Tuesday, April 12, 2011

It's Full Of Stars!!!

Puerto Rican Cruise

Time for another vacation report. Puerto Rico and a cruise in the Southern / Eastern Caribbean.

Sat, Apr 2nd: We had 3 US Airways flights from SLC to San Juan. I am not impressed with US Airways. They separated Liz and I on 2 of the flights. We got in late. Stayed at the Best Western at the airport.

Sun, Apr 3rd: Taking a taxi from the hotel to Old San Juan, we dropped off our luggage at the cruise ship so we could spend the day exploring Old San Juan. The buildings there reminded us of Antigua, Guatemala - all brightly colored, flush to each other and their front all the way to the street. The streets were a bluish cobblestone and really hilly. We made it to the main fort (El Morro). In front of it were huge grassy areas where tons of people were flying various kites. We saw a lifelike shark, butterfly, dragon and a red baron airplane.

The fortress was pretty impressive. It had 5 major levels and walls that were 17 feet thick. We had lunch at Ben & Jerry's - we had some very yummy pizzas made on pita bread. We also went to the other major fort in Old San Juan (Fort San Christobal). It was pretty big as well. - We then went to our cruise ship - Carnival Victory. It was themed after the 7 seas.

Mon, Apr 4th: St. Thomas - US Virgin Islands. We had a snorkeling expedition. The tour loaded us up on a small boat and took us to a tiny nearby island named Buck Island. What was really cool was the tour rented us a waterproof digital camera. For underwater, it took really good pictures and we were able to see what we were taking pictures of. We first snorkeled in one bay that had some turtles. We then went around the corner to another bay. At that one there was a sunken very rectangular shipwreck (barge like). We saw a bit more coral there with some more fish.

We had put on plenty of sunscreen, but when we got back we saw that we were super burned. After dinner we went to a stand up comedy show. Then to the mid-ship pool on the Lido deck (9) where they had a huge outdoor screen and we watched Toy Story 3.

Tues, Apr 5th: At sea. We didn't do too much today as we were hurting and trying to recover from our sunburns. It was a formal night, so we got dressed up and got our pictures taken. After dinner we went to a dancing show called 'City Of Lights' - it was New York style broadway songs. We went to another standup comedian, then went back to the huge outdoor screen and watched a little of The Last Airbender.

Weds, Apr 6th: Barbados. Our excursion took pretty much all day. We sailed on a catamaran for about an hour before we got to the first place we were to snorkel. Unlike the last snorkel excursion, they didn't give us fins on this one. We saw about 6 turtles, but the water was pretty murky.

We sailed to a beach where people could either snorkel or enjoy the beach. I snorkeled for a bit. This place had more coral and fish then the previous location earlier in the day. I then enjoyed the beach for a little bit. We then set sail back for port. At which point my limbs were pretty white. When we got back to the ship, they were pretty red.

Normally the cruise ship leaves Barbados at 5 PM, but one of the passengers suffered a medical emergency and passed away. We had to wait 3 hours for the locals to unload the body and the family.

Thurs, Apr 7th: St. Lucia. We went zip lining today. To get there we were taken by bus through steep narrow winding mountain roads. The bus driver was going twice as fast as was safe. There was also construction, pot holes and pedestrians. The zip lining was something like 18 lines. There was a swing rope we had to go over and there was also a platform we got lowered from. For me, they sent me down in more of a free fall. The zip lining was lots of fun. We went into a jewelry shop to enter a raffle, and Liz really liked a blue topaz necklace, so we got it. Tonight was another formal night.

Fri, Apr 8th: St. Kitts (Actually St. Christopher - I don't know how they shorten it to Kitt). We took a personalized island tour in a mini-bus taxi. There was only one other couple. We stopped at a place where they made fabric designs by putting wax on and then dying the rest of the fabric. we went to a fort on top of a hill called Brimstone Hill. The island was split between the British and the French, with the British in the middle, and the French on the ends. We saw where the Atlantic meets the Caribbean. We did some shopping, then went to some more standup comedy in the evening.

Sat, Apr 9th: St. Maarten. This island is split between the French and the Dutch. It was divided by having 2 men race and when they met was where they divided the island. While there are markers where the division is - there are no customs nor border guards. We went on a tour of the island. Along the way they put us on a boat where we sat in the bottom of the boat. It had windows under the water so we could see the ocean floor. There was a bit of coral. They also sent down a diver with some fish food, so a ton of fish swarmed him.

At the main town - Philipsburg, we went to the beach which was a very nice looking sand beach. We also enjoyed the water for a while. We also said goodbye to a family from Minnasota that we had talked with throughout the cruise. Then we had to pack up.

Sun, Apr 10th: We had breakfast on the cruise ship before dis-embarking. We then caught a taxi to the airport so that we could rent a car (because none of the car rental companies would pick us up and we had to return the car back to the airport). They gave us a Ford Focus :(. We traveled east and visited the Yunque National Rain Forest. It was treacherous because the road was really windy and not designed wide enough to be a real 2 lane road. We stopped off at a waterfall off the side of the road called 'Coco'. We then stopped of at a watch tower that you had to take a ton of spiral stairs up to the top. We also took a hike down to another waterfall called 'Mina'.

We then had a series of unfortunate events that almost made us miss our last excursion. We stopped off at our hotel - the Fajardo Inn, before heading to the Marina Del Rey. At that point we got on a boat that took us on a bumpy ride to the neighboring island of Vieques. When we arrived they took us in vans to a restaurant for dinner. Then we got loaded up on a school bus that took a super rough path. We eventually got to a beach where we met a boat (it was night at this point). We got out to the middle of the bay (surrounded by mangroves) and got into the pretty warm water. When you moved your limbs it would cause micro-organisms to combine 2 chemicals to emit light - causing a short glow. It's called a bio-illuminecent bay. If you moved slowly you could get smaller numbers to glow. They would look like stars flowing down your arms. The glow was very short, but the experience was super awesome. We then got back on the boat, back on the bus, back on the vans, back to the other boat, back to Puerto Rico where we drove our car back to our hotel in Fajardo.

Mon, Apr 11th: Drove back to San Juan and took 2 United flights back home. It was colder back home, but luckily we had missed the snows while we were gone - constant 70-80 degree weather and only a couple short rains.

Note: For more pics from our vacation, click on the pics in this post.

1 comment:

Rebecca said...

fun fun sounds like you had a great time!!! i love the picture of liz! ha ha sorry you guys got burnt that is no fun.