I am SO sorry that it has taken me so long to update my blog. I know you have lost sleep over it... right? :)
I made it home safe and sound (luckily) from my amazing adventure. I can honestly say, it has taken me this long to catch up. I love to travel, but each and every time I do, it takes me at least a week to catch up on all the work I fall behind on when I am gone. I think that is why I carry so much guilt with me when I travel. I am always thinking of the long list I have to come home to!
PLUS.. this trip was a bit different. I didn't get home until after mid-night Monday night and it took me several days to recover and get feeling better. I felt so dizzy and still felt like the ground was rocking underneath me. It was a very weird feeling. I had a full week and didn't get to really rest until Friday. :(
I have had several people ask me about my trip. I have had time to think about it.... think about what I loved... what I would do different.. what I learned.. etc. I can honestly say that it was a great experience BUT I did learn a few things along the way. As with all new adventures.. right?
Let me back up a bit... last May I had the amazing opportunity to attend Brave Girls Camp You might remember my post HERE At this camp, and since the camp I have been able to meet women from all over the world who share the common thread of Brave Girls. After our May camp, Brave Girls founders Melody Ross and Kathy Wilkens started to organize a reunion cruise for all of those gals who have been attendees of camp since their first camp in the fall of 2009. Plans were made.. excitement began to build and before we knew it we were on our way to the Bahamas.
Top Five Reasons to take a Cruise #1: One of my dearest friends was able to attend camp with me last May and so decided to attend the cruise together. I kept thinking of how lucky I was to have her with me the entire trip. If you ever decide to go.. be sure to go with someone you like! We had very long and interesting travel days to and from Florida. I can't imagine anyone (except my hubby) who I would rather have made this trip with.
Once we arrived in Florida, we connected with our dear friend from Oregon. She stayed in the hotel with us the first night. We laughed and laughed and talke and talked all night. Margaret is one of those people in my life that I have only known for a short time. Chance brought us together and we instantly connected. She has an amazing spirit. Plus.. she is a riot!
Top Five Reasons to take a Cruise #2: This was my first trip to Florida. I wasn't able to see much of the area simply because we went from the airport to our hotel then from hotel to the ship. BUT from what I saw.. Florida is beautiful. The area around the docks was amazing. AND the weather..... man.. why do I live in Idaho? I loved being able to wear my flip flops that day and not worry about a coat. It has been so cold and dreary here at home that being in nicer weather was.... well.. heaven.
To Five Reasons to take a Cruise #3: We cruised the Norwegian Cruise Line. They are most known for their "FREESTLYE" cruising which means that you can eat in most restaurants any time of day. There were only two restaurants on the ship that you had to make a reservation for. From the moment we boarded the ship food was available. When I left, my boys made me promise that I would take pictures of the food. They didn't care that I was going.. they were just jealous that I would be able to eat. They are so funny!
What is even MORE funny is that of course there was plenty of seafood to choose from AND I won't eat it. SO.. when my friend ordered lobster.. I was happy for her.. but trying hard not to freak out. I know.. I know.. you can't believe it.. but honestly.. all type of seafood creeps me out. I can't touch it.
I was happy to see this available...
Top Five Reasons to take a Cruise #4: I was immediately overwhelmed with the size of the ship. AND the ship we cruised on is not the largest ship by any means. Other cruise lines have much bigger vessels including the line we took. It really depends on the route you take and what the ship has to offer. Our ship consisted of 12 floors. 12!!! They are floating hotels. Seriously. Spas. Pools. Theaters. Restaurants. Basketball Courts. The works! I would LOVE to be able to go again simply to explore a new ship!
We arrived in the Bahamas the next morning. I couldn't believe it. I was in the Bahamas! What? I am just a girl from Idaho. Little 'ol Idaho. THIS is what I saw from my ship. The infamous Atlantis hotel. Being a small town Idaho girl, I didn't have the $$$ to go explore the hotel but it was pretty cool to see non the less.
The first day, we explored Nassau. Again... it is a lot of $$$ to be able to snorkel, para-sail, take tours, etc so our group simply window shopped a bit. Found a great restaurant and enjoyed each other. I am always amazed at other cultures. I am reminded quickly how grateful I am to live in the area of the world that I do and am SO grateful for the many things I have been blessed with.
The city reminded me so much of other European cities I have visited. The streets are very close together. Cars drive on the other side of the road. People are EVERYWHERE and it is a bit chaotic. These islands economy depends on the ships arriving each weekend. It is said that it is like Christmas to them when new tourists arrive. In Nassau you either have very wealthy or extremely poor people. There is not much in between.
So many people have jobs just like this one.. they spend the day watching the shore lines. Finding fish with sharp sticks. Adding them to buckets and taking them up to the restaurants. I wondered what their life had been like and if they would ever know anything outside of this small island they live on. Had they even heard of Idaho?
Top Five Reasons to take a Cruise #5: You get to experience a new world. A new culture. You have to step outside of your comfort zone and try food you have never heard of. Not once did I see good 'ol Idaho meat and potatoes on the menu. You come home THANKFUL for what you have, where you come from and most of all your family. You realize that as an American.. in spite of the many issues our country is dealing with.. we are a blessed people. We enjoy so many little things that people around the world don't even know exist.
We had fun singing karaoke. Well.. others had fun.. I was the observer.. I don't sing. Melody ROCKED the house singing "Smokin in the Boys Room" I couldn't believe it. She was so brave! I would never be able to do that.
We watched several shows... enjoyed a few of the games that were offered in the lounges.. but most of all simply enjoyed visiting and getting to know each other. Each of these women hold such a special place in my heart and I will be forever grateful for experiencing this NEW adventure with them.
The second day was spent on the private island of Grand Stirrup Bay which the Norwegian Cruise line owns. It was by far most most favorite day. The weather was perfect that day. We were able to relax along the beach. Enjoy great food. I even read a book. I never have time to read all the books I have on my list to read so that was a real treat for me.
The ship actually anchored a few miles from shore. We had to get off of the ship onto a smaller cargo type of boat and be taken to shore. It was a weird feeling boarding another ship in the middle of the ocean.. I tried not to think of it too much..
TIP: After we boarded the ship.. and especially that first night.. we quickly realized and were informed that over half of the passengers on the ship were SPRING BREAKERS from Florida. In fact, the ship we were on is known as the party ship among all the ships within the Norwegian line. I keep telling people that if I was to do it over, I would research a bit more which ship I was taken, the time of year I was going and what the ship had to offer. There were only a few gals that had cruised before, but what do we know? We were just there to be together. Who pays attention to that stuff or would have even thought to find out? It didn't even occur to me in all the months of planning.
So... here we were... very conservitive.. modest.. older.... wiser.. woman there to enjoy the scenary.. the shows.. the food.. etc and we did. Trust me we did. But with that came hundreds of very young people.. making very poor choices.. which.. well.. is always entertaiing when they are 100% plastered and think they can sing. Good times.
Again, I came home so grateful. Grateful for the friends my children have. Grateful that they are not surrounded by other kids that encourage them to party like these kids were. Grateful for our family unit. For my husband. Grateful for our religious beliefs.
Grateful that I was able to go. Experience so many new things. Connect with old friends and make new. I learned so much from each of them and hope they learned a bit from me.
Excited to start planning my next cruise. Next year Darren and I celebrate our 20 year anniversary. I think... think.. I just might try to pull it off. They can be affordable if you spend some time planing. And suggestions?
AND... don't think I forgot.. I have a beautiful bracelt from the Bahamas.... for...
Congrats! Email me.. I will ship it to you this week!