Living in Missouri and vacationing in the Caribbean in the middle of winter is amazing. The trip had its ups and downs (mostly ups) and was all around very memorable. To see all of the photos goto the main photo album.
First, the trip to Miami was mostly uneventful with the exception that I am on a “list” at the airports. When I asked a TSA officer how I got on this “list” she replied with “we don’t do lists any more.” Yeah right, day after Christmas every major news network is talking about these lists that I was told don’t exist. Beyond this minor issue, the rest of the flights where uneventful.
Since we were staying at the JW Marriott, a 4 star luxury hotel, we assumed shuttle service from the airport to the hotel would be provided… wrong! At $20/person it was more than double a taxi ride that was sitting at the curb waiting on us. The Marriott itself had great service and wonderful rooms. However, everything costs extra (except their flaky wireless). Expect to pay $10/day for wired Internet access and $15+ for cereal and coffee.
After finding some affordable breakfast we headed to the port and waited in lines to go into more lines to finally get on the Carnival Glory. The ship was great; good food, good service, lots of activities and shows, the works. Christina got to join in the dance activities and I got to learn some up close illusions. The casino was nice and laid back as expected, but they installed auto-shuffle machines for blackjack and they had the worst lounge singer ever.
Our first stop, the Bahamas, was our favorite by far. Before we got off, we managed to get up before sunrise and get some amazing pictures and have some fresh pizza for breakfast. At Nassau, we toured the island but the highlight was the Ardastra Gardens and Zoo where we got to mingle with flamingos, feed Australian lorries and really tick off a lynx.
St. Thomas was next and we had high hopes. The island was very scenic but the weather was dreary. After eating way over priced cheeseburgers we got stuck out in the rain. We did manage to get some shore-side shopping done but going from the warm rain to the cold shops would later cause ill fortune for me. Also, if any young boy ever decided to look in the right places (in nearly plain sight no less) he could get an eye full with the numerous R rated beach towels and post cards.
Next up, Puerto Rico. At this point I was getting a sore throat from the poor weather in St. Thomas, but I pressed on. As soon as we got off of the boat we got swamped by “tour guide specialists” for some rides around the city. Since it was an official service we decided to give it try, but waiting 30+ minutes in a tour van for the tour quota to be met was not to our liking, so we ditched that idea. Instead we got our pictures taken with some birds and went shopping.
At this point in the trip I was sick. Bad enough sick that I got chicken noodle soup delivered to our state room. Thankfully, Carnival refunds shore excursion tickets for medical reasons. This also meant Christina had to go on the horse back riding tour without me, but from I can tell she loved it. Since I lounged around the ship I’ll simply post the pictures she managed to get on Grand Turk.
Swimming on horse back is awesome!
The return trip to Miami was rocky but made tolerable by winning the mega Bingo game (the only bingo we played the whole trip). We got to meet lots of interesting people: Beverly who we introduced to sushi, a British couple that were mistaken as our parents, and a very southern father/son duo. In short, an amazing vacation.