Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Caribbean Cruise 2005

As I mentioned in my last blog, I was to go on a cruise in early 2005. I went with Nate, his parents (Dale and Gina), Nate's brother (Shane), and his brother's girlfriend. We left from Syracuse, NY on January 21 to fly down to Ft. Lauderdale, FL and we took off on our cruise from there the next day. This was the first time that I had ever been on a plane that I could remember. It really was not that bad other than the coughing fit that I had when we were taking off. I am going to take what I wrote in my journal and put it in here because if I didn't, I wouldn't remember the details of the cruise.

Sunday, January 23, 2005
We started off on our cruise yesterday! It's so unbelievable that we are out in the middle of the ocean. Getting here wasn't as easy as we had hoped though. Our flight was scheduled to take off at 11:11AM on Friday and we didn't end up flying out until 1:55PM. When the plane that were supposed to fly on landed in Syracuse from Atlanta, they had a hard time opening the door. They later found out that the door was bent and the flight was indefinitely delayed. The airline employees suggested that we get booked on another flight and that's what we did. We were booked on the next flight out to Atlanta at 1:55 and then from there to Ft. Lauderdale. We were also bumped up to first class from Atlanta to Ft. Lauderdale. We coudln't complain! We ended up in Ft. Lauderdale at 9PM instead of 4PM like we were supposed to be.

Saturday morning I woke up at about 6AM and got dressed. After we were all ready and most of the way packed, we went to breakfast and then for a walk around the area of the hotel. It was a nice sunny morning and the walk was fun. We saw a lot of buildings that were just built with stores that will be opening soon. I was also taking notice of all of the palm trees because that was my first time ever seeing one other than on TV.

After the walk, we gathered our things and waited for the hotel transportation to take us to the pier to board the Carnival Legend. We saw a bunch of different ships, seven of them to be taking off that day, including Celebrity Cruises, Princess Cruises, and the Queen Mary 2. That ship is HUGE! Boarding the ship wasn't as much of a hassle as we thought it would be. The line was long but it moved fairly quickly. They took our luggage first, then we went by a place and had our "welcome aboard" picture taken, showed our tickets and got our cards, went through security, had our pictures taken to be put on our cards, and finally boarded the ship.

Once inside the ship, I was amazed! It was so fancy. There are so many different restaurants, bars, and a bunch of other things, inclusing a pizzeria that is open 24 hours a day. I love it!

Monday, January 24, 2005
There's still even more that amazes me about the ship. Last night was our first formal night on the cruise. I went to the salon and got my hair highlighted, cut, and styled. Nate and I had formal pictures taken and most of them turned out really nice. We bought a few of them and had one pose copied into wallets. These are the first portraits that we have had done in the 6.5 years that we have been together.

The Captain's dinner was fun last night. The waiters and waitresses all formed a line and went running through the dining hall flinging their towels all around. They all sang a song to us too. For this dinner, I had Victorian Perch with some sort of fancy shredded potatoes and sauce. It was good.

Thursday, February 24, 2005
So, here we are, a month from when I last wrote. There has been so much going on and some of it is kind of frustrating. I don't know whether to cry, laugh, or just shrug things off. Anyway, the rest of the cruise was excellent. We stopped in St. Marrten on January 25, which was Dale and Gina's 30th Wedding Anniversary. On that island we went to a butterfly farm. There were these blue butterflies that were amazingly beautiful! It was awesome just to have butterflies flying all around me. The tour of the rest of the island was okay. To me, it kind of looked like a 3rd World country with all of the houses looking like run-down shacks and goats and sheep on the loose everywhere. It was interesting to see it but I don't think that I would want to go back there. That night, we all went to the Dinner Club on the ship for dinner and the food was excellent!

The next day (1/26), Nate and I went on a tour of Harrison's Cave and on a Tiami Sunset Cruise in Barbados. Barbados is such a beautiful place and I wouldn't mind living there. The cave was interesting to me but Nate says that Howe Caverns in the US is better. The catamaran that we were on for the sunset cruise in Barbados was nice and the views were awesome. We went by the hotel that Tiger Woods bought out for a whole week for his wedding/honey moon. The tour guide told us that one night in a room there costs $3,000. That's a little bit too rich for my blood! Overall, our day in Barbados went well and I want to go back there for vacation sometime.

Our stop in Martinique on January 27 was interesting. I was amazed with the sites on this island. The water was breathtakingly blue and the scenery was the greenest and most beautiful that I had ever seen. I saw a valcano for the first time other than seeing it on TV. This valcano last erupted in 1902, killing everyone on the island except for one man who was in prison at the time. So, on this island, we went on a Calypso party boat tour. Within 10 minutes of starting out on the tour, a guy had spilled his rum punch all over me and I had to put up with the smell for the rest of the trip. We went out to a beach and spent two hours there. I found some interesting shells, saw a sea cucumber for the first time ever, and also found some live starfish. Gina packed up some of the starfish and brought them home. On the way back to the ship, we stopped near a bat cave. There were a lot of bats in there and there were also some very pretty tropical fish in the water near the party boat. I would love to go back to Martinique sometime and see more of the island and not just the beach that we were on.

The last two days of the cruise were spent at sea, making our way back to Florida. Our last day in the dining room was very memorable. We had a very good dinner and a special dessert. It is called Baked Alaska and it was delicious. All of the waiters, waitresses, and hostesses sang a goodbye song to us and I almost cried. Our last day on the ship was very rocky as the waves in the ocean were 10-14 feet high. They closed the outside decks to keep us all safe. Many people were sick, including me. I stayed in bed practically all day because I was too sick to be up and moving about.

The cruise came to an end when we got off the Carnival Legend and were back on dry land in Florida. We spent the day in Ft. Lauderdale doing some touring on a water taxi. The estates that we were seeing cost millions of dollars and so do the yachts. I could only imagine what I would do with that kind of money!! We went to the Cheesecake factory for dinner that night and I didn't like anything that I got for dinner. There seemed to be no true flavor in any of the food.

January 31, 2005 was our day to travel back home. When we were boarding the plane for our flight from Ft. Lauderdale to Atlanta, my seat was changed due to my inability to feel comfortable opening an exit door and directing people to it if anything were to go wrong. I ended up sitting next to a girl named Laura Czarny. When we took off, I started coughing really bad and she asked what was wrong. I told her about my medical history and she tole me about her sister Cheryl. They had also had a rough time throughout their lives. Before we got off of the plane in Atlanta, we exchanged e-mail addresses and promised to keep in touch. She also said that she wanted to give me something because I needed it more than she did. I was thinking, what on earth could anyone give me that I needed mor then them when they just met me?? And then she handed me a Rosary. It is very beautiful and she told me that it used to be her mother's. I told her that I couldn't take it and she told me that I must, so I did. I truly believe that someone was watching over me and she was my Guardian Angel that was sent to prove that everything will be okay.

Coming back to NY that day was the realization that our vacation was over and that it may be my last one for quite a while. The weather was completely different from where we were. We had been in 70-90 degree weather and we came back to freezing temperatures. That made me wish that we lived in temperatures like that year round. Maybe I wouldn't get sick so often.

Now back to present day 2008.....the cruise was an experience of a lifetime! I believe that we are going to be going again in the next couple of years. I would recommend that everyone go on a cruise if the opportunity arises. Healthwise, that week was the best that I had felt in a really long time. I still have the Rosary that Laura gave me and the last time that I talked to her was earlier this year. Her sister has since published a children's book about being in the hospital and that book sits on my bookcase in my room.

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