Thursday, December 18, 2008

Sailing, sailing...

This is something that happened just about 2 years ago. I went on the best vacation of my life!! When my marriage fell apart, my friend, Tina came to my rescue and saved my life. She worked at the Curves where I was a member and we chatted often and became friends. Tina was the one who called me often and dragged my sorry butt out of the house from time to time for dinner and movies.

One day, Tina asked me if I was interested in going on a cruise. Then she asked if I could get away for a 10-night cruise! I had only been on one cruise before several years ago, a short 3 night cruise with my ex. So I immediately agreed and decided I'd figure out what to do with my 16 year old kid while I was cruising the Caribbean. I let Tina do the planning since she'd been on 5 or 6 cruises before and she wanted to go to places she'd never been. I, on the other hand, had only been to Key West and Cozumel, so I was open for anywhere! Every week I'd give Tina $20 to put in an envelope, more when I had it to spare. We saved and saved for a year and a half!

Our itinerary was to fly to Ft. Lauderdale and board the Constellation, one of Celebrity Cruise Line's beautiful ships! We were 2 days at sea, then stops each day at St. Maartens, St. Lucia, Barbados, St. Kitts and St. Thomas, followed by 2 days at sea, back to Ft. Lauderdale for a flight home to cold, cold Philadelphia.

The Constellation

One of the best ideas Tina had was to get a cabin with a balcony. Every morning, Raquelle came to our cabin with coffee and we sat on our little balcony and had our coffee and planned our day and laughed and laughed! I hadn't laughed like that in 10 years! We always ate all of our meals on the ship. The food! OMG the food! Anything you wanted for breakfast was there! Lunch was well, lunch. Although, each day there was a different buffet (one day Italian, one day Indian, Mexican, etc.) Dinner was a 5 course meal every single night! I gained 7 pounds on that cruise! We called our trip The Just divorced Cruise. I had just gotten my divorce the month before and Tina was in the process. Tina's sister made this sign for our door and we decorated with champagne bottle and glasses and taped candy all over our door! It was the hit of the cruise because everyone knew where their room was by looking for our door!

We didn't spend a lot of money on the excursions, they cost big bucks sometimes and my funds were limited. We spent our at-sea days by the pool with good books and strawberry daquiris!
It didn't take long for the waiters and bartenders to know who we were and what we liked! This one waiter came around one morning (well it was around 11:30 ... and someone else was doing the driving!) and asked us if we were ready for the Captain (Morgan, that is) LOL!! We tipped him well! Captain Morgan was our very good friend on that trip!

our friend, Captain Morgan

Our first stop was St. Maartens, on the Dutch side of the island. There was a beachside bar called The Firehouse that made the strongest strawberry daquiris I've ever tasted! We were majorly buzzed after only one daquiri! We did a little shopping on this island. And I discovered that sending text messages from St. Maartens is EXPENSIVE!!! LOL

St. Maartens

The next day we stopped in St. Lucia. This island was not a favorite of mine, but the landscape was interesting. We did a 3 hour bus tour and discovered this was not one of the more affluent islands, at least not the places they took us. As we started the tour, it was very tropical. Then as we rode to the higher elevations, the terrain changed and we were in a forest, with pine trees rather than palm trees! This waterfall was the best part of the trip! All in all it was nice but more primitive than the others.

St. Lucia

Then it was off to Barbados and the best beach aloe massage I ever had for $10! A local guy did them right on the beach! it was wonderful! The surf at this island was rougher than I thought! It knocked me ass over head and Tina laughed her ass off!


Our 4th island stop was my favorite! St. Kitts! All we did was go to the beach and buy booze and cologne but it was so relaxing!!!! And I ran into a girl who went to college with my daughter! She was a dancer on the ship! I think this looks like a Corona ad! I took this shot which is why it's bigger than the others.

St. Kitts

Our last stop was St. Thomas, Tina's favorite because this is where she buys her jewelry. When you go into a shop on St. Thomas, they ply you with alcohol so maybe you'll spend more money. Tina left with a beautiful tanzanite ring and a six-pack of beer! We sat on a bench and drank the beer! LOL!

Tina and me on St. Thomas

A few more days at sea and we were back in Florida and then on to Philly and the real world. I wish I had the money to cruise every year. It was so relaxing and I didn't get sick at all. We saw a double rainbow in the middle of the ocean. We had one day when the water was a bit choppy but we discovered that the indoor pool is a hoot when the sea is choppy! Just like going in a wave pool! One day I'd like to take a cruise to Alaska and do the interior too.


Unknown said...

I LOVE cruises. We've been on 5 so far.


Eternal Lizdom said...

I've only been on one cruise and it was in college- so it involved a LOT of alcohol, thanks to those international waters. It was one of the best vacations of my life. I keep trying to get Jeff to agree to someday going on a cruise but he really fears the motion sickness thing... I'd love to do a Disney Cruise with the kiddos in a couple of years.

♥ Braja said...

Joanie that was so much fun to read, honestly! I love the fact that you just hung out on the boat and made the most of it...I'm not much of an adventurer when it comes to holidays: give me a good room on the beach and a pool and privacy, and I'm parking there for the whole dang time. And you'll LOVE THIS PHOTO:

Joanie said...

Garret, I wish I could afford to go on a cruise very winter!

Liz, you could always plan a trip with a girlfriend!

Braja, LOL Loved the pic! I like the same kind of relaxing vacation too! I go to Ocean City, Maryland every year and rent a house from my friend for a low low rent. We pack picnic lunches and hang out at the beach. Very relaxing.

Amy said...

I've never been on a cruise. To tell the truth, I'm afraid of all that food. I have a knack for gaining weight just in real life. Cruise food would probably set me back 15 pounds! But you do make a convincing argument.

Anna Lefler said...

I have heard of this Captain Morgan person. Did he by chance call you the next day? He said he'd call me and never did, the big jerk.

I'm beginning to wonder if he's just a shifty character all the way around.

Thanks for becoming a follower on my blog, by the way - I really appreciate that!

Happy Holidays!

:^) Anna

Joanie said...

(sigh), no the Captain never called me, but I don't give up hope. I do run into him from time tim, along with his good friend Jose Cuervo and they always show me a good time (if you know what I mean).
Love the 'stache, Anna! It suits you!

Joanie said...

Amy, the trick is not eat for a week or so before hand. ;) And save your stretchy clothes for he end of the cruise! I learned that lesson well! I had 2 outfits I absolutely could not wear!

Unknown said...

For me the trick has been to walk. We hardly ever took the elevator. Sometimes that last flight seemed like I was going to die but we never gained weight.


Boozy Tooth said...

Joanie - what a great post and what fabulous photos.

Living in Florida, I can practically swim to the Bahamas, but I'd never been until 2004. I joined 6 other women and we voyaged on a 5 day booze cruise to Freeport on the brand spanking new Carnival Miracle. The ship had just been commissioned in Helsinki where it was built and came straight over to us in Jacksonville for a month before sailing to it's home port of Tampa. At the time, the Miracle was Carnival's newest biggest ship, and boy was it amazing!

A few years later, my husband, daughter and I took a similar cruise - this time to Nassau - but on a much much different ship. The Celebration was the cruiseline's OLDEST SMALLEST ship. Talk about a contrast in experiences! But it was so much fun both times.

I'm dying to go again, but hubby isn't all that interested. How about you, me, Vodka Mom, Liz, Jim and Garret, Amy, and Anna go! Y'all can fly here and we'll leave from the Jacksonville port. Luckily the Celebration has been retired, so the current ship is probably a big improvement. Any takers???

Unknown said...

Alix, actually Jim and I have been on 5 ALL gay cruises. We've been on Royal Carribean Freedom and Liberty of the Seas (sister ships). These are the 2 world's largest passenger ships and feature on board surfing! and ice skating! These ships have everything. Next time anyone wants to take a cruise, so your research It's an amazing site.

Joanie said...

We sailed Celebrity, a sister company to Royal Caribbean. The short cruise I did with my ex was Carnival and I found it to be gaudy. (but hey! it was free for us and they gave us a balcony room!)

Garret, Tina and I never took the elevator down but this fat arse could NOT go up the stairs to the 7the deck or I'd be in sick bay!

Lilly said...

This sounded a fantastic trip - I enjoyed reading it very much!!

Adrian said...

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