Cruise Ship Cuisine

So, I told you all about the beautiful beaches and exciting excursions on the cruise ship, now it’s time to talk about the abundance of FOOD they had on board!

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(Buffet style dining for breakfast and lunch)

I gotta tell ya, I didn’t have very high expectations for the food selections on the cruise ship. I mean, how gourmet can it get on a big ass boat? Well, apparently very gourmet. Also, not only did they always have vegetarian options for every meal of the day, but they were both delicious and extremely unique! I actually loved it. This, and the abundance of fruity drinks, is the reason I brought back a couple extra lbs with me on the plane trip home 😉

So for the first couple of days, we kind of went all out, getting tons of food at each meal. For instance, take these breakfasts:

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Very delicious, but just a wee bit too much. Now on a regular day, a banana and peanut butter, or the bowl of cereal and milk would be fine. But not this time! I had it all – plus french toast! haha

The last few breakfasts looked more like this:

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Coffee, bananas, and yogurt. Much more logically and healthfully portioned breakfast, dontcha think?

For lunch, it was all buffet style. After the first day or so of trying different things, and ending with these:

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I switched it up when I found a deliciously healthy salad bar, and opted for a lighter lunch, so I’d have plenty of energy after eating to enjoy the cruise ship!

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Other cruise ship lunches:

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Pickled spaghetti squash with almonds, with some zucchini.

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Jicama salad (YUM!)

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Portabello mushroom sandwich with a side salad.

You get the picture. It all looks really good, no? I had more pictures on my camera, but you know the story…camera = lost 😦

Dinner was all about the sit down dinner, and all about the divine, gourmet food:

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Like a vegetarian Indian dish that will knock your socks off!

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a lovely fruit plate:

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Oh, you know there was Pinot Noir!

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Eggplant and zucchini lasagna:

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*dies for this dish*

French onion soup:

 

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These are just a few of the many delicious meals we had.

Oh, and of course…can’t forget about the couple fourth meal’s we all had 😉

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Mmm this goat cheese pizza about knocked my head off! Even if I was half-tipsy while consuming it!

Overall, I don’t think I did too bad, healthy-eating wise. Like I said before, if it’s a special occasion or a vacation, I’m going to indulge a bit. However, after indulging the first few days, and when the newness and excitement dissipates, it’s wise to tone it down a notch and get back to the healthy-eating mindset. It helps to give you more energy to enjoy the fun activities without making you feel like a slug, too! It’s also a good idea to kick up the fruits, veggies, food with detoxifying properties once you are back from vacation, or from the special occasion. If you haven’t noticed, I haven’t been posting many of my meals and snacks this week. I decided to split it up into during-cruise-food (this post) and post-cruise-food that gave my body a jump start back into normal eating/living mode.

 

Actually, thinking back about all of the massive amounts of food on the ship is somewhat… disturbing. Hopefully I don’t offend anyone who is reading, but the amount of overweight people on the cruise ship was very substantial, and 4 out of 5 people had trays of food that were triple or quadruple the size one meal probably should be. It was a little disheartening. And like I admitted, I, too, ate too much the first couple of days, but then backed down substantially.

Furthermore, the amount of food that is wasted on the cruise ship is very outrageous. The cruise ship did it’s best to have recycling every where you looked, and to have composts to dispose of the food, but just looking around at the tables, there were uneaten sandwiches, fruit, vegetables, and more that were just going to waste. It’s such a shame. People hear free food (it was an all inclusive – besides the booze – cruise ship) and they just stock up!

 

What are your thoughts on buffet-style, all inclusive cruise ships and resorts regarding food and meals?

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Isla Roatan: Don’t Make me Leave!

Good morning, everyone! Am I the only one who’s probably a little more sad than I should be that it’s not Glee Day? 😦 hehe So how was your Tuesday? Mine was very…overwhelming. I came back from vacation, and found a whole whirlwind of changes that affect me directly, and leave a lot on my plate. Obviously, I can’t vent about it here (nor would you want to hear it!) but it left stressed and frazzled. Besides that, I can’t complain. It will take some getting used to the single digits, though, when I’ve been sweating it out in the Caribbean 😉

Just like the last island we visited, Isla Roatan, Honduras! This was the last stop of the cruise (sniff, sniff) and in my opinion, the best. (Miss my recap on the first, second, or third islands?)

We arrived to the island an hour late and on the opposite side of the port the captain had intended due to high, rocky, waves. So we were a little worried when we started off, but when we got off the boat, all I saw was beauty. It kind of reminded me of being in Kauai, just because of the abundance of greenery and because Roatan had huge rolling hills that (to a smaller scale) resembled the green mountains of Kauai

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This is the view to the beach. See, since we had to switch up which side we docked at, we were at the wrong side for the beach. So we had a cab, or something like a cab, take us to the other side of the mountain. And I’m so glad this happened, because the drive was outrageously gorgeous. However, it did little to prepare us for the beauty of the clear waters and white sand of the beach we were about to go to.

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Rocking my “This is how I roll” shirt 😀

 

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Notice how the waters are clear as day, and then black as night? Well apparently, it gets deep quick, here. It’s only shallow very near the coast, and then drops off into canyons. I’d have loved to snorkel here.

We were sad that we had only had a few hours here. We all agreed that a few days would have better sufficed! Love, love, loved this place. Unfortunately, the cruise ship says bon voyage regardless if you make it back on time or not, so we all piled in the cab-van and made the treck back to the port. Little did we know, this would be the best part of the trip!

We convinced our cab driver (who was awesome – and jamming out to Lil’ Wayne with us – in Honduras…heheh) to pull over and let us get a few more pictures:

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And then, something awesome happened. A guy came over to us with his pet monkey…PET monkey!!! from the mainland, and asked if we wanted to hold it (TWSS hehe) We politely declined…

UH, KIDDING!!!

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It was the most loveable, adorable, animal I’ve ever seen. I fell instantly in love.

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And I think the feelings were mutual 😉

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Hands down, best island of the four. I wanna gooo baaaaack. This was also our final night that had a full day on the cruise ship the next day. When we got back to the room, we saw (coincidentally) the grand finale of towel animals as well:

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And said goodbye to the waitstaff, who we became pretty close with! Kim and I even cried as they were doing their good bye song/dance 😦 LOL

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Ohhhh, Freddie and Reitzel, we will remember you and all your cuteness!!

Well that completes the recaps of the cruise! I’m sure I’ll find random pictures I forgot to post, and I’ll just have to share them with you. Kind of like a Real Housewives of the Caribbean: Lost Footage type of deal. lol. Actually, I know I have more food pictures from my iPhone, so perhaps I’ll write a post just concerning the food of the cruise!

Anyway, I need to get my butt ready for work, I hope you all have a lovely Glee Hump Day!

What’s the weirdest animal you’ve ever held?

Belize Me, it was Amazing!

Hey, hey, everyone! How was your Monday? Mine was actually not too bad. I took work off, just to get some things done that I needed to get done the day after I get back from vacay. It was very nice, and very needed. I could actually use another one!

Did you miss my recap on our stop at the Grand Caymans or Mexico?

Anywho, this morning I’m here to tell you all about my experience I had in Belize last week on our cruise. Did you know Belize is a third world country? I had no idea! I really wish I could have had another day here, just to learn more about the country. However, we had our excursion decided on, and we were all set to see go snorkeling in the 2nd largest coral reef.

So we jumped on yet another boat, and headed to a teensy tiny island about 15 minutes away:

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The reef was HUGE and amazing. However, apparently I was MIA when they handed out flippers, so I swam barefoot. It was still amazing, but I was beat after I finally made my way to the boat when we were done. The reef was so cool, and although I didn’t see many fish or sea animals, just seeing all the different types of reef was an experience all in its own.

When we were back at the island, we had all worked up a tremendous appetite, so I convinced the hubby to share some veggie nachos and a beer with me:

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Ahh…so relaxing 😀

Even with a beer, I’m still the sunscreen nazi:

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After a while, we met a new friend! I just had to get my picture taken with him – his name is Buck! That was the name of my first dog (who lives at my parents’ house still)

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Awww….Buck:-)

Unfortunately, we had to book it back after hanging out on the beach to make the final departure to get back on the cruise ship. The cruise began to feel like home sweet home after a while! haha

And although we spent all day in the sun, we were still down for the deck party come night time!

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The husband even busted out the cigars he got in Mexico!

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And just because everyone liked them so much in my last post, a few more cutesy towel animals for your viewing pleasure:

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Wow…just writing about the trip makes me miss it already!! Belize was great, but you gotta see what happened in Isla Roatan in Honduras. One word: Parraaadiiiiise!

Dinner a la Caribbean

We had so much wonderful, authentic, Mexican food while we were in the Caribbean, and I’m really going to miss it! So much that the dinner I made last night was 100% inspired by the wonderful Western Caribbean cruise: Enchiladas!

For Shane’s, I browned one big chicken breast in a pan, then added cumin, pepper, salt, and garlic powder, and then shredded it and set it aside:

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Then I prepared the filling, using tomatoes, chiles, corn, onion, garlic, and some enchilada sauce, and one or two other spices:

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When all ready, I dipped a couple Ezekiel tortillas in the sauce, and then filled em up!

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For Shanes, I just added the chicken back into the filling, and then filled his corn tortillas in a baking ban.

And after letting them heat up in the oven for about 20 minutes at 330 degrees, they came out perfectly. I ate them with a side of refried vegetarian black beans and Spanish rice:

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Muy delicioso!

Well I’ve got some coffee upstairs waiting for me, that I’m definitely going to take advantage of this morning! It’s definitely hard waking up at 5:00 when you’re used to island time! Me needs teh coffees. But hey, at least I finally feel like I’m on land today! Alll day long yesterday I felt like I had the wobblies. My body thought it was still on the cruise ship – twas a weird feeling indeed.

Well I hoped you all enjoyed my little experience in Belize! Have a wonderful Tuesday, all 😀

Moderating Moderation and Missing Home

Good morning, bloggy friends! I’m finally back home, and while I wish I were exploring yet another new island, it is nice to be back with my loved ones and pets. Besides, who has time to be depressed when Christmas is two weeks away?! Lots to do, lots to do. For example, I have to study, study, study for my ACE exam, I just found out last night that I would be hosting the annual girls’ night secret Santa party, and then there’s Christmas shopping in itself! Ay ay ay.

Enough about that. It is very nice to see the furbabies again. I seriously missed them throughout the cruise:

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REUINTED and it feeels so goood! Please disregard any note for how my four-hours-of-sleep-traveling-all-day-wearing-half-washed-off-makeup-from-the-night-before-with-a-slight-hangover look I’ve got going on here.

Even Clarabelle is happy to see us!

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I missed you Niko, and Clarabelle!!

And since it was technically still vacation last night, we broke out a little celebratory Kahlua and Baileys:

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And for some ungodly reason, I decided to unload our suitcases right when we got home to get started on laundry:

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   Ew, ew, ew. How I missed you, little pile o’ laundry.

And currently, I’m working on tackling that said laundry, while drinking a cup of very much so-missed French Press coffee:

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And dabbling in some of this deliciousness:

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Alongside of some juicy pear slices with cinnamon:

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There was much, much more that I missed about home (ahem, green monsters!!) but this is a great start.

Over the next couple days, I’ll be writing a post about my experience and my opinion on how to stay healthy when you have a long trip like this on the agenda – the befores, durings, and afters – while still being able to indulge. I have to admit, while I did manage to get in quite a few workouts, and I ate many a huge salads for lunch, this trip was extremely indulging, and moderation wasn’t practiced like it usually is in my life. And while it really is all about balance, for something like a cruise, I honestly do not regret letting myself have a drink (or three) during the day, or having dessert after dinner every night. This week it’s all about getting back on track; kind of jump starting my healthy body back into shape, if you will. I’ll explain more on this the aforementioned post, but wanted to let you all know, that in my opinion, it’s OK to let yourself indulge every once in a while for special occasions like this.

What are your thoughts about indulgence while on vacation or on a special occasion? Do you let yourself slack off a bit when it comes to eating healthy?

Ancient Mayan Adventures in Tulum

Hey hey hey bloggy friends!! So nice to talk to you again! (As I first wrote this post) I just got back to the room from working out – it’s Saturday morning (but now it’s actually Sunday morning – and I’m in the Tampa airport), and our last day on the cruise ship. This morning the winds are blowing in full force – so much that they closed the top deck of the cruise ship to walk outside on it. Ironically, the fitness center is on the top deck. Let me tell you, running on a treadmill on the top deck of a cruise ship in high winds is comparable to doing one-legged squats on a bosu ball; ya gotta concentrate! Anyway, I ran about 4.5 miles and I feel much better about all the food and booze I consumed yesterday 😉

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The gym on the cruise is actually pretty sweet. It has a lower level, which is completely for cardio workouts including machines like treadmills, ellipticals, and rowing machines.

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Then it has stairs up to another level, that’s just for weight lifting. It has an area for free weights, along with some isolating machines:

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I’m pretty proud of myself, actually. Out of the eight days we’ve been on vacation, I worked out five of them! More than I thought I would, for sure.

So…where did I leave off… ah yes, where my camera got stolen. Thankfully, the couple we’re with let us copy all of the pictures from their camera onto my laptop, so I still have something to show you all. And I believe I left off at the Mayan Ruins. Yes! We saw the Ancient Mayan Ruins of Tulum in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. Twas awesome. Check it out:

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It was so surreal! Those Mayans were some brainiacs. Oh, but don’t worry, our tour guide said the world won’t end in 2012 like they predicted. He didn’t give us an answer as to why they were wrong about that and right about everything else, but told us not to worry about it. Sounds promising, haha.

 

And then we had some cheese ball moments before getting back on the boat:

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Ahh…home sweet home 😉

 

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I also took some pictures of some kickass 100% authentic Mexican food we ate at a little beat down restaurant, but then I left my camera on the bus. But trust that it was the best veggie quesadilla I’ve ever had!

It’s been a blast this entire cruise. I’ve become attached to so many places and want to come back to all of them!! However, it will be nice to go home and see Niko and Clarabelle. Actually…now that I’m pressing “publish” it’s Sunday and I’m at the airport. It’s so nice to be with internet again. Talk about withdrawl! Whoo!!

I can’t wait to tell you more about the cruise. Since I had a few set backs regarding internet access and losing my camera, I’ll most likely just do several posts throughout the week, in addition to my regular posting, so you guys can see all the awesomeness we encountered. Also…it’s time like this where it’s definitely an added bonus to be a blogger – an online scrapbook of memories right at my finger tips!!

Also…I just wanted to say thank you to all of you who kept on reading an commenting this week as I was MIA. Ya’ll rock for sure, and I’m super pumped to catch up and comment on all of your bloggies from last week!! 😀

And thank you so much to my guest bloggers while I was gone! Deva, Dad, Katherine! My mom also wrote one, but it looks like it didn’t publish for some reason. You can look forward to it sometime this week though 🙂

Hope you all have a fantastic end to your weekend! It’s gonna be a saaaad Sunday for this vacationer!    

Look forward to hearing all about our beautiful time in Belize in the next series of cruise-y posts 🙂

Stingray Kisses and Swimming with the Fishes

Hi everyone! Hope you’re having a wonderful day! I think it’s Tuesday as I type this (I’m having a hard time keeping track of any concept of time or date here in the Caribbean) and we’re having a little bit of down time after a full day of excursions in the Cayman Islands. Life is rough 😉 However, I’m not sure when I’ll be able to publish, as I learned yesterday that internet here costs a pretty penny – and it takes forever since it’s satellite. So it could be Wednesday by the time you’re reading this. (edit – it’s now Friday. Was too busy doing fun all-day excursions to take the lap top on the islands to find wifi!)

After I left off from the last cruise post, we ended up going out to the fun deck for a while and watched an awesome game of dodge ball:

 

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Twas intense. Then we decided to start up our own game of miniature golf. They have a pretty sweet course (?) on the very top of the cruise ship:

 

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FORE!!!

After the girls kicked the boys butts (that’s how I remember it anyway…) we headed down to the room and started getting ready for the formal night on the cruise. So we put on our Monday bests, and headed out to the captain’s dinner:

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I told Shane to thug it out for the camera 🙂

Hey look, it’s a towel animal!

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I don’t know why these things excite me so much, but they dooo 🙂 hehe

Heading down to the formal dinner, there was a pretty decent sized line, so we decided to hit up the bar for some pinot noir:

 

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and liked it so much, that we ordered a whole bottle at dinner!

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I’m blaming it on the sea air that I didn’t take a picture of my lobster, spinach salad, stuffed mushrooms, and chocolate melting cake 😉

The husband didn’t sleep well the night before, and I was pretty beat, too, so we headed back to the room around 10:30.

Plus, our ship was docking at the Grand Caymens at 7:00 the next morning! Bright and early, we headed up for pre-excursion breakfasts, where I had a delicious meal of peanut butter on rye, a veggie omelet, and a cute little pear.

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Note: I only ate one piece of pb bread, because I saw a hair on the second one 😦

Then it was time to head on over the Caymans!!!

 

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Kim and I had never been to Senor Frogs before, and we had a little time before our excursion bus was taking off, so we stopped in for a mojito!

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Everyone needs a froggy hug!

 

IMG_2597 Mashy mashy!

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So refreshing 😉

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Other random Cayman sitings:

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Tequila with “the worm:”IMG_2605

Then we hopped on a little boat, and were off to sea again!

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But this time it wasn’t on the cruise ship. It was to snorkel in the reef and swim with Sting rays!!

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We literally drove out to a sting ray hotspot in the sea, parked it, and hopped in the water, and there were seriously TONS of stingrays swimming around. It was craaazy! They were in the wild, and not afraid to swim right up against us! I freaked the F out for about ten minutes– My friend, Kim, and I wouldn’t let go of each other for fear we’d get stung by a ray! haha However, I got over it in no time, and was soon giving the stingray some love 🙂

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In one word…amazing. Nothing like I’ve experienced before.

Before I knew it, we were back on the cruise ship, and saying goooodbye to the island.

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And hellloooo to room service!

Fresh salad with oil and vinegar:

 

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Fresh mozerella, portabella, tomato, and zucchini on foccacia. This sandwich was unbelievably good. And room service is available 24/7! You can bet I’ll be ordering it again.

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The husband was happy to eat the potato chips off my plate 😀

 

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Not sure what the game plan is for tonight. I’m hoping to sneak in a nap before going “out” for the night. Up next tomorrow: Cozumel, Mexico to hike the Mayan Ruins. I am suuupah pumped for this business. (edit – Cozumel, Mexico was a blast. I loved it so much I left them my camera on the bus…and all the pictures double sad face. Thankfully, we’re traveling with another couple, whose photos I’ll upload on our last night here. The husband did say it’s a good excuse to get the camera I really want though! Not so sad face 😉 )

Water loggers: What’s the weirdest animal you’ve swum with?

Land lovers: Where’s the farthest you’ve been from home?

Paint the Cruise Ship Red

Hey, hey everyone! I wasn’t sure if I’d get to post this early on, but here I am! Woohoo!

Right now it’s about 2:00 in the afternoon, and we’re taking a break from the close, hot, sun. SPF is a godsend, but I’ve still gotta take a break from the sun every once in a while. I’m so excited the husband said we could get the pay-as-you go wifi! It’s 75 cents a minute, so I’m utilizing Live Writer as much as I can!

This morning we woke up way too early. Especially for going to sleep around 3:00 a.m. Yep, this party girl rocked it until the weee hours of the night! haha I don’t know when the last time I saw this time was – at the ripe age of almost 25, I’m just not the 21 year old I used to be 😉 But it was a blast – fun was had all night.

Let me rewind to yesterday morning.

Around 11:00 yesterday morning, we made the walk from our hotel in Tampa over to the cruise ship. Goooood bye, Tampa…

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Hellloooo cruise ship!

 

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Naturally, we were all starving when we got there, and although lunch was open, apparently everyone else was starving too, and not a single table was open. So instead we started with a liquid lunch, obviously.

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What? I got my fruit in, see?! 😀

The umbrella pile.

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A couple fruity drinks later, and we were told our rooms were ready. I was really surprised at the rooms – I had no clue what to expect. But the rooms totally look like they should be on a boat (don’t know why I didn’t think of that…lol) and they’re awesome!

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After a little nap and boat exploring…IMG_2527

We hit up the night scene. We started out with a sit down dinner

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I started out with the necessary glass of pinot, and then started out with a tropical fruit salad:IMG_2531

 

For my entree, I ordered a vegetarian Indian dish that was amazing! It was some kind of channa masala, with either paneer or tofu, along with some delicious dippers:

 

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Honestly, one of the best Indian dishes I’ve ever eaten!

When the waiter came around with the dessert menu, we passed, and got coffee instead:

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We had to be troopers! And so we trooped:

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This was at one of the clubs, called Medusa’s Lair. It was a pretty cool place, but us four were the only ones in the club. It was pretty weird, but cool to have the club to ourselves.

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Today’s a whole day at sea, so we’ve been pretty relaxed all morning. So far, we’ve kicked it on the top deck:

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Then we walked around to see what was going on around the ship. There’s seriously something going on every half hour. So much fun 😀

Finally, we realized we were hungry, so we hit up the lunch cafes.

 

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Shane was on a mission to find a burger, and I had my eye on the salad bar. We were both successful:

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And then next to the salad bar, was something much too interesting to pass up: pickled spaghetti squash with raisins and walnuts:

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I was a little leery, but it ended up being amazing! I was pretty stuffed from my Hugh Jass salad, though, so I just had a couple bites. Until the husband brought this:

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You know I can’t pass up key lime pie and strawberry short uhh mousse. Delish!

Check out this picture of a carved watermelon that was in the lunch cafe:

 

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Doesn’t it look like a painting? So cool. I wanna learn how to do that haha.

 

Tonight’ll probably be lots of relaxing 😀 Actually, right now we’re passing hispanola (not that we can see it – everywhere ya look is deep blue sea) and we go to Grand Caymens tomorrow! Not sure I’ll be able to post tomorrow with all that excitement, but I have several awesome guest posts lined up for ya 😉

 

Hope everyone’s having a great Monday!