Mar 27, 2013

Seriously deserted? Neglected? Unloved?

Are you all feeling some pangs of abandonment?  Gosh, I knew it had been a long time since I had posted, but SERIOUSLY??  BEFORE Christmas?  WHAT was I thinkin???  WOW! 

I guess I have been so busy out living life!  Our holidays were wonderful.  Celebrating Thanks Giving here at home with an early Christmas celebration at my brother and sister in laws in Nashville.  Then we made the final preparations for our first Cruise.

We started our trip out with our first ever train ride.  7 hour trip on a passenger train from Birmingham to New Orleans.  The first few hours it was great.  Then the Novelty started to wear off and we were anxious to get to just get there.

It was a lot of fun and a great experience, but whew!  What a LOOOONG haul.

We finally made it to New Orleans!! We were all pretty tired, so a quick meal and then to bed in the hotel.

We wake up to see our boat....waiting for us!!!  :)

We spend the morning enjoying New Orleans a bit.  Breakfast with a live serenading band, amazing food and a lot to take in.  It was so awesome to be with the girls as they experienced so many firsts.  Their first taste of the French Quarter, their first taxi ride.   Their first experience with street entertainment.

 Then we get through customs, we check our bags and we get on the boat!  It is every bit as mezmerizing as we had hoped and expected.  And look, theres our hotel that were at just hours before.  Now we are on the deck of the ship!

The clocks all had personalities and everything was seriously ON VACATION!

It was soooo pretty.   Everything was spectacular to look at.  There was not a detail that was not magnificant.  The main Christmas tree was amazing.  There was gingerbread houses all over, there was smiling faces at every turn.  We felt like celeberties.  

Each of the houses were rebuilt daily.  New candies and cookies.

Our room when we first got there....and then our room when we had all the beds out.  :)  It was cozy....we had a blast though!  It was a slumber party every night. 

Even though I spent the first few days in a fog (had a serious head cold) it was absolutely impossible to be unhappy. 

The food was freakin amazing!  The girls wore out the poor room service guys and every where you looked there was food.  Good Food.   We especially loved the night of the chocolate buffet.  Ice sculptures, chocolate sculptures, singing and dancing.  It was great. 

Did I mention this is all chocolate??

 We met some amazing people on the ship.  The crew was amazing. 
Melanie took care of our room daily.  She was soooo sweet and always smiling. 
She made us animals every day.

She left us notes and little things that told us she was in our room.

This was our favorite!  Walter...

And Walthair (hehehe with my hair on!)

We spent Christmas day with our toes in the sand in Costa Maya, Mexico.  It was beautiful weather and absolutely WONDERFUL!!  The water was gorgeous.

In Mexico they serve Coca-Cola Light in a bottle.  It was freakin amazing!!

One of the most awesome experiences was getting to hold the baby lions.  They were adorable!!!  It was neat to feel their strength and see how much they are like domestic cats.

We were serenaded.
We ate good food.  It was sooo awesome.  Our trip was definitely off to a wonderful start.

Our next stop was Roatan, Honduras.  When we ported we were very excited!  It looked quaint and adorable.

The artistry and ambiance was awestriking. 

Then we saw the REAL Honduras.  And let's just say this was our least favorite stop.  Poverty everywhere.  I took this photo of this local boy because he was so fascinating.  He was playing with a stick.  Having the BEST time.   I watched him for a good hour as he joyfully imagined and played.  It was most fascinating because an American family was not far from this boy, playing as well.  I recognized them as American by the fancy swim suits, the storebought water toys and of course the ever noticeable striped cruise towels they carried.  For a solid hour the children argued about who got to play with which toy.  It was eye opening to me.  Wow...we have it so good and yet we find SOMETHING to complain about all the time. When the joy is ours if we just take it.   I wanted to walk up and hug this boy.  I didnt of course, maybe it was the officers with AK47s patroling the street behind me, or just my own shame.  He taught me a lesson and yet didnt even know I existed.

Hannah celebrated her Birthay onboard.  The traditional cake for breakfast.

A cupcake from the crew.

A surprise party for all those having Birthdays.

Up in front of an audience!

She was also sang to at dinner.  It was definitely the most announced Birthday shes ever had!

 We also went to Belize City.  A good stop, though we didnt venture too far outside of the port gates.  We did a little as we learned quickly this is where the best items can be purchased.  But after our experiences in Roatan we decided to stay closer to the commercial side of the city.

Heather in the market area, and then in front of the chocolate factory.

The street music was amazing.

A bronze statue caught my eye.  One created by a local artist, who had to had all of his materials flown in special for this project.

Our final destination was Cozumel, Mexico.  Everyone had told us that it was the best place to go.  We were very disappointed.  It was nothing more than an American tourist trap in our eyes.  Though later after we boarded the ship again we learned that we should have gone across to the mainlain.  Hmmm... NOW you tell us! 
In Mexico the legal drinking age is 13.  It was fun to go to the Tequilia factories.

This was a local market -- totally cracked me up!

Yes, the street workers were very much Americanized!


I dont know why, but I didnt get any photos of the beach. It was very pretty, but there was a lot of rock and choral. It was tough travels to get in the waters and the beach was wall to wall people. I did take a photo of the waters looking down off the ship.  Yes, the ocean really IS that blue.  I thought only swimming pools came in this color.

And that my friends is our trip in a nut shell.  We had an amazing experience.  It was a great bonding time for my family and memories we will never forget!

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