We did a 4 day cruise aboard the Carnival Victory to The Bahamas. It. Was. Amazing. We are definitely those people who think cruising is the best way to vacation now, and I'd like to go on 50 more cruises, please and thank you. It was the perfect mix of adventure and relaxation and just what we needed as we gear up for this deployment. Honestly, my favorite aspect of this cruise was being completely unplugged. We turned off our phones (except to take pictures, of course) and had zero access to social media, email, news, etc. for 4 days. It allowed us to completely focus on each other and shut the rest of the world out.
I flew in from D.C. after a girls weekend and Parker flew in from Baltimore after a bachelor party, so three cheers for no flight issues and both of us arriving into Orlando safely. We got a rental car for literally 1 hour to drive us from the airport to Port Canaveral where the cruise embarked. A couple of hours in line waiting to board, and we were on the ship by about 3:00 PM!
We immediately changed into swimsuits and went to the lido deck for some of that glorious Florida sun. It was cruise time!!
We did a little exploring before getting cleaned up and heading to dinner. We chose Your Time Dining rather than having a set dining time each night, meaning we could eat dinner at any time. I highly recommend this. We never had to wait, and we weren't tied to a schedule. The first night we tried escargot (snails), which was not terrible but not our favorite. It was fine, and I'm glad we tried it.
Hey Parker, how do you feel about escargot? (This face pretty accurately sums up our feelings...)
Since we were both on about 4 hours of sleep from our previous evenings in D.C. and Baltimore, we were in bed by about 9:30 PM. Crazy wild first night, right? All of that sleep was heavenly and much needed. We woke up energized and ready to take on day 2!
We booked an excursion for each port, which we would definitely do again. The excursions made the cruise and were totally worth it to us! Our first port call was in Freeport, and our excursion for the day was riding ATVs along the beach. We knew it would be fun and different, but it far exceeded our expectations!
We had about a 40 minute bus ride to the excursion, but the bus driver took us the scenic route and gave us a tour of the city, which was really neat! We learned that gas is crazy expensive ($4.04 per gallon) and they have a KFC or Burger King on every corner (not really, but it felt like there were a ton of them!).
Once we arrived, it was time to get on those ATVs. Our ATV guides were Mario and Alex, and they were fabulous. We did a quick training sesh to make sure none of us killed ourselves and got ready to go!
It was about a 3.5 mile ride and definitely a little hairy at parts, which made it all the more fun! The helmet was great because it kept me from getting scratched up by all of the hanging branches along the course. The sunglasses proved invaluable for both of us as well.
We road out to a cove where we stopped to admire the beauty around us and snap a few pictures. The Bahamas is just breathtaking. I mean, really breathtaking. We could have stayed there for hours and been perfectly content just taking it all in!
We finished up our ATV ride and were dropped off in a botanical garden where we waited for group 2 to complete their ATV ride. This is where the day got a little eventful. We realized about halfway through the ATV ride that neither of us had brought a credit card, and the only cash we had was a $20 bill. This wouldn't have been an issue except we didn't have food or water and were off the ship from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM. They gave us a cup of water after the ATV ride, and then we were out of luck. Mario and Alex were such great tour guides that we gave them the $20 we had as a tip, so we had nada for the remainder of the afternoon.
We had 2 bananas in our bags and 2 small breakfast bars. In my mind, we were just fine and could hold out until 4:00. We would just stay out of the sun and conserve energy so we didn't get dehydrated and then chug water as soon as we got back. No biggie. Parker didn't share my lack of concern. I thought I was playing Survivor, and he thought we were dying. Kidding, kind of.
After the botanical gardens, they dropped us off at a beach for a couple of hours before it was time to head back to the ship. This is was where the great Bahamian sunburns of 2016 occurred. I am just terrible at applying spray sunscreen and end up spraying everywhere but our bodies, so I need to be fired from that job. We didn't realize how burned we were until we got back to the boat, but man were we burned! Since I am so terrible at applying the spray sunscreen, I did get some of us, so I had some nice tiger stripes of alternating white and red, and Parker was a splotchy mess. No more sunscreen duty for me, but let's just focus on how gorgeous the beach is and forget about my little sunscreen mishap. These last pictures are pre-sunburn!
We got back to the ship and both immediately chowed down on burgers and chugged water. Dinner, a show called "Livin in America", and a comedy show by Jeff Jena made up the rest of our evening. The comedy show was hysterical because we sat near the front, knowing we would get picked on. The comedian liked Parker, and that dear husband of mine became the butt of quite a few jokes. We were cracking up!
Day 2 is in the books! Stay tuned for a recap on days 3 & 4 next week!