Thursday, June 14, 2012

15th Anniversary Cruise!!!

Fifteen years ago, I married my hottie in the Logan Temple for time and all eternity.  What a fabulous fifteen years it has been!  To celebrate our wedded bliss, we talked my mom into flying out here (the day after she finished out her school year teaching 1st grade!) and staying with our kids for a week while we cruised down to the Bahamas.  Lucky, lucky us!!!

This was our second cruise.  (Took our first five years ago to celebrate our 10th anniversary and had so much fun we decided we didn't want to wait until our 20th to do it again!)   We sailed out of Norfolk, VA.  It was a quick four hour drive and we didn't have to get a hotel before or after the cruise.  Loved that.  This was a 7-day cruise with stops in Nassau and Freeport.

Last time, we had an interior room.  
 This time we upgraded to a room with a window.  

We loved having a view of the ocean 
and spent lots of time scanning the horizon for whales (didn't see any) 
and dolphins (saw one!) 
and flying fish (saw a few). 

Our favorite part of this cruise?  Easily our second day in Nassau.  This was the only day that we had purchased an excursion:  SWIMMING WITH THE DOLPHINS.  Eek!  It's something I've always wanted to do.  And it totally lived up to expectations.  A boat took us on a half-hour ride through the harbor to a private island:  Blue Lagoon Island.  It is a little slice of paradise.

We were in a group of about ten people.  We all donned life jackets and got right in the water with two trained dolphins.  One of them was a mom of a one-year-old, so her toddler swam around trying to be like her mom the whole time.  It was so cute.  We spent about half an hour in the water with them. 

We took turns posing for pictures,

getting kissed,

feeling their teeth,

getting sprayed,

feeding them,
and dancing with them.
SOOOO fun.

At the end, we got into the water one at a time,
laid face down on top of the water,
and the dolphins came up behind us...

and pushed us all the way across the little lagoon.
It was awesome.

Before we left, the dolphins did a few tricks for us.

And then waved good-bye.

This excursion was expensive. 
 I LOVED it, but think it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

I had read on-line before we went that you can explore the island and go swimming before the boat takes you back to the cruise ship.  We had bought snorkel gear and were told that the best snorkeling was on the ocean side of the island. 

Right here.
In this crystal-clear water.

Oh. my. gosh.
It was like nothing I've ever experienced before.
Our underwater camera does NOT do it justice,
but here's a little glimpse.
I felt like I was swimming through a scene from Finding Nemo.

There were bright-colored plants and fish everywhere.
And not just little itty bitty ones.
There were schools of fish that were a foot to a foot and a half long.
It was AMAZING to spend some time exploring their world.

The employees let us know that even though we were scheduled to take the earliest boat back to the ship, we were welcome to take any of the scheduled departure boats.  We decided to stay as long as we could, pretty much all day.  It was perfect.  If we have another chance to go to Nassau, I'd just purchase the excursion for an island getaway and hang out there in paradise.


It was amazing.
Andrew was adventurous and tried all the crazy stuff on the menu.
Frog legs (pictured above), shark, conch.
They were out of alligator, or he would have tried that, too.

Lobster tail


Our favorite part of dinner:  the dessert menu 

A delicious chocolate raspberry cream cake.

We had lots and lots of WARM CHOCOLATE MELTING CAKE.
I wish I was eating some right now.

We also celebrated my birthday
(a little early) on the ship.
Love the napkin hat!

 Two desserts??
If you insist.

All of the above pics are from our nice dinner restaurant.
We also enjoyed the casual dining around the ship.

The Mongolian Wok was a favorite.

Drew tried a fresh coconut off the buffet.

And he continued his tradition of grabbing an ice cream 
cone every time we passed the machine on the lido deck.


Last time, we cruised with Tony and Cindy.
It was wonderful to have built-in photographers with us.
I was worried about having to ask strangers to take 
our pics this time.  But it worked out fine.
And we took a few self-portraits.
And I set the auto timer for a few.


When you cruise, they turn down your sheets before bed
and leave a cute little towel animal for you.
It's so fun to come back to the room at night and
see what's waiting for you.
A puppy dog

 An elephant

My favorite:
A monkey hanging from our light fixture

The colorful towels and dresses for sale in Freeport

A GORGEOUS Bahamian sunset

Tearing up the dance floor.
We remembered our East Coast Jitterbug.

I was the proud winner of a 24 karat plastic ship on a stick!
I was part of the women's team for Deck Olympics.
And we just barely beat out the guys.

Ice sculptor

Drew in a free-throw shooting contest

We spent hours and hours just lying on these comfy deck chairs,
reading and relaxing.

Our first day in Nassau, we took a taxi to Cabbage Beach.

It was beautiful, but the snorkeling wasn't nearly as good as
 Blue Lagoon Island.

We did see a few silver fish, a barracuda, and two stingrays.

Andrew thought the second was a rock and almost picked it up!

 Some of the memories that I couldn't/didn't get pictures of:

 *Another one of my concerns about going by ourselves this time was dinner seating.  Who would we sit with?  Would we get along?  Would all of our dinners be uncomfortable?  We ended up at a table for four.  Our first night, no one showed up to eat with us.  Our second night, still no one.  We asked Ariel, our waiter, about it.  He told us we were assigned to sit with a married couple in their forties.  Hmmm... By our third night, we were hoping they were anti-formal-dining and it turns out we were right.  Because they never sat with us.  We had a nice big table to ourselves.  Loved it.

*One of the days when we were out on the deck, the captain came on the loudspeaker with a little weather update and he mentioned that the current ocean depth was 12,000 feet!  Holy cow.  That's hard for me to wrap my brain around.

*A tropical storm had come through the Atlantic right before our cruise.  It left the sea angry!  The ship was very rocky this time around.  Neither of us got sick, but I could see why so many people were wearing little motion-sickness patches behind their ears.

*I put my kindle to good use on this vacation.  Downloaded three books before we left. 
Started off with Tim Tebow's autobiography:  Through My Eyes.  I checked this one out from the digital library and started reading it on our last beach vacation but didn't finish it before it was due.  I really liked the beginning.  It was so refreshing to hear a professional athlete quoting scripture and living a virtuous and praiseworthy life.  But he's not a writer.  At all.  I got about 3/4 of the way through and gave up.
Next I read Stephanie Nielson's Heaven Is Here.  Wow.  What an amazing story.  It is definitely a tear jerker, even for me.  But it was inspiring and a great read.
Ended with Michelle Bachmann's Core of Conviction.  Loved that, too. 

*Last time, I didn't realize that room service was included with the price of your cruise.  We took advantage of this new discovery and had breakfast in bed one morning.  Awesome.

*Went to a magic show with a man named Justin Illusion.  Great stage name, huh?  It was awesome.  We loved his disappearing acts.  But why, oh, why do the dancers have to wear such skimpy outfits and dance all sensually?  Boo on that.

*Apparently SPF 50 sunblock has got nothing on the Nassau sun.  My back got burned pretty bad while we were snorkeling.  And now it's peeling.  Lovely.

*Andrew and I love participating in the trivia contests on the ship.  We did well every time, but always fell short of winning. 

*They had an early show with a comedian that was labeled the "family friendly" show.  We figured it was safe for us.   It was hilarious.  The guy was really funny.  Not quite side-splitting, but several laugh-out-loud moments.

Happy anniversary!
Let's do this again in five years.


  1. What a great trip! And it didn't take you a month and three posts to recap it all! Forrest and I will have to try a cruise sometime.

  2. Looks like a fantastic time! I love that couple shot of you and Andrew underwater in your snorkel gear!

  3. We want to go on a cruise sometime... We should totally be table mates!

  4. So fun! I am so jealous of swimming with the dolphins! Glad you guys got to do so much!

  5. Woo who! Just finished every word of your 15th Anniversary cruise post. Incredible! I feel like I've been transported. Thanks for the great post.
    Mom S

  6. Those dessert menus look familiar :) I had the chocolate lava cake every night. Great post! Great pics! Makes me want to go snorkeling again.

  7. WOW! I loved reading this and seeing all the great photos. You both look so happy and relaxed. What happy memories for you!

  8. How fun!! Swimming with the dolphins looks awesome. I'm going to email you some more cruise questions I have. Thanks!

  9. What a great trip! I want to do a cruise on our 20th too (5 more years!)
    Looks like you guys had a fabulous time and you got some great pics!

  10. You guys look so good in every picture! So cute! I love the dolphin kiss pictures and the fun couple ones.

    John and I have never wanted to go cruising, but you've just about changed my mind - except for the rocky seas which make me nervous. I'd want to go to Nassau and do just what you said! Fun!!

  11. Thanks for sharing this cruise with us. We feel like we've been there. You're right: snorkling is amazing, well worth a sunburned back.