Sunday, August 18, 2013

The best ten days of my life

I'm back from 10 glorious days on vacation with my husband! To avoid the crushing depression of having to return to real life, I'm spending today uploading pictures to Facebook and writing this blog post. I spent a LOT of time fantasizing about this vacation, mainly while running, and it exceeded even my wildest expectations. 

I would really like to post the 325 pictures that I already put on Facebook, plus all the ones that didn't make it to Facebook, and spend 8 hours writing a detailed description of all our adventures over a series of 10 posts. But in the interest of maintaining readership on a public blog, I'll do my best to hit the highlights in an amusing manner.

I'm married to a huge Harry Potter fan, so when I found out we were cruising out of Port Canaveral, I knew we had to fly down early to see Harry Potter world. 

 I thought we'd spend the entire day in Harry's village or whatever. I really tried to read the first book (for my 3rd time!) but I only managed to get about 65% done before our visit. I figured it would be like when your friend invites you to their work happy hour, and then you spend the whole time nodding and smiling while they use acronyms you don't get and complain about people you don't know. Actually, teachers are the worst for this, don't ever hang out with them if you're in another profession.

Color me uninformed. Little did I know that Harry Potter was just one little section (out of 7!) of an entire amusement park in Universal Studios. Thank goodness my mom gave me a guidebook and I spent more time reading that then Harry Potter. We spent about 2 hours checking out the Wizarding World.

Whatever Butterbeer is, it's delicious.

 The next 10 hours were spent exploring the rest of Islands of Adventure. Despite the fact that I'd only seen one of the movies featured, it was freaking awesome. Eric said the rides were the best he'd ever been on, and that's coming from someone who grew up less than 30 minutes from Cedar Point.

We were actually IN Jurassic Park.
Saturday, it was time for our cruise. I had three goals.

1. Come back just as white
2. Come back ten pounds heavier
3. Eat soft serve no less than twice a day

I'm sad to report I failed on all three counts. I slathered on SPF50 every morning and reapplied all day, but by the end, I noticed that my skin was no longer the same color as this robe. Even Eric noticed.

Couples that spa together, stay together.
We did eat soft serve twice most days.

Ending a night with softserve cones on the deck - perfection.
The times we didn't we supplemented with brownies or other desserts, which should have made #2 a done deal. I only gained five pounds. Luckily though, I'd already gained a few before the trip, probably due in no small part to my adventures with buttercream. Don't bother looking for it in pictures, I've already sucked in/cropped/hit behind Eric/added an instagram filter as necessary.

Tiramisu and a bread pudding to share.  The waiter asked "May I pour hot vanilla sauce
on it?". Um, yes. 
Totally worth it. I'll gladly eat a salad for lunch for the first month of school in exchange for 7 days of unbelievable cuisine. 

Anyway, I think I know the problem. I went into the trip fully prepared to work out once and only once: a jog on the track so that my Garmin would show I was running in the middle of the ocean. I did that, and it was at a 2:45 minute mile pace, thank you very much. 

This amuses me way too much.
But Eric actually wanted to keep in shape or something. The first morning of our trip, we docked in Nassau at 8:30, and apparently Eric intended to hit the gym first. He ordered room service for 6am. I forgot room service was even an option, so when I woke up to a knock at the door, I was positive this was happening.

I don't have a program to capture video on my home computer and didn't feel like downloading one so you can enjoy that 4 second netflix clip captured on an iphone and uploaded to Youtube illegally. If you don't know what that is, it's the scene from Titanic when they wake the steerage passengers up after they hit the iceberg, but honestly if you don't know what that is I don't know if I can have you in my life anymore.

 I ran 5 miles with this view. 

Then, we did a circuit Eric created at the gym - yeah, I actually lifted weights. I was even still sore from lifting them with Eric in our hotel in Orlando 3 days earlier!

While working out, we met a guy who teaches Insanity classes in NYC. I don't know if I've ever mentioned this, but Eric did the whole Insanity program this spring. By the way, it works. I didn't think you could improve on perfection, but he somehow got even hotter and more chiseled.

So our new friend Sam taught us a private Insanity class Mon-Thu! Again, you can't argue with this view.

Speaking of sexy - you're welcome.
Insanity is one hard workout. I died. I also ran a few times, and did a yoga and a pilates class (because they were free with our room and the other plebians passengers had to pay $12 for them).

Being on a cruise, especially as it pulls away from the pier, is the best representation of humanity I have ever witnessed. Everyone is happy, dancing, cheering, polite, and ready to be best friends with everyone. It's like the polar opposite of being in a Walmart or DMV.

Mexican Fiesta deck party's 400 person conga line Thursday night.
Our cruise stopped in four ports. Once again, I'll try to hit the highlights. 

Sunday: Nassau, Bahamas.

We wandered around, and found a rum distillery with free tours.

Back on board, we busted into the red velvet champagne we had brought on board (sounds amazing, doesn't it? It wasn't.) and got pretty for the first cruise elegant night.

Monday: Fun day at sea. We did our first Insanity class, went to the spa, had breakfast, then sat on the adults only deck for like 3 hours staring at the ocean, dozing, reading, and playing chess. How about every week starts like that? Oh, then after dinner we went back up and watched the sunset in a hot tub. 

No big deal, just pure bliss and perfection.
Tuesday: San Juan, Puerto Rico. We walked over to Castillo San Cristobal, a fort that had amazing city views. It was also super high up and we climbed a lot of hills, which may have contributed to my minimal weight gain.

A real dungeon! Not going to lie, I mainly wanted to be "imprisoned" here to
better identify with Game of Thrones characters. 

Drinks on the ship were watered down and ridiculously overpriced, so Eric chugged this teeny tiny Coors light for $1!
 Wednesday: Virgin Islands. We docked at St. Thomas.

We did our only excursion of the trip here, taking a Ferry to snorkel at St. John. It was a very generous birthday gift from my dad - I can't thank him enough, because the beach there was absolutely amazing. It's one of the top ten beaches in the world! Plus we got to ride past Michael Jordan's house on the way over.

Michael Jordan's house!
Trunk Bay Beach. We snorkeled here. No words. Also #nofilter

Yeah, I'll allow this, so you can fully appreciate how unbelievable this beach was.
And how hardcore I am for snorkeling without the flippers or life vest.
There was an underwater trail - plaques explaining what you were seeing and where to go along a live coral reef. I really just felt like I needed to pinch myself because I couldn't believe how lucky we were to be there. That's a rare non-sarcastic sentiment in this blog. 

Wednesday night was our last cruise elegant night and we wised up and asked someone else to take a pic. I mean, I am a blogger, after all.

Thursday: Grand Turk (part of Turks and Caicos). 

I was dying to rent a bike to tour the island (it's only 4 miles long!) but we didn't bring enough cash. Instead, we took a cab to "downtown". I got hot walking around, so I just walked off the street into the ocean. I would really like this option more often.

This may come as a relief to you - I don't have any pictures of downtown. Because that's where Eric lost our camera. I had been backing up our pictures to my tablet every night and our camera was super old, dented, scratched, and basically no longer the greatest. Also, when he came back from searching for it to tell me it was officially gone, I was laying on a beach chair with this view. 

I don't think there's any first world pain that could have upset me here.
 To my real life friends and family: he's pretty pissed at himself so let's not ever bring this up.

Because it was paradise, we took a few more iPhone photos.

Friday was our last day at sea. So sad. We weren't really interested in the show that night, so we took advantage of having our private spa all to ourselves!

You may remember my rant about Carnival when we first booked our trip for June and then had to work. As a result, they rebooked us and upgraded us to a spa room. We've never flown first class, or really had any special privileges or anything, so the fact that we had access to a private spa that other passengers couldn't go in was extremely exciting.

Arriving and finding our spa vouches and slippers.
See? PRIVATE. Only 50 of the 4,500 passengers could go!

Special fancy thalassotherapy pool (basically a hot tub).
After the hot tub, we got to go through a series of four thermal rooms that all purportedly have magical powers to make you superhuman. Since I'm always cold, even in the Caribbean, I just liked them because they were thermal and had hot, ergonomic chairs that overlooked the ocean.

Laconium room

The other rooms were steam rooms so I couldn't get a picture but they were sweet. 
And that was our fabulous, wonderful, just absolutely perfect vacation! To anyone still reading - thanks for indulging me! 

What was your favorite vacation? Anyone been on a cruise? What did you think?


  1. Ok, way jealous of the private spa!! I've never been on a cruise because I'm not entirely sure they're my thing BUT I just told Will that reading this post made me want to try one :)

  2. I have never been on a cruise, but I've always been intrigued. I think I would really struggle with the only having one day in each awesome place, though! So much to see!

    You guys are basically VIP. Way to go!

    Also, my dad left our entire camera bag in the trunk of a cab when we were in Italy once. It was back in the film-camera days, so we lost EVERYTHING and it was the last few days of our vacation. He has NEVER forgotten it.

  3. This looks so amazing!! Glad you guys had a wonderful time (and that our booze-loving ways helped you out). Snorkeling is so much fun. I love the idea of a path to follow rather than just meandering.

    Our favorite vacation was our honeymoon. The all-inclusive was the way to go...most relaxing week ever.

  4. This post made me so insanely jealous, I'm not sure we can be friends anymore. I'm going to try to get over it, though.

    My favorite vacation was probably when we went to NC with my entire extended family. I love just sitting around doing nothing all day on the beach.

  5. The best part of this post were the bikini pics.

  6. Amazing vacay!! I've been wanting to go on another cruise for two years--now I'm desperate! They're like sleep away camp for adults, so much fun. It's ridiculous.

    I'm glad your's turned out so awesome! Amazing photos. Love your strapless blue and white dress.

  7. Insanity workouts on vacation don't sound that fun but that snorkeling trip sounds amazing!!

  8. What an AMAZING sounding trip! I'm always really impressed with how hard you and your hubby work (seriously, I could NOT keep up with your schedules) so it's great it was so wonderful!

  9. I have always thought that if I were to go on a cruise, it would be exactly like your trip. It sounds like you guys had a fabulous time! I am insanely jealous, but I know how hard you guys worked for this, so that helps keep me from getting too jealous. :)


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