Sunday, August 3, 2014

Our Cruise - Mexico, Belize, Honduras & Grand Cayman!

Oh my gosh - can I just say, BLESSED!
oh, and Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
Eric's parents have always been more generous and kind than pretty much every human I've come in contact with, but this is so far beyond...

We had a blast. We loved how our group was small (Mark, Ane, Rachel, Tighe, Eric and Me) so we really got to spend quality time with each other. 
On Saturday we flew to Florida to spend a night in our hotel.

I learned Tighe had been a bell hop so I allowed him to pull our luggage, and me :) Aren't I nice?

Sunday we got to board the ship - we went on the Carnival Legend. It is much smaller than the Allure of the Seas (the largest cruise ship in the world) that we went on 2 years ago - which was nice in that it wasn't so overwhelming.

 We enjoyed relaxing and exploring the ship.

 We had a window seat at dinner (our assigned table) every night - seriously lucky! And our waiters were hysterical! They listened as we discussed which meals we enjoyed most and then would magically produce another one haha. I could get used to eating several appetizers, entree's and desserts every meal! In fact, I did get used to it! Coming home was hard! Sunday night, we played King of Tokyo then Eric and I hit the hot tub and crashed till late morning. Heaven!
Their first wins :)

Monday was a sea day. We had so much fun exploring the ship further, playing mini golf with Rachel & Tighe, and simply doing nothing!

Tighe named these chairs the "tea cups" - pretty appropriate I'd say. They had holes in the back to create a nice wind current! While we were sitting there, we got to see a whale! It was spouting water though it never truly surfaced - we only got to see it's back. They are so beautiful!

Monday night was Captain's Night (formal dinner). I had so much fun. Seriously. It didn't have to be "formal" - I could have simply worn a skirt buuuuuuuuuuuut... why not dress up fancy? So I did. And I loved it. I also loved the attention it got me, haha! The waiters couldn't stop saying what a transformation it was to see me from normal wear and make up to formal wear! They all said they did double takes. So sweet! And of course I got to sit beside the HOTTEST man on the ship!!! 
It was fun but a bit tricky altering this dress to fit better and for it to work with garments - definitely worth it I think! I'm kind of in love with the back!

We had fun having the ship photographers grab us for a photo here or a photo there. We purchased our two favorites and I love them!

Tuesday was Cozumel, Mexico.
We went there with the excursion of playing on the beach in mind. Years ago, Eric's family went and found a beach with a bunch of blow up toys to play on. We found a similar, if not the same, beach and had a blast!
First we played on this awesome round blow up that we could get to go in circles as we rotated ourselves.

There were also fun slides we went on and this super cool rock climbing one. I may or may not have climbed to the top before everyone else got out of the water...

It was tricky to jump off with others trying to climb up because they'd rock the whole thing! But we managed it :)

So much fun!!!
When we got back to the beach, Eric's parents told us they found a place to sign up for parasailing. This is something they had done before but none of us kids had done it so they signed the 4 of us up. I was soooooooooooooooo excited!
We jumped on the boat and headed out!
See? So excited, haha!
Mark was standing on the shore watching and waiting to take pictures. He thought he saw us but he wasn't sure... Then he saw red swim trunks and thought, "oh, Eric wore those!" Then he zoomed in on my toes and saw they were pointed, "oh, that's for sure Jessie." Then I bent over backwards... there was no question after that, haha.
 I'm still in awe of how amazing a job God did... he thought of everything, literally! We had a 10 minute ride and it was not long enough! I could have stayed up there forever!
We came back down though and enjoyed lunch at the restaurant on the beach. We had fresh coconut water and made friends with the parrots!

Wednesday we went to Belize City, Belize where we did zip lining and cave tubing!
We went on a long bus trip to get to the jungle.
We hiked through the jungle first. That was almost the best part - our guide is one of the smartest people I've ever met. He knew everything about every plant and animal we came across!

A large part of me is jealous that everyone else got to simply stand on the platform to get unhooked at each landing site - where as I was required to stand on tip toes and pull down on the ropes. lol

The caves we tubed through were so cool! We got to see lots of formations and tons of bats!
 Then it was a long bus ride back and a race to make it on the ship before they left. So fun!

Thursday was Rhoatan, Honduras.
It was just shopping - lots of shopping. I went out by myself but managed to run into Rachel and Mom which made it even more fun!

In the evening was the second formal dinner - the less formal than the first (if that makes sense)
I still had fun dressing up. Eric was so patient throughout the entire cruise posing for each picture.
Every night of the cruise, you could find Rachel, Tighe, Eric and myself in the buffet area. They had a pizza place open 24/7. We ate probably 12 pizzas per night while playing King of Tokyo. I am so glad we brought that game! It was so much fun! I loved getting to know both Rachel and Tighe better. Here's wishing they lived closer! Perhaps one day...

Friday was Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands.
We went to a wild life protected marine to swim with and hold sting rays.
Before anyone has an aneurism, unless we ourselves did something very stupid, it was completely safe. We trolley/bus to a boat and then took a 20 minute boat ride out to the preserve.

yeah - he's a goof.
My dad loaned us some sweet underwater cameras to get some fun video footage with.
This first video, you get to watch Eric scoop up a sting ray. He was like the sting ray whisperer. They'd come right up to him and he'd hold them and then hand them to another tourist.

We also got to hold small squids and feed the sting rays! It felt really cool to have them suck the food out of our hands.

It was such a unique and incredible experience to hold these magnificent creatures.
We did a little shopping after and then headed back to the ship.

Saturday was a sea day as we headed back. After watching a movie in Eric's Parents' room, we looked outside the window and I thought I saw large flying fish (we saw tons of them all week). But they seemed too big... I mentioned I saw something and as I looked closer I realized they were DOLPHINS! A whole pack of dolphins were outside jumping and doing tricks! It was so beautiful!

That day we also enjoyed lounging around the ship, an illusionist show (so strange...),
 and more King of Tokyo!

 We also made sure to get a picture with the awesome waiters who took care of us!

Sunday we raced off the ship due to our early flight. We had a long trip with lots of layovers ahead of us, but I was ready. 7 days is the perfect length. I definitely was missing my kiddos by the end!
(as in creeper staring at all the other kids in the airport kind of thing...)
yeah, more King of Tokyo at the airport.

Now for the part you've all been waiting for! The parade of towel animals from our trip!

We had such an amazing experience - better than I could have ever asked for! I'm so grateful to Eric's parents and all the love they show us. They are the best!

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