I know not everybody enjoys cruises, but they are my favorite way to travel. I absolutely love how organized they are. All I need to do is show up, and all of our accommodations, meals, entertainment, and itinerary are set up. They are super affordable too, which makes them that more appealing. I see many, many cruise vacations in our future!
Since Ryan starts IDC school in the summer, we won't be able to vacation for an entire year. In fact, he can't take any leave at all during that year. Even though our cruise to Europe was less than 6 months ago, we wanted one last vacation before the PCS. We found this cruise which left out of Baltimore, which made it very convenient because we didn't need to spend money flying to the departure port. The cruise was 8 nights, with 4 stops in Nassau, Bahamas; Cococay, Bahamas; Port Canaveral, FL; and Key West, FL.
Our first stop was in Port Canaveral. We decided to relax and spend the day at the beach. I rented a wetsuit and went surfing. I've gone before, and since we are moving to Southern California I definitely see more surfing in my future. It was such a nice climate change from snow to being able to wear a tank top and shorts! One of the couples we are dinner with took a bus to Disney World at this stop. As much as I would have loved it, I know it would've been super hard to only spend a few hours there as opposed to several days.
Our second two stops were in Nassau and Cococay. We went snorkeling in Nassau, but other than that we weren't super impressed with the island. Cococay on the other hand, was amazing. Amazing isn't even the right word... It was divine. When I think of a tropical paradise, Cococay is exactly what I pictured. It's Royal Caribbean's private island, surrounded by the clearest water and packed full of activities and plenty of sand. We took a jetski tour around the island, and then grabbed lunch and relaxed in a hammock. Then, we walked down the island to a secluded area. We were the only people there, and we spent the whole afternoon relaxing, reading, swimming, talking, and just enjoying life. I've said it before (and I'm sure I'll say it again) that I feel most at peace near the water. My mind was clear, and I felt totally serene there. Swimming in the ocean felt like I was swimming in a huge fish tank. Because the water was so clear, I could see so far out in every direction. Bliss.
Our final stop was Key West , FL. I had been here once before as a child, but it was totally different as an adult. We had the mandatory key lime pie (ours was frozen and dipped in chocolate - so bad but so good). As also took a kayak tour 3 miles against the ocean current. That was a crazy workout, but we got to see a ton of sea creatures. It was very relaxing as well. I've only kayaked a few times but each time has been very enjoyable. I absolutely loved Key West. The people there seem to have such a calm, laid back demeanor. It was such a positive change from the hurried and competitive attitude I encounter too often in DC. I don't think it was a coincidence that we passes a naval health clinic and civilian hospital. Future duty station?
The last two days of our cruise were spent "at sea" which was the perfect way to wind down before heading home. We enjoyed lots of onboard activities, movies, and shows. We also found a secluded lounge that overlooked the ocean and pool where we spent a great deal of time reading.
I did not intend for this to be so long! Can you tell I had an amazing time? The food was amazing, we met some really awesome couples, and we made memories that we will cherish for years. I know many couples our age that haven't at all or don't enjoy traveling, which I don't understand. I absolutely love going to a new place with my husband and trying fun excursions. It makes me fall more in love with him!