Thursday, April 8, 2010

Spring Break Cruise

So for my last Spring Break I decided I had to do something fun. My friends and I all signed up for a Cruise to the Cayman Islands and Cozumel, Mexico. I was just so excited to get away from the cold weather and enjoy some relaxation. The group consisted of: Myself, Sarah (small one), Christina, Kacey, Whitney (Whit-Mo), Sean, Megan, Brody, Derek, Logan, Toni, Kristin, Taylor, Erin, and Melissa.
Sarah, Christina, Kacey and I flew to Tampa on Friday and stayed the night in a hotel before our ship sailed on Saturday afternoon. While we were waiting in line to get on the ship my throat started hurting and I was really upset. Figures I would finally go a few weeks without a cold and get one right before our trip. Luckily, it didn’t bother me too much and went away after a couple days. Besides, I had bigger fish to fry, like sea-sickness.

As soon as we got on board, Sarah and I changed into our suits, bought an over-priced tropical drink complete with a mini umbrella, and headed to the lounge chairs. I have to say I was a bit disappointed with the very small size of the only pool, but there were multiple decks for sunbathing and I wasn’t going to swim anyways.

Once we got our suitcases we unpacked, walked around the ship a bit, and got dressed for dinner. Apparently there were really bad storms around our area and that caused huge waves. The boat was rocking and swaying so badly that it was hard to walk straight. I had never been sea sick before, but there’s a first time for everything. Waiting to walk into the dining room I felt completely nauseous. Luckily, I wasn’t the only one. About half our table looked green in the face. We started dropping like flies. First Brody left, then Erin. I really wanted to eat some food but I gave up before the food even came. I went back to the room and well… let’s just say it wasn’t pretty. And it wasn’t a good first night on my cruise.

Thankfully, I woke up feeling much better and the waves chilled out. I don’t remember what we did from day to day, so I’m just going to highlight the fun stuff I remember.

I think dinner was my favorite part of the on-board activities. One of my favorite things to do on a regular basis is to go out to eat with a group of my friends. So I loved dressing up, getting free food, and having a glass of wine (or beer) with my fellow UK seniors. Other things on the boat that I enjoyed was laying out by the pool, the comedians, the random singers around the ship, the “Love and Marriage” show, Bingo (Whit-Mo almost won like $1200 or something ridiculous), Karaoke night, and the casino (I made $12!).

Cozumel, Mexico was also a lot of fun. It was the exact day that I pictured when imagining what spring break would be like. The sun was bright blue, the water was blue-r, and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. We went to a beach club where there were chairs, a pool, and a bar/restaurant. It was such a pretty day and I just relaxed the whole time. I attempted to get in the water but it was really rocky and something swam across my feet so I ran out and didn’t bother with it again. After the beach we walked by the port where there were a bunch of souvenir shops and had some lunch at the Three Amigo’s Bar.

My absolute favorite part about the trip was the Cayman Islands, because Sarah, Whitney, Sean, and I had signed up for an excursion. We went to the city called “Hell”, to the sea turtle farm, and to a sand bar in the middle of the ocean to swim with sting rays. The city was named “Hell” because there are all these jagged rock formations from when the volcano erupted, and it looks like what most people think of when they think of hell. There is a gift shop where you can get all these souvenirs so we bought T-shirts that say “I’ve been to Hell and back” and I sent postcards to my parents and J that are postmarked from Hell. I thought it was pretty cool.

Next we went to the Turtle Farm! I was looking forward to this more than anything because I LOVE sea turtles! And it definitely did NOT disappoint! We started looking into this huge tank where there were huge turtles that weighed like 500 pounds. Then we went to the smaller pools where the babies were kept and we got to hold them! It was really funny because the turtle would flap their fins frantically when they were out of the water and to calm them down we had to rub their necks. And they really would stop flapping then and just chill. I kept having flash-backs to Finding Nemo. I also got to catch one out of the pool myself and hold it, so that was pretty cool. I was disappointed to find out that they raised turtles there to not only set some free, but also to EAT them. Not cool. I refused to try the turtle soup.

The last stop on the excursion was Sting Ray City. Several miles of the shore is a sand bar, where the water is so clear and turquoise, it’s breathtaking. There’s a sand bar that’s about 4 feet deep and since boaters have been going there for year and feeding the sting rays squid, they stick around and are people-friendly. I was armed and ready with my water-proof camera and all the courage I could muster (I mean look what happened to the Crocodile Hunter- I didn’t know what these things were capable of). I grabbed my snorkeling gear and climbed down the ladder about to jump in when a HUGE one swam right under me. I freaked. So much for the brave fa├žade. When the coast was clear I jumped in. It was so cool being totally surrounded by ocean but being able to stand. I wasn’t as scared after a while because the boaters would catch the sting rays and hold them for us to pet, hold, hug, kiss, etc. They would even let us float on our backs and run the rays up and down us like a massage. Their bellies are SO silky smooth! It was definitely one of the coolest things I’ve ever experienced and it made the entire trip very much worth it for me.

The last night of the cruise, as we headed back towards Tampa, I started getting sea sick again. So I’m somewhat weary about cruises because you never know when a storm is going to hit and you’re down for the count all night. And when your friends are lame and keep using water phrases like “it comes in waves” and “Kali can’t handle the motion of the ocean”, it makes you even more nauseous.
But overall I had a great time and was sad to get back to the real world of school. This is long enough, and if you are still reading, I commend you. Bye!