Friday, October 21, 2011

Our Family Vacation

I've been off the radar for a couple of weeks now. I find that when I come back from vacation it takes me time to transition back to reality and with the craziness that has gone on it's taken even longer. As I write this my little monkey is hanging out on the couch watching television because he's sick and too tired to play.

We sailed on the Carnival Fascination.

We went with family... A LOT of family.
 Caleb's Mammie and Bamps (Gramps is what he was going to be until Caleb decided Bamps was better)
 Caleb's Nana and Poppa
 Caleb's Nana and Papaw
And Caleb's Unc and his girlfriend Robyn.

I did quite a bit of this...
and this...
Notice a pattern?

Caleb however never sat still and the fact that there were so many grandparents meant I got to sit.

And Caleb played...

and played...
Went went to Half Moon Cay for a day. It is an island owned by Carnival. You can rent jet skis, snorkel equipment and water bikes. You can also go horse back riding on the beach. All of those things are extra but it was was actually pretty reasonably priced. About half way through the day Lee decided to rent snorkel equipment he only got to snorkel for about three hours but he thoroughly enjoyed it. He was able to get super close to a couple of Barracudas and was able to get me a few really pretty shells for my scrapbook jar. :) I really wish I would have turned the camera away from Caleb long enough to get pictures of him in his mask and snorkel! He was quite the sight! As you can see from the collage above Caleb spent most of the day playing in the sand but he did play in the ocean a lot too. He started the day wearing swim trunk bottom and a tee shirt but wound up in a tank and just a swim diaper. EVERYONE got at at least a little pink that day except for Caleb. My Mom, Lee and I got the worst of it though.

The next day we were is Nassau but I didn't take may pictures at all. 
We did take a couple of cute family pictures though...
We tried Conch there for the first time and actually really enjoyed it. We also had some of the most amazing green curry that I have ever had. Caleb got a shirt from Del Sol which is a store that everything changes color in the sun. I found several cute souvenir Christmas ornaments. I usually buy Lee and I one from everywhere we go and one for each year. I do the same for Caleb too. I bought him a clothes pin doll ornament. Our ornament is a conch shell that was sliced into slabs so you can see the way it swirls around. Lee also bought me a bowl made of a shell that was sliced in half and hollowed out with a matching spoon from a shop named Cooper's Cove in Festival Place, which is where you enter and exit Nassau from the cruise ships. We also went to the Tortuga Rum Store and bought a rum cake sampler. It has original spice rum, pineapple, chocolate, key lime, banana and coconut. I can now tell you that Lee and I, having eaten them all in less that a week, love the coconut and banana the best followed by the original spiced rum flavor. Don't judge me the smapler's cakes are the size of a jumbo muffin! They were all very good though.

We spent two days at sea. We went swimming, caught a couple of shows, lounged, ate and caught up on some sleep. Lee, Michael (Unc), Paul (Papaw) and Richard (Bamps) all went down the big water slide multiple times, No one else was daring enough to try that one. Mom and I took a couple of trips down the smaller adult slide. The other on was just to high above the ship for my taste.  
There is very few TV channels and you have no cell service unless you want to pay international roaming chargers. No thank you! You can use internet if you buy some kind of package but we wanted to be cut off from the world and it was well worth it. 
The food was always good. The cafeteria style dining room was always good and had 24 hour pizza, soft serve ice cream and frozen yogurt. I fell in love with the chocolate/strawberry swirl frozen yogurt.The food in the seated dining room was always excellent. They always have a few basic things but I never tried any of them. I always ate off the nightly specials. For the appetizers we had, alligator fritters, strawberry bisque, a study of sushi, frog legs, pumpkin soup, marinated fruit with mango coulis... There were so many different things that Lee often tried two and I got one and we tried all three. I often tried whatever Mom got too. The main meals were wonderful too. Lobster, Marinated Basa Fillet, Pumpkin Squash Yam Cheddar Pot Pie, Citrus Salmon, Chateaubriand, so many things that were very good. For dessert I had one thing multiple times... The Chocolate Melting Cake! I thought yeah, sure, whatever... How unoriginal... I was wrong! It was so stupid good I cannot even describe it. Being the chocolate snob that I am I still can't believe how much I loved it. I only strayed from it one night and that was for a Grand Marnier Souffle which was super good. I don't always love souffle but this on was light and not too eggy. It had a light hint of orange and was worth the one night I gave up my beloved Chocolate Melting Cake.

We had the most amazing service. Our waiter in the dining room was named Zoran. We received the BEST service imaginable. Zoran also has a two year old so he understood no child is going to sit still for a two hour dinner service so he played with him and always made sure he was served food first so that we could enjoy our dinner. Something we learned from talking to our parents that cruised before, you pay $10.00 a day gratuity regardless but it is nice to tip you Maitre D', head waiter, assistance waiter and room stewards and anyone else with great service on the ship extra.
I also recommend letting them take as many  pictures as possible for you. I don't have any to show because My MILs and FILs bought them ALL! We bought two and one of those was us being super stealthy before anyone else could get to it. They can be kind of pricey but you are not required to buy any. They set up back drops all over the ship and set up places at all the ports. I didn't manage to get any family pictures of all three of us but we got a couple good one of Lee and me. Every time I tried to do a family shot Caleb got cranky so the last night Lee and I went to dinner and sent Caleb with someone else and had one of just the two of us on the way.

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