Sunday, May 9, 2010

Caribbean Cruise

Colby and I took a week off of work for a week to go play in the Caribbean aboard the Star Princess ship. We stopped off at four islands: Bahamas, St. Maarten, St. Thomas, and Grand Turk. With those four stops, and two full days at sea, we had plenty of time for adventure and relaxation. Some of our favorite things onboard the ship were the wonderful four-plus course dinners (we probably gained at least 5 pounds each), movies on the top deck under the stars, unlimited softserve, and relaxing by the pools. On the islands we did a lot of snorkeling and sight-seeing.

on the front of the sihp while leaving Ft. Lauderdale

at our muster station during the emergency drill
Nassau, Bahamas: Nassau was our least favorite stop of the four, but still enjoyable. We were only there for a few hours and it was overcast. While there we took a land taxi over to visit the Atlantis hotel with an agenda to visit the beautiful aquarium the taxi driver told us about. Mistake. We got there and the aquarium did appear to be beautiful, but that was only our impression from the small segment available to the public. Unlike our taxi driver said, non hotel guests must pay $40 each to enter. We opted out of that expense and adventure. We walked around a bit, then headed back toward the ship on a water taxi where we were told all about the famous people who own homes in the vicinity. Before boarding the ship we spent a little time in the straw market, a large market full of knock offs and such.

Atlantis in the back

At the Atlantis least the part we could see

Watching the stingrays at Atlantis

Formal night at dinner

Our 1st day at sea: Spent the whole day reading by the pool, laying out at the back of the ship and eating ice cream.

St. Maarten: Here we left the ship with our snorkel equiptment in hand ready to see the underwater life of the Caribbean. We spent the morning at Dawn's beach where we saw beautiful fish and even a sting ray. After a few hours, we took a taxi to Little bay where we had heard was full of amazing fish. Unfortunately, the information we were given was no longer true. Apparently a snorkeling shop was on the beach and they used to feed the fish, bringing in wonderful wildlife. The shop has since closed, leaving the water quite lifeless. Oh well. The first stop was beautiful. Our misfortune of this stop was forgetting to reapply the sunscreen. Our backsides were lobster-red from the sun baking down on them all day long. The water was so refreshing that we didn't even notice it. We certainly felt it later though!

Dawn's Beach

Little Bay

a delicious and refreshing coconut smoothie. so worth every penny.

leaving St. Maarten
St. Thomas: We contemplated even taking our snorkeling stuff off the ship at this island because we were in so much pain from our sunburn. Our fronts were red from laying of two days prior on the ship, and our backs were red from snorkeling in St. Maarten. We took the snorkeling stuff just in case. Our first stop on the island was at Magen's Bay, one of the Caribbean's top 10 beaches. It was beautiful; it is a protected bay full of crystal-clear, blue water lapping ever so lightly up on a span of white sandy beach. The entrance was quite crowded, so we headed down to a quiet spot and found a shady tree to keep us away from the painful sun. Yes, we were acting much like the retirees that were on our ship. We both sported t-shirts when we went into the water, definitely a first for me. After spending a few hours there, we decided to toughen up and go to Coki Beach for snorkeling. There aren't any fish at Magens Bay, so snorkeling would mean another taxi ride. We made it up to Coki Beach and are so glad we did. The fish were amazing. The most incredible thing we saw were schools of thousands on inch long fish. As we sawm through them we saw a few 3-4 foot Bass at the bottom and realized/were told the bass were swimming around the small fish and making "bait balls," balls of the fish that they would later swim through with open mouths. Pretty interesting. When these little fish would change direction, their scales would capture the sun and reflect a beautiful silver shimmer through the clear water.

breakfast before heading off the ship to St. Thomas

St. Magen's Bay

Our shady spot on the beach...had to protect that sunburn :)

In our "sun protection" attire

Coki Beach
Grand Turk:Our favorite island was probably Grand Turk, which is the capitol of Turks and Caicos; it is a tiny island, only 7x1 miles, in the middle of the world's third largest coral reef. Instead of taking a taxi to a nearby snorkeling area, we rented a scooter and drove around the whole island stopping to snorkel, visiting the lighthouse and driving through the towns, all while dodging the free roaming cows, donkeys and horses of the island. We saw some neat coral, beautiful shells, tiny jelly fish (which we also had to swim through--ouch), brightly colored fish, a flounder (the one that lay on the bottom on their sides and blend in with the sand) and a lion fish. We ended the evening on the ship pulling away from the island during a beautiful sunset. Perfect ending to a perfect day.

arriving at Grand Turk

scootin' on the scooter. We had a blast!

The lighthouse that was brought over from the UK years ago to help prevent the many shipwrecks occurring on the reef.

Governor's Beach

Final day at sea: more relaxing, laying out, reading and eating...


Lindsey said...

That looks like soooooooo much fun, Katie! I want to go on a cruise SOOOOO bad!!!

AaReAn said...

um next time I wanna come along! haha just pack me in your suit case!

Alisa said...

SO fun!! I'm jealous! glad you guys had a good time!

Brittney said...

Wow! That looks amazing... I'm kind of jealous now. Glad you guys had fun!

Brittany H said...

Thanks for sharing . . . looks like a ton of fun!

Amy said...

katie this looks like such a GREAT trip. Glad you guys had fun. Wish I could be on that boat right now!!!

M.C. Sommers said...

I'm so jealous of your cruise! Nate and are trying to plan one for next year. I've wanted to go again ever since our honeymoon. Sorry about the burn.

The Heiner Family! said...

Love the pictures thanks for sharing! It looks like you guys had a blast in the Sun! :)