Our Family Cruise

On Christmas Eve Eve, my family and I docked in NYC from an 11-day cruise. We haven’t taken a family trip like this in…ever.* I blame Gram for the entire thing. A few years ago, while reminiscing about cruises she had taken long ago, one thing led to another and the planning began.

*No, seriously, family trips of my childhood included places like Lancaster and the Poconos. In case you don’t know, you really can’t vacation at either place for much longer than three nights. You’ll run out of Amish buffets and trees to look at by then.

2 Waiting for the Shuttle (6)

Is it odd that when my mom was taking this picture I had a flashback to days of being sent off to camp?*

*I also feel like I should admit here that Hubby and I still had two more large pieces of luggage hiding in the car.

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Grumpy waiting to leave NYC

My parents weren’t able to come on the trip, so I compiled a grumpy photo album for them to show them what a terrible time we had without them.

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Grumpy on the ship elevator

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We sailed from New York in order to eliminate having to add nine flights into the mixture of chaos of coordinating a large group of people. This meant we ended up with five full days at sea.

In case you’re wondering what it’s like to sail from freezing temperatures into warm, it’s a beautiful combination of strange and wonderful.

Our first full day, there was snow in the morning, along with bumpy seas and fourteen foot high waves.

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First Port: Antigua

But in a short matter of time we reached an expanse of ocean which was so calm it was practically flat.

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Picture captured by my SIL, Mallory Lunetta

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The first cruise Hubby and I took together wasn’t a good indication of how my body would take to days at sea since we didn’t have any full days at sea.

By the middle of this trip, I decided cruising is one of my favorite things to do. I didn’t get too sick during the rocky day at sea, and even though I brought a stack of books to curb any boredom, I barely read them.

There is something thrilling to me in knowing I am in the middle of the ocean, far from 4G and WiFi and all the other noise of the world.

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Second Port: Martinique

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Three of our original five ports on our itinerary were changed due to the destruction from the hurricanes this fall.

Hurricanes aside, anytime I visit an island, I never can escape the reality that though these places are paradise, within them are still many who are poor and destitute.

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Third Port: St. Lucia

We had rain showers on an off while in St. Lucia, so we didn’t make it to the beach. Instead we did some hardcore shopping, and if you know me, you can probably guess that I wasn’t complaining.

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Fourth Port: St. Kitts

Besides, we made up for it at our next island.

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Hubby loves snorkeling, but am I the only one terrified by sea urchins? I’m convinced no matter how calmly I swim, I’m going to somehow wildly flay a limb in such a motion I will most certainly get stung.

That said, I turned in earlier than Hubby did from snorkeling.

Only to then be called back into the ocean to get a glimpse at these guys:

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Cuddle fish!

If Hubby and I had a bucket list of sea creatures we want to see in the wild, these guys would definitely have been on it.

But we don’t have such a list, so I’m not sure why I’m telling you this.

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Fifth Port: St. Thomas

St. Thomas was a port we were especially excited for because ten years ago, Hubby and I honeymooned there.

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Sand snowman!

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Though the island seems to be going strong, the destruction left by the hurricane still made my heart ache. I don’t want to bum you out, but I can’t mention the island without showing you the real side of things…

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As I was snapping these pictures, a local couple was taking a jog. They stopped and asked me if I had been there before, then told me the area looked a hundred times better than it did in September.

Which made me sad and happy all at once. Happy because they have obviously come a long way in a short time, but sad because there is still work to be done.*

*And back home, I haven’t even heard a whisper of it.

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We wanted to visit Charlotte Amalie, because we’d gone there during our honeymoon.

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After stopping on the same corner we were hoodwinked into attending a timeshare presentation when we were young and stupid, we headed for some local flavor.

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You’ve heard it said, “Everything that could have gone wrong, did”?

Well, for this trip, everything that could have gone right, did.

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