So, upon review I realized that our vacation photos are terrible. Several times I found myself without my camera and lacking a tripod all the photos of the two of us are pretty much arms-length photography courtesy of long-armed Joel. Don't mistake the lack of decent photos as an indicator that our vacation was not photo-worthy. We started out by leaving from New Orleans-I found the graveyards there fascinating. I couldn't believe that not only were they all over the city but that they were in such pristine condition. My macabre interest in the resting place of the dead would later be gratified again in Progreso but I will leave that for later. We got a little lost (okay more than a little) getting to the ship but that gave us time for a tour (or detour) through the French Quarter. That would probably have been more fun on foot, especially considering that we kept finding closed streets, but thanks to our trusty Rand McNally atlas-don't leave home without it!-and Joel we arrived at the port in plenty of time.
We boarded the ship to find that our first fun activity would be: a lifeboat drill! Yes, I paid hundreds of dollars and was rewarded by wasting over an hour conducting a lifeboat drill complete with hideous orange life vests. I guess I might have been thankful for the drill if we had started sinking, but as an able-bodied, literate, adult I don't think I really needed it. Afterwards we hunted the ship over to figure out where everything was. Joel found the bow of the ship had a deck and we spent the remainder of the cruise looking for a way to get to it to discover that it was not accessible on the last day! We went to dinner to find that we were seated at a table for ten, but we never had more than four other companions. Being somewhat introverted around strangers, that didn't bother me. We came back to find one of the famous Carnival towel animals in our room. I have to say that I loved our room steward. She didn't just make the bed, she cleaned the bathroom every day and actually picked up our room! It was like a little straightening fairy visited every morning and night.
The next day was a "Fun Day at Sea". We were delighted to play around on the water slides-that was one of my favorite things on the boat! We also started our really bad habit: eating five times a day! It was just too easy. Everywhere you turned there was food! I am glad that we didn't cruise for any longer or I wouldn't be able to fit into any of my clothes. We had our "Cruise Formal" dinner that night. I was happy to be able to re-use my dress from the ball. We also stopped to have our photo taken at several of the different photo-op spots. We got a couple of decent ones but decided that the $22 price tag-per photo!- was a little rich for our blood. So we stuck with our trusty camera, but in retrospect the one decent picture might have been worth it.:) We really loved that you could order as much off the menu at dinner as you wanted. I really liked trying the different cold soup options. During the course of the cruise I tried: strawberry, Bing cherry and orange. The orange tasted like melted Creamsicle and was kind of fun! Joel liked that he could have lobster, crab, escargot (yep, snails) and even squid!
The next day was our first day in Mexico. We anchored in the port of Progreso/Yucatan. Let it suffice to say that it was not what I expected! It is an extremely poor part of the country and in the one village we visited none of the houses had doors. We had chosen to visit the ruins of Xcambo. We found later that the ruins at Chichen Itza are much more highly recommended, but of course, hindsight is 20/20. We did enjoy seeing the flamingos and learning that they turn pink because of the bacteria that are present in the shrimp they eat. A baby flamingo is white and the older it gets the more pink it becomes. A free science lesson for you! We were shocked to find that the ruins were so accessible- you know here in the U.S. everything is roped off. People in the village were still living in some of the ruins-which remember, are from around the time of Jesus. We saw a beautiful cathedral that was built in the 1700's. We were so tired that we skipped dinner that night!
The fourth day on the boat we stopped in Cozumel. It was more the tourist trap I had been expecting. We did a really fun ropes/climbing course and then we went snorkeling. That was so fun! I didn't think I would enjoy it that much. I was terribly frightened that I was going to be touched by the fish. However, we did get to see some really neat schools of fish. We had lunch at a fun, exceptionally loud, resturant. Everyone got their own balloon hat and Joel proceeded to wear his during the entire meal. We stopped at Starbuck's on the way back to the boat and that made me very happy! You know, since I had been away from the States three whole (and a half!) days. We bought some tacky souvenirs and also were amazed by the live "statues", especially the silver pirate.
The fifth day was another "Fun Day at Sea". It was rather uneventful, especially considering that I had been sea sick the night before and had taken a little too much motion sickness medicine. We did have fun people-watching by the pool. We took a last dip in the hot tub and enjoyed a really fun tribute show to the Beatles. I was very glad that I was going to see my kids the next day and I think Joel was happy that I could quit talking about missing them. I am glad that we had the time together. However, I think our next vacation will be somewhere stateside where I can call my kids!:)
If you have read all of this you must be really, really bored!:)