Since I have so many photos that I want to share with you all, I'm going to do it a couple of destinations at a time... (click on photos to enlarge, if you fancy)
Our trip began in beautiful San Juan, Puerto Rico. In anticipation of the gorgeous weather, I boarded the plane wearing a safari dress over leggings, which I stripped off as soon as we landed. It was wise choice in theory, but I forgot to consider that the metal buttons would set off the alarms in security resulting in a lovely body pat-down by the lady TSA agent.
Our hotel was just a few blocks from the beach, which we took advantage of as soon as we dropped our luggage off in our room. We stopped at a tiny, yet busy, restaurant en route to the beach where Jon and I shared a mofongo. What's a mofongo, you ask? It's pure deliciousness, that's what it is! Really though, it's a native Puerto Rican dish of plantains mashed with olive oil and various spices and includes a meat of your choice. We opted for chicken and wasted no time in scarfing it down. I was really proud of myself on this vacation because I stepped out of my normal food boundaries almost every single day. A cruise is the perfect time to do this because your meals are included in the cost and really, if you don't like it, you can send it back, or if you have a husband like Jon, he'll finish it for you!
Compared to other islands, this was an expensive rental fee for a chair and umbrella for the day. I couldn't resist this picture though.
After lunch and our stroll on the beach, we caught a taxi to Old San Juan, one of my favorites cities in the Caribbean. You may remember my photos from last year. I just can't resist the beautiful colors of their homes.
Wouldn't you just love to relax on this balcony every morning?
Before we knew it, Saturday was upon us and we were finally able to board our ship. We were on the Serenade of the Seas, which is a sister ship to the one we were on last year, Jewel of the Seas. Jon tends to like the bigger ships because they have more to do on board and well, they're just larger, but I really love this class of ship because it's more intimate and you end up making friends with total strangers.
Our first port of call was St. Thomas, famous for it's duty-free shopping and gorgeous beaches. You can sign up for excursions on the cruise (mini day trips) and St. Thomas held the first of the three excursions that we had planned throughout the week. It turned out to be our favorite of our whole cruise, and quite possibly, out of all of our cruising experiences.
We boarded a gorgeous catamaran in the port of Charlotte Amalie and it whisked us away to a beautiful snorkeling spot over a reef.
Guess who joined us on our little adventure? Yes, that's Pleepleus with the beautiful Charlotte-Amalie in the background!
On the way to our snorkeling spot, we sailed past none other than Eric Clapton! Well, who knows if he was actually in there, but that is most definitely his private yacht according to our guide!
I had the forethought to sneak a roll from breakfast and used this to lure fish to me as we snorkeled in the sparkling turquoise water. A handy trick learned from various SCUBA guides!
The fish below was Jon's favorite and he tailed it for a few minutes, getting some awesome shots in the process. Just look at the teeth on it! By the way, Jon's underwater camera case for his Canon was my Christmas gift to him. He had one for his old Canon, but needed a new one for his new camera that he got for his birthday. It takes wonderful pictures and can even go deep enough for SCUBA diving, though we didn't dive on this trip.
This school of fish loved my roll!
After snorkeling, the catamaran sailed us to a picturesque beach on St. John (another island to check off our list!). Jon has carved our names in a heart on the sand on just about every beach he's visited, just one of the many reasons I love this man! Unfortunately, this one got blurred by some water drops, but you get the idea.
Le sigh...isn't this dreamy? And yes, totally posed!
One of the best parts of our excursion (or any excursion for that matter), was the rum punch that was served for our sail back to Charlotte-Amalie. You will never taste the same rum punch twice in the Caribbean, of this I'm sure. The version we had on this trip had nutmeg grated on top of it, making it slightly spicy which I loved! We actually chose to do this excursion because it was described as a Champagne Catamaran Sail to St. John, with cheese and bread served as well. All I had to read was champagne and cheese and I was sold! Though I actually ended up drinking more rum punch than champagne (even though I'm not a rum drinker!) because it was just that good.
This is what happens when you get a bunch of tourists drunk on rum punch on a catamaran cruise, then send them on their way back to town on a route that includes a terrifying stretch of road named Donkey Hill. It was such a fun group of people! I wish we had taken a video so that you could hear the "woo-hoo's!" and see the whole busload raise their hands in unison on every dip!
Drunk, no? And don't you just love how the windows on the bus are heart shaped?
I had so much rum punch that shortly thereafter, I purchased a Bernard K. Passman piece in town that I never knew I wanted! It is absolutely gorgeous, though it did blow my whole cruise budget in our very first port of call! At least it's a collector's item!
After some shopping, we got back on board and Jon joined one of the poolside activities. That boy never sits down! I opted to enjoy a margarita instead.
It was our first formal night on the cruise, which I love and Jon abhors. He has to wear a suit for work every day so it's not really a treat for him to do it while on vacation. I, on the other hand, will find any excuse to don a pretty party dress!
I adore this photo of Jon's mom with her two favorite men...aren't they cute? And wowza, doesn't Jon look just like his dad?!
Here's me with my parents, though my dad is making a funny face. It's really so much fun to have our parents come along. Now if only we could convince the rest of our families! My cousin Brad and his wife Tiffany did join us for this cruise (so fun to have another couple our age along!), but they were celebrating Brad's birthday in a different restaurant that night.
Stay tuned tomorrow for St. Maarten and Antigua!