Monday, January 28, 2013

Vacation: Part 2 - The Honeymoon Edition

I recently posted Vacation: Part 1 detailing the first half of our vacation.  Now it's time for the second half: our honeymoon cruise!

As many of you know we didn't go on a big honeymoon immediately following our wedding because we didn't have the time and wanted to save some money to do something really cool instead of something mediocre (we stayed a few nights in a nice hotel in Seattle immediately afterward, which was perfect for us).  So, seven months after "I do" we finally took that trip - a cruise to the Caribbean - and here's how it went...

Day 1: Leaving Galveston

After our visit with family in Houston, we headed to Galveston to set sail for the Caribbean!  Parking in Galveston was a little confusing, but we finally made it and headed to the ship, the Carnival Triumph.

We got our bags checked and waited for over an hour to get on the ship because their computers were down that day - it seemed like forever!  But we finally got on the ship, where they informed us that lunch was being served on the main buffet deck.  We dropped our carry-on items in our room and headed straight for food because we were starving.

From our balcony with Galveston in the background
Me with our towel animal the first night
Leaving Galveston, the weather was still pretty chilly, hence the coat in the picture.  That was taken just as we were leaving the port and sailing away (even if we left an hour later than planned).  

That first night we had a fun time checking out the sing-along piano bar.  The guy took requests, and the whole bar sang along, whether they were drunk or not.  It was definitely a really fun way to kick off our trip (for me, at least). 

Day 2: Full Day at Sea

Chewie on the top deck of the ship
Our first full day on the ship was spent discovering our new surroundings.  It took a bit for us to get adjusted, but we eventually figured out the general layout.  

The weather had a bit of a chill, but not so much that it kept me from wearing shorts in early January!  We also went to one of the shows that night and enjoyed our time lounging around waiting for the next meal.  

Checking out the ship and the view from the top deck
From the front of the ship looking back (on the top deck)

Day 3: Progreso!

In Progreso with our ship in the background
On the third day of our cruise, we were at the port of Progreso, Mexico, which was still in the Gulf of Mexico.  We bit the bullet and decided to pay for one of the ship excursions to see the Mayan Ruins.  I don't regret it one bit, either.  But before that, we did a little shopping for souvenirs.  We bought Mexican vanilla and a really cool, ornate Mexican spoon rest for our kitchen (because we need one anyway).  

We had a really neat time discovering the Ruins and enjoying the piercing sun on our vitamin d deprived skin.  It was particularly hot because we weren't near the shore, and shade was scarce.  But we soaked up our fair share and were exhausted by the end of the day.  Of course, it was winter for the locals, who were decked out in long-sleeved shirts and sweatshirts while we're sweating away in our shorts and sleeveless shirts.

Chewie was super hot and thirsty and bought a Coke
My personal fave picture from the Mayan Ruins
We also got a cool souvenir that has our wedding date written out in Mayan numbers on paper like what the Mayans used (it also came with a booklet describing how to read it and understand the Mayan calendar).  Sure, it's kind of gimmicky, but we thought it would be a fun thing to have and share with our kids/grandkids someday.  And, of course, there's a lot more to our day in Progreso, but these are the real high points

After our 4 hour excursion in the sun, we headed back to the ship to gratify our ravenous appetites and chillax until that evening's events began.  A nap was also in order for us because we were absolutely worn out!

Later that night, after dinner sometime, we headed to the top deck for the deck party on board.  It was so fun!  We didn't really dance or anything, but we had so much fun watching everyone else and just enjoying the faux community feel.  Plus, I got some Mardi Gras beads when they hit me in the face!

Day 4: Cozumel!

On the shore in Cozumel

Cheesin' for a picture in Cozumel
This was - by far - our favorite day.  We did the Mayan Ruins the day before and decided to take it way easier in Cozumel (which is just outside the Gulf of Mexico and into the Caribbean) and just relax.  So we piled into a taxi and headed for the beach!

We literally just sat in lounge chairs under umbrellas, eating Mexican food, drinking adult beverages, and soaking in the Mexican sun.  The weather was perfect, and the water was breath-taking.

Happy Honeymoon to us!
I had my first go at fish tacos, and they were incredibly delicious.  We also had the best guacamole that has ever passed my lips.  Yum, yum.  

After hanging at the beach for several hours, we headed back towards the ship for a little bit of shopping and one last Mexican meal before boarding the ship once again.

Yummy drinks!  And our view during our last meal in Mexico
We enjoyed some yummy drinks with a fantastic meal and relaxed for just a bit longer, taking in as much of our view as we could.  Even now, I wish I was back there reliving it all over again!

That afternoon we took another nap.  So much sun made us exhausted!  And that evening we enjoyed another one of the ship's shows.  Then dinner with our new-found dining buddies.  Then sleep.  Lots of it.

Day 5: Another Full Day at Sea

Waiting to play bingo
Our second full day at sea was spent sleeping in late and relaxing, trying to get the most out of our last full day on the cruise.  

We had fun watching the live newlywed game.  We tried to participate, but, alas, there was another couple who had been married a shorter amount of time (they got married on the ship the first day), so they got to play instead.  We still had a blast, though.  Out of the three couples playing, our favorite was the longest married couple - they were hilarious and adorable!

We also played some bingo.  We didn't win anything playing bingo, but I won $1 from the pull tab that came with our bingo cards.  Of course, we spent $20 just to play.  Haha.  Either way, it was a fun way to kill time.  

That night, we attended the last show of the trip (we went to all of them), which was definitely the best.  It was really incredible and a great way to kind of end the trip.

Day 6: Returning to Galveston

Hello, again, Galveston!

Ready to head home
The very last day of our cruise was spent mostly waiting to get off the ship.  We had breakfast and then waited to be called out.  

We really enjoyed the cruise but were kind of ready to get back to normal life again.  We decided that the length of our cruise was just right for us.  There's only so  much you can do on board, and we would have gotten board had we been there much longer.  

So after a relatively short line through customs, we were heading back to Hillsboro for a final few days with my family.

But first, we met my mom and littlest sister, Kristen, at the Blue Bell Creamery in Brenham, TX!

I had never been before, and so we seized the chance to go!  The tour was pretty neat, and we got to sample a bunch of ice cream at the end, which was my favorite part.  We also bought a few souvenirs in their really cool gift shop. 

All in all, we had a really fabulous time on vacation.  It was just what we needed after a stressful Christmas season at work and in our personal lives.  We came home energized and ready to get back in the swing of things, something I didn't think was even possible before we left.  And I'm looking forward to posting soon about what to do and not to do based on our cruising experience.

It was especially hard leaving my family this time.  I think it's because we weren't busy while we were with them and were able to really enjoy one another's company.  Chewie and I got to see Kenneth's band perform for a youth retreat, which was extra cool (I'd never been able to do so previously).  And we spent some time with some of my friends from "back in the day", which is always excellent.  

We are definitely blessed.  And we're looking forward to planning something fun for our first anniversary in June!

1 comment:

Baby Diva said...

Which beach did you go to in Cozumel? We've done this itinerary twice, but from New Orleans instead of Galvaston.