Thursday, March 31, 2011

Back to Reality!

We are home! And we are exhausted! HA! It was a wonderful and fabulous trip and I was so sad when it was time to come home....but Home is Home and it always feels good to reach Home! I'll share a quick overview of our trip and include some pictures in the next few days if I can.

I woke up Sunday the 20th at 12:30 a.m. instead of when the alarm was to go off at 2:30 a.m. I think ExCiTeMeNt got the best of me! We were loaded with about 14 suitcases and off we went to the airport. Flights were on time and connections made in Atlanta.

At 5:00 a.m. it is very hard to look perky!

Packing the van at 3:00 a.m.

Darbo had a lot of energy at the airport!

We arrived in San Juan, Puerto Rico around 4:30 p.m. and were on the ship around 5:00 p.m. And the fun began!

Our 3 rooms were spread out on the 7th deck but that provided A LOT of exercise. We ate enough on a daily basis that warranted plenty of exercise and walking. Food is available 24 hours a day all over the boat. We spent the first day (Monday) at sea and oh how relaxing that was.  The bad part was that despite ALL the 50+ and 70+ sunscreen we lathered on, all 7 of us still had sunburns from the tops of our heads to our toes. OUCH!

First day was at sea....we headed to the loungers!

5,000 plus people!
Windy but oh so warm!
Belly Flop contest!
Awesome Reggae band....One Love

We were 270 miles north of Venezula in Barbados, so that is very close to the equator.....very intense sun! We continued to bath in sunscreen all week. Knowing the weather back in Kansas was in the 30's with some rain and snow eased the tenderness of the burns! HA! No complaints here!

Barbados was our first island and where we had to get the taxi/van/shuttle bus systems figured out! We also had to get a grip on driving being on the left hand side and the driver driving from the right hand side of vehicle. Most of the rides we took, I just closed my eyes. One of our bus rides involved the driver stopping along the street, running into a store, jumping back in, taking off at a huge speed, and popping his beer open while texting with the other hand. Yea, we were pretty happy to get back to port! By the time we got to our 5th island, we became a LITTLE more knowledgeable at it! Speaking of LITTLE, we had the cutest, sweetest, most adorable Cruise Director from the UK. She had the most beautiful English accent. Just the way she said "lit el" was so lovely. She greeted with "Hello my lovely". The girls and I spent the week trying to be "English" with our words. We would run in to her and tell her we were trying to speak like her.

The shopping was a blast and we had fun looking at all the bargains on the island. St. Maarten is well known for it's duty free shopping. Many tourist buy expensive gems, diamonds, tanzanite, Caribbean topaz at lower prices. We received many free coupons for small tokens from the jewelry stores. In one of the stores, I was trying to get my coupon item and they were determined to sell me a ring for $1695. thank you....just here for my freebie! We are more T shirt, hat, bag, coffee mug type shoppers! The island natives who were selling are very persistent and I think I said "No Thank You"  with a smile a multitude of times. On one of the islands as we were lounging in our chaises, Darb and I got a plan. We "faked" sleep until they went by and then gave each other the "All Clear".

We saw lots of beautiful shells and iguanas and crabs and birds and Rodney and I even came up on a beach where the stingrays were hovering in the 1-2' waters by the beach. I waded in bravely (probably stupidly) and stirred the stingrays "stinger" with my flip flops. On another beach I spotted a large conch shell buried in the sand in the shallow waters. I had a carry on with beautiful shells to bring home. I think I'll try making some necklaces or earrings. Any suggestions?

The waters of the Caribbean are hard to describe if you have not seen them. Pictures honestly do not do them justice. Breathtaking is how I describe them. As I stood on a beach in Antigua looking at the beauty, I could only think "Be still and know that I am God."  Psalm 46:10  Definitely NOT man-made.....only God created.  Being on a beautiful peaceful beach is my favorite place I do believe. I love to walk in the shallow waters and feel the sand in my toes and hear the gentle waves.

I'll just attach some random pictures in no order! Darb got a new Canon camera before we left. To be quite honest....she was a little "crazy" with her camera! She chased an iguana all over St. Croix taking his picture! But we are happy to have fun pictures to look at now!

Merrill Osmond was one of the performers. A great show and very nice man...we met up with him at the Guest Relations desk and talked about being regular Branson, MO visitors. He told us to look him up when we came and he would remember us!!

Formal night
Dad and Darb's rendition of the Titantic on the bow!
This was a nightly visit...Tony B at the Piano Lounge....a great sing along time!
Zach and someone from Barbados talking about his boat
Eating at the Wind Jammer was a favorite part of the day!
The waiters performed songs and dances for everyone most of the nights.
Every night "Elliott" would make us a "towel animal".....elephant!
Disco night....YMCA....Macho Macho Men
My little girls on Formal Night
Family Formal Night

Tune in later for more pictures....I will get better at this!


Carrie of Farming On Faith said...

Oh I am so excited to see all your pictures. I am so happy you all had a wonderful time.
Welcome Home~

GardenofDaisies said...

It looks like you all had an AMAZING time, enjoying family time and the beauty of the islands and the water!!! I've never been on a cruise, but I did spend a month on Grand Cayman Island... years ago, way back in my college days, taking a class. THAT was fun!!
Welcome back home!!

A Gardner's Cottage said...

Welcome home! so glad you all had a great time!!! Nothing beats family time. Enjoy your week end.


Patty Sumner said...

Welcome Home! Yes, most of us were in cold, gloomy temps and days. I am so glad you enjoyed the sun and fun. It is good to have you bak. Blessings!

PBKISSES said...

Yea! Welcome home, I am taking a break from blogworld, but had to come back for a minute to see your pics. More, Please! GORGEOUS!

Life In a Little House said...

Wow!! and Wow and Wow....How wonderful!! looks like such a fabulous trip and so much fun!!! Welcome Back and thanks for sharing all those great pics ~Love Heather