This weekend was absolutely awesome. So much fun! I have pictures of the girls in all their costumed glory, but I'll finish the cruise stuff first...otherwise, y'all'd be like, "Gyah, didn't she go on that trip like a month ago?"
After our airboat excursion in the Everglades, we headed back to where we were that morning and proceeded to wait in line along with a million other people to board the boat, the Carnival Freedom. We were behind these folks...
Now, used to, you couldn't take your own drinks onboard. They wanted you to buy theirs. Alcoholic drinks, speciality coffee drinks, and cokes are the only drinks you have to pay for. Ha, I say "only"...that leaves water, tea, regular coffee and hot chocolate. Cruise lines make a load of money off of drinks alone. But now, Carnival apparently lets you bring cokes and such. I'm not going to lug around cases of soft drinks, but you do what you want.
We had been waiting for about 10 minutes, slowly creeping up the line, Mr. and Mrs. Pepsi blowing cigarette smoke directly behind them...and then, I looked down at our boarding passes and saw these three beautiful letters...V.I.P. What whaaaaaaat?? YES. I totally forgot. So, off we went to the V.I.P. check-in counter and walked right on board...straight to the buffet...and straight to this guy. I made friends with Monsieur Chocolate Mint Gateau pretty fast.
Don't drink the Vitamin Water, because you'll pay for it with your firstborn child.
We sailed away that afternoon, leaving Ft. Lauderdale on the horizon.
Not all, but most, cruises have sea days. Just a day at sea. Sometimes, you're barely cruising because your next port isn't that far away. Sometimes, you're booking it because the next port is literally a day away. If you haven't been on a cruise before, that might seem pretty boring like, "I'm stuck on a boat all day." Au contraire, mon frére. Sea days are some of the best days. First of all, on cruises, you have unlimited food. There is always a place to get food...and ice cream (at least on Carnival cruises). And you've already paid for it. Woot! The beds are so soft and cozy and warm...it's hard not to just stay there all day. There are events all. day. long. It's like a retirement home. They have movies playing all the time. There's a library. Some have ice skating rings, surfing pools, waterslides, a million swimming pools, basketball, volleyball, putt-putt, shopping malls, zip lines, rock climbing walls, spas, etc. You always have something to do. It's so relaxing. David and I literally slept all day. When we finally did wake up, we ate breakfast at the "late-risers" buffet and played some putt-putt.
The first round, David won fair and square. I'm fine with that, because it was a good game. But how about, the second time we played, I won...BY A LOT...and he says, "It was luck." How come when men win, it's "skill," but when girls win, "it's luck." Yeah, something doesn't add up. So, I took a picture of the score card because he was such a sore loser. And he asked me, "What, are you gonna put that (sniff sniff) up on your blog and say what a sore loser (sniff sniff) I was?" (sob sob sob) And I said, "Uh...no, sweetheart. I wouldn't do that." GIRLS CAN PLAY JUST AS WELL AS BOYS.
Check out this kid dancin' with the ladies.
Dinner on a ship is always a good time. You can literally wear the most ridiculous thing you've ever seen and still look more "modest" than someone else there. Trust me. A cruise is the place to be crazy. It's fun to wear stuff you wouldn't normally wear anywhere else. Not like, trashy stuff (well, that, too, for some folks), but fancy pants stuff. It's fun to get all snazzy and hit the town (boat). There are usually two formal dining nights and everybody gets dressed up. Some people don't care to, which is fine, because it's your cruise and you do what you want. But, there is a dining dress code and if you don't meet it, they'll send you to one of the buffets or more casual restaurants. It's pretty wild to see someone turned away because they're wearing jeans or a hat. And some people go ALL. OUT. I mean, red carpet event. I'm talking, Sequins Galore. David and I fit in the middle.One bad thing about a cruise...no irons.
The food on formal nights is always a little nicer than the other nights. We always stick with lobster. Or, according to Ani, our waitress..."lawster." And you can order as much as you want. You've already paid for the food.
The chilled soups are AH-MAZING. This cruise, we had strawberry, bing cherry, mango/mint and some other chilled soup. They're almost better than the desserts.
But not this dessert...the warm, chocolate melting cake. OHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH. So good. I had 6 total. Not in one night, just spread throughout the cruise.
We love supper!
I like to dress up, but only for about an hour. And then I'm done and ready for my jeans.
At night, your room stewards turn down your bed and make little animals out of the towels. Sometimes, you can't tell what they are. Sometimes, you can. Here's a giraffe and fish. Tee hee!
Normally, David and I ignore all the spa stuff because one time, in the British Isles, David won the raffle and got a free full-body massage and the sweet thing gave it to me. So, of course, I went. I had never gotten a profesh massage before. It was just okay. The back, neck, shoulders and scalp part was great. But, oh my word, you would have though she was sawing my legs off when she was "loosening my calf muscles." Actually, I would have preferred the sawing. I kept saying, "No, it's okay, you don't have to do that." And, she was like, "No, it's part of the massage. Just relax." And I was like, "I'M AM LITERALLY ABOUT TO DIE. I CAN'T RELAX." So, I was kind of jaded after that. But, we decided since this was a Pamper Cruise, we were going to try it again. No Swedish massage this time, though. I got a package deal...facial, hot stones massage, scalp massage, and full-body exfoliation. I was skeptical about the hot stones...but OHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH. You have to try it. It was incredible. Completely changed my world. And the facial and everything else was fabulous. My gal, Linda from Ireland, was amazing. Ahh...sigh. David went to the spa, too! He got a facial and a fancy shave. Hehe, I made fun of him a little bit, but I guess that's a double standard and I hate double standards. So, if a girl can go to the spa to get pampered, so can Lady David...ahem, I mean, David. And I will admit, his cheeks were so soft and kissable and he smelled divine.
Our first port was Key West. I really, really love Key West. It's so artsy fartsy and eclectic and just plain weird. We had such a good time! David and I have been before, but we wanted to go back and plus, the ship stopped there, so... I'd been before on a family cruise when I was younger. But, David and I went together for the first time on my senior trip with my family.
Yay for Key West!
The Art and History Museum.
And saw some questionably-dressed pirates. Honest to goodness, I didn't know she was dressed like that until after we took the picture. David refused to stand next to her. Haha, I mean why dress her like that? I do like her pants, though. And that jacket. I would wear that jacket.
Next to the toy store was an animal rescue/sanctuary place and here's a bird. It said, "Hello." It also sang "Jesus Loves You."
Lookie! Harper has her own magazine.
Y'all, this was the BEST toy store I've ever been to. Even better than F.A.O. Schwartz. Weeeeelll, maybe a tie. It was so cool inside and had the most unique toys. We're definitely taking the girls back in a few years.
And look what lived in the store! A baby kinkajou! I just about melted. She was so sweet and soft.
We visited some of the same places we went before, just for old time's sake. Such as, the Shipwreck Museum. It's really fascinating. I like museums and history and what not. It tells you about the history of wrecking and salvaging in Key West. They have some live actors...like, they're actually aLIVE...and it's really a fun place.
And then you climb this 65 ft. tower...a replica built in the same place as the original shipwreck look-out tower that the first wrecker, Asa Tift, built back in the 1860's...the same tower that saw the Isaac Allerton wrecked on one of the many treacherous reefs surrounding Key West. Look what I learned!
Beautiful views from the top.
Right here is where you can log into the museum's website and see the live tower cam. Mom, Peter, and David's Dad were able to see us. There's about a 15 second delay so they were like, "Look to the left!" And we were like, "We are looking left!" And then we realized the delay.
We know that Ruth has a slight issue with heights, but that doesn't stop her from doing stuff. Both hands on the rail and we're fine.
We were going to have a bike taxi take us to the Southernmost Point and we approached one to ask how much. He said, in a thick Russian slur, "$20 per person." I was like, "Oh, that's a little more than we wanted to spend. We'll just walk." He said, "No no...okay, okay, you bleed me dry. How about $15 per person? I take you to the Point and then I teach you Key West history, okay?" I said, "No, we weren't wanting to spend a lot. We'll just walk. But, thank you." And he said, "You'll never make it. 'Tis too far to walk. You'll never make it." So, then, of course, I was going to walk because you don't tell me how far I can and can't walk. And walk we did. Super easy walk. MAYBE a mile and a half there. And we saw historic points on our own, thank you very much.
This is...oh gosh, what's his name...the bird guy. AUDUBON! This is Something Something Audubon's house. John James? Anyways...they call this The Bird House...duh.
We made it to the Southernmost Point, barely breaking a sweat. And lo and behold, who do we see carrying two ladies...the Russian bike taxi guy. In yo face, $20 per person.
There was a plaque there honoring the thousands of Cubans who had tried unsuccessfully to swim the 90 miles. It was kind of humbling. Makes you realize how blessed we are to live here. I whine about paying taxes when there are people willing to risk their lives and swim across a vast expanse of ocean for freedom. I think I'll pay my taxes sans griping from here on out.
I heart Key West. Can't wait to go back!