Friday, January 29, 2010

First cruise review

Now that we're back from our big trip, we've had people ask us, "So how was your cruise?" For me, the answer to that question depends on which Rebecca you ask. Her various answers to that question follow.

Day-zero-Rebecca: "Vegas baby, Vegas!"

We left on Wednesday night after Rob got off work and drove to Las Vegas. We arrived pretty late, so we checked in to our cheap-o (but nice enough) room at Harrah's, went to see one fountain show at Bellagio, and went back to our hotel for some shut-eye.

Day-one-Rebecca: "I'm nervous, but excited!"

We got up really early to finish our drive to San Diego before noon. After having a quick bite at Subway, parking our car at a long-term lot, and finally getting a shuttle to the port (we waited about an hour for that dang thing), we were ready to check-in. I had a slight cold which had started about three days before. They asked about my symptoms and took my temperature and thankfully cleared me to board the ship. We found our room--somehow I didn't take a single picture of that. It was an interior room towards the back on the sixth level. It was great for us; we didn't care that we didn't have a window or balcony. If we wanted to see the ocean, we would just walk to the deck, no big deal.

I was nervous because we knew it might have been foolish to do an eight-day cruise our first time around because neither of us had any idea whether we would get sick. I had my trusty Sea Bands, but wasn't sure whether that would be enough.

It was a bit chilly in San Diego, but much warmer than Utah so we were happy campers. Our ship embarked around 5:00 p.m. and we had fun exploring the ship's decks, lounges, and various places to eat.

Days-two&three-Rebecca: "Cruises are a great way to travel!"

Our cruise went pretty far south, so we were at sea for two solid days to get to our first destination. We took full advantage lots of activities: trivia games, dancing lessons, lazing about the pools, the ice cream dispenser that's available 24-7, the gym, evening shows, etc.

I opted to stay dry while Rob checked out the pools and water slide; this kind of became a recurring theme throughout our trip.

We dressed up all fancy-shmancy for the evening they had a formal dinner. We had a lot of fun roaming around the ship and having our picture taken by all the photographers they have in different locations. We didn't purchase any of the pictures they took, but it was still fun.

Day-four-Rebecca: "Mexico makes me happy!"

Our first port was Zihautanejo. I had never heard of it before our cruise, but was so beautiful! We started out the day by taking a 30-minute bus ride to another beautiful spot called Ixtapa. Then we took a boat ride to a small island where they had lots of amazing beaches, great snorkeling spots (so we heard, but chose not to participate), some good hiking, a few restaurants, and live music.

These first few pictures were taken while we were on the island close to Ixtapa. We spent most of our time hiking around. It was really warm and tons of fun.

Once again, I opted to stay dry while Rob enjoyed the water.

After a few hours we went back to Zihautanejo and window shopped around a flea market. We also spent some time walking along the beach.

This was a really great place and a great start to our Mexico experience. I think it would be fun to plan a whole vacation to this area.

Day-five-Rebecca: "I'm in heaven!"

Our second port was Acapulco: the one place I had heard of before we booked our cruise. It is famous for a reason--it's amazing! We went on another excursion arranged by the cruise which was nice because we didn't have to stress about what to do. This city is so jam-packed that I would have no idea where to start without someone to give me some direction.

We started with another bus ride that took us along the coast while our tour guide told us about the history and different parts of Acapulco.

Here is photographic proof that we took the baby along for the trip. :) He didn't seem to care either way that we were on a cruise, although he was especially squirmy after our first day at sea.

There were so many beautiful spots along the way. I was glad the bus stopped a few times so we could get out and enjoy it.

We went to a lagoon where they loaded a few of us into each small boat and took us around so we could see the different birds in the area. I know, I know; birdwatching sounds like the most thrilling activity we could have chosen! It was actually pretty fun, although we probably only saw about five different kinds of birds. But we didn't choose this excursion for the birds; we chose it for one of the sweetest things I have ever seen in my whole life: baby turtles.

We went to this place (I'm not sure what to call it, maybe a sanctuary or reserve or something like that) run by a marine biologist. He goes out and finds turtle egg nests and brings the eggs back to this sanctuary so they don't get destroyed. The day they hatch, groups like ours are permitted to come and each person gets to name a turtle and release them into the ocean.

Rob and I had previously seen videos online of baby sea turtles crawling to the ocean and I flipped out--they are so adorable! When we found out this was part of the excursion, we signed up without any hesitation.

Meet Scooter McWiggins on the left and Jack on the right. We love them!

Rob got some great video of our little guys making their way into the big world. It was such a great experience!

Back at the sanctuary's main building they had this bird that was pretty friendly. It REALLY loved Rob. He picked it up and it shimmied straight up his arm to his shoulder and promptly started nibbling on his glasses. I tried to take him down and he bit me! We eventually got him down, much to the disappointment of the bird.

Back on the cruise ship we enjoyed the sun and the view.

There was a great sunset that night; the perfect ending to a wonderful day.

Day-six-Rebecca: "It's nice to be lazy while you're on vacation."

Since Rob had caught my cold by this point and I was still not completely over mine, we decided to just stay on the boat at our third port, Manzanillo. The port was in a really industrial area and we would have had to do a bit of traveling to get anywhere interesting anyway, so we were both fine with just taking it easy.

Day-seven-Rebecca: "I'm not so sure about cruises anymore."

Did you hear about all of the rain in California last week? Well, there were some huge cold fronts associated with that that made the water pretty rocky for our first day headed home.

Day-eight-Rebecca: "I just want to die."

The first day of rough water was unpleasant, but bearable. The second day, however, was just miserable. Rob handled it better than I did, but neither of us were happy campers. At one point I decided to go jogging because that had made me feel better on a previous day when I had felt a touch sea-sick. After I had run about a mile and a half I had to stop my treadmill. I felt a bit better after I visited the ladies' room and threw up three times. It was just awful.

We spent a lot of that day in the main lounge, which is right in the middle of the ship. We sat for hours just chatting and that was actually really nice. It was finally time to go to sleep and I couldn't wait for the next morning when the ship wouldn't be moving anymore and I could get back on dry land.

Post-cruise-Rebecca: "Life is beautiful!"

Some people have motion sickness after they take a cruise, but not me. I couldn't have been happier to be on solid ground. The day we got back we drove to St. George and stayed with my brother, Ryan, and his family. We love visiting them!

The next day we hiked around Snow Canyon. Katie and Ellie were total pros at racing around the trails. Our first stop was this cool slot canyon called Jennie's Canyon.


It was a touch chilly, but definitely bearable and tons of fun.

Katie was the first to reach the top of this peak, with Rob coming up second. Katie was especially proud of her speed and even reached the bottom before I started back down.

Ryan and Ellie followed close behind the first two.

Karen and Aspen stayed home while the rest of us went out. I realized I didn't get a single picture of Karen; probably because she was constantly busy preparing meals for us and making sure everything was wonderful, as it always is at their place. Thanks for taking in a couple of bums like us!

Over-all-Rebecca: "Cruises are fine, but it will be a long while before I take another."

All things considered, I had a good time on my first cruise. I'm definitely willing to give it another try, but I'm not in a hurry to get on another cruise ship anytime soon.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Ahoy!

Rob and I are taking a cruise to the Mexican Riviera (our first cruise ever) starting later this week. Any advice on cruises from all you cruise-savvy folks out there?

Friday, January 1, 2010

Halfway there

Here's our little guy's profile. That's right--in case you hadn't already heard, we're having a boy! We are really excited.

I was 20 weeks along on Christmas Day--exactly halfway! It's amazing how quickly this little belly has popped out of nowhere. I finally did some shopping and have some maternity clothes that I really love.

Thanks a million to my sister, Denise, who had the idea for these really cute pictures. She not only gave me the idea, but provided the tag and ribbon and took the picture. She says that someday when they finally get me into scrapbooking I can do these pictures, and she's right--I love them!