Cruising the Caribbean

Ever since we booked our cruise holiday in January I’ve been eagerly awaiting May 29th, excited to flee the grey cold weather of Dublin and cruise the Caribbean in style with our fabulous friends Kieron, Lucy, Joey and Robbie.

There was so much packed into our holiday last week that I don’t know where to begin in describing it. Lets just say it was 9 days of fabulousness! Memories of our tropical sunny holiday will keep me warm through the Irish ‘summer’ 😛

We arrived in Miami on the afternoon of Friday 29th. We spent that evening soaking in the ambiance of South Beach, people-watching and sipping cocktails. On Saturday we boarded the ‘Liberty of the Seas’ and settled into our home for the week. Sunday we cruised towards Haiti and Monday we relaxed on the private beach of Labadee. Tuesday we rafted down a jungle river in Jamaica. Wednesday we snorkeled and swum with stingrays in Grand Cayman. Thursday we snorkeled in Mexico and Friday we cruised back towards Miami and bid a grudging farewell to the Caribbean.  On Saturday we left the ship early and managed to squeeze in some speed-shopping at Aventura in Miami before our flight home.

That is our holiday in brief. I can’t really do justice to all that we saw and did or to the fun times we had but here are a few memories in no particular order :

  • The Liberty of the Seas – The cruise ship itself was truly impressive. Like a small city floating around the Caribbean. Liberty of the Seas is complete with mini-golf, movie theatre, ice skating rink, climbing wall, shops and restaurants, water desalination plant, tv production studio, you name it!
  • Swimming in the sea – The water was so clear and calm. I’ve never swum in such warm ocean before! I’m quite a wimp when it comes to even slightly cold water but the sea in the Caribbean is perfect, like swimming in bathwater! The blue sky and the brilliant blues and greens of the water are beautiful. Sigh. Perfection.
  • Stingrays – in Grand Cayman we took a tour out to Stingray bay, a sand bar where huge stingrays will swim around you and let you hold them! It was scary stepping into the clear blue water and seeing the black shapes gliding around under the surface. It freaked me out completely to feel the stingrays brushing past my legs as they swam between us. But it was fun haha 😀
  • Formal Dress – I loved dressing up for the 2 formal nights on the boat. We girls got to glam it up in our cocktail dresses and the boys held up their side too looking very dashing in their tuxedos.
  • Shopping – Well, this is more of a highlight for me than for Matt but I had a great time shopping with Lucy and Robbie in Miami. Forever 21 is my new favourite store. If only they would open a store a little closer to here…
  • Sunsets – We saw some gorgeous sunsets while on holiday. The first one in Miami and then a few nights onbaord the ship. I love how a sunset never looks exactly the same as the night before.
  • The little things – It was the small things that made the cruise feel luxurious, like the origami towel animals left on our bed each night by the room attendant and the attentive waiters at dinner each night who placed your napkin on your lap and brushed the crumbs off the table before dessert with their little table combs hehe.
  • Food – The food, oh my, the food. I don’t think I’ve ever eaten so much in one week. A cruise holiday is all inclusive meaning you can eat all you want and it doesn’t cost you anything more… Expansive breakfast buffets, all day snacks and 3 course dinners. We took full advantage of all of it mmmm yum! The calories don’t count when you’re on holiday don’t ya know 😛
  • Lightning storm – On our last night on board the weather turned dark and stormy. We looked out to sea and watched the storm.  It was awesome to see the bolts of lightning flash across the night sky.
  • Fabulous Friends – Holidays are infinitely better when you have good company to enjoy them with!!! Thanks for the amazing holiday guys 🙂

Check out all the holiday photos in our gallery here.

Comment from Mark on 2009-06-11

Really enjoyed the account and the photos thanks Agree with Brownie about braving Cruise Ships and Swine flu but was even more impressed by the close and apparently friendly encounters with sting rays! I am intrigued to know whether there was any danger from the barbs or are they just so used to human company now that they don’t perceive a threat?

Comment from matt on 2009-06-11

No idea about the barbs, they hinted that they were just friendly stingrays but never gave a straight answer one way or the other. The guy was holding the tail fairly firmly and away from us the whole time…

Comment from Gill on 2009-06-12

Sounds fabulous- I am feeling the need to plan for something similar coming on…… I am sure those stingrays must have had their barbs removed – humanely of course. How closely did you look? It would be too dangerous to swim with them otherwise!!

Comment from Kat on 2009-06-12

Nope, they definitely still had their barbs, the guide showed us where it was. The stingrays are fed there every day so they’re very used to people and quite happy to be held and touched. I think you’d have to literally stomp on one to make it angry but the water is clear enough to see exactly where they are under the surface.