Saturday, August 14, 2010

10th Anniversary Cruise

Our 10th anniversary was back in May. We had known for a long time that we were going to take a trip...just the two of us. But, we could never decide where. We didn't want to spend numerous days traveling. We didn't want to go, go, go and be just as exhausted when we returned home as we were when we left. And, we wanted a place that neither of us had ever visited. The only problem, there were SO many fantastic places that met our guidelines. So, we decided to fly to Florida and set sail on a 7 day Royal Caribbean cruise. This way, we were able to visit 3 amazing places during the span of 1 vacation. Now, this wasn't our first time to cruise. It was actually our 4th. Conn and I both love them. Some people don't, but we do. Anyhoo...the ports that we visited were Bahamas, St. Thomas, and St. Maarten. They were all fabulous and more beautiful than any of my pictures could show! I tried to capture everything, but when I looked back at my pictures, I was bummed that it looked so much prettier in real life. Oh, well! I can still see it in my mind. Ha!

Oh, and how cool is it that we left 11 years to the day that we had our very first date...August 1, 1999? Totally not planned!

So, how did Conn and I spend our 8 days?

-We started off with a bang, and overslept for our flight. I have NEVER overslept in my entire life. Seriously! NEVER! We were supposed to be leaving at 5:15am, and we woke up, at 5:15am, when we heard the beep of our front door being opened by my dad who was coming to stay with the kids. We were on the road by 5:34am. Amazing!

-We made our flight and once we landed in Orlando, we were shuttled about an hour away to our ship...Freedom of the Seas. Conn's luggage was left in Houston, but it made its way to the ship before we set sail.

-Did you know that Freedom of the Seas is one of the largest boats in the world? Oh, my goodness! Was it forever, BIG!

-Out first port...CoCoCay, Bahamas. It is Royal Caribbean's own private island. It was nice, but I wouldn't say that it was our favorite stop. It rained the first 2 hours that we were there, so we took cover under some little bar hut. After the downpour, we took off walking and found the most beautiful beach with no one there! SCORE! It was way off on some random path, so I am pretty sure that no one knew about it. It was extremely quiet and had great lounge chairs with palapas. We soaked up some sun and played in the water (two things that we are both great at!) for about 4 hours before walking around the little markets and then returning to the boat. Fun times in, CoCoCay!

-Once we returned to the boat we laid out some more and then took our scheduled afternoon naps :). Our dinner seating wasn't until 8:30pm every night. We always choose the latest seating time because we like to hang out as long as possible during the days. At dinner, we also choose the table that seats the most people. If you have never been on a cruise, they just seat you with other random guests. We always choose the most, because this gives you a variety of people to meet. We got blessed with one of the most fantastic tables EVER! Seriously! Every couple was so great! We hung out with some of them during the day and then at night, we were hardly ever out of the dining room before 11pm. We would get to laughing, telling jokes, and sharing stories, that we never wanted to leave. We looked forward to dinner every single night!!

-The next day, was a sea day (we had 4 of these). This means that you are on the boat all day. What did we do on sea days? You guessed it..laid out, slept, played bingo, rode the Flow Rider, ate, people watched, worked out, and the list goes on.

-2nd port...St. Thomas was so beautiful. One of the things we love about cruising is going to see places we’ve never seen before, and WE LOVED ST. THOMAS! We left the ship, found a taxi, saw a bunch of taxi drivers almost get in a fight, and then headed to Magen’s Bay (per the suggestion of one of the couples at our dinner table the night before). St. Thomas had a lot of cliffs, which made the drive to Magen’s Bay absolutely breath-taking. We found out that Magen’s Bay is consistently listed and one of the 10 best beaches in the world every year. We had the best day laying out on the beach (which was surrounded by cliffs), relaxing in the water, and walking along the beach. We eventually left Magen’s Bay and headed back towards the cruise ship. We ate at a local restaurant by the cruise ship and bought a few trinkets for the kiddos. It was a wonderful day. We’d love to find a resort in St. Thomas and go back there one day.

"From the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same the Lord's name is to be praised."
Psalms 113:3

3rd port...The very next day we stopped at St. Maarten. We heard at dinner (from the same couple) that we needed to visit Orient Beach when we docked at St. Maarten. We took their advice and found a taxi (but no taxi driver fight) that would take us to Orient Beach. The waves were much rougher at Orient Beach than they were at Magen’s Bay, but it too was very pretty. We thought Magen’s Bay was prettier, but Orient has beautiful clear, aqua-colored water too. We took in as much sun as we could and then took a taxi to “town.” We wanted to head to some shops that were in town and not right by the cruise ship. It was great. It reminded us a little bit of what the market at Cozumel was like. We had a great lunch on a table by the marina and bought a few more trinkets for the kids. We then started the walk back to the ship. It was only about a 15 minute walk, but it may very well have been the HOTTEST 15 minute walk of my life!! It was hotter than heck! We did, finally, make it to the ship and enjoyed the nice air conditioning of our cold room.

Conn found the chapel. Pastor on a cruise ship? Not a bad gig! Hmmmm... :)

Fun towel creations...

Make a Wish Walk
-During one of our sea days, the ship had an event for the Make a Wish Foundation. We were so excited to be a part of the walk because our precious James is having his wish granted soon, and we have a dear friend that works for the foundation.

The End!

Thank you so much to the grandparents for keeping our kiddos for all of the 8 days! This trip (or any of the others) would never be possible without all of you. You will never know how much it means to us and our children! We are more blessed than we could ever imagine! Thank you!!!

Thank you to my husband for an amazing 10 years! Thank you for making these trips (and our extreme dating) such an important part of our lives. I love you and could not ask for more!


Kristyn said...

Looks beautiful!!! Glad that you guys had a great time! Makes me want to go back on a cruise so bad! I loved it! Happy 10 years :0)

Kristin Rae said...

I think your pictures look great!! Sounds like you had such a wonderful time! I'm inspired to put on my bathing suit and head to the pool now!

Kiki said...

Looks and sounds amazing! What a perfect vacation!

Ben and Emily said...

Love your pictures! Looks like y'all had a blast! Did you venture to the "other" side of Orient beach? I still hear funny stories from that place! :)

Happy belated anniversary!

Tanni said...

Looks amazing!!! Happy Anniversary--- :)

annalee said...

happy anniversary to you two!!! what a WONDERFUL way to celebrate!

Anonymous said...

So fun! We loved Magen's Bay too. It is just so relaxing there. You both look great - rested and happy. I love your cute outfits - especially the pink ruffles. Love y'all!

Janet said...

Oops! I don't know what happened and why I am showing up as anonymous now. - Janet

Misty Straley said...

So fun! Emerson was looking at the pictures with me. When he saw Conn hanging on the palm tree he said..."The Itsy Bitsy Spider?" So funny...Apparently he thought Conn was a spider and the tree was a water spout! Hee hee!

Brian's parents live out of state. The FIRST time I met his dad we were going on a cruise with his parents and about 20 other family members! :) Your cruise brought back fun memories for me!

Callie said...

sooooo fun!!! we loved st. thomas too when we went...beautiful beaches!! glad you are home now!!

Heather said...

I am far too jealous to comment any further. :)

Lorren Says... said...

Beautiful and Conn look great! Looks like you had so much fun. Happy anniversary!

Lacey said...

Love it. Looks like you had a blast!!

Kelli said...

How much fun!!!! I love the pictures of you laying in the water on the beach! Gorgeous!

Exum Family said...

Your photos are great! I love the one of your toes!! What a huge blessing to have family so close to you. I cannot imagine how wonderful that must be. I miss time with my hubby! I'm so happy that you had a wonderful time. Thanks for sharing about your trip.

Lindsee said...

I read and soaked up every single detail and picture! Looks amazing. I cannot wait to do this with my husband some day. Y'all are adorable!

Rusty and Jennifer said...

It looks like you guys had an amazing time! I am so happy that you were able to get away!

Congratulations on 10 beautiful years of marriage and 3 amazing children! God is so good!