Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Anniversary Getaway

Adam and I finally made our 10-year anniversary trip happen.  It was only a year and a half late. But it came at the perfect time.  (We had booked one back in 2013, but Adam’s accident caused us to have to cancel it).

Reality is we’ve been going non-stop. Circumstances and timing were just not making a trip easy to get on the calendar. 

But a lot had been building up. We're tired and discouraged. And we needed a break. Together.

So, we got on a jet plane and went south. Then we got on a big boat and headed further south. 

The snow faded away to sand and sun. 

We enjoyed a week of no demands upon us. No responsibility. Lots of relaxing and unwinding. 

Here's a quick, little snapshot of a few details: 
Sunday - Flew from Chicago to Houston, Texas. Had made reservations through Orbitz.com for a hotel to stay at for the night. We knew we weren't staying at the Ritz, but this was honestly the worst hotel experience I've ever had. It was late and we were tired and it would have been difficult to change hotels. So we stuck it out. (And it didn't get much better) But hey, we were on vacation and on an adventure together. More memories are made when things don't go as planned, right?! 

Monday - Shuttled to Galveston, Texas where we boarded our cruise ship. It was a massive ship. Holds 3,690 guests and another 1,300+ crew members. Over 1,000 feet long, with 15 floors. Unseasonably chilly in Texas when we took off that afternoon. 

Tuesday - Day at Sea. Lots of activities to do onboard. Warmed up and we enjoyed being outside. 

Wednesday - Arrived in Progreso, Mexico. Not the most picturesque port, but it felt rustic and authentic. We enjoyed massages on the beach ($35 for BOTH of us to have an hour massage) and then jumped on a tour bus for a trip to the Dzibilchaltun Mayan ruins. Beautiful day. 

Thursday - Arrived in Cozumel, Mexico. Shopped around at touristy places. Then took a taxi to Paradise Beach where we spent the rest of our time. Toasty warm in the sun, resulting in these pasty Michiganders getting a bit of a sunburn despite our use of sunscreen. 

Friday - Day at Sea. Extremely windy and choppy waters. The temperatures were quite cool as we forged back north through the Gulf of Mexico. 

Saturday - Back in Galveston, TX. Shuttled back to Houston where we jumped on a flight back to Chicago. Home in Michigan by 10:30pm. 

Things we really enjoyed about being on a Cruise:
- FOOD! So much of it. My fave was the Mexican late night buffet one night. Multiple fresh salsa options. So good. 
- We especially liked eating in the dining room every night. Great service. Fun dishes to try. We were usually seated next to others and enjoyed our conversations with them. 
- Even though the ship was carrying a lot of people, it wasn't that hard to find a quiet spot to relax if you wanted to. 
- Loved having a schedule of activities to choose from. We didn't participate in most of them, but we did learn how to make animals from towels, enter giveaways and contests, participate in trivia, and take in some shows. 
- The staff seemed to sincerely enjoy their jobs and desired to serve us. 
- Got up early and took in a sunrise. That's pretty spectacular to see when you are in the middle of the ocean. 
- It was really nice to be "unplugged" from phone/internet. 

Things we didn't love so much:
- Its hard to get that many people on/off the ship. We waited in lines for almost 3 hours to board the ship. Not a great way to start the cruise. Others said they had never had to wait that long before. There were also some lines usually as we got on/off the boat at ports 
- Lines usually weren't bad for food, but a few lunchtimes in the buffet seemed to have us waiting a little bit to get through and then find a place to sit.
- Again, that's just a lot of people. We never even got in the pools onboard. 2 pools for 3,600+ people. 
- There's lot of options for activities.....but there's lots of opportunity for excessive drinking, gambling, and scantilly-clad women. Not activities we try to engage in. 

Overall, we had a good time together. We might take a cruise again someday, but we didn't catch "cruise fever" like some do where they are already booking another cruise before they even step off the boat. It was mostly just lovely to have a break, get away together, relax, and have people do stuff for you. :) 

Here's some pictures from our trip:
Leaving the Frozen Tundra
I can handle lunch with an ocean view.
Dressed up for "Formal" night.
Pictures never, ever do a sunrise justice.
Every evening a new towel animal was placed in our room with the next day's schedule.
What's not to enjoy about having control of the remote?

Relaxing on a ginormous hammock under the stars.

Massages on the beach in Progreso.
Climbing on ancient ruins.
Swimming in a cenote at the ruins site.

Shopping in Cozumel.
After a few hours in the sun, Adam needed a break.

That's a big boat.