|Aaahhh...vacation, at last.|
|We JUST made it under the bridge. I wish I had taken a picture of it. But I was too amazed.|
Once we were under the bridge and on our way, we decided to get another drink and explore the ship. There were 14 decks, at least 6 bars (that I can remember), an ice skating rink, Johnny Rockets, 3 pools and 6 hot tubs. In addition, there was a computer lab and a library. We were waiting for an important email, so Brian did check emails a couple of times just to see if it came through, and I forgot a book, so I used the library.
Our first official honeymoon picture. Drinks in hand, wind in our hair and of course, smiles on our faces.
When we decided on a cruise, we decided to book an inside room instead of upgrading to a suit. We figured that we wouldn't be in the room very much, and that we could use the money we'd use for the upgrade for alcohol and fun on the ship. I'm glad we did that. I actually quite like inside rooms because they are pitch black when you turn the lights off, which makes for EXCELLENT sleeping. The first night we slept until 10:30am. Which is LATE for me. I needed it...and because it was always black inside, we were able to have a 5pm or 6pm nap each day before dinner and fun.
|The bathroom wasn't too bad, actually. I call this "practice" for a smaller bathroom when we live on a boat!|
This is the main pool deck, where we spent most of our time during the day. There were 2 salt water pools here which were great fun because when the ship moved, so did the water, so it was like our own wave pool! These pools were huge compared to the pools on Carnival. I was pleasantly surprised.
One night we went back to our room to take a nap and saw this invitation stuck in our door. It was a reception for newlyweds! We're such geeks that we were very excited about being invited because we were honeymooners. But we didn't go to the actual reception because it conflicted with a show and also dinner. We figured we didn't want to sit around and talk about our wedding with other newlyweds anyway, even if there was going to be free champagne.
|Brian got artsy with this shot. :)|
There were a couple of days that we needed to just get away from the music and people to just be with each other and to enjoy the open sea. So after a few hours at the pool, we went down to one of the side decks on deck 4, pulled our chairs up to the railing and just sat there looking at the water. One day I read a little bit while Brian napped. It was glorious.
|View from my chair as I looked left.|
Another thing about cruises is that they have "formal night". It's usually paired with a reception with the captain of the ship and free alcohol is provided for an hour or so. Since our cruise was a whole week long, we actually had two formal nights. This one was my favorite, because Brian wore his marrying suit and bow tie. This was the night we met the captain, which was fun. He talked with us about the Red Sox and asked when we were going to turn it around. (Actually, he talked with Brian about it, which I found to be funny, because I am more of a fan than he is!) We didn't buy the picture we took with him because we wanted the one on the right of just the two of us. (They were $20 each!)
It only takes about a day to really cruise to Bermuda, but our cruise took 3 to get there because there isn't any dock space until Wednesday. (Really.) So we were going pretty slow at first. Somewhere around day 2.5 the water started looking a little more blue. Which was very exciting. Also exciting was seeing a whole pod of whales swim by our ship. At breakfast I thought that I saw a spray of water like a spout, but then thought I was just imagining things because I wanted it to happen so badly. But as we walked out of the pool area, Brian spotted them! We watched them for a few minutes until we couldn't see them anymore and moved on. It felt very magical to me. I've seen whales in the wild before, but only on a whale watch-where we were hunting for them. Not just driving by. It was very cool.
So the next day we went to talk to the head waiter. We told him that we'd like to change tables to something more "in" the dining room. I asked if he had a smaller table available, but he didn't. He offered to seat us smack dab in the middle of the room, right next to the captains table. The people we'd be sitting with, he said, were all older couples in their 50's and 60's and they'd love to have a young couple at the table. "They'll love you. You won't believe the attention you're going to get!", he said.
Um. No. We were indeed in the middle of the room, right near the captains table. However, the table of 12 only had 2 other people sitting there that first night (at the new table, 2nd night in the dining room) and we found out that they didn't even belong there! They had missed their first seating dinner and were placed here just for the night! They were nice enough and we enjoyed the conversation, but we never sat with them again. For most of the time, we had a HUGE table for 12 to ourselves, right in the middle of the dining room.
It was quite hysterical. The waitstaff thought it was funny too, and the maitre d' came to talk with us every night. We did, indeed, get a lot of attention, but it wasn't from people at the table!
|Our view from the table. The table with the black table cloth was the captain's table. He only dined there one night.|
|The ceiling in the center of the dining room-right above our table. It was much more beautiful in person. Those little white dots were lights. So pretty.|
|Our waiter gave us puzzles to solve. This one stumped us. Moving only one toothpick, make the equation equal 139.|
|Our table was dubbed "the biggest table for 2" by the Maitre D'. It was actually quite a bit longer than it appears.|
The ship had a plethora of bars and lounges to explore, so almost every night we went to a different only. However, we did find Dizzy's Lounge on the 14th deck which we really enjoyed. It was a jazz bar, though they only played jazz on the last night. There was a band comprised of older Asian men who really rocked. They played everything-and their voices were pretty good too! We went there I think 3 nights.
|One of the bars near the promenade. They played Latin music the night we visited.|
|Dizzy's Lounge had these cool glass globes all over, lit up and changing colors.|
|Dizzy's Lounge, as seen by my seat at the bar.|
And my husband in front of the ship at the dockyard, before we explored the island.
|The dockyard. Basically a tourist trap that catered to cruises. We didn't spend much time here at all.|
|Feral chickens and cats everywhere.|
For our first day in Bermuda, we chose a snorkeling excursion. The one we picked was a shipwreck snorkel which included one free Rum Swizzle. This would be the only swizzle we had on our trip, because we didn't venture into any tourist areas, other than the beach, shown below.
Our captain for the snorkel was an 8th generation Bermuda native. He was pretty cool and told us a little about the island as we motored out to the 30 foot deep shipwreck area. He also told us that in Bermuda, they don't see sharks very often because it's surrounded by so many coral reefs that the big fish they eat don't enter, so it's not worth it to them. I'd heard this before, actually, but it was reassuring as we jumped into the open water. When we got out, he told us that another boat in the area claimed to see a shark and pulled his guests out of the water, but he was doubtful, so he let us stay in while he watched closely. Considering he said he's only seen 2 sharks in his life in Bermuda, I think the guy was wrong too.
The time in the water itself was great. The water is so nice and warm and clear, that it's just fantastic just floating there. But then when you look down into the water to see all of the fish and the also the wreck we were over, it was amazing. The water in Bermuda tasted different than the water here in New England. It seemed to me to be much saltier, and also, more bitter. Additionally, it doesn't really have a ocean smell like we have here at home. Brian suggested it's probably because they have less crap in their waters than we do, and I think he's right.
|Our ship as seen from the excursion boat.|
|I was trying to get our waiter, who is in the back. But the guy with the napkins on his head was our assistant waiter.|
And each side was flanked with these sexy girls.
One of the shows on our ship was called "Love and Marriage". It was basically like the Newlywed Game and Brian wanted to be in it. I agreed to try to get in it with him, but unfortunately we didn't make it. The "audition" was to make out in front of the entire theater. And there was a couple who were about 20 years old who really got into it and therefore, won the spot. We totally would have been better than them. Though we probably wouldn't have won, based on the questions they asked!
Before the show, Brian got us drinks. They had something like the mango tango I talked about above only this one added a layer of strawberry. Yum! While he was getting the drink he mentioned that he was trying to get his wife into the show and that I needed a little courage. So, the guy gave me an extra dose of rum on top! It was delicious. We also kept these blinky glasses. They'll be fun on the boat.
Our next towel animal was an elephant! For those of you who don't know, I heart elephants.
Day 2 in Bermuda was an adventure. We bought a two day unlimited bus pass and road all the way to Hamilton Parish, which is at the other end of the island. The buses there are a wild ride. Since the entire island is only 1 square mile wide, the roads are very narrow. And it's pretty wind-y and hilly there too. There were many times when I thought we were going to hit the side of the wall. It was like a carnival ride! The trip to the cave took about 1.5 hours and the plus was that we got to see the entire island on the cheap instead of paying for a tour. The downside is that we wasted travel time. Had we known it was that far, we probably wouldn't have gone. Regardless, it was neat to see the caves.
The Crystal Caves were discovered by two little boys looking for their cricket ball. They went over to the bushes where they thought the ball would be, and found a hole in the earth. They proceeded to run to find rope and a flashlight and they repelled down into the hole, which was pitch black. The story goes that they stayed down there for over 3 hours looking for their ball. The tour guide shut all of the lights out to show us just how dark it would have been for them. They were nuts.
|This one is said to be over 3 billion years old.|
The water in the caves was just as clear as it was on the outside. And the cool thing about this was that we could see the different layers of rocks under the water. There were more little caves under there, it seems. And in one cave, we were told that it was actually the old ceiling of the cave, which collapsed thousands of years ago due to an earthquake.
100% humidity exists in these caves. It wasn't wonderful, but we were only in there for about 20 minutes, so it was OK. One cave had 83 steps and the other had 88 steps. Which weren't as bad as we thought they'd be, except the 88 step cave was super steep and the steps were wet. Thankfully they have benches outside. :)
As I said earlier, we did really enjoy the bus ride, even though it took longer than we thought it would. My favorite thing is always to see how the locals live so going through their neighborhoods on their bus was awesome. I tried to snap lots of pictures as we drove by houses and neighborhoods, but the bus flies, so it was tough.
There is a huge discrepancy in wealth in Bermuda. In the dockyard and in the next few surrounding towns, there is extreme poverty and one local told us that it wasn't safe for us to be out alone in that area at night. Some of the houses were literally shacks, others were missing windows and were crumbling. It was very sad to think of people living like that. This beautiful blue house is actually in one of the "poor" sections.
When we were on our snorkel tour, one woman asked the boat captain if the houses on the water is where he lives. He chuckled a sort of bitter laugh and said that was the projects. Brian and I remarked that we wouldn't mind growing up with that view in the projects. The apartments looked clean and bright and literally sat on the edge of the crystal clear blue water. Little did we know that the backside of those very same apartments were in shambles. Apparently the front is painted so they look nice on the water side. Kind of crazy. These were in really, really bad shape on the road side.
We stopped for lunch in Hamilton on the way home from the caves. The one thing no one warned us about was that the school children use the public buses and if you travel on said buses around 3pm, you'll be swimming in a sea of Bermuda children. Next time, we'll linger in other places until after they have cleared out a bit. We did get an "authentic" experience because we got to see a real life school yard (well, bus station) fight. Two boys went at it. The police were called, but they didn't arrive until after both kids were long gone, on their own buses home.
We didn't dine at any of the well known tourist places. In fact, we pretty much ate out only once because our food was already paid for on the ship, and it was easy enough to hop on, eat, freshen up and go back out. And also, we didn't want to waste more time on the buses just so we could go have a $15 drink at a famous inn. Maybe if we were staying on the island, but not this time. The one time we did eat out, we made sure we had a dark an stormy, one of the drinks they are known for in Bermuda. Then we shared jumbo shrimp in garlic butter with crostini (SO good) and calamari with a delicious sweet sauce.
After we had our snack, we headed back to the bus station to go visit Horseshoe Beach for a couple of hours. As I mentioned, we had a long trip to and from the caves, so we didn't get a full beach day on Wednesday. But that's OK. The beach was gorgeous and not many people were there at that hour. We swam and explored the coves and marveled at how beautiful it is there. And also, planned on returning the following day for a full day at the beach before leaving the port to come home.
As we were walking around the cove above, Brian saw a little cave.
Brian: Look what I found!
Me: And let me guess...you're going to climb up there to explore it?
And off he went. :) I would have followed but my knee had been bothering me and was quite swollen from climbing all of the stairs at the caves, so I just stayed and took pictures.
|Entertaining myself while Brian explored. I actually really like this picture of myself!|
|09-14-12 in pink sand.|
And here are pictures from day two...which was just so wonderful, I can't even explain it. We were out over our heads in the warm, salty water, riding the waves for hours. It was just perfect. The beaches are so clean-no rocks, no shells, no seaweed-it's just pristine pink-ish, soft sand. Really, it's paradise.
And then it was time to leave. We each paid $2 to a man with a pieced together van to take us to the top of the very steep hill. His sign said it would be the best $2 we'd spend that day, and he was right. I'm not sure I could have walked up that hill with my knee, which was more swollen and actually hurt this day. We stood in line for the bus (with very annoying people) for a bit and when it finally arrived, several people from the back started to push up. Knowing that those of us in the front were about to get passed by (and that one family had a child in a stroller) I stood in front of the door and held my arms out so they couldn't pass. And I said, "Let these people on first-they were here in the front of the line." For some reason, it actually worked and we all made it-though we had to stand for most of the way.
|Truest sign on the island!|
When we arrived back on the ship, we found this guy.
The next night was our last formal night. We spent it by going to the casino (the only night we went...even though I know it seems like I already talked about it.) and then to Dizzy's Lounge. The casino served me a very strong Mai Tai and at Dizzy's, we both had some whiskey on the rocks. It was enough to really put me over the edge. I don't get drunk very often, but I was very happy that night. This picture was taken pre-drunk Lisa.
|Formal Night #2|
And this one was post-drunk Lisa.
Every night before going up to our room we stopped by the cafe for a snack. It usually consisted of a small sandwich and a couple of slices of pizza, as that's really all they served (which was kind of crappy, actually, but what can you do?). On this night, I felt the need to snap lots of pictures of the promenade area. And also-I apparently exclaimed that the pizza I was eating was the BEST EVER!
It wasn't...it was just hot and fresh, and I was drunk. :)
And I guess that when we got back to the room, I promptly freshened up in the bathroom and went to bed. And fell faaaassst asleep. And snored like a bear! LOL! I don't remember getting to the room. I never get that tipsy, ever. So I'm glad that I was with Brian.
And then, before we knew it, our cruise was over. It's funny, because while we were there, it seemed like time was standing still. We were so relaxed and happy and we were doing SO much to fill our days and nights, that it seemed like we were there for far longer than we were. But then, on Sunday, it seemed like it flew by. We did a good job of soaking up ever bit of time we had together on the cruise and I think we both really enjoyed being there, on the ship in the open ocean. And also exploring a new island together.
I can honestly say that our wedding day was the best day of my life, and that our honeymoon was the best week ever. We're back to reality tomorrow, which is sad because I love having Brian all to myself for a time, but exciting because we're about to embark on so many new adventures together as husband and wife. And really, it's hard to be sad that something so great has passed when it only means that a full life of adventure awaits with the person you love most in the world.