Monday, March 10, 2014

Cruise 2014 {Part 1}

We just returned from our WONDERFUL week long cruise to the Caribbean aboard the Carnival Breeze and I'm so ready to go back! This was our second cruise and my Mom and the girls' first.

We flew over a day early (and flew back the day after our cruise) because it was a lot cheaper. So we left Saturday morning and had 2 uneventful flights. Our first flight to Houston the girls colored and played on their LeapPads. The second flight to Miami had TV's and Natalee was mesmerized (and an angel).
I want to make sure every flight has TV's from now on! We got to our rinky dink hotel (Runway Inn) where we had to carry all of our luggage (7-8 bags between the 5 of us) up a couple flights of stairs since they didn't have an elevator. It was pretty late so we ordered pizza and went to bed. Did I mention me and the girls all had colds when we left? Fun times.

Sunday we took a bus to the port, checked in and waited for less than an hour when they called our number to get on the ship.
They let us on really early, like 11:30pm I think. We walked all around the ship checking everything out- the sports area,
water works,

camp carnival,
the shops
and everything in between.
We ate in the Lido Marketplace, got our first of many ice cream cones
and then we went to check out our room.
Originally we had a king bed, 2 upper beds and a couch converted to a bed.
I was too afraid to let Natalee sleep on the upper bed so we folded that one back into the ceiling and Natalee slept with us all week. My Mom slept on the couch bed and Haylee on the upper bed above her. We also had 2 bathrooms, one with a sink and tub and one with a sink, shower and toilet. I loved the room and it had plenty of storage including a closet for each of us. We sat out on the deck and waved goodbye to Miami as we set sail
and then we went to the Youth Orientation (for Camp Carnival) in the Ovation Theatre. We heard about some of the fun things on schedule for the girls if they decided to go to Camp Carnival. They didn't end up spending too much time there but Haylee loved it and Natalee had a love-hate relationship with it. They colored t shirts, danced, played games etc. and it came in handy when us adults wanted to check out the casino, go the the comedy club or into a presentation where the kids would be bored. Oh and it's free, all day till 10pm!!! That night we went to the Welcome Aboard Show where they told us about the entertainment we'd be experiencing on board as well as other helpful information. We ate too, probably a few times. It felt like we were always eating! And our first towel animal arrived that night along with our chocolates.
Monday we were at sea. We started the day at the Fun Ashore & Fun Aboard show where we learned more about the ship and the ports we were going to. Following that we went to the Fun Finds Shopping Show where we learned all about shopping in the Caribbean. We bought a coupon book too with lots of freebies. Too bad we only got to shop at our first port (more on that later). After that Josh took the girls to water works while my Mom and I went to the Diamond and Gemstone Seminar.
It was very informative and we got a free pair of Tanzanite stud earrings just for going. My Mom had her heart set on buying a Tanzanite ring and I was interested in possibly buying diamond stud earrings since jewelry is cheaper in the Caribbean so we wanted to make sure we were educated when making our purchases. We passed out for a couple hours then went to the Playlist Production of Motor City that night. The girls were at Camp Carnival so us adults went to see the Punchliner Comedy Club. Always a good laugh! The girls made shirts at CC and got their faces painted too.
Our towel animal that night was an ape.
Tuesday was our first stop, Grand Turk.
This was the only port we decided not to book an excursion and I'm glad because this was the only time we were able to shop.
They had a huge pool in the middle of the shopping area so Josh took the girls swimming and my Mom and I had 1 hour to shop.
She ended up buying a beautiful Tanzanite ring
and I bought the girls some shirts and hair accessories at Del Sol.
I ended up passing on the earrings since Josh had bought me my Anniversary band last time. My next purchase in the Caribbean will definitely be a Crown of Light diamond ring, absolutely  beautiful! We met up with Josh and the girls after that and we went to the beach for awhile to swim in the ocean.
The girls hate salt water so that ended up being a party foul. If the slightest bit of salt water comes near them they freak out. The girls collected shells and sea glass and then we went back to the pool the rest of the time.
My Mom got to sit on her lounge chair under the coconut palms enjoying her rum punch. She was in heaven.
Back on the boat we passed out again, woke up and took Haylee to Camp Carnival and the rest of us went to a comedian juggler show. Natalee finally decided to go to Camp Carnival after that so us adults enjoyed a sit down dinner in the dining room. I was not a fan of their food that night. Nothing tasted good :( I prefer the Lido Marketplace (buffet), especially with the girls. We picked the girls up at 10pm and ordered them room service. On the way back to the room Haylee said "My butt hurts, I keep having to scratch it. I think Natalee gave it to me!" We about died laughing. Guess she thinks diarrhea is contagious. (Sorry TMI, but Natalee had an upset belly for most of the cruise).
 (Either the sunblock didn't do it's job or we didn't reapply enough)
That night we found a frog towel with chocolates on our bed.
Wednesday was Ocho Rios Jamaica day!
And oh my gosh, what a day. It's very hot and humid there and when we got off the ship we got the run around for about 30 minutes. We asked several tour operators where to find the transportation for our tour but it was obvious they did not like our tour company and they wouldn't help us. We walked back and forth across the parking lot and through security 3 times before we finally got on our bus.
The first time we walked across the parking lot this guy behind the fence threw us beaded necklaces for the girls. When one broke he told Josh to come over there and he'd give him another. While over there he asked Josh if he wanted some weed. Now I know why they warned us on the boat about that. They werent joking. So the 5 of us get on the bus with Dewayne and he takes us to the plantation which was our first stop. Of course with the mix up when we arrived and then they were running behind at the plantation we were way behind schedule. The tour was pretty boring and slow and we just wanted them to hurry so we could make it to our other stops which is why we booked the tour, Dolphin Cove and Dunns River Falls.
At the plantation we stopped at a look out for rum punch, watched a guy climb a coconut tree and sampled the coconut water and fresh coconut.
We saw ostriches, camels and visited the Great House built in the 1800's. And my girls managed to clog the ancient toliet in there, nice.
After we finally finished the boring tour we got back on the bus and Dewayne took us to Dolphin Cover.
Sadly we only had 45 minutes there which was enough time to eat and see a few things and that was it. We had looked forward to spending half the day there since there is so much to do. We will definitely have to go back there. While we were waiting for lunch, Josh and I took the girls to look around and they were able to feed the birds (until one bit Natalee),
pet a huge iguana
and see a big snake. We had lunch and then back to the bus for our final stop, Dunns River Falls. Again, we had like 45 mintues there but would have loved to spend a couple hours there and definitely want to hike the 600ft falls next time. When we first walked in there were crafters there selling stuff. The girls each got a wooden turtle with their names carved on it. Cute souvenir. As we were walking down the 87 steps my Mom missed a step and fell scrapping her leg really bad. Thank God she didnt get seriously hurt. Our guide was really nice and took lots of pictures of us.
The water was pretty cold and we didnt have time to swim in it so we chilled for a few minutes and began the horrible hike back to the top.
We were dropped back off to go to our ship with only a few minutes to spare so no shopping for us. It was a long, boring at first then super rushed, hot day and it felt good to be back on the boat. That night was the wonderful production of Diva's and I enjoyed a yummy Miami Vice. Both girls went to that show and they got their own virgin Miami Vice too.
After that Haylee wanted to go to Camp Carnival for the last hour and a half and Natalee went back to the room and passed out with Grandma.
Josh and I went to the Comedy Club and then in the jacuzzi for a bit before it started to rain. That night we got an elephant towel animal and chocolate :)
And earlier in the evening the girls got their picture taken with the towel guy!
Grand Cayman and the final days of our trip will be up shortly.