As many of you know, I just got back from my first cruise. Hubby and I had been planning this for quite sometime. We went because of the Social Media By The Sea Conference which took place on the cruise ship. I shared about the my speaking opportunity at the conference in my Previous Post. Be sure to check it out.
Going on a cruise was definitely an experience. We cruised with Carnival Cruise lines on the Carnival Destiny. I did not realize until later on that Carnival is known for their fun ships where the focus is partying and having a good time as opposed to relaxing. I might not have minded it so much if I wasn’t pregnant and feeling exhausted throughout the whole trip. There was only one quiet place to go on the ship and that was on the lobby floor outside decks on either side of the boat. My husband and I spent a lot of time there on the comfy lounge chairs. We even saw a bunch of dolphins swimming next to the boat on our last day at sea. It was breathtaking. I think there must’ve been 50 of them. And of course, that is the day I don’t have my camera with me! 🙁
Here is a picture of our room. We were on the 8th floor, mid-ship. It was really a great place to be as far as not feeling too much motion from the boat. I heard that you can feel more being closer to the ends, especially if the water is rough. We had 2 double beds that were put together. It was quite comfortable!
Here is a picture of the bathroom. It was pretty small, but the shower was surprisingly big. And for the life of me, we could not figure out what that machine was attached to the wall. It said something about being a shaver. Anyone have a clue what it does? I totally forgot to ask.
Our first full day was spent at sea. That was the day I had to speak at the conference. There was so much anticipation and planning that when it was finally done, I wound up falling apart emotionally. I know that it was because of being pregnant. I was just exhausted from all the travel to Miami, hotel, shuttle, first night sleeping on the cruise, being terrible home sick, and then the conference. Everything came down on me pretty hard and all at once. I drove my husband crazy because I could’nt stop crying for over an hour. We wound up getting into a huge fight. Once things finally blew over and we made up, I got a migraine headache that wouldn’t go away for a couple days. It was crazy.
The second day, the ship stopped in the port of Ocho Rios, Jamaica. I was not ready for what we faced there. We had set up an excursion with Carnival to go to the Dunns River Falls and also to Dolphin Cove. They were both nice places, but the people were just crazy. The second we stepped off the bus, we were bombarded. One guy walks up to me and hands me these Jamaican beads made out of beans and says “Welcome to Jamaica… Free, Free..” I said thank you and started to walk away. He stopped me and said “Donation, donation” and then tried to take the beads back. I was pretty shocked. It is kinda funny thinking back on it now. And that is the way it was the entire day. Every person we came in contact with was trying to sell us something. I got approached at least 10 times to have my hair braided, at least 15 times to buy these hand carved pipes that people make there, and the funniest thing was being approached to buy pot! We just ignored them, but I felt like saying “Do I look like I smoke pot?” I mean come on!
Here is a picture of my hubby that I shot really quick as we are fleeing the shopping market maze.
I really wanted to buy stuff as souvenirs, but because of all the pressure we faced, I was so overwhelmed that I didn’t buy anything. 🙁
The area was beautiful though in most areas. Here is a picture of us on the beach at the Dunns River Falls.
Here is a picture of the falls. A part of the excursion was to actually climb the falls with a group. The treck looked dangerous, so of course we opted out. I didn’t want to kill myself out there. LOL
I enjoyed seeing several Jamaican music groups randomly playing throughout the tourist area. They wanted money of course, but they were really good, so I did stop to give to them.
Dolphin Cove was nice as well, but nothing is free so we did not get to swim with the dolphins as we thought we were. They wanted us to pay an additional fee for almost everything there. So we walked around and saw the dolphins from afar. We sat for a few minutes on the beach and then decided that we can eat for free back on the boat so we went back.
That night we were so worn out that we skipped the shows and went to bed right after dinner. I think that really helped me because the next morning my headache had gone away almost completely. I was so hesitant about the day at Grand Cayman after such a crazy day in Jamaica. But our day wound up being really great. It was definitely the highlight of our trip. I had 3 excursions set up in one. We started out on a small bus tour checking out the island. The bus driver / tour guide was really awesome. He brought us to the town called Hell where there are these crazy rock formations. There was even this little post office in the town. Check out the pictures:
Then we got to go to a really cool Turtle Farm. They had hundreds of turtles there. My favorites were the HUGE ones. They were like 3 or 4 feet long. Each of us got to even hold a turtle. The tour guide there was great too.
Our last excursion of the day was Swimming with the Sting Rays. And guess what? We actually got what we paid for! We were brought to a boat and our group was boated a couple miles out in the ocean to a sand bar in the middle of nowhere. We anchored down and then got out of the boat where they were lots and lots of sting rays, all different sizes. We could pet them, hold them, and whatever else. I just stood watching everyone. I was a little grossed out because the sting rays were so slimy. I did touch one and several of them brushed up against my legs. But I did not hold them like some people were doing. There was one woman who was letting them lay on her stomach while she floated in the water.
Unfortunately, we didn’t get any good pictures of our sting ray experience because my camera is not waterproof. Next time I am going to get one of those water proof case for my camera so I don’t have to worry about it getting wet.
This is us in the boat going out to the place they call Sting Ray City.
This picture is the only one that I got of all the people that were already out swimming before we got out of the boat to go swimming too. You can’t see the sting rays, but they were all around the people’s feet. Once we got out of the boat, they came to us from all over.
The rest of the trip was nice. I finally got adjusted to living on a huge boat. The last day was nice. I attended the last conference sessions, had a really nice dinner (even tried escargot, which I didn’t like) and ended the night with a great show at the ship’s theatre. The dancer’s were great!
We pulled into Miami at 5am the next morning. We were all packed and ready to go. After a quick breakfast we headed downstairs to the lobby to get ready to get off the boat. We had just gotten off the elevator when someone called my husband’s name on the loud speaker asking him to go to the information desk. I went to the desk first and asked what they needed. They told us to wait there and made a call. A minute later there were 4 police officers surrounding my husband and telling me they were taking him without explanation. They almost left me standing there with 3 suitcases. I refused. I told them point blank that I was not leaving my husband. They got mad and said that I could not do that and that I can be arrested. I had no clue what was going on and I started balling and freaking out.
They were totally going to leave me there and take my husband off the boat without me. Finally they agreed to take me too. I am telling you, I did not care about being arrested. I did not want to be left alone. They probably gave in because I was pregnant. So I guess there were some advantages. 🙂
So they escorted us off the boat and to a building where customs was located. I was still balling. They left me in this waiting room with the luggage while they took my husband to an interrogation room (at least that is what it said on the door). The cops came back out to me, pretty pissed, saying that I should be arrested for what I did. But I still didn’t care. They made me freak out even more. Finally some immigration police came over and they were nice to me asking if I was ok and if I needed to go to the hospital, etc. After a while I calmed down. It was hard though because I really didn’t know what was going on. I just knew we had a plane to catch in a few hours.
Finally my husband came out with the officer who explained that there was a discrepency in my husband’s past record history. My husband is not yet a US Citizen (we are working on it). But that immigration office did not have his updated info so they practically treated him like a criminal which was totally unnecessary. I was relieved that everything turned out ok, but also angry that they could not just wait for us to go through the normal customs line and pull us aside there instead of causing so much embarrassment.
So, there ya have it. Our crazy first cruise experience. Looking back, I definitely would not go on a cruise again being pregnant. The cut off to go on a cruise being pregnant is 24 weeks. I was 22 weeks. I had to bring a doctor’s note and everything. It is just too much (without all the drama I went through). But with the drama, it nearly pushed me over the edge.
I came home so utterly exhausted that I could not get along with my mom who was also exhausted from watching my 3 little ones for 6 days. I just didn’t have anything left to give. I feel bad about it for sure (sorry mom).
Cruising is really fun. I would love to go on a cruise again and next time I will make sure I am NOT PREGNANT. Too many hormones!!
But we are home now – safe and sound. I am recovering and resting as much as I can before my work week starts.
So, how about you? Have you cruised before? Any drama? I would love to hear all about it so I can feel better! LOL