Cruising

October 7, 2015Katie

Last week I had a first – I took my first cruise.

Mind you, I have never been at all interested in taking a cruise before. I am more of a “get submerged in the culture of a country” kind of traveler and prefer my vacations with two feet firmly planted in the soil of that country as well. Being on a large floating thingie that could tip, puncture, or even hit an iceberg and drown us all has not been my dream.

Carnival Conquest photo 1


Okay, we cruised the Bahamas and there were no icebergs, but that’s beside the point.

I think it all goes back to Rose and Jack below deck while Jack is handcuffed to a railing while ocean water swirls in.

It makes me nauseous to even think about.

Add to that that I usually get pretty carsick and the thought of being stuck on a floating potential disaster while seasick just wasn’t real tempting for me.

However, I had a great time.  I ended up having so much fun with Mr. Wonderful and our besties. We even ended up having one of those cruise-type photos taken together.

Cruise all couples 2015 001

The first day-and-a-half were “at-sea” days as we left Ft. Lauderdale and headed toward the Eastern Caribbean.  The rooms were actually bigger than I expected. (Note that Carrie Underwood welcomed us on our coffee table – Yay Oklahoma!).

cabin photo Carnival Conquest balcony room

We had a balcony room which made it fun to head outside in the morning with a cup of coffee.

Balcony

And everything you hear about food on a cruise? Yes, it’s pretty much a ridiculous amount that is being served all over the ship anytime you need it.  There were buffet lines and such that we did visit for lunch,  but being adults who have to cook all the time?

We enjoyed our reserved table at the dining room pretty much every breakfast and dinner we were on the ship gazing at the ocean.

Dining room Carnival Conquest

We had the best waiters that we grew to love that week – Alex from the Philippines and Emil from Bulgaria.

Photo Sep 25, 5 14 06 PM

Sunday after we got up, I rolled over in bed. Mr. Wonderful and I looked at each and said, “we have to fix our own breakfast???”

We missed Alex and Emil.  And Huevos Rancheros and Pancakes, and it all being served on china with white linen napkins.

We also chose to dress up most nights.  The glam night was a lot of fun. I felt like a 40-something prom queen with my handsome guy.

Photo Sep 22, 2 21 55 AM (1)

There is a lot to do on a cruise and we enjoyed a few of the shows on board.

Photo Sep 22, 4 58 50 AM

We even took excursions on the cruise; something I always kind of scoffed at.   But who knew you could ride 4-wheelers around the entire perimeter of a beautiful island like Grand Turk?

Photo Sep 22, 6 53 23 PM

Ok so it took me awhile to get Mr. Wonderful to stop making fun of me for making the hand signals all wrong, but the bluetooth helmets were pretty cool, and our tour guide showed us some great sites and stuff.

Photo Sep 22, 6 52 45 PM

Not one to eat at Margaritaville when in a foreign land, we sought out a little hole in the wall shack on the beach.  Seriously, that’s it in the background. It had 3 stools inside and a little grass hut-thingy to sit at and eat outside.

Photo Sep 23, 11 58 34 AM

We were hoping to get conch but they didn’t have any that day (even though their sign clearly SAID they did..hmph!)

Photo Sep 23, 11 58 40 AM

However, even better, we got some fantastic (and holy moly – SPICY) jerk chicken..

Photo Sep 23, 11 26 18 AM

The next day we rented a cabana on Half Moon Cay, because it was basically a total beach day on a private island and we thought it’d be nice to have a place to get out of the sun for a bit.

cabana half moon cay

GREAT CHOICE as we had cushioned lounge chairs with mister fans, floats and snorkel gear for everyone as well as an air-conditioned eating area (with open walls, go figure?) and a fresh supply of snacks, dips, fruit and drinks brought to us while we were there.

There was also a hammock.

Photo Sep 23, 8 00 57 PM

And the beach and water at Half Moon Cay was among the most beautiful I’ve ever seen.  I’m talking white powder sand and no seaweed. Simply STUNNING!

Photo Sep 23, 11 08 17 PM (1)

The cruise line threw a huge cookout/picnic on the island for us that day as well. All in all, it may have been my favorite day…but OH, can you say “sunburn”?  Even with the sunscreen, this day is responsible for all of us peeling this week!

The last day we visited Nassau and since we were all sun-burnt, we didn’t mind that it rained a bit.

Photo Sep 25, 1 52 41 PM

We took a “10 Best of Nassau” tour and saw some pretty cool stuff, like of course – Atlantis.

Atalantis collage

We toured a rum cake factory. Yum…

Rum cake factory bahamas

We toured a rum distillery. Are you sensing a theme here?

John Watlings Rum Distillery

Bahamians are quite proud of their rum!

We saw other sites that were neat like the fisherman district and docks along with the fruit market.

nassau fish docks conch shacks

The Bahamas are also quite proud of their conch industry. If you haven’t had conch before, think calamari and fix it in 100 different ways. Conch is what those pretty shells are in the above picture and mercy goodness, those colorful cages of crabs? I wanted to steal one of those and run off with it.

We ate at the Fish Fry on Nassau and this guy showed us how conch is farmed out of the shells.

Photo Sep 24, 9 48 32 PM

And these were his tools, which I’m not sure would have met safety standards…

Photo Sep 24, 9 48 48 PM

We had Conch Fritters and Cracked Conch which resembled fried clams to me. We had Conch Stew and Baked Mac and Cheese and fried chicken along with fried plantains.

Fish Fry Nassau

We saw the Nassau Water Tower and Fort Fincastle (which was built to resemble a ship), and the Queen’s Staircase, a stairway built by slaves cut into limestone in the 1700’s to connect Fort Fincastle to the city and which was later named for Queen Victoria of Britain. It’s also called The 66 Steps.

Fort Fincastle Nassau

Except apparently someone messed up and buried the 66th step under concrete. Can you imagine being the dope who did that and ruined the whole concept of a national treasure?

Queen's Staircase Nassau The 66 Steps

Hey Vern, because of you, we now have to change the name to 65 Steps!

We saw some interesting things – like a lady hand-rolling giant tobacco leaves into Cuban cigars inside the Harley Davidson shop doorway.

Photo Sep 24, 11 08 33 PM (1)

Street music – I loved the music there. Such a fun Jamaican-type beat.

Photo Sep 24, 11 00 45 PM

Back on the ship, we played mini-golf.

Photo Sep 21, 1 42 13 PM

And this was minutes outside of our state room hallway.

Photo Sep 21, 1 52 05 PM

A pool with a giant theater screen. They played movies each night and one night we lounged in chairs and watched Cinderella under the stars.

We also liked to hang out and watch this band – Shiplash, who had great energy and did a fantastic job.

Shiplash Carnival Conquest

I would also like to add that I never did get sick – those patch things work wonders!

We had a great vacation and I sure do miss those views.

Photo Sep 21, 1 37 45 PM

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