With all this recent talk of surviving windstorms, property destruction, subzero weather, and participating in neighborhood clean-up efforts, combined with the stress and franticness of holiday planning I think it’s high time for a tropical escape, don’t you? So come on in for a little “Calgon moment”, and sail away with me!
On 11/1/11 MormonSoprano.com turned 4 years old! It’s hard to believe how quickly time has flown by, and how much has transpired since such an extremely tentative and humble beginning. As of today, MoSop has welcomed over 437K visitors hailing from every continent in the world, and now averages 800 hits per day, with a combined subscribership and followers of 500+. This will be our 406th published post (yes, there are several private and/or unpublished rambling-works-in-progress, but we can’t officially count those). Sadly, our big event went completely unacknowledged and un-blogged. *Gasp!* How could that even happen?! Well, I am pleased to report that this author was enjoying her “blog birthday” in style – (in truth, completely oblivious it was her “blog birthday”) - sunning herself on a beach, swimming in the warm waters of the Caribbean ocean, and being pampered like a princess as part of an exquisite week-long RCI cruise.
Although it’s only been a few weeks, it already seems like another lifetime ago. Thankfully, I have a few photos to “pinch me” with and remind that it really did happen. Although this site is not specifically a “travel blog” I hope you don’t mind my indulgence in a little sweet Caribbean dreaming!
Thanks to the generosity of my darling parents and having all the stars align just right, Mr. MoSop and I finally experienced a real “honeymoon” (it only took 22 years). I suppose it was fitting (or ironic) that MoSop would celebrate her blogiversary by completely escaping the blog. In fact, we actually went internet-free for an entire week (can you belive it?!) and survived to tell the tale! I discovered it is very therapeutic to “unplug” once in a while – something I will have to strive for more often (it would be particularly helpful if more cruises were involved).
Of course, despite my lack of internet, there were plenty of modern creature comforts at hand to spoil me - (MoSop does not consider it a “vacation” if she has to “rough it”). And, I was definitely spoiled to my heart’s content with people making all my meals, cleaning my room (including scrubbing the toilet daily!), turning down my bed (and leaving little “towel animals” and chocolate mints on my pillow), entertaining me at any given moment I desired, and just allowing me to do nothing at all! Since this was our first cruise, I was continually awestruck by the whole cruising experience.
I took some trusty electronic devices with me for “documenting purposes”; two cameras - my battered Canon Powershot, and a new waterproof-shockproof-everything-proof Nikon I got on sale at Costco the night before (Note: you get what you pay for, and it is preferable to actually read your users manual before heading off on a once-in-a-lifetime event). I also used my cell phone camera on several occations in a pinch when battery life ran low on the others. OK. I also admit that I took my netbook along, but only so that every night I could download all that day’s photos and make room on the memory card for more images the next day. (HUGE hat tip to Elaine for that most excellent pre-cruise advice!)
When we left Salt Lake City it was 20 degrees Farenheit and lightly snowing. When we arrived in San Juan about 10 hours later, we were welcomed by a glorious sunny 85 F. Naturally, no one had to tell us we had just arrived in Paradise – but, just in case we hadn’t noticed, they reminded us anyway.
We hired a driver to take us on a personalized tour of “New” and “Old” San Juan. Traffic was horrific, but he somehow knew exactly how to navigate us through all the back-streets and avoided long delays. He also purchased some local cuisine curbside for us to sample – (something sticky involving a lot of sugar and fresh coconut). We particularly fell in love with Old San Juan, spending several hours exploring the fascinating historic Fort El Morro.
Sadly, we did not have time to visit the famous rain forests on the outskirts of San Juan. (a great excuse to return!)
We set sail on Royal Caribbean’s ship Serenade of the Seas. The Serenade is a beautiful ship in their Radiance Class, featuring miles worth of glass and windows which allows natural sunlight in, and giving passengers the feeling of open space. She is a “smaller” sized ship compared to today’s fleet of mega-liners, which we appreciated, with a capacity of only about 2200 passengers, but still is plenty big enough to offer a “boatload” of activities (such as a climbing wall, miniature golf course, 3 swimning pools, a movie theater, and more…).
Over the next 7 days we would dock at the islands of St. Thomas, St. Kitts, Aruba and Curacao. We had so many marvelous adventures worthy of multiple posts. We also met the most fabulous people along the way – fellow passengers, ship crew, performers, island locals…the list goes on and on of people who shared their amazing stories and allowed their lives to intertwine with mine, becoming a part of my heart. However, in the interest of time (and your attention span) I will save those stories for another day.
It’s such a beautiful world our Heavenly Father gave us! There’s nothing quite as exciting than getting out and experiencing more of it! In the meantime, I hope you enjoyed this little “virtual” tropical escape today. Thanks for coming along on my sentimental journey! I’ll leave you with a parting (30 second) slideshow of just a few of my favorite images.