Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Haiti: 5 Days on a Royal Caribbean Cruise, Part 2





If you missed part 1, you can read it here, first! The following account is written journal-style, to incorporate my thoughts/feelings about that day and its experiences!


Day 4 - Labadee, Haiti

Thursday, February 22, 2018

After waking up and reading on the balcony for awhile, Carl and I meandered to breakfast in the Windjammer.  They have these delicious cinnamon roll type breakfast pastries that I just cannot get enough of!

We had some time after breakfast to continue reading on our balcony, because we weren't due to dock in Labadee, Haiti until 9 AM.  We used the binoculars Carl's parents had brought to peer at the island and skim over it, looking for signs of its inhabitants.


As we docked, a string of boats drove in a large ellipse in front of us, treating us to a mini parade!


Around 9:30, we were able to vacate the ship.  We wandered our way down to the white, sandy beach and claimed a spot in the sun next to a large palm tree.  I waded into the water a little, but it was COLD!  It was really nice laying in the sun, but then the wind started to pick up and was blowing sand everywhere.  Carl and I started to amble back to the ship some time after noon for lunch.


On our way back, I got a Jamaican rum drink called a "pineapple lava flow," and it came in a pineapple!  We took some pictures, then headed back to the ship for a late lunch.  We met a family in the elevator who shared with us that they had just gotten off the ship and walked to the end of the pier, but were turned away because of the strong wind.


After a quick shower to cleanse ourselves of sand, the captain came over the speaker to tell us that the ship was planning on changing the departure time to 2:30 instead of 5 due to the strong winds at port; it was too difficult to keep the ship docked.

We ate lunch in the Windjammer, and then got our books to read in the Olive & Twist bar up on the fourteenth floor for the afternoon.  We ended up departing Haiti around 2:45 PM and could see the storm approaching in the distance.


For dinner, Carl and I had a reservation for just the two of us at the Romeo and Juliet dining hall.  I indulged in creamy wild mushroom soup as a starter, chicken Marsala with mushrooms, mashed potatoes, and asparagus for my main dish, and warm chocolate hazelnut cake for dessert.



After dinner, we came upstairs so we could both finish off our books before finding the others.  It was nice listening to the rain pour into the seas below us as we reveled in the cool breeze that swirled across our balcony.  The sun drained me of m energy (and left me a little more sunburned than I realized), so by 10 PM I crawled into bed, ready to start my fourth book of the trip before slumber hit.

I have to say, it was strange being in Haiti, realizing that it was a third world country, and that although we were contained in the Royal Caribbean resort in Labadee,  just over the mountains was a whole population living in poverty. My privilege hit me hard.

Day 5 - Cruising

Friday, February 23, 2018

Our last day at sea! (booo!)  On one hand, I am ready to go home - there is only so much you can do on a floating hotel before you start to get bored.  On the other hand, it has been really nice being away from everything - no responsibilities, no plans, no connection to the real world.  I didn't even bring my planner and "to do" notebook with, so I was forced to relax and take a vacation from everything.

Carl and I went to breakfast a little later this morning because we slept in (until 6:45!)  We then wandered the boat so I could get a few more pictures.  It was really cool seeing/standing in the bow of the ship.  It was like a Jack and Rose moment (minus the whole hitting an iceberg thing and without Celine Dion singing in the background).


We met up with Carl's parents a little later and say up at the pool for a little while.  Carl ended up going to the hot tub with the girls and I did a little more wandering around the ship.


For lunch, there were (finally!) tacos.  They also had a GIANT 3-layer cake (think 5 feet long by three feet wide!) that said, "Thank you for cruising!"  After lunch, we continued to roam the boat.  We watched the belly boarding on the Flow Rider, played some shuffleboard, checked out the map (we were passing Cuba), and looked at the pictures that the photographers had taken throughout the week.


Over the course of the afternoon we lounged out on the balcony, enjoying each other's company and our last day of watching the waves and feeling the cool, sea breeze.


At 7 PM, Carl and I went to the end-of-the-cruise show, where we were entertained by a juggler/magician/comedian who was actually really good.  They ended the show with a song and dance number performed by some of the cruise staff members and the cruise orchestra.



At 8:15 PM, Carl and I met the girls for our last dinner at the Romeo and Juliet dining hall.  For my last meal, I ate fruit as my starter, beef tenderloin (best thing I ate all week!) in a morel mushroom sauce with mashed potatoes and asparagus as a main dish, and carrot cake for dessert.



Our night (eh...early morning?) ended at the Dog & Badger Pub, an Irish pub on the fifth deck within the Royal Promenade.  We watched the night's performer, Amy Hendrickson (who is awesome! Seriously, look her up!), play her guitar and sing for a couple hours with Ryan, Jodi, and Carl's parents.  Plenty of rum & Coke later, it was after midnight and the pub was forcing a shut down despite the still very lively crowd.  (We were told it was because all taps, even water, were turned off at that time).  After finishing our drinks, we headed across the way for some pizza before meandering up to bed.


On our way up to the seventh deck, we stopped at the map, which told us we were out in sea, just off the Floridian coast.  It was at this point that I realized that my fitbit showed I was just short of 20,000 steps for the day (there's a lot of walking to do on a fifteen floor cruise ship!) so Carl drug me up the stairs to the eleventh floor.  We observed the lit up city-scape in the distance before heading back down to our room for a short night of sleep.  We happened to look out on our balcony and saw that we could no longer see the city lights.  Eventually we realized the ship was cruising in circles, because we were not due to dock for a few more hours.  Finally, I fell asleep around 1:30 AM to catch some zzzs before my alarm was set to go off a little after 6.

Day 6 - Arrival

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Early in the 5 o'clock hour, Carl and I both woke up wide awake.  After turning my phone off airplane mode, I decided to avoid the overwhelming number of messages and notifications and hop in the shower so we could hit up breakfast ASAP.  The Windjammer opened at 6, an hour earlier than usual, so we headed up right away in hopes of catching the sunrise while we filled our tummies.  I got to enjoy my favorite cinnamon roll sticky buns one last time.

Once breakfast was over, we headed down to our rooms one last time to pack our last remaining belongings before exiting the boat.  We were told the doors would be opened for our departure at 7:30 AM, but ended up exiting the ship, going through customs, and taking the shuttle to my parked car all by 7:39 AM.


Final Thoughts

Cruises are perfect for people who like to vacation.  While I am undeniably more of a traveler than a vacationer, I am definitely looking forward to hopping aboard another cruise in the future!

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