Get ready – this post is going to be a long one.
Oh my gosh, the weather today is AMAZING. I know everyone is sick of hearing about this crazy winter that we’ve been having, but seriously – it is time for it to go. Two weeks ago, it was finally warming up and temperatures were reaching the forties and fifties. Then, later that week I was in Grand Rapids and it was 81 DEGREES. Eighty-one! Then, three days ago, it was SNOWING. I cannot make this shit up.
So far today it has been a warm and sunny 65 degrees for the majority of the day. I’ve been trying to soak it up as much as I can for fear that tomorrow it will be freezing again. Luckily, the week long forecast says otherwise so my fingers are crossed the predictions are correct.
Anyway, this warm weather reminded me that I haven’t shared pictures from my cruise yet that I went on last month! I know, I know, I haven’t blogged period, but my cruise is something that cannot be overlooked ;). On Wednesday, April 9th, I flew down to Miami with my college girlfriend, Julie, and met up with two of our other friends from pharmacy school – Gina and Aimee – who flew in from Texas and Arizona. We departed from the Port of Miami at about 5:00. It was just in time to watch the sunset from the cruise deck.
Our cruise was a four day, four night excursion that went to The Bahamas and back and included a beautiful day at sea, a day at the private island of CocoCay, and a day at the country’s capital, Nassau. We spent the first evening exploring the ship and getting the lay of the land (errr..sea?). Ha. The inside of the ship was so cool! It kind of looked like a little town in some parts.
What was NOT cool was the size of our room. We opted for the tiniest of tiny rooms because we figured we wouldn’t be spending much time in it. Well, you certainly get what you pay for.
Since there were no windows in our room, it was pitch black when you turned off the lights. On Thursday morning, I could hear my friend Julie rustling around and I asked if she was okay because I thought it was the middle of the night. She told me it was 9:00 in the morning! We had slept for almost ten hours, and I probably would have kept sleeping all day if she hadn’t woken me up. Note to self – never get black out curtains because you will never get out of bed.
Thursday was the day that we spent at sea and we made sure to take full advantage of the deck pool and unlimited drinks. (We had purchased an alcohol package ahead of time that covered all alcoholic beverages and bottled water on board the ship for the duration of our cruise. I highly recommend this if you plan on drinking your days away like we did.)
It was an absolutely gorgeous (and hot!) day to be at sea.
We had some great entertainment while relaxing in the sun, too. They had a hysterical belly flop contest that we all loved and that was followed by the sexiest man contest. I actually caught some of the belly flop contest on tape, but for some reason I can’t get the video to load here. You can click here to view it on my YouTube channel.
On Friday morning, we arrived at the beautiful island of CocoCay, Bahamas and took a tender boat from the ship to the island.
It was a long wait to get onto the tender boat and a windy ride, but it was worth it once we arrived at CocoCay and saw the stunning views this island had to offer.
We joined some fellow cruisers on a platform by the water and took some group pictures.
Our time on CoCoCay was spent relaxing on the beach, walking around the little shops, and enjoying a delicious BBQ lunch (more on cruise food later) that Royal Caribbean provided for us on the island. It was so relaxing and as lame as it sounds, I spent a lot of time just looking around from my beach chair taking in everything I could and trying to savor the moment because I knew it would be a long time before I would have views like this again.
When we awoke on Saturday morning, we were probably more excited for the day’s events than any other day. We were in Nassau and were about to go play with dolphins!
FYI – Dolphin Encounters was one of many optional recreational activities you could choose to participate in off the ship. It was not included (unfortunately), but in our opinion it was well worth the money.
Our dolphin encounter took place at the beautiful Blue Lagoon island.
It started off with a brief informational session about the anatomy of dolphins, their history, what we could do to help save them, and what we could expect during our encounter with them. The lesson took about thirty minutes, and then we were off to meet the dolphins!
I was a little nervous when we got there about how I would feel about the dolphins being closed off and out of their “natural” habitat, but my fears immediately subsided once we were up and close and personal with these marvelous creatures. They seemed so happy and the trainer explained how they actually live longer being in this facility because they are very well cared for and are not exposed to the dangerous elements of the sea that other dolphins are.
When it was our group’s turn to interact with them, we all stood in a line and one by one the dolphin went down and gave each of us a hug, a kiss, and let us dance with him and feed him (at the direction of the trainer). He also swam up in between us and allowed us to “pet” him. It was one of the coolest experiences of my life!
When we were done with the dolphins, we found some shady hammocks and took a short nap while waiting for our tender boat to pick us up and take us back to downtown Nassau.
Seriously, does life get much better than that?!
We concluded our day in Nassau with a late lunch at Senor Frog. For those who have never been there, it is basically one big party and we had no problem joining in on the fun. However, we did refrain from dancing on tables ;)
For those wondering about the food situation on the cruise, we were provided with an all you can eat buffet for breakfast and lunch and a sit-down dinner every evening in the dining hall. We looked forward to these dinners every night and loved getting dressed up and seeing our friendly waiter, Christopher.
The food was incredible! We were given a different menu every night and I took full advantage of all of the seafood available and ate it in some form every day – along with dessert, of course.
That pretty much sums up the cruise! The four of us had so much fun and it was so wonderful to get away from the hustle and bustle of our busy lives. We all agreed that we are going to try to make this girls trip and annual event and have already started brainstorming about next year’s excursion. :)
Before I conclude this post, I actually have a quick announcement to make. If you follow me on Twitter, then you may have picked up on the fact that I’ve recently been apartment hunting in Grand Rapids. Well, I am so excited to finally tell you guys that later this summer I will be MOVING THERE! This is something that has been in the works since last October when I first emailed my district manager about transferring. I told her the lease on my apartment isn’t up until the end of July so there was plenty of time to get all the details worked out and so far things have been falling into place quite nicely. We will have a new intern starting soon who just graduated from pharmacy school and once she is licensed (should be sometime in July or August) she will take my position in Traverse City and I will move to downstate to start working at one of the Grand Rapids stores.
I decided to move because after everything that happened last year, I feel like I need a fresh start and I couldn’t think of a better place than Grand Rapids – a city I already know I love – to do that. Grand Rapids is about 2.5 hours away from Traverse City so I’m a little nervous about being so far away from my family and friends, but my excitement definitely overrides my nerves. I am looking forward to living in a much bigger city, meeting new people, and really growing as a person. There won’t be too many opportunities in my life to do something like this so I don’t want to lose my chance! This is something I feel like I need to do, and my gut is telling me that I won’t regret this decision. I have a beautiful, downtown apartment lined up and I can’t wait to move in and start soaking in the city views. I don’t have a moving date yet but I’ll keep you all posted as I find out more details. Thanks for following along and I look forward to sharing more!