Monday, July 4, 2011

10th Wedding Anniversary Trip

The 2nd of June marked our tenth wedding anniversary, and to celebrate Josh and I decided to take a cruise. (We'd never been on one before.) The kids spent a week with their grandma and grandpa, and Josh and I set off for a 7 day Carribbean cruise out of Galveston. It was a wonderful mix of relaxation and sightseeing. Our favorite parts of the trip were the excursions...the ports of call were Jamaica (Montego Bay), Grand Cayman Island, and Cozumel.
Here we are on the stern of the ship, overlooking a beautiful sunset, on "Elegant Attire Night."
Our room was on the bow of the ship and had a window, but only a few steps from our room was the access door to the deck. It was almost like we had a private balcony, because that deck was often empty. Here we are on the deck, docking at Montego Bay.

Jamaica was probably the least fun port, mostly because we didn't book an excursion there--we just decided to wing it on our own. We did see some interesting sights and haggled with friendly (though eager) locals for some souvenirs for the kids. But the area we were in seemed very economically depressed and dirty. The port was very industrial and just not what we were expecting. We bought a hop on, hop off bus pass to see a few sights. We found a local restaurant and enjoyed delicious Jamaican jerk pork and rice. It rained on us a bit, but we made the best of it. When we hopped back on the bus, we were the only riders so the driver decided to take us on a private tour of the city center, where the local fruit stands and vendors were. It was good time, but we definitely recommend a guided excursion in Montego Bay...I think you'd be able to see more of the beautiful countryside instead of just the commercial areas.

The next morning we arrived in Grand Cayman, which is the complete opposite of Montego Bay in almost everyway. It is very obvious that there is a lot of money on that island. Everything was very pricey, and there were high end shops everywhere. We split a pork sandwich, appetizer, and coke at this seaside restaurant, and the total was $40 US.

We opted for a snorkeling excursion in Grand Cayman, and it was so much fun. Our cruise ship is in the background of this picture.

We saw beautiful reefs and a shipwreck, and the water was gorgeous. There were many fish, though not as colorful as I would have expected.

The third port was Cozumel. We found this to be a nice mix of cleanliness, hospitality, and decent prices.
We bought a day pass at a private island to enjoy a full day of hanging out on the beach. We (and about 100 other cruise passengers) took a small boat about 45 minutes along the Mexican coast to Isla Pasion.
We swam, relaxed, and enjoyed the Mexican buffet & bar.

On the way back from the island, our boat came across 4 teenage Mexican boys who had somehow gotten separated from their little sailboat out in the ocean. (We couldn't tell if the boat had capsized or if they got out to swim and the boat got away from them.) They were in distress, so our 3 person crew rescued these kids! Everyone on our boat cheered. It was exciting.
Having now taken a cruise, we can compare it to an all-inclusive resort vacation where we previously stayed...and I think we'd opt for the latter option in the future. Not to say that the cruise wasn't fun, but I think we got a little bored of being on the boat. Our ship was on the small side, so maybe larger cruise ships have more to offer. At any rate, it was marvelous not to do any cooking, cleaning or child-rearing for 7 full days. It was a great getaway for us as a couple, and a wonderful way to celebrate 10 years of married life!