Back to the high seas…

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Back to the high seas...

We’re baaaaaack!!!!!!! It has been far to long since we have posted (or had a journey for that matter) but all of that changes in 18 days when we hit the high seas again. We’ll be off on a 5 day cruise to the Bahamas to celebrate our 13th wedding anniversary.

(and I promise to post the whole review this time….life always tends to get in the way).

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Another slice of paradise….

January 24, 2013 – Grand Turk

We grabbed breakfast in the main dining room today and enjoyed watching our arrival into Grand Turk. We thought that we had stopped out in the open water so after we finished our breakfast, we went out onto the open deck and realized we were actually docked. lol

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We decided to go ahead and get off the ship and headed through the Dufry and enjoyed strolling through the shops before heading to Margaritaville to grab a couple of drinks (and borrow their wifi).

Eric and I at Margaritaville:

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My highly overpriced and just okay drink:

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After enjoying our drinks, we headed back to a couple of shops and then back to the ship to freshen up and relax. We played some trivia, read for a bit and just relaxed. We grabbed a late lunch at Mongolian Grill (Eric went to Guy’s Burger) and then wandered around for a bit. After a while we took a nap to prepare for a night of fun. I really do enjoy these afternoon naps and am going to miss them when we get back to reality. Lol.

We decided to take in a production show tonight and after about the 5th song we realized we had seen this on a previous cruise and decided to sneak out and grab seats for the first of three comedy shows. We had new comedians that got on the ship in San Juan and heard good things about them. The first comedian was Cowboy Bill followed by Melvin Todd. Both were really good but we have definitely seen better on previous cruises. We watched all three shows and then headed up to Lido for our midnight pizza. We wandered around for a little bit afterwards and then headed back to our cabin to call it a night.

Tomorrow is a sea day and our last day…sadness is starting to set in.

A few more pics from Grand Turk:

A store we found that sells Life is Good clothing and accessories:

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The ship docked:

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Welcome to a sea day errrr…San Juan.

January 23, 2013 – San Juan, Puerto Rico (aka sea day)
We slept in this morning and after waking up had breakfast on Lido at Blue Iguana.

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blue iguana  salsa bar

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Their breakfast burritos are very good and highly recommend them as an alternative to the breakfast buffet if on Lido. After breakfast/brunch we headed down to the cabin to grab our books and then on to the promenade to relax and read. After a few minutes, Eric decided to head back to the cabin to take a nap and I decided to stay on the promenade and read. After reading the same 2 sentences for about 5 minutes, I fell asleep for about an hour or so. I was awaken by a lady who just had to sit next to me, but it was alright as we ended up having a very enjoyable conversation.

After a while, I excused myself and went to grab lunch for Eric and I and headed to the cabin to dine. I headed back to Blue Iguana since I needed a break from the burgers (lol) and got myself a burrito and Eric some fish tacos.

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After lunch, we read a little and then fell asleep (ahhh….vacation). We got up in time to catch sail-a-way and enjoyed that from our balcony.

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One of my favorite shots of the fort as we are sailing away (sadly, I don’t know which one this is).

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We then settled back into bed to red and ended up sleeping through the past guest party and woke up around 7 or so. We got ready and headed out to do what we do best (you guessed it…people watching) and then to find dinner. Since it is vacation and we can do what we want to….lol….we opted for pizza as our dinner (we haven’t been back to the main dining room since Monday) and an ice cream cone for dessert.

It was pretty quiet on the ship tonight…I think the first part of the week was catching up to people and they were either passed out from the new cheers program or catching up on sleep. lol.

We decided to head back to our cabin and just enjoy the evening out on our balcony and relaxing. And even after all of our napping, we called it an early night. lol….

Tomorrow we arrive into Grand Turk which is our last port of call before a full day at sea and then the dreaded return to reality…see you then.

St. Thomas…it’s sort of like a sea day. :)

St. Thomas – January 22, 2013

We slept in today taking advantage of the fact that we have been to St. Thomas before and had no real plans for the day. We were scheduled to arrive in St. Thomas at 10am but arrived much earlier as there was a medical debark that needed to be made. We got off the ship around 11am and headed to Mojo’s for some lunch and Mojowhackers (their version of the bushwhacker).

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We hung out for a bit and then headed to a grocery store to look for Eric’s cookies and found that they had individual packages and picked up a few.

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We then headed back towards the ship and stopped into Senor Frogs to borrow their wifi and have a drink.

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We got back on the ship and headed up to the cabin to relax and freshen up. We decided to go down to play some trivia and was victorious in winning cartoon trivia and the highly coveted ship on a stick. We then played a couple of games of yahtzee (Eric beat me both times) and then headed outside to people watch. We noticed the time and then headed back in to play stupid law trivia and we reigned supreme again. We are now the proud owners of 3 ships on a stick.

After trivia we headed to EA Sports so Eric could do the EA Sports challenge (today’s challenge was NBA Jam) and I grabbed a thirsty frog beer and watched some of the Australian Open.

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Since we have not had a good experience yet in the main dining room, we opted to skip and have Guy’s Burgers for an early dinner (they are only open from 12pm – 6pm). We enjoyed our burger and fries and then got ready to head up to Serenity deck and hit the hot tub for sail-a-way. We relaxed in the hot tub for a while and then headed to the cabin to change, clean up and hit the promenade for some people watching (it’s what we do best). We met up with some friends while we were people watching and headed to karaoke after a while. Karaoke was on fire tonight!!! There were some seriously good singers and one woman who really needs to find her way to The X-Factor.

After karaoke, we popped into the piano bar to enjoy the sing-a-long with Ben for a while and then quickly left as the boozey twins arrived (ugh…really…stop being that person…lol). Since the “disco” is always a bust and the promenade was kind of quiet, we decided to head up to get some pizza and then headed back to the cabin to order some Caesar salad to go with it. A nice late night snack of pizza, salad and chocolate milk. mmmmm….vacation!!! 😀

And since it is vacation, we decided to just laying low  and call it a night so that we can just enjoying one another’s company.

Looking forward to San Juan tomorrow and some r&r while everyone is off exploring the island.

A couple shots of St. Thomas before we leave….

The Harbor:

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Looking off the starboard side of the ship:

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The best day of a cruise….a day at sea.

January 21, 2013 – Sea Day

We took advantage of the sea day and slept in a bit. We both definitely slept much better last night as the seas were much calmer. We headed down to the Punchliner Comedy Brunch to meet up with some friends. Eric had the carne y assada (?!?) and I had the huervos rancheros. We both enjoyed our dishes (as well as the lemon cake in the pastry basket).

Carne y Assada:

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Huervos Rancheros:

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Pastry Basket:

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After brunch we hung out in the atrium for a bit to play Scattegories and then 90’s name that tune trivia. Guess who got 39 out of 40 points and won a ship on a stick!?!?! That’s right….we did!!!! Woot, woot!!! 😀

We headed up to EA Sports and I stopped into the fun shops. When I walked into EA Sports I found Eric doing what he does best…playing video games. Lol.

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I sat down and grabbed a Thirsty Frog beer (holy wow that is good) and looked at the list of activities for the day.

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We decided to attend a seminar about analyzing our foot print and while it is a sales pitch to buy Good Feet insoles, it does give Eric an opportunity to have his posture analyzed and hopefully find ways to alleviate some of his foot pain.

After the seminar we headed to Guy’s Burgers, grabbed a burger and fries and then down to our cabin to enjoy lunch.

We headed to the posture analysis and of course the guy is ready to sell us immediately. Since Eric is a researcher he told the guy that he would feel more comfortable researching the product before plunking down a chunk of money. So we “bought” some time by saying we were going to research (we really did end up researching and the negative reviews outweighed the positive ones) and eventually never returned. oops. lol.

We decided to head up to Serenity and relax in the hot tubs for awhile. It was such a beautiful evening and we were truly enjoying our agenda of not having one. 😉 We considered skipping formal night and just going to the lido buffet (or pizza), however I started to feel weird about it and that I would be missing something so we ended up heading down in our “cruise elegant wear” and had the worst dining experience ever (service). We definitely should have stuck with our plan to skip.

After dinner, we headed back to our cabin to change and headed out to people watch. We hung out along the promenade near the casino and ended up playing some Motown trivia, which was interactive and a lot of fun. We decided to check out the comedy show and found the comedians to be 3.5 stars out of 5. As we were trying to decide what to do next, we decided to check out the hot mess that they call the dance club. If you want to do some people watching, that is the place to go. Wow is all I can say.  Since people watching was the theme of the night, we headed up to watch the white hot lido party (private event) with the grown & sexy folks. Again….wow is all I can say. We wandered to the back of the ship and grabbed our midnight pizza and then back out to watch the white hot party in full action. We eventually found our way back to the dance club to see a hand full of people just sitting around listening to music. We heard a lot of people complaining about the DJ and that no matter what you requested, he was only going to play what he wanted to play. We also heard the word racists being thrown around about him which is NEVER a good thing when you are in the service industry or ANY industry for that matter.

A night view of the ship, full moon and the white hot party:

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Tomorrow we arrive to St. Thomas and we will keep with our agenda of having no plans…ahhhh…I love vacation.

Paradise…take 2.

Half Moon Cay – January 20, 2013

We meet again….while it has only been about 3 months since we were last at Half Moon Cay, a lot has changed on the island. They have built (and are finishing) 5 2 story cabanas that will hold 8 – 10 people, have a hot tub and cost you an arm and a leg. 3 are complete and 2 are still being completed. They are very nice looking but do wish they would have built them past the regular cabanas.

The 2 story villas:

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Since we had a cabana booked, we received priority tender and were the first on the tender (we would have received priority tender anyways since we have the Faster to the Fun).

The Liberty as seen from the tender:

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Once we reached the island, we walked to our cabana (we had cabana 8 this time) and quickly lathered on the sunscreen, grabbed a float and headed to the water. It was much cooler than when we were here last but once you got acclimated to it, it wasn’t bad at all. It was mostly cloudy when we first got to the island but the clouds eventually moved out and we had a beautiful and sunny day. The air temperature reached to the 80’s and I would say that the water temperature was probably in the mid 70’s. I definitely made sure to keep reapplying the sunscreen and am happy to report that I did NOT get sunburned. YAY!!!!!

Eric and I with the Liberty behind us:

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The food that is provided as part of the cabana was much better this time. The fruit looked better, the veggies were crisper and the chips were fresh. I very much enjoyed snacking on the chips and guacamole and the veggies throughout the day (also saved a trip to the bbq for me). We headed back to the tender about 2:30 and had about an hour long wait to get on one. The time passed quickly and before long we were back on the ship. We stopped by guest services upon our return as somehow Eric’s t-shirt ended up with bleach stains all over it (we are guessing from laying it on the table), to express our frustration about being lied to by the shore excursion desk (we were told that the construction on the new cabanas was not active while ships were in port….yet there was) and to express our concern about staff who are on their day off jumping the line to get on a tender before the guests (and security allowing it). While I try not to let things bother me, I also feel like the crew should know better and have the mindset to put the guest first.

We headed up to the cabin to shower and relax before getting ready for dinner. We wish after being seated that we had just gone up to Guy’s Burgers as the menu wasn’t very appealing to us, but we went with the flat iron steak which (in our opinion) is rather good and delicious. We had a table for 2 but enjoyed conversing with the couple who were sat next to us. After dinner, we headed to the promenade outside of the dance club to do some people watching. Holy hot mess batman. We also met Karl with a K and enjoyed chatting with him for a bit.

We eventually ended up in the piano bar and were introduced to Ben. I can understand now the hype that has built up about him in other reviews. He is awesome. Probably the best piano bar player we’ve had in all of our cruises. We eventually left close to 12 after some very drunk and obnoxious passengers started to take away from the fun and enjoyment of the experience. (if you read this….stop being that person…it’s not attractive).

We headed up to Lido and through the very loud and crazy deck party to Pirate Pizza for what will be the first of many visits. The new pizza is AHMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Seriously….those who complain about it do not know good pizza. (just saying… ;))

The pizza!!!! We tried them all but the Margarhita Pizza:

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After enjoying our pizza, we wandered back to our cabin and enjoyed the clear (slightly cool) night and did some star watching.

Tomorrow is a sea day….catch you then.

More pictures from Half Moon Cay:

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Virginia Tech Hokie Bird:

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It always feels like Christmas….

The highly anticipated (okay…maybe just 3 people were waiting…lol) and long overdue review of our time aboard the Carnival Liberty.

January 19, 2013

The day we have been waiting for, for months has finally arrived!!!! We woke up to find that it was raining but we weren’t about to let that put a damper on our day. We grabbed some breakfast and then relaxed in our room until about 9:30 and then went to check out and wait for our cab. We left the hotel about 9:45 and arrived at port much faster than we ever imagined thanks to our Indy car driving taxi driver. (lol) We were amazed to see SEVEN ships in port all facing out and ready to parade down the channel. We dropped our bags with the porter and walked right up to have our passports and boarding pass checked, had a 2 minute wait for security and breezed right through with our 2 bottles of wine and a 1 liter bottle of water. They didn’t ask or even look at our water and off we were to check in.

We had purchased the Faster to the Fun option which essentially gives us the perks of being VIP (well most perks). We felt that it was worth the money but was quickly tested on that thought when we waited for about 10 – 15 minutes to check in while the line for everyone else kept clearing out. We eventually checked in, received our sail & sign cards and found some prime real estate for people watching.

As the time passed, our friends from our cruise critic and *gasp* Facebook roll calls started arriving. It was like a family reunion. We were cleared for boarding just after 12pm and I immediately headed to the shore excursion desk to select our cabana for Half Moon Cay, Eric headed to our cabin with our carry-on bags and then the plan was to meet on Lido at Guy’s Burgers. I was through the shore excursion line and process of selecting our cabana in about 5 minutes (we got cabana 8) and then it was up to Lido to meet (or beat as it turns out) Eric.

We grabbed our burgers and fries, hit the condiment bar and found a table along the windows.

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(A quick rewind…we had received earlier in the week the infamous “please arrive between 1 and 3pm” email and phone call but who really pays attention to those… 😉 While we were enjoying our burgers we saw the line for security extending out and around the building…. those people obviously paid attention to the email and phone call. (lol) We enjoyed chatting with the couple next to us and eventually ran into another friend from our roll call and then decided to head to our cabin to unpack and relax a bit before muster drill and sail-a-way.

We headed to muster around 3:30 and felt like it took much longer than it did in October on the Ecstasy. Once the muster drill concluded, we headed to the “secret deck” on 6 for sail-a-way. As we entered the deck we saw the Celebrity Reflection making her way down the channel. Before long we were pushing away and entering a horn battle with the Carnival Breeze. We passed the Breeze, another Celebrity ship, the Norwegian Epic and then the Costa Mediterranea. As we started to pass the Costa Mediterranea we entered another horn battle. I love horn battles. Also in port with us was the Disney Wonder.

We enjoyed sail-a-way with folks from our roll call and then headed to The Alchemy Bar to join up with the rest of the roll call for our official (yet unofficial) meet & greet. We had a crazy good time and proceeded to party.

Pictures from sail-a-way and The Deal Closer from The Alchemy Bar:

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We opted to do the steakhouse tonight since we usually don’t find anything we like on the main dining room menu….plus the free bottle of wine doesn’t hurt. 😉

We were presented with an offering from the chef. I had the chilled tomato soup while Eric had the firecracker lobster balls. We then both started with the crab cake, followed by the Caesar salad and I had the filet, while Eric had the lamb chops. We finished our meal with the assortment of ice creams and sherbets.  Tonight they had homemade maple walnut ice cream, strawberry cheesecake ice cream and raspberry sherbet. All were delicious and just the perfect dessert.

We headed down to the atrium lobby for a bit to do some people watching but were quickly chased away by the duo that were attempting to sing.

While it may not seem like we did a lot, it has been a pretty full and eventful day. We are enjoying the quiet of our cabin and each others company.

Tomorrow we call on Half Moon Cay and we look forward to enjoying the crystal clear water, the company of those around us and knowing that all of our cares and worries are miles and miles away.