Thursday, November 26, 2009


Friday morning we got up, ate breakfast, and made a beeline for the easy walk off to customs. That was probably the easiest check I've ever seen (all of 30 seconds), but we only spent about $40 on the islands themselves!!!

Our plan was to ride a bus over to the airport since our ride to the port was SO eventful. I didn't think that we were going to make it to the cruise actually. But, I asked about it after the signups were complete. So a taxi it was. The ride to Miami airport was uneventful --- the way I like it. And it ended up being cheaper, even with a tip included.

Miami was 81 degrees when we left. On the trip from Dallas-Fort Worth to Salt Lake, there was Wi-Fi service, so Brandon took them up on the offer ($9.95 - which was definitely cheaper than internet service on the cruiseline I might add.)

When we arrived in Salt Lake, it was a cold 34 degrees. Quite a difference. Amy and Justin picked us up. Thank you!!!

Since Dawson threw up on Thursday, we thought that we'd better go home that night.

We arranged with Grandma and our neighbors to have the kids sleep in their own beds for the first time that week. We arrived home at 12:30 am Saturday morning. It was definitely great sleeping in our own beds, but the drive home was awful. We had a difficult time staying awake! But we made it!

The kids were happy to see up, but not overjoyed. Would we do it again? In a heartbeat! Infact, we are hoping that the business that put this on will do it again and make it an annual event.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Our 3rd stop was the Great Stirrup Cay, Norwegian Cruise Line's private island. It was here that we were going to go parasailing. Brandon was looking forward to this more than anything else. This transfer to the island would be different. There was no port. Instead, the captain would get as close to the island as he could and drop the anchor. Then, the passengers would step off the ship to the tenderboat that would then drive over to the island.

Here are a few pictures of the sunrise.

That morning during breakfast, we heard the captain talk about how it was a tough decision, but safety comes first. No one would be leaving the ship today. Groan!!! We didn't think that it looked too bad. Unfortunately, this was the only picture that we got of the island.

We spent the day on the ship. Brandon went to meetings, I went to the gym and hot tub. While I was at the gym, I got to see the tenderboat. That's when we (me and new friends) realized that it really was that bad.

The afternoon was a lazy day, napping, watching TV, and buy expensive internet minutes. You could pay as you go ($0.75 a minute) or buy a package deal. The best deal was the 60 minutes which ended up being $0.40 a minute. But, we figured it was worth it to have some entertainment.

That night, we went to the steakhouse for dinner - yum! It was the only meal on the ship that I was full. I had the 10 oz. fillet minion, fries with parmasean oil and seasoning, and creme brulee (definitely worth it!!!). Brandon had giant shrimp, the fillet as well, with asparagus and something else. Well, I didn't eat his stuff, so I can't remember what he had.

Then we did the traditional cocktail party (for his conference people) where we ordered water, and went to the farewell variety show.

Our new friends from the cruise, Nathan and Kirsty:

We laughed SO hard we could barely breathe. The highlights: our cruise director, Matt, wrote down questions that people asked him on this cruise.

Q: Does this elevator go to the front of the ship?
A: No folks, it is not a wonkavator, it is an elevator and only goes up and down.

Q: What do you do with the ice sculpture after it melts?
A: (He just walked away and didn't answer!!!)

Q: Is the water in the toilets fresh water or salt water?
A: I don't know!!! I've never tasted the toilet water! And for 2 reasons: Number 1 and Number 2!

Q: Does the ship generate it's own electricity?
A: (joking) No, we are plugged into Miami. You should see the cord boy in the back of the ship. His arm is HUGE. We yell back, "Give us more slack" or "Reel it in!"

Q: Do the crew members sleep onboard the ship?
A: (joking) No, I ride a jet ski home to Wales every night. LOL!

Brandon's favorite part was called "The Fountains". Several crew members came out in togas with pitchers of water on their shoulders. Then they would put water in their mouths, squirt it in the air or at each other in different formations. Brandon did not stop laughing the enter show (about 5 minutes). Great ab workout!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


The capital of the Bahamas - Nassau (pronounced nas-saw).

We went on the Stingray Adventure with a large group of Wireless Without Limits. It was a blast. We thought that water was blue at Freeport, until we saw this water.

We rode a ferry over. Here are a few pictures going over.

Atlantis resort

More buildings.

This is the area where the stingrays were kept. There were 17 stingrays total.

The females are much larger, males are smaller. This is a female.

The women line up on the shallow side, men on the deeper side about 2 feet apart. Then they train the stingrays to go through and get food. They gave us squid to hold between your fingers and the stingrays would smell the food, swim over, and then suck it right out of your fingers. A very weird sensation.

Halfway through, Brandon asked me if I was going to touch the stingray. I told him I already did. He didn't believe me. I got his attention and then 'touched' the stingray, which is why my fingers/hand look a little funny. So, this is for camera purposes only.

This is me holding the stingray. I got talked into it, but I would do it again in a heartbeat!

Brandon holding 'Rhonda' too.

Towards the end, the trainer was showing us fun things. Like when you hold a stingray up out of the water, they spray water out of all of the holes. Unfortunately this is the underwater camera, so it didn't click fast enough. This was super funny though.

The beach.

Say cheese for the camera.

A trail on the island.

Pirate's cove sign.

Sunset from the cruise ship before we departed.


On our excursion to the Grand Bahamas in Freeport, our taxi driver Leonard, drove us to a little straw market where his cousin worked. She had a little stand where she would make all sorts of dishes with conch. Conch (pronounced 'konk') is a traditional Bahamian food, eaten grilled or raw.

In order to get this animal out of it's shell, you have a put a little hole in the shell. She used a hammer.

A look at it's eye balls.

Once you have a little hole, you can pull it out of it's shell, like this:

There is very little that they discard. They use almost every part of this creature.

Here she is slicing and chopping the conch to make a salad. It is cured with lime.

What does it taste like? We had a salad that was VERY spicy. It tasted rubbery, kind of like clams . . . (Are you surprised that I tasted it???)

This definitely was a highlight. My only regret: not videotaping the whole thing!!!

Friday, November 20, 2009


(Long post, but I think that you will enjoy.)

The first day waking up on the ship, I wasn't sure how I was going to like it. Brandon went to his conference meetings and I decided that I should go to the gym and work out a bit and then go to the hot tub.

Here is one picture of the sunrise that morning. Beautiful, isn't?

The top of our cruise ship.
Another good shot of the cruise ship.

And a 'stock' picture of the Norwegian Sky.

Arriving at the port. Here is another cruise ship next to us.

This was a very commercialized, industrial city.

We then ate lunch and went off the ship to the first stop on our vacation - The Grand Bahama island - Freeport. I have to tell you that this was one of the funnest times for me. We were 'recruited' by 2 other couples to negotiate with a taxi driver to take us on a tour. We negotiated for $20 per person, which turned out to be a great adventure. The 2 other couples also happened to be on Wireless Without Limits Cruise as well, so that was fun.

The driver's name was Leonard, and he was very enjoyable to listen to. Infact you don't already know, the people of the Bahamas are more 'American' than those of Miami. He gave us so much information about the history and everything, I really quite enjoyed it! One of the things that we learned was about the Bahamian flag.

The black triangle represents the unity of the people, the 2 aquamarine stripes represent the sea, and the 1 yellow stripe represents the sand.

First pictures are the devastation from the hurricane of 2005 (Hurricane Wilma) that tore through this island. These are pine trees. 4 years later, you can still tell the damage that had once been done and how long nature takes to repair itself.

Some of the buildings walking out to the beach. They are all really colorful.

The building next to the beach.

Me on the beach.

Brandon making 'whooshing' noises as he heads out to get wet again.

No beach pictures are complete without toes in the sand pictures.

Last on our stop was the 2 most exclusive homes on the island. The first is the guy that owns the pizza place on the island.

The second owns the KFCs and Burger Kings on the island. He was a smart guy who bought up tons of land for $2 an acre (if I remember correctly) and is now selling them for millions.

Beautiful, isn't it? My next post will be about the little straw market that we visited in Freeport. Stay tuned!