Thursday, May 02, 2013

Anniversary Cruise!

My husband and I celebrated our ten year anniversary in January.  While we had two nights in Indy to celebrate then but its been four years since we have taken a "real" trip together. We were both eager to set aside some time to devote to one another.  And we felt a milestone like 10 years deserved something big! 

Back in the fall we were given the opportunity to get a "free" cruise plus airfare if we would be willing to listen to a presentation from a timeshare company (they insisted it wasn't a timeshare but it sure seemed like one to us).  Well, we weren't very interested in buying what they were selling (especially at the prices they were offering) but we were interested in the "free" cruise.  So we went and sat through the whole presentation.  It was rather tedious but we stuck it out.  Frankly, by the end of the evening they had lowered their prices enough that we were actually considering it - but it was still a substantial investment and we don't make that kind of financial decision without careful consideration.  They insisted that we had to sign up on the spot or the offer was off the table so we said no.  But we got our certificates for our incentive cruise.

We were not completely surprised to discover that "free" was not exactly accurate.  "Discounted" would have been more truthful.  We had to jump through some hoops and be flexible on our dates of travel, etc.  And we were responsible for some taxes and port fees, etc.  But we do feel that it was worthwhile in the end.

We did end up with a busy itinerary.  Wednesday we took Megabus from Indy to Chicago.  We have some friends who live on the northside of Chicago so took them to dinner at Taste of Peru, this Peruvian restaurant that we found on a Diner, Drive-in and Dives fan site. It was really good food and great company.  Our friends have always lived out of town so we don't get to see them nearly often enough.  It was so nice to get to visit with them.  They were kind enough to let us crash at their place and drive us to the airport at the crack of dawn the next morning.

Thursday we flew to Fort Lauderdale via Newark. When we arrived in FLL we attempted to figure out the public transportation to take us to Miami (where the Norwegian Cruise Line port is located).  Being from the suburbs of Central Indiana we are not adept at public transportation and were easily lured into a shared van ride for a whoppin' $42 (when he quoted us he said $21 and we thought it was total, not per person).  We were the last to be dropped off so we got a somewhat scenic tour of Miami on the way to our hotel.  We enjoyed settling in at our beachfront hotel during the afternoon and took a walk on the beach. That evening we took an overpriced cab ride to Tap Tap, a Haitian restaurant (also from TripleD ).  The decor was lively and the food was memorable.  I had the shrimp in coconut sauce and it was amazing!

The next morning was leisurely and we hailed a taxi to take us to the cruise port around noon.  This cab driver was insane.  I seriously thought we were going to die... or hit a pedestrian or something.  Not our best taxi experience.  But we lived to tell about it so I guess we can't complain too much.  ;-)  We were ushered (or herded like cattle) through registration and customs and onto the Norwegian Sky.  Neither of us having been on a cruise before we were blown away by the size of the ship.  It is huge!

That day we were a little worn out from the traveling and just kind of chilled on the boat.  I took a dip in the pool and we acclimated ourselves with the rest of the ship.  There were several dining rooms that were complimentary, some that were open 24/7.  We were very satisfied with those and did not even venture into the "specialty" dining rooms which all had cover charges.

 The next day was spent at Great Stirrup Cay - a private island owned by Norwegian Cruise Line.  There is no dock on the island so we had to use a tender to get to and from the island.  There was a shopping area on the island as well as some recreational areas and the lunch buffet provided by NCL.  We enjoyed the beach and lunch and did some shopping.  We attempted to explore more of the island but it was under construction so there wasn't much we could see.  The tender ride back to the ship was tumultuous.  First, during the boarding a little girl got her foot smashed in the ramp.  She was attended to promptly by staff but it shook everyone up.  And then the waters were very rocky on our way back and the boarding of the ship took awhile because they had to keep stopping to let the water calm down.  I was a little nervous during all of that.

That night we took in some of the entertainment offered on board the ship.  Throughout our trip we saw the Deal or No Deal live gameshow, a Battle of the Sexes game, a comedian and a Showcase Showdown musical.  Isaac also spent a little time playing blackjack in the onboard casino.  I lost a little money playing slots but Isaac ended up $150 ahead in the end.  Winner winner, chicken dinner!

The next day we were docked at Nassau for the day.  It was kind of amusing to see the cluster of people inside the welcome center madly checking email and such on their laptops and phones in the wifi zone because you had to pay an overpriced amount for internet access on the ship.  Everyone was technology deprived. 

We indulged in the cliche and had lunch at Senor Frog's a few blocks away from the docks.  It was like spring break in there!  Lots of party girls "woo"ing.  Isaac had some tasty wings and I got pretty good chicken tacos.  They would have been great but I accidentally tainted them with what I thought was sour cream but ended up being blue cheese dressing.  Ugh!

After lunch we wandered around the main downtown area a bit and ended up at the beach for awhile.  I will admit that the skinny bikini clad gals I saw throughout our trip did not make me feel any better about myself... but I didn't let it put a damper on our trip.  I had the attention and adoration of the only man that matters to me and that is all I can ask for.  ;-)

We said good-bye to Nassau and the ship headed back to Miami.  We had dinner in our room that evening but ended up walking around the deck late that night looking at the stars and clinging to our last night on the ship.

The next day we were again herded like cattle as we left the ship and returned to the mainland.  We decided not to fork over the dough for the shared van ride to the airport this time and we did manage to navigate the Miami bus system... but it did take its toll on us.  ;-)  It took us a few hours to make what could have been a 40min trip.  But we saved like $30.  So there you go.

We are not in the position to take a trip like this too often... but I think we both realized how much we need to prioritize setting aside time together.  Date nights are great but actually going away together is important too.  We laughed and talked and enjoyed one another's company like we haven't done in a long time.  Frankly, I was more relaxed than I have been in years.  Having more than just a day or two without having to change a diaper or wipe a runny nose or feed someone every tedious bite of their meal... you get the idea... it was nice for the break.

We are so thankful to our friends and family who helped with the kids and transportation so that we could have this trip.  We couldn't have done it without them and I certainly wouldn't have been able to relax well had I not known the kids were in good hands.  Love you guys!

Here is a short slideshow of a few more pix from the trip.  Enjoy!

Try the video maker at Animoto.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 -  Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up. Furthermore, if two lie down together they keep warm, but how can one be warm alone? And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart. 

1 comment:

Danielle Huddleston said...

Although the thought of being stuck on a ship with that many people makes me twitch it looks like fun! Nick and I are going on a hiking trip this year and I can't wait! I really need to work on the regular dates also. Why is it so hard?