This past weekend Jessica and I went on a Royal Caribbean cruise, my first, her third. It was an awesome experience, and I can’t recommend it enough. In this blog post, I will tell you of our travels, and share a sampling of the 500+(!) pictures I took.
It all starts last October. You see, the church we were working with in French Lick sent Jessica and I to the Catalyst Leadership Conference in Atlanta. On the way back we were waiting for our flight back to Indianapolis to leave when they announced over the intercom that the flight was full, and anyone willing to wait for the flight the next day would be greatly compensated. We were in no hurry to get back so Delta gave us transportation to a hotel, a night in said hotel, food vouchers, and vouchers for $400 in plane tickets a piece. The only catch was that we had to use the ticket vouchers within a year, so we made plans to take a cruise since Jessica always wanted to take me on one and most of the cost of a cruise is the trip to Miami to get on the ship. We booked our 4 day, 3 night cruise to the Bahamas shortly afterward. Since then, Jessica had been planning, strategizing and packing for it.
Finally, the weekend came. We had dropped off our puppy Jack at the kennel Thursday night. Friday morning we got up at 4 am to get ready to go. We had already packed everything into our carry-ons, so it didn’t take long for us to get on the road. I drove us from Bedford to Indianapolis, an hour and a half or so drive. We had reservations at Indy Park, Ride, and Fly, but when we used Google Maps on Jessica’s iPhone it led us to nowhere. We eventually had to call and use the directions they had on their machine to find it. We still had plenty of time though and made it to the new Indianapolis International Airport with time to spare.
We didn’t get to admire the shinyness of the new airport for long before we boarded our plane to make the inevitable trip to Atlanta International Airport. Ugh. That airport is just too big. Even when you fly with the same airline you have to ride the express train to get to another terminal. I can’t imagine checking luggage and having to find it in that mess. We had less than an hour layover, so we rushed from our gate to the gate for our flight to Miami. We got there and started to wait for our flight to start boarding. However, a familiar message came over the intercom: “This flight is overbooked, and any passenger willing to wait an hour for the next flight gets $200 in Delta vouchers.” We jumped at the chance to get another free trip anywhere and moved to another gate to wait for our new flight.
Finally, we left Atlanta and made our way down to Miami International Airport. We were supposed to find a shuttle to take us to the pier, but our documents we had printed out pointed us to places that did not exist due to construction. Eventually we found a Royal Caribbean desk where they called us a shuttle. Finally, we had made it to our home for the weekend, Majesty of the Seas.
Even though Majesty is one of the older ships in Royal Caribbean’s fleet, it is still amazing. It’s like living in a hotel for the whole weekend and all of your restaurants and stores are right there with you. And it takes you to the Bahamas. We wandered around the ship for a while, then went to the required life vest training on the main deck. Finally, as the sun was setting, we left Miami on our way to the private island of CocoCay. We had dinner in the huge dining area. We were assigned a table with 4 other people: a couple our age (Eric and Stefani, from Miami) and a pair of middle-aged women. We hit it off immediately with the young couple and tried to interact with the women, but they ended up talking only to each other. After dinner, we saw them talking to the head waiter. We later found out they wanted to sit with people “their own age”. Whatever. Anyway, I got to try lamb, which wasn’t bad.
We went to bed early to prepare for our CocoCay excursion. However, we soon received word via the intercom that the winds were too strong and the little boats that were supposed to ferry us to the island couldn’t make it to us. That was fine by me, as there were still plenty of things we could do on the ship. We ate lunch at Johnny Rockets on board. It’s a 50’s style diner they recently added to Majesty. They had little jukeboxes and gave us nickels to request songs on them. The best part was when “Stayin’ Alive” came on and the entire staff dropped what they were doing and put on a show for us!
After our good old fashioned American food, we tried to find something else to do. We hung out at Casino Royale and eventually found our way down to one of the event rooms where we watched some people learn how to line dance. Next up on the agenda was Bingo. We thought we’d give it a shot, so we bought a set of cards and played along. In the first game the goal was to get a straight line, and I actually got to stand up because I was only one away from winning! Sadly, not only did I not win, three people got a Bingo at the same time and had to split the winnings. The next round was four corners, where you had to get four corners of a card. The game didn’t last long, as Jessica destroyed her opponents and won after just a handful of numbers had been called. We ended up winning $175!
That night’s dinner was formal, so we got fancied up and went down to dinner. I had the duck just because I’d never had it before. We and our new friends considered going out to Nassau since we had arrived early due to not being able to go to CocoCay, but we decided to stay on the boat instead. Jessica and I went to karaoke until we were too tired to stand and hobbled back to our room and slept.
COMING SOON, PART 2!