Thursday, March 23, 2017

Eastern Caribbean 2017: Days 4-7

This post is all about the rest of our cruise! If you missed Days 1-3, you can read it here. The beginning of the cruise was enjoyable, but the end of it was my favorite: two more islands, two birthdays, one engagement, and priceless memories...

So Day 4 we ported in Charlotte Amalie on the island of St. Thomas. It's the capital city of the U.S. Virgin Islands and also known to be the "duty-free shopping capital of the world." But we were more interested in soaking up rays this day (especially since the first of the week was so windy) than shopping. So we disembarked, found a taxi, and off to Magens Bay we went.

Magens Bay is the most popular beach in St. Thomas for both tourists and locals. It was a little crowded, but we walked a little ways down and made us a spot. It was very pretty, the weather was nice, and the water felt good...not too chilly! Life was extra good this day. ;)

My beach read! I brought Beth Moore's first fiction book with me and read the whole thing before the week was over. I would recommend it! I love her Bible studies, but I do hope she writes some more fiction.

Prissy and me. :)

Our taxi driver stopped a couple of time to let us take pictures, and this was overlooking Magens Bay (the beach we had just left). I took several pictures, yet none of them do the views of the island justice. Some things you just need to experience in real life. :) Travel!

The next time we stopped was back on the other side of the island where we ported. This is overlooking the harbor, and again, pictures don't do the view justice. All of the dots you see in the water were sailboats and was very pretty! There's a couple cruise ships in the background but they are different lines. Ours is to the right of this picture.

 Post-dinner picture at our deck spot. :)

On Day 5, we ported in Philipsburg, a town on the Dutch side of SXM.  The island is split almost halfway between the French Republic (Saint-Martin) and the Netherlands (Sint Maarten).

This harbor was beautiful! Boats everywhere. After we disembarked, we hopped on a catamaran that we had booked. We went snorkeling, swimming, and to a little beach that you had to swim to...I stayed on the boat and soaked up the sun. :)

Charity, Priscilla, and me soaking up every second of #catamaranlife. The crew of the boat stopped in the ocean nearby where the Princess Juliana International Airport is, which is best known for its runway being extremely close to shore...meaning the aircrafts have extremely low-altitude landing approaches right over the beach. We watched a plane or two land...they were just a little close! Look it'll see what I mean.

Oh, Captain!

After the catamaran excursion was over, we took a water taxi over to the town of Philipsburg. We found a restaurant to eat at called Pirates in Paradise...turned out to be an Ohio State pub owned by an American...and the food wasn't very authentic...but it was decent and something different from ship food. We enjoyed the time spent with Priscilla, Lincoln, Charity, and Wes. Overall a day well spent. :)

The next day, we spent cruising...and it was my birthday! Listen, being at sea isn't a bad way to turn half of 50. ;)

Earlier in the week, Priscilla and I went to Vitality, the spa onboard, and made appointments to have up-do's done on our hair this night. It was the last formal night and my birthday--so we indulged. A guy from the UK did my hair.

By the way, I forwent the onboard Internet package, and it was one of the best decisions I ever made. It was nice (and freeing!) to be mostly phone-free for a week...except for having it in airplane mode to use the camera. I joke with Landon that sometimes I want to go back to having a Razr flip phone. I think life would be much better. That said, thank you for all the birthday messages I received! I didn't read them until I was back in Florida a couple days later...but still enjoyed them just the same.

No better way to enjoy your birthday dinner than with lobster and cake. ;)

Very blessed to spend another birthday with this man. He takes care of me...and that's not an easy task. ;)

My people on a ship on my birthday.

We ended my birthday dancing the night away in the Solarium. It was a lot of fun, but ironically reminded me I'm definitely not 19 anymore. ;) I'm a 25 year old grandma who stayed up way past my bedtime and was very tired the next day...but hey, we enjoyed it while it lasted.

Day 7 was our last day of cruising back toward Port Canaveral. I spent this day doing absolutely nothing but laying by the pool until time to get ready for dinner.

This day was Grace Ann's birthday. At dinner, when it came time to celebrate her, it looked like she was getting a birthday cake like I did the night before...but instead she got...a proposal cake! :) So happy it's official now and happy we got to be there to witness it.

Gracie with her ring. Two Taylor's and an Almost Taylor...but three sisters. ;)

And one last deck spot picture to round off the week.

After this, we headed back to our staterooms and packed up. We had an early wakeup call to be in line for first departure since we had a morning flight from Orlando. Funny story, ship time had advanced an hour on Friday night (this was Daylight Savings weekend). So on Saturday night, I manually set the time on my phone to match ship time and set our 5:30am alarm. The next morning, we wake up and get ready to leave our staterooms heading for the departure deck...only to realize we had actually woken up at 4:30am! Even though I had manually set the time on my phone, it still advanced itself an hour on Saturday night...even though the ship already went ahead an hour the night before. So, we got an extra few minutes of sleep in and a mishap I won't live down for a while. Oh well...better early than late! :)

Honestly, I was skeptical of a cruise...but it was the best little getaway vacation. Thank you to the beautiful Oasis of the Seas. Not only did we have new experiences but as a bonus we enjoyed family time and got plenty of rest and relaxation plus lots of quality time, which is sometimes hard to find in the chaos of every day life. I love to travel because I love to experience new places and sites and foods and cultures. Traveling gives you something that nothing else if there's one piece of advice I can you it's this...go.

And now the countdown to our next adventure begins...

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