Miami and HOME

Whah!!!! It’s Back to reality! I have to come to terms with the fact that there will be no one to make me delicious meals, and fluff my pillows and give me  fresh towels twice a day! And…tonight, there will be someone else sleeping in my stateroom!

Early this morning we are back in the Port of Miami. Why oh why does a week have to go extra fast when you are enjoying a warm tropical vacation. It was so lovely.

The good thing about going home is that we are relaxed and refreshed, the time changes this weekend…”Spring Ahead” so the evenings are longer and we can start thinking about Spring and projects and warm and what’s ahead…

It was so much fun to be able share this cruise with David’s older brother Glenn & wife Holly. I feel very blessed, very thankful! They are great travel companions and we really enjoyed our time together. Cruising with family and friends allows you to share special moments and adventure together that bring you closer and make that bond stronger and more special. I really think it would be fun to do a cruise with all his brothers/sister and spouses. Could you imagine? Maybe we should start planning for that…you know in a couple years….maybe the Mediterranean?

Key West Florida

The forth and final port of call… Key West, Florida. It is on the very tip of the Florida Keys. Key West is a US Island city and home to a naval base. It is part of the Florida keys archipelago. It is Florida’s southernmost point, lying 90 miles north of Cuba. Famed for it’s pastel-hued conch-style houses. ( and key lime pie and roosters)

This is a new port for us, we have never been to Key West even in our childhood travels to Florida. The first thing the list of “what to do” for this port was…I’ve got to have Key Lime Pie!!!! Definitely!!

But, did you know … Hailed as “the Conch Republic,” Key West has the distinction of having one of the lowest rates of depression in the United States. -And what does that have to do with conch? Just about everything! Conch is part of the local diet attributed to this population’s overall low “non-depressive mode.” You’ll find conch in fritters and in salads, and on the local high school’s marquee…The football team is the “Fighting Conchs. BUT honestly, with sunshine and warm weather like this, how could anyone be depressed?

So…a walking tour of Key west to make sure we see the  Southernmost point in the Continental USA

 

and enjoy some key lime pie and conch…just so we don’t get depressed. After all, today is our last day and it’s back to Miami in the morning and home. We also enjoyed a Butterfly Sanctuary and seeing all the roosters that make Key West their home…they are everywhere!!!!!

Good Morning Key West!

Meet Petar from Macedonia. He was always at breakfast each morning with a smile. We enjoyed our conversations with him.

Transportation off the pier by trolly. No walking allowed because the pier belongs to the US Navy and is a restricted area.

The Navy is celebrating their 150th Anniversary this year, so this statue was placed in front of the Customs house.

Chocolate covered frozen key lime pie!!! YUMMY!!!!

Butterfly Sanctuary

Southernmost Point in USA

Can you see Cuba? lol

“The Little White House”

About 25 years ago, Kermit Carpenter began selling smoothies from a small stand in front of Papa’s Restaurant in Key West during his tenure as Papa’s bookkeeper. When the head chef suddenly drove off into the proverbial sunset one night, Kermit was left looking for a new adventure. Having been brainstorming with his sister Anita and her husband John, they decided that whatever they decided to do, it needed to be high quality and say “Key West”… gourmet food and Key Lime fit the bill, and so began Kermit’s Key West Key Lime Shoppe.

Meet Kermit 🙂

One piece just wouldn’t do…YES we bought a whole pie and YES we finished it!!!!

The starting point!!!

Roosters EVERYWHERE!!!!

I just had to have conch! ( to fight the depression that our cruise week is just about over)

Farewell Key West! It was a lovely day…


The last port of call and the last night on board the beautiful pearl. The sunset tonight was gorgeous!!!! How I will miss this!

Our last dinner…

And the show tonight was a mix of the week’s entertainment. No pics except for the tribute to the crew which we were allowed to film.

Our room steward Abel from the Philippines did an awesome job all week keeping everything in order in our stateroom. We had fresh towels all the time and each night he made a new towel animal. Very cool!

 

 

At Sea…

Phew! After all the adventure and fun and fresh air and warm sunshine, it’s nice to have a relaxing day at sea again. We have been sleeping so well on this cruise!!

I LOVE LOVE having a balcony room. This is our second time to book a balcony and it will be hard to revert back to an inside stateroom. It’s just so wonderful to wake up early to beautiful sunrises with a coffee in hand. Enjoying the early morning sun and gentle sea breeze as you wake up. Ahhh….this is a happy place for me!

Relaxing on a big comfy couch at the bow of the ship.

We went to a Q& A session with the captain.

Just a light lunch

And…another session of Deal or No Deal and David’s card was picked. 

But sadly…he didn’t do that well, only winning back his $20 that it cost to play. I guess that’s why we don’t buy lotto tickets. We aren’t very lucky haha…

This is the life…


Meet Oliver from Jamaica. He’s the maître d’ in charge of the staff in The Great Outdoors where we ate breakfast and Summer Palace where we had dinner. He has a fantastic smile and personality and it was so nice to chat with him a couple times every day.

There was a medical emergency and the US Coast Guard came to the rescue.

Ahh…life at Sea!

Mexico …

Cozumel, Mexico! This is such a crazy busy Port of Call for cruise ships! Cozumel is Mexico’s largest island, nestled 12 miles off the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula. Cozumel measures 28 miles long and 10 miles wide and is renowned for it’s dazzling white sandy beaches and the clarity of the “multi-hued” azure Caribbean ocean. The climate is subtropical and the people native to Cozumel are of Mayan descent.

We have been to this Port of Call 4 times!!!

Today’s excursion was to rent scooters and tour the island!!

The wind was crazy today!! Many of the natural beaches were closed due to the high surf. It was beautiful though!!

What a wonderful day exploring and swimming in the warm water.

Tonight as we were sailing the winds were pretty crazy again. This is the first cruise we’ve done that there has been lots of rain and high winds…gale force winds …

 

Cayman Islands

Ahoy!

We’re on Island time! Cayman Island’s, Grand Cayman for the day at the Port of George Town. product_arh10810_image_1

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Grand Cayman is the largest of the three main islands, has an area of 76 square miles and is approximately 22 miles long with an average width of 4 miles. It’s most striking feature is the shallow, reef protected lagoon, the North Sound which has an area of 35 square miles. Perfect for those who enjoy diving and snorkelling. The island is low-lying, with the highest point about 60 feet above sea level.Visitors from all over the world flock to the Cayman Islands for the beaches with stretches of soft white sand and turquoise water, the diving, and the shopping! It’s international luxury brand reputation has earned the island is nickname ” Brand Cayman”

This morning we were up bright and early BEFORE sunrise! David walked the track ( a quick 5k) and we had a quick breakfast to be ready for when our tender # was called. We did not dock at the pier in Grand Cayman, it is too shallow, so we had to take tender boats back and forth.

Our excursion today was an Overview of Gand Cayman. The Island is under British rule and there is a residing Governor on the island. We passed the Governor’s home, seven mile beach where the water is 82 degrees all year round, the oldest home on the island, stopped in “hell” one of 5 districts on the island BUT the most popular because of the black limestone formations that people consider a picture of what hell would look like… We passed the oldest homestead on the island 105 years, stopped at a rum cake factory, and my highlight…the turtle farm!!!

Cotton plant with cotton stainer bugs

I LOVE visiting this turtle farm!!!

After our tour we had a few hours to walk around Georgetown, have some lunch ( the MOST expensive lunch ever ) and Holly tried snorkelling for the first time because if you are gonna try to snorkel, the Cayman Islands is the perfect place!

We even sent a post card to David’s Mom & Dad…hope they get it in time before they come home for the summer.

Turtle soup ( David had fish & chips)

Talking to the locals 

Tonight we enjoyed a little bit of China on the ship. We dinned in the Lotus restaurant. The Chinese food was delicious. The evening show was acrobats, they were amazing and reminded me of the shows we went to when we lived in China. You’ll notice I have no pictures of any of the evening entertainment. Photos were not permitted.

 

Jamaica mon’

Smile mon! that’s right we’re in Jamaica for the day!

Jamaica is our first port of call. Ocho Rios is Spanish for “eight rivers”. The name “Ocho Rios” is a misnomer because there are not eight rivers here. It is most likely a British corruption of the original “Las Chorreas” or “the waterfalls”, the name given because of the nearby Dunn’s River Falls.  Ocho Rios is in the parish of Saint Ann on the north coast of Jamaica. Scuba diving and other water sports are offered in the area.

Limestone, molasses, sugar and coffee are the key exports in Jamaica.

Docking at James Bond pier named after the 1962 James Bond movie  Dr. No

Dunn’s River Falls Waterfall and Beach

A “MUST HAVE” while in Jamaica is Jerk Chicken with festival ( the little fried donut) and bammy (made from cassava root)

The birds were so much fun to interact with at Dolphin Cove. Macaws, lovebirds, parrots, an owl…were all very friendly and liked the attention. This way to the Iguana!

Meet Charlie! Charlie II that is. The first Charlie, the one I held last time we were in Jamaica passed away. This Charlie was a sweetie though. I love Iguanas, they are just so interesting!

David was REALLY brave and held the snake. NOT me though…I am terrified of snakes!!
We had an amazing day in Jamaica…now to set sail!

David purchased a bamboo shirt…he’s looking a bit tropical for our dinner tonight.

Goodbye from Jamaica ( and Charlie)

At Sea…

Today we are sailing on the open seas! Heading from Port of Miami, Florida to our first Port of Call, Ochos Rios, Jamaica.

What to do at sea?

Good Morning! Coffee on the balcony anyone?

We started our day at the Great Outdoors cafe with a wonderful breakfast until it started to downpour. A few minutes later the sun came out and there was a rainbow.

Next stop the excursion desk to pick up a brochure and decide what excursion to take in Jamaica tomorrow.

The sun was shiny so we wanted to catch a few rays. It was so crazy windy that we were only able stay out a short while.

Back to the cafe for lunch.

We watched a sushi demonstration and David &Glenn volunteered for a little fun. ” Brad Pitt” and “Vin Diesel” had to catch an egg in their mouth. Success for the brothers and their prize…sushi. It was delicious!!

A game of Deal or No Deal…

A little onboard shopping … I didn’t end up getting the hat 😛

And a few games of shuffle board…

An afternoon snack ( warm peach crumble with hot vanilla sauce)

And a little more suntanning…

There’s just so much to do on SEA days!

And one of our favourite things to do every evening is dress for a fancy dinner and show! And to finish the evening…a little music in the atrium. It’s the PERFECT ending to the day.

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Haha…Oh these little bitmojis are fun!

Goodnight from the middle of the ocean…sweet dreams