HELLO friends, and happy Tuesday! We are slowly readjusting to our old boring lives here in Michigan, and all though our honeymoon was perfect, it feels good to get back in the swing of things here! I have officially completed two runs since we returned on Saturday – a 3 miler and a 4 miler. Not really amping up the mileage by any means, but even those two short runs after not running for 9 days really help me feel better.
I thought I’d share a little of my week recap for you here today! Be prepared for a lengthy post with many, many pictures. It’ll be very different from my normal training recap, considering I didn’t run once while we were gone (oops;), but we did get in a fair share of cross training at least!
We decided to take a cruise through Carnival for our honeymoon. Neither of us had ever been on one, but my mom and a few friends had told us quite a bit about their experiences. We debated on which countries we wanted to visit for our honeymoon and were excited that a cruise would allow us to visit three different places in one week, while still maintaining the all-inclusive feel.
Our cruise left on Sunday and started off will a full day on the ship on Monday. We used this time to catch up on sleep from after our wedding (hello less than three hours of sleep since we decided to book at 6 am flight the next day;) and to explore the ship. We traveled on the Carnival Vista, which I had heard from many was Carnival’s newest and biggest ship. We didn’t pick this one intentionally, but I guess it worked out that we had the fanciest ship of their whole fleet!
When people told us that this ship was the biggest… man, they weren’t kidding. We joked throughout our trip that the ship was literally bigger than the town we live in. By about Wednesday we finally felt like we had the ship figured out, but each day afterwards we still continued to stumble upon new things on board.
We found the ice cream and drinks day one, and just relaxed listening to some live musicians. Our room had a balcony and it was so cool to sit out there and realize just how fast we were moving! The cruise director told us that the water we were moving through was between 3,000 and 6,000 feet deep, which just blows my mind! It’s like a whole different world living under there.
We had a massage booked Monday morning, and it was heavenly after all the stress of the wedding. We found the water slides, pools, the 21+ deck, and explored the buffet, burgers and pizza shops. Our dinner table fit 10 people, and all the other people we sat with turned out to be awesome. Some of them were first time cruisers, some had cruised over ten times, and there was actually another couple on their honeymoon from Michigan as well!
Our first stop was on Tuesday in Ocho Rios, Jamaica. We had a shore excursion already booked for each stop because we wanted to make sure we took full advantage of our time in these countries. We got off the boat around 8:30 am and headed out to swim in the “Blue Hole”, go zip lining, and tubing down a river.
The Blue Hole impressed me because it looked exactly like the pictures online! I am always skeptical as to whether the colors have been edited or not, but this one exceeded my expectations. We stopped here first and had to hike up quite a few rocks and around some waterfalls. The water was much colder than I was expecting (felt like the Great Lakes in the summer) but we got used to it. There were places where people could jump into the water, and some spots to wade into it.
After visiting the Blue Hole, our guide took us over to the zip line area. We’d both been zip lining before so it wasn’t anything new, but on this zip line we had to stop ourselves at the end of the line, which was a little intimidating! The zip line consisted of 4 zip lines in a row, and since we had to wear gloves to stop ourselves I wasn’t able to get any pictures. Zip lining is always fun and it upheld my expectations!
After zip lining we traveled a short distance to start our tubing down the river. The water was about the same temperature as the Blue Hole, so I at least knew what to expect. There were some points in the river where we basically stopped moving and I felt like I needed to kick to get my tube moving, and other points where we went through rapids. The guides with us were really awesome and would help pull us during the slow sections and give us a spinning push through the rapids. The rocks formed basically a big slide for us during those rapid sections, so we could only go through it single file and had to hold on to a cable to stop ourselves until it was our turn.
Once we reached the end of our tubing, we got out of the river and were served jerk chicken for dinner. I’d never heard of ‘jerk’ before this experience, but it was really good! It’s a Jamaican seasoning that they put on any kinds of meat; steak, beef, pork, etc. It’s slightly spicy but nothing we couldn’t handle!
We didn’t have any time to shop around the town because by the end of our adventures it was time to get back on the ship. We were pretty wiped out by the end of the day and ridiculously excited for dinner!
Wednesday’s stop was much more relaxed. Our boat stopped at Grand Cayman Island at 8:00 am. We had a shore excursion booked here as well, but since it didn’t start until later in the morning we had time to get off and walk around the town.
Just before noon, we met up with our group to set out for snorkeling on the Barrier Reef. We got on a local dive boat for about a 45 minute boat ride out to the reef. The water was so ridiculously blue that I just couldn’t stop looking at it!
The boat anchored just in front of the reef, in about 6 feet of water. I was nervous about jumping in with no wet suit because we are used to Michigan water, but we were both so happy to jump in and feel like we were in a bath tub. Just a few feet in front of us was the reef! Our captain said the reef stretched for 7 miles in the water, and although it was only 10-12 feet deep by the reef, just on the other side of it was 3,000 feet. There were less fish than I was expecting but it was just as clear as I had hoped! Certain sections were really colorful and others were more brown.
Once our snorkeling was completed, we headed back to the dive boat to take us to our buses to the cruise ship. We had a little more energy on Wednesday so we went out to see a comedy show after dinner. The comedian was Cee Jay Jones and he was hysterical! We liked it so much that we went back the next two nights. He did a great job bringing in all the different cultures that were aboard the boat and speaking about something for everybody.
Our last stop was on Thursday, in Cozumel, Mexico. I think this was the coolest stop! We were both starting to feel a little sick and run down at this point, probably because we were both dehydrated and all out of whack due to little sleep and no exercise. We were not motivated to get up and go in the morning, but I sure am glad we did! We had to take a 45 minute tender to our meeting spot on Playa de Carmen, and from there we took a 35 minute car ride into the jungle. The process of getting there took so long that we were almost regretting our choice to go, but once we got all suite up with our wetsuits, helmets and headlamps we started to get excited.
We headed down into a cave where the was a river. The river started out just ankle deep, but got deeper and deeper the further we got into the cave. By the end of our tour we were in water that was well over our heads and had to swim through the river. The water was a little chilly, but warmer than I expected! At one point we turned all of our lights off and just floated in the river. I was so surprised by how completely dark it was. I’ve never done anything like this before and am so glad we got to experience it! Our guide was amazing and so knowledgeable.
Friday was spent on the boat all day, heading back to our port in Miami. We spoiled ourselves with another massage, and then spent the day enjoy some of our favorite foods that we had found on board, and shopped around. We relaxed and read books on our balcony which was just perfect.
We made it back to Miami on Saturday and had two flights to get back to Grand Rapids. It is always so sad to end a vacation, but we are so excited to be home and starting our real life together. We have many, many wedding things to get wrapped up in the next few weeks, and are going to enjoy the post wedding high as long as possible.
Now it’s time to get back in the swing of things and get serious about that NYC Marathon Training – less than 12 weeks to go!