In the first week of my new job, my boss told me of certain perks that came along with the job; things she did not mention during my interview. The biggest of these perks being that the owners of the company take their employees on a free cruise every year!
I was thrilled! Going on a cruise has always been on my croak list. Additionally, I have only been out of the country once (to Canada), so being presented with the opportunity to see another country for free was the icing on top of the cake! Even better its not an experience I have to do alone because we are allowed one guest. Technically its supposed to be spouse only, but because I’m not married I get to bring whoever I want.
I spent weeks prepping for the trip. It’s all everyone at work could talk about / focus on. This weekend was finally the weekend! Below are my entries from my handwritten travel journal.
Night Before (Thursday, November 9, 2017 )
Christina and I thought it best that she spent the night at the apartment so things would be less rushed in the morning. She is the cruise expert and one of the few people I can always have a great time with, which is why I picked her to go with me. I haven’t done this before and to be honest I am a little scared of being on the ship. Makes me feel better to have someone showing me the ropes first time around. Our bags are packed and ready to go. We are eating pizza for dinner while watching a movie and then its off to bed. We want to get an early start tomorrow. The ship doesn’t leave until 4PM but boarding is technically allowed starting from about 10:00AM or so. We have a three hour ride out to Port Canaveral so Christina wants to leave early and be there by the time the let the first people on the ship. According to her, our rooms are never ready right away so we decided to check in our bags so that we do not have to carry them around all day, apparently they bring them up to your room later in the day.
Day 1 (Friday, November 10, 2017)
Ridge Manor, FL
We woke early as planned. Christina is driving her car. She figures since I am taking her on a free cruise and saving her hundreds of dollars that the least she can do is drive us there and back. I am cool with that. I am so nervous that having to drive these three hours would be horrible. We have just stopped at a Dunkin Donuts along the way to get a quick breakfast. I don’t think I can eat right now but I am forcing myself because lord only knows how long it will be until we have our lunch.
Port Canaveral, FL
We have just arrived at the port. We dropped off the car at Park Port Canaveral then they shuttled us to the port. We have already checked in our bags, They did it right from where we got off of the bus. Now we are taking turns to use the bathroom before we go in through security. Nerves are turning into excitement.
On Board MS Majesty of the Seas
We are finally on board and I am freaking out! Security was quick and reminded me of the airport. We went through customs. We got our pass card. It’s kind of our entire life for the weekend. It unlocks the room door, it serves as ID on the gangway on and off the ship, it tells the staff members if we have drink packages or not. It’s our entire life and has to be guarded carefully because even our credit cards are linked to it because this is even how we pay for stuff on the ship. It’s a little insane … but I like it. Anyway we walked around the ship exploring some. I had my famous jack/rose moment at the end and front of the ship. We set up my WiFi for the weekend because without it I wouldn’t be able to call or message my mom and she would flip a shit. We are now sitting in the dining hall after finishing eating the most yummy food I have had in a while. I swear it’s amazing and there are so many different options! Buffet style! I’m in heaven. This place is getting pretty crowded for still having three hours or so until we take off. We are just relaxing at our table by the window staring out at the water. We are about to see if we have access to our room yet.
Stateroom 5018 – At Sea
We found our room and it’s beautiful! It was ready when we arrived except we did not have any towels so we had to track down our room attendant to get some. We unpacked. Explored ship some more. Came back to room to shower and get dressed. Went to my company’s cocktail party and then to dinner followed by the Comedy Show which was hilarious! Kinda wanted to do a few more things but we need to wake up at the crack of dawn for an excursion. We wont have time to go to the dining room for breakfast so we have just set out a room service card where they had us choose what items we would like brought in. I am probably more excited about it than I should be.
Day 2 (Saturday, November 11, 2017)
Senor Frogs, Freeport Bahamas.
Breakfast this morning was amazing. Fresh fruit, juice, a bagel with cream cheese, eggs, coffee, etc. It was just so tasty! Even better that I ate it all in bed! We headed down to the theater where we met up with everyone else going on the tour. Going through the gangway is always stressful for me. I try not to look down and see the ocean death below me, but it’s worth it once you step off the ship and onto Freeport, Bahamas! Once at the harbor we met up with our tour guide who shoved us all on a greyhound style type bus. It was my first experience with being in a vehicle driving on the other side of the road. It actually took me quite some time to realize that we were. The bus took us to a gas station where we met up with the second tour guide/driver and his Unimog Truck. During the ride to our first destination we learned about our surroundings from our awesome guide Lia (lots of town/Bahamian history). We went out to the Ol’ Freetown Farm where we saw animals and vegetation. Got to try some awesome mini bananas. my favorite part of the farm tour being the domestic cats running around and following us throughout the entire tour. They kept walking through our legs making us trip and stopping for us to pet them and scratch behind their ears. They were such cute fluff balls. We then headed out to Owls Hole Cavern an underwater cave that was scary/beautiful. The walk to the cave was interestingly rocky/dangerous. Not something I should have worn my flip flop for. The guides gave us time to enjoy our surroundings and take photos. We got back on the Unimog for an even bumpier ride toward MantaRay Beach. There we had an awesome lunch at their waterside restaurant. We got to try some Bahamian pineapple soda. After lunch we got to walk and enjoyed a beautiful Bahamian beach! I did not have my bathing suit on under my clothes so I did not get a chance to swim, but I did roll up my jeans and got in knee deep. Playing and splashing was fun enough. Most of the time on the beach was spent siting up on a rock staring out at the clear blue water and waves. Super peaceful and calming. We drove back to the harbor where we explored a bit. Got to buy some souvenirs from the shops littered around the harbor. When I went to Canada I kept some of their currency. I did the same for the Bahamas. This kind clerk lady gave me a Bahamian dollar to keep for free. She was pretty cool. Now we are sitting at Senor Frog’s having a drink, listening to music, watching my coworkers get drunk, seeing other tourists dancing around the bar, and making fun of everyone. Back to the ship we go.
When we got on the ship we left our stuff in the room and went pool side for he belly flop competition but I think that they cancelled it. We sat there drinking pina coladas for a while but it didn’t happen. They were just having a little dance party so we watched a bit and headed to the room. We just got upstairs and the owners of the company are just so sweet! They sent a box of gourmet chocolates to our room as an extra gift! As if the cruise wasn’t enough! I love my job so much! And the room attendant left an elephant on my bed! He’s wearing my sunglasses and is so cute! Going to rest here for a bit before we get ready for the captains formal dinner tonight.
Went to the fancy dinner at the moonlight dining room. Flamingos! Since it was free and I felt like I might never get the chance to do it again, I ordered escargot and creme brulee. Two things I have always wanted to try so I could say, Hey! I have eaten that! I did not like the snails. They were just … booger textured? I was not about it. Maybe next time I wont try to chew it and just swallow whole so it doesn’t explode or feel rubbery. Flamingos! The creme tasted good but it had that flan like texture that I am not fond of. So I did not eat it all. I also decided to have a shot of espresso for first time. Good but I think I prefer my coffee with cream and sugar. Flamingos! Sorry. All though dinner this big group, a bachelorette party, was following us around. they were decked out with Flamingos! They even had a gigantic inflatable flamingo as well as a pinata. So that is stuck in my head obviously. Flamingo! After dinner we saw another show and enjoyed the dance party poolside with drinks! I am not sure if it was the espresso, the amaretto sour, or a combination of both mixed with snails but I was actually dancing in public. To several songs. Specifically to footloose. One of the few on deck that knew the actual steps and people were looking at me. But then they joined in so it was an awesome moment. I need sleep. Tomorrow is beach day at Coco Cay! Didn’t get to swim at MantaRay but I’ll get a chance to tomorrow!
Day Three (Sunday, November 12, 2017)
Panicking At Sea
Coco Cay was cancelled due to rough waters and bad weather. Spent day at sea instead. We had breakfast at the buffet this time. So many options. It was crazy. Enjoyed many boat activities like the belly flop competition, the love and marriage game show, the 80’s music trivia at the skipper bar, watching a movie (Cars 3) in the theater, Groovy Wonderland Show at the theater as well, etc. We even took the time to go to the casino. I did not win anything! But Christina did, $60. We were planning on a little more but those rough waters are causing a super rocky ship, which in turn got me incredibly sea sick. I was sitting in the theater after our last dinner on board watching Groovy Wonderland and I kept seeing the theater curtains swaying back and forth. Everything was swinging like a pendulum on a grandfather clock. Even I was swinging. Trying to walk from the theater to my room was hilariously awful. We kept slip sliding all over the dam place in the hallways. I banged into the walls a few times. Lets just say dinner has evacuated my system. I’ve already thrown up once, I feel like crap, I am going to miss the last comedy show of the weekend because I can barely move. I’m off to bed early and hoping the rest of the night goes better. Dramamine is my best friend tonight.
Day Four (Monday, November 13, 2017)
On car ride home. Have no clue where we are. Just on the road. I am feeling better. The night wasn’t that bad once I fell asleep. The rocking back and forth actually knocked me out and I didn’t throw up except that one time. I did wake up in the middle of the night because my bed was up against the wall and the head of the bed was at the window so every time the boat rolled toward the window side I would bang my head. So I got up switched my pillows to the foot of the bed and slept better from then on. This morning we finished packing, something I never leave for the morning of departure, but I just could not focus on it last night. We decided not to check in the bags so that when we got off the ship we wouldn’t have to wait for them to come off the ship. We had them in hand and went over to our shuttle right away and then right to the car. For the rest of the day I am pretty much just going to unpack, recover, rest, and sleep before going back to work and reality tomorrow. I had the best time on this trip. I am still trying to process that it actually happened. I just have to repeat it one more time because it is just so true. I have been truly blessed with the best job ever! I cannot wait to see what next years cruise will be like.