We're still fighting the crud here, but I was able to put together some of my vacation photos. This was my first time to take a cruise, so I was amazed at the size of the ship. I definitely got some exercise just walking around everyday -- maybe even enough to work off all the yummy food I ate! I also learned that the 7th floor deck is the perfect place to read a book.
Our ship made several stops:
1) Cays, a little island owned by the Princess cruise line. It had a beautiful beach, but a storm rolled in while we were there, making our return to the ship on the little tenders kind of scary.
2) St. Maarten, an island that is half Dutch and half French. We decided to pay for a tour of the island and it was terrible. We were stuck in a hot van, the tour driver's microphone didn't work so we couldn't hear a word he said, and he took us to a nude beach. Thankfully, everyone in our van declined to get out of the van when he asked if we wanted to walk around the beach! We did have a few neat moments at St. Maarten and I was able to pick up some nice gifts for the kids.
3) St. Thomas, my favorite part of the whole trip. My sister-in-law, Shari, and I decided to try a tour again (this time we booked through the ship) and it was wonderful. The island is gorgeous! The tour bus dropped us off for a couple of hours at the most spectacular beach I've ever seen. Then we took a tour of some historical sites, and I helped Shari spend her money at the jewelry shops. We were almost late for our ship, but I would have been just fine staying there longer!
4) Grand Turks. Shari, Lauri (my other sister-in-law), and I took a catamaran/snorkeling expedition that was so much fun.
We also had two days at sea, which were also nice because there is more opportunity to relax and take advantage of the ship's amenities (for me, that was mostly finding a comfy spot to read and take a nap!).
All in all, it was a wonderful trip. I enjoyed spending time with the ladies in my husband's family and seeing so many beautiful things.
I should probably explain the pictures below. While on that horrible tour of St. Maarten, we stopped at a beach that was quite beautiful. Since I couldn't hear a thing the tour driver had said, I didn't really know why we stopped at this particular beach, but I was thankful for the opportunity to get out of that awful van. I started taking some pictures of the beach, when I started to hear this roaring sound. Everyone around me started getting excited and pulling their cameras out. Turns out this beach is famous because it's right next to the airport and the planes practically land on top of the sunbathers. You can buy tee shirts or postcards that look like the sign below, but I settled for a picture.
Look! Like a good homeschool mom, I even got in a nature walk . : )
Evenings were filled with food and fun. The highlight was when my mother-in-law, and two sisters-in-law performed for the karaoke contest. I was just fine with my role as family photographer, thank-you-very-much! They each sang lovely, and I'm so proud of them for having the guts to get up in front of all those people.
The whole trip was the family's birthday present to Shari, who just turned 50, but the last night she decided to treat us to dinner at the ship's fancy Italian restaurant. I've never had so much food in one meal, and it was all super-delicious. We were having trouble deciding what dessert to order, so the waiters brought one of everything and we just passed the dishes around the table! I was told to not feel guilty about it, because it's just get-even-time for all the those lunches and dinners my hubby treats his clients to while the kids and I eat grilled cheese. In that case, I think we're even for a while, Honey!
Shari, I hope you had a wonderful birthday, because I sure did!!! I am so blessed to have wonderful in-laws and an amazing husband and sister who did a great job in holding down the fort while I was away!