, no problem (the gal said it didn't matter unless it came to alcohol, and they would card him anyway..un-huh).........

The suite we had on the 12th floor was just awesome. We had a tub with jacuzzi jets (more on that one later too)......... the bathroom was big compared to normal rooms. We had champagne waiting for us, stationary and cards with Mr and Mrs......on them. DS's had Master....and his name.

After the mandatory lifeboat drill (in the casino) - I told DS the only time he was allowed in there was then....we pulled away. VERY COOL leaving the dock. I loved looking out at the houses along the waterway. WOW We had a balcony on our suite, and we were in the middle of the in-laws....MIL and FIL on the right and BIL's on the left. We could lay on the loungers and sit at the table and chat with everyone.

We went to dinner in the grand dining room each night. The food was superb and I tried a few different things I wouldn't normally i.e. cold soups, and different appetizers. Dinner consisted of 5 courses, plus the bread baskets that stay on the table...YUMMMMMM.

After dinner, comes a show. DH and I managed to hit up the hot tubs after dinner most nights instead of going to the show. There were a "LOT" of older people onboard, and about the only time the hot tub wasn't taken was after dinner! LOL

Sunday was spent traveling onboard ship. There was a variety of things to do, anywhere from swimming (it was breezy that day), using the fitness center, movies, games in the game room, cards in the card room, casino, etc. We spent Sunday getting the run of the ship and figuring out where everything was. OH....and watching CNN........WE CAUGHT SADDAM!!!!!!!! Dinner was dress up, so I put on my $31 evening dress from Ebay and away I went! DS and his friend decided to check out the bikini clad girls that night and ate in the cabin having the butler "Eduardo" bring them dinner! Our waiter said he would have been chasing bikinis also, if it were up to him! LOL

Our suite came with a butler (yes, we were LIVING the high life) around 3:30 each day, here came tea, coffee, hot chocolate, cookies and goodies, and small sandwiches. Around 5:00 here came the butler with canapes......6:15 was dinner.

Upon returning to the room at night, the beds are laid out, DS's was the pull out couch and his was even turned down. Upon the pillow was a card with tomorrow's weather, a newsletter with events that were going on aboard ship, and if we were going to be in port, information pertaining to that particular place.

DS and his friend discovered TEEN CENTRAL....unfortunately there were only about 6 teens onboard our week (see reference to OLDER PEOPLE ABOVE)....well, they had activities for the teens from about 10:00 a.m. until midnight. They even got a chance to tour the bridge one day! DS even witnessed a fight between 2 older men fighting over a card table. One had used it the day before, and well.......he thought he owned it for the duration.

Monday evening we pulled into port in San Juan, Puerto Rico. We had made a bit of a detour the evening before into Turks and Caicos due to a passenger onboard ship needing medical attention, so we pulled into San Juan a bit later than normal. We disembarked......and walked around San Juan for awhile. We went to Senor Frogs as BIL's wanted a drink. Then we went to a hotel and played some at the casino....I lost $20 at slots and decided it was time to head back to ship - big SPENDER that I am! LOL DH just shook his head!

Tuesday we arrived at St. Thomas! AWESOME!!!! It was still windy, but we had arrangements for snorkeling. There were 6 of us, and we ended up with a catamaran. The capt. took us out about 45 minutes and we ended up in a cove that was sooooo gorgeous. The water color is just spectacular.....amazing colors....DMC 995 and 996 don't even come CLOSE to perfection! We were able to spend about 90 minutes snorkeling. Well, this chick doesn't swim, and I put my gear on, got me a noodle (LMAO) and jumped right off that boat into the around and about 10 minutes later (after calming down enough to realize I WASN'T going to drown) put my mask on and put my head down in that water.........O M G!! It was Finding Nemo in real life! Just gorgeous underwater life. I never saw the turtles, DS and V and BIL's swam over to them, I didn't venture that far! DH kinda stayed beside me and then realized I was under water more than him, so he then ventured over to the turtles! LOL

When we got back to the boat, my BIL even commented that he was impressed with me (something that NEVER Happens) LOL!! I managed to get a nice burn on my back, as I didn't put sunscreen there!

Back on the boat for a nap, and then time for tea, canapes and dinner! LOL

Wednesday..........ahhhhhh........St. was gorgeous pulling into port. We could tell it was raining, with the clouds up above the mountains and the rain just coming down in areas... we ended up seeing a rainbow also. Some of these ports we pulled into were just beautiful and I didn't realize how mountainous they were!

We rented 2 jeeps (BIL, DH and me in one) and (BIL, DS, and V) in the other. We went up and down roads, took a crossover thru a mountain that had DH puckering his butt! LOL I was like come ON let's GO, up and OVER.....DH was saying "I think we should stay on the main road".....BIL was impressed with me again I think (LOL).....

We went to a few different places on the French and Dutch side.....ended up getting separated from the other Jeep........soooooo we found a beach to stop at and hoped the others would see us........weeeeelllll, let me tell ya, we walked out to the beach ($15 for 2 chairs and an umbrella rental), and I realized it was a "topless" beach......BIL and DH are having to wipe the drool from their face.................sigh...........AND

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!NO I DID NOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

for the record.......

There were about 5-6 women I guess going topless, not everyone. I got in the water and it was again, just like St. Thomas, absolutely perfect and gorgeous.

About 15 minutes comes the other guys...........DS and V fortunately have their sunglasses on so I can't really tell WHAT or IF they are looking at anything. They do manage to get in the water with us before saying anything totally embarrassing to me! BIL makes the comment he said to DS, "What if you go out there and your mom is topless".....DS said he would have to pull a "Oedipus and gouge his eyes out"........LMAO BIL was impressed that DS would know THAT in 9th grade! LOL

Well, we make it back to ship, and DS proceeds to tell the grandparents "MY parents took ME to a TOPLESS beach".................

Thursday was spent onboard ship again and formal night. A cool front was getting ready to come through and the ship was beginning to rock....DH and I had worn the scopolamine patches and hadn't had the first bit of sea-sickness, but I laid in bed that night and felt the ship rocking.

Friday we get to Nassau, Bahamas and walked around in the shops and we stopped at a little cafe and had drinks (diet cokes in a can) and the boys had some food. It was nice to see American CNN again, versus what we had been seeing during the week onboard was Spanish CNN.

I decided it was time to check and see what we owed....everything goes to your room card and then you pay up at the end with your Credit Card....well, remember the blue vs gold card above for V??? He somehow managed to get the room assigned to HIM instead of the BIL's (he was a late addition to the room), and ALL the mini bars (BIL's drink a lot), bar tabs, etc., had been charged to the tune of $500+ dollars........I am paying for his extras (his mom had given me $), but...I'm like...O M G! Off I go to the front desk to a.....CANCEL his card and b....get those room charges onto the BIL's....

We managed to get most of it straighted out.....and everything turned out fine. Saturday morning we are up early so we can go thru immigration, every has to. Well, we go down where we are supposed to, WHEN we are supposed to and get in this loooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooong line that is going throughout one deck of the ship.............for about 45 was definitely the DOWN side of the trip.....................

After that we wait to be called to disembark. We are actually in the first group to get to go (yeah suites)! It's thru to the baggage and then customs was just hand them your form on the way out.

Off to the airport...........we weren't leaving until 5 pm so we had a long wait in the airport, but we made it back home fine (again NO airport problems) and this on the SATURDAY BEFORE Christmas!

All in all, it was a wonderful time...........We had a lot of quality time as a family (all 8 of us got along great), and would definitely do it again!!