Chris and I met most of my family in Miami last week to set sail on a Western Caribbean cruise. It turned out that Chris and I were booked on the same connecting flight into Miami as Sean and Bonny, so we all took a cab to our hotel in South Beach. My parents and Jamie and the girls didn't arrive until late Saturday night. The weather was COLD and rainy, but we still wandered down to the beach and along the streets.
Rainbow in South Beach
We all met on the ship, the Norwegian Jewel, early Sunday afternoon and unpacked into our tiny staterooms. This was the first cruise for my dad, Jamie and the girls and Chris and me.
On the ship in Miami
Monday was a day at sea and still ridiculously chilly, but we scrounged lounge chairs on the upper decks and sat out reading for a while. Braver members of the family tested the pool, but not me.
Miss Pina Colada
Tuesday, we pulled into port in Roatan, Honduras. Chris and I rented a scooter for the day and covered about half the island, while stopping for a bit at the beach. For some reason, I thought cruise ships only pulled into well-developed ports, but past the dock, Roatan quickly shifted into third-world shacks, bony dogs and kids in blue trousers/skirts and white shirts trudging to school. Nice houses rimmed a few beaches, but along other inlets, trash mixed so heavily with seaweed that the waves couldn't make it ashore without touching aluminum cans, plastic or other litter.
Varsana's $1 Picture
Walking on the Beach
After we got back to the ship Tuesday evening, Chris came down with either food poisoning or a virus that kept him up all night sick, so he wasn't at his full sight-seeing sparkle when we anchored near Belize City Wednesday. My mom and Jamie and the girls took a boat/bus tour of the area, but my dad, Sean and Bonny and I just walked around another surprisingly rural city. Belize City was formerly a British colony, so we did see old government buildings and a church. My mom told me later that her bus toured some extremely affluent neighborhoods where the wealthy landowners onced lived (and still do). Another interesting fact is that in the 1960's a group of Mennonites re-located to Belize, began farming the land successfully and now produce a large percentage of the countries crops.
Viewing the Old Church
Thursday, we ported in Costa Maya, Mexico. Bonny's birthday! Sean, Bonny and my mom took a two hour bus ride to to see the Mayan ruins, while the rest of us hit the beach. We actually ended up doing more walking than swimming. Late afternoon, I ended up feeling sick and went back to the ship. It turned out that Sean got sick at the ruins and had to endure a two hour bus ride back. I felt badly for Bonny who didn't really get to fully celebrate her birthday since we all bailed on dinner.
From Jamie's Balcony
Stopping for a Cold Drink
Jamie works on his tan
Friday was another day at sea and was my mom's birthday! We all lounged around the ship, not doing much and met at a teppanyaki restaurant for dinner to celebrate Bonny and my mom's birthdays. Afterwards, we all went to an acrobatic show, a la Cirque de Soleil. And you guessed it, Bonny got sick that night.
Near the "Sapphire Pool"
Happy Birthday from the Staff
Saturday turned into one of the best days of the cruise. Norwegian owns its own island in the Bahamas, and Sean and Bonny (who felt somewhat better), Chris and I boarded the first tender to the island and explored the coastline away from many of the other passengers. The beach was covered with drying groups of man-of-war. It was still cool and windy, but as we circled the island, the waves stilled into pale blue pools. It was too much for Chris, who jumped into the water. Sean and Bonny and Jamie and Varsana went parasailing later in the day, and the rest of us spent the afternoon swimming, sitting on the beach or collecting shells. (One damp sand-dollar later, you can imagine how my back-pack smells.)
Back home now and back to work.