Thursday, April 23, 2015

some photos

I finally got the photos off my camera!








Jamaica and Grand Cayman

Tuesday morning, we were at port in Falmouth, Jamaica!
We had nothing planned, other than to get off the ship and walk around. We went to Jimmy Buffet's "Margarativille" almost as soon as we got off the ship.
It was a fun place and we were able to connect to wi-fi and see what was going on in the world!

I found out my friend Jessica had her baby boy the previous day! That was exciting!

We ate then just walked around a bit. We did a little bit of shopping, buying a couple souvenirs and then got back on the ship. I spent the afternoon on the 5th deck, reading a book. It was great! It was quiet, warm and there was a nice breeze. I sat on a deck chair with my shoes off, my drink next to me and watched the waves in between pages.

That night, we knew we needed to plan for the next day. In Grand Cayman, they tender you in. That basically means that the water is to shallow for the ship to dock so they bring a boat out to you and give you a ride in. We were up early and got breakfast and ready to go so we could get off the ship in a timely manner.

We were some of the first off and onto the first boat for tendering. It was a full boat! At 9 AM, it was already quite warm sitting in the sun. It took maybe 15 minute to get to shore. There were 6 or 7 other ships waiting to be tendered also.

Today was the day we were snorkeling!!! Excited to say the least! We had our snorkel gear and were ready! We found our group and then we were walked maybe 3 blocks to the bay where we got onboard the boat. The captain and his wife were from Honduras and their assistant was from Grand Cayman.

They took us out to a sunken ship in the bay. Apparently, many years ago, it was coming from Honduras or somewhere and sprung a leak. It was hauling.........
a whole lot of rice! there were some well fed fish that day, I bet!

We were able to swim right over the ship and see the fish swimming through the ship and the rocks and everything. The water was so blue! It was very salty though. It was amazing! After a while, we all got back onboard and then they took us to a reef. They were throwing bread out for the fish so as we were jumping in the water, all these amazing fish were swimming through. It felt like you could reach out and touch them! I tried!

All in all, I fell in love with snorkeling! And Grand Cayman! I joke with Mark that I want to move there in 10 years!

After we were finished, we walked back and got on the boat to be taken back to our ship. We showered and went to dinner.

Isaac swam some in the pool that day, we went to a show that evening. FUN!!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Spring Break 2015

How can it be that Spring Break has come and went?
Mark and I started talking about a cruise back in late October or early November. He had found a great deal on a week long cruise out of New Orleans during spring break. (Luckily, he and Isaac shared a spring break!). So, without telling Isaac about it, we got our passports and planned and counted down.

We bought snorkeling gear and took Isaac swimming at the high school so we all knew what we were doing if we ended up snorkeling on the trip. All the while, Isaac was still in the dark. In fact, he had no clue until about 10 days before we left!

We left Ames about 10 AM on Thursday to head to New Orleans. It was about a 16 hour drive and we wanted to take our time and make sure we could be in a hotel to watch the ISU men in the Big 12 tournament. We stopped for the night in Cape Gireadeau (?) MO. Nice place and we had Steak and Shake for dinner! Watched the Cyclones that night in our hotel room!

The next morning we headed out and continued south. Rain. Rain. Rain. Seems to be the theme when I drive on our road trips! LOL It was a long, boring drive. We drove all day and stayed the night in Hammond, LA which was about an hour from NOLA.

Saturday morning, we took our time leaving as we figured we didn't want to wait forever at the port to get on board. Well, it took us about 2 hours to get from where we stayed to the port! The traffic going into NOLA was HORRIBLE. Slow. It took over 30 minutes to go .8 of a mile. Yes, .8 of a mile!
The parking for cruises in New Orleans was/is awful. I can see how that would contribute to Royal Caribbean pulling out of there! We drove around for 30 minutes trying to find a parking space, as the GPS kept trying to take us to a closed road. FINALLY found the parking garage and got parked. Rather than wait for the shuttle, we decided to walk the 2 blocks to the port office. Walked over there with a fellow Iowan/ISU fan!

By the time we went through the port and getting checked in, I think we were on board the Serenade of the Seas around 2 pm. We went to our room, dropped off our carry ons and headed out to find some lunch. We landed in the Windjammer, which was the buffet restaurant.

We met our stateroom host, who was super nice and sweet. She showed Isaac how his bed folded down out of the ceiling. He became very attached to her over the course of the week!

Around 4:30, we finally pulled out of New Orleans. It was a slow ride down the river! Apparently, "pilots" come on board to get the ship down the river to the Gulf.

We were able to watch the Big 12 Championship game in our room before dinner! What a finish! I'm sure our neighbors heard us hollering! We went to the main dining room for dinner the first night. It's the "fancy" meal, where you aren't supposed to wear shorts, tank tops, etc.

Sunday was a cruising day. Isaac spent time in the pools, the kids club for a bit. Mark and I wandered around the ship, getting the lay of the land so to speak. Monday was more of the same as it was another day of cruising.We went to a show that evening that was music from the 70's through the 90's.

Tuesday morning, we woke up and were in Falmouth, Jamaica! Our first port day! We didn't book any excursions so we just got off the ship and went to the shopping area.

More to come about our next few days.....
And pictures since I haven't uploaded off my camera yet!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Legoland


When we were planning our vacation, we gave Isaac the choice of Legoland or Aquatica, a water park across from Sea World. He debated for a long time and finally decided on Legoland.

We went the day after we hit up Sea World.
I must say I was disappointed. I like legos and all, but there just wasn't enough to keep us busy. It wasn't crowded at least.

It's an an old Cypress Gardens. It was hot and there was not a lot of shade.

Isaac rode the double decker ferris wheel. Together, we rode the roller coaster and he rode another ride by himself. The whole family went on a water ride where we got totally soaked. He spent more time playing on the playground, haha.

We enjoyed the cities made from legos. He recognized Las Vegas and there was NYC, San Francisco, Seattle and Cape Canaveral.




 We had a free child's admission so I'm glad about that. I don't feel it was worth the money. Sad to say, we only spent about 2 1/2 hours there.


Friday, October 10, 2014

Sea World!

Our hotel was right across the street from Sea World! We could see the Manta roller coaster and Atlantis, the water ride from our window!
It was a beautiful hotel and our room was huge! Isaac was excited to sleep on the pull out bed from the couch!




We had a microwave and a mini fridge also!

Tuesday morning, we got up bright and early to head to Sea World. Apparently on certain days, they open to hotel guests an hour early. We thought let's take advantage of fewer crowds and go! So, we ate breakfast and went to wait for the bus to take us over there!







Sadly, only 2 rides were open and none of the animal exhibits were open that early! We were bummed that we got up so early just for nothing to do there! One ride that was open was the Manta roller coaster. No thanks!



The Antartica ride was open though, so we went on there. It was freezing cold! We've never seen people in Florida wear snow pants, hats, mittens and winter coats before! it was a cool ride-followed a baby penguin and then it ended at the penguin exhibit! The air temp was 32*, so nice and chilly in our shorts!








Eventually, we were able to talk Isaac into going on the Atlantis, which is (we thought!) a water flume ride. Well, it is but it's also a roller coaster too! He was not happy with us afterwards.

We went to the dolphin/bird show. It was pretty cool to see the dolphins interact with their trainers! There were also live birds flying around. There were divers that dived off these high platforms and people suspended on ropes doing acrobatic stuff.












This is where the divers were













Isaac was in love with this show! It was pretty cool. I had the feeling I'd seen it somewhere, but couldn't place it. It was our first trip to Sea World. He had no interest in seeing the whales or manatees. Boo. I would have loved to show him the manatees, as they are one of my favorite creatures!

When we decided to go to Sea World, we discovered they have a behind the scenes type dolphin tour. it was so well worth the money to get Isaac up close and personal with a dolphin again!
We met at the dolphin nursery, which is where the mama's and babies live. It was neat to see the babies and how they mimic their moms!




























Isaac with the guide for the dolphin tour



Our guide pulled Isaac out of our group and was having him answer questions and be an example. He was over the moon! He was the youngest in the group, but I bet he knew a lot more than some of us!

Mark and Isaac "free fed" the dolphins. This is when they throw fish into the pool and it's every dolphin for him/herself. This teaches the babies how to eat and get food. (I took pictures!)
Afterwards, we went over to the Discovery pool, where they allow visitors to feed/touch dolphins. We were the first ones up!

We were paired up with a trainer and a dolphin. Our dolphin was Scott. We were allowed to touch him and learned a few hand signals to have him show us what he knows. Isaac LOVED it. And he's right-dolphins do feel like a rubber tire.

After our dolphin adventure, we wandered around and had some lunch. We went back on the penguin ride once it started raining. that made it even colder!

Afterwards, we rode the bus back to the hotel and Isaac hit up the pool. We went to bed early--we were tired after such an awesome day!