Travel

We Have Become a Cruise Couple

HI! After two weeks of whirlwind activity, I’m finally back into my (somewhat) normal routine. And let me tell you–I’ve been itching to do some blogging.

After a perfect (I don’t use this term often, but this time it’s warranted) wedding almost three weeks ago, we slogged through four days of work until the following Friday when we jetted off to Tampa to catch our Royal Caribbean cruise ship to Roatan (Honduras), Belize City (Belize), Costa Maya (Mexico), and Cozumel (Mexico) for an entire week. We’ve also become major proponents of services like Uber and Lyft. This time, we Lyfted everywhere and it was the absolute best idea. Seriously, we got a ride to the airport at 3:30AM, no problem. It was also a lifesaver in Tampa since we didn’t have a car but had an entire day’s worth of things to do and see. We had no problem getting a ride and if you Lyft during off times (like in the morning), it’s incredibly cheap. That being said, once we got to the airport, our honeymoon was underway. Here are a few highlights from the past week:

1) Tampa is effing awesome. We totally had a one-day pre-vacation in Tampa before even boarding the cruise. We touched down at 7AM and had the entire day to explore. We went to the Florida Aquarium, SS American Victory Mariners Memorial Museum, ate lunch at the Columbia Cafe (with killer Cuban sandwiches and mojitos), strolled down the Riverwalk, drank craft beer at Cigar City Brewing, and finally ended the day at the hotel pool. P.S. why didn’t I go to the University of Tampa? That campus is gorgeous.

victory anchor

Tampa harbor

2) I ate escargot for the first time. Who knew snails drenched in garlic and butter taste just like mushrooms? I’m sold. I also found out that I really enjoy dressing up for dinner. And people watching. Especially when it involves 60-year-old men who are on a cruise, so they’re going to live it up in snakeskin boots, cowboy hats, wallet chains, and jewelry straight off the Affliction website. And they’ll do it while sipping a fruity frozen beverage with a pineapple wedge.

cruise formal

3) I saw my first Mayan ruins. We took a one-hour bus ride from Costa Maya to Chacchoben, which was amazing. Stu has been to Chichen Itza, but I had never even been to Mexico. We ran up ancient stone steps and watched spider monkeys playing in treetops. This is one of the many reasons I will go on cruises whenever possible. Your room and board travel with you and you can visit a different country every day. Oh, and FYI, DEET will take the dye right off your leather purse and smear it across your skin (fine, I applied wayyyyyy too much). Whatevs. Zika ain’t gonna stop this. 

chacchoben_mayan_ruins

chacchoben_chacos

4) Book shore excursions. In the wise words of my Grandma Rinker, “You have to pay if you want to see anything.” This is especially true at cruise ports. We did go on two excursions in Costa Maya and Cozumel through RC, but we’re definitely going to check out the private companies next time. Many of the private excursions go to the same places, but they’ll be half the price. The advantage of going through the cruise line is that you’re guaranteed to get back to the ship on time, and if not, the ship will wait for you. However, private companies have picked up on this and now have their own guarantees that they’ll get you back on time or they’ll be responsible for getting you to the next port to meet the ship. And let me tell you, I am already on a mission to do some more snorkeling and feed some sharks down in the southern Caribbean this fall…

cozumel_mexico

5) Speaking of which, you can book your next cruise right on the ship. And we totally did this. The Nealis’ and Njus’ are tearing up the Caribbean. Because that turquoise water. And dude, they play 90’s pop videos on the pool deck by day and movies on the big screen by night. If jamming to “Genie in a Bottle” at 3PM and watching the latest Tom Hanks film on the same deck at 6PM is wrong, then I don’t want to be right.

6) I’m actually still in the Caribbean. Not really, but I did attempt to soften the blow of my first Monday back at work by getting my nails did and having them painted some vibrant OPI shade of tropical pink. I can still pretend I’m on the beach, right? I’ve also gone off the deep end and I’m filling our downstairs bathroom with beach themed decor. Come to our house and there will be some seashells, driftwood, and mermaids up in your mug.

So there it is, the highlights of our honeymoon. There are actually more, but these lists aren’t meant to be novels… I’m doing this completely out of order, but next week I’ll be posting some of our AMAZING (yes, all-caps is necessary) wedding photos by Seth & Beth Wedding Photography. I will sing Seth’s praises all day long because, let me tell you, these photos are cuh-razy. A fully edited album was ready to view even before we returned from our trip, so we were standing on the deck of the ship looking through them as soon as we got service! But seriously, y’all, absolutely amazing. So stay tuned!

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