Cruise 2007

Our cruise to Cozumel and Grand Cayman on Thanksgiving week of 2007 

 On November 18, after an 18 hour drive and a two hour long wait at the port, we boarded the Norwegian Jewel of Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCL).  It was really a nice ship; everything was very clean, the rooms were not-so-very-small (compared to our last cruise, anyway), and the staff was very nice. 













Rachel and Robin round the corner of one of the hallways- isn't it pretty and tropical?


Our Stateroom 








Here's Nathan relaxing in our room.  Our bed was two single beds pushed together so that was a little funny, but at least they were comfortable!  I like the turtle bedspread :)










Nathan's feet.  And pants.  And TV.

We actually spent a fair amount of time just laying around watching TV (they played movies 24/7)... it was really nice to just relax!  There's plenty to do on a cruise ship, but we were content to just take a break.  And I even got to take a few naps!

^A few more views of our room.  Every morning when we woke up our toilet refused to flush.  We usually just left a note for the cleaning folks saying, "The toilet won't flush... again."


Here we are!  They were clever and put mirrors all over the room to make it look bigger!

We got cool towel creatures in our room like this!

And this!

The first day these yummy chocolate covered strawberries appeared in our room!  I guess the lady who booked our trip is the cousin of a lady in the group we went with (Nathan's parents' church), and she sent us all these tasties! 
So sweet! 


Fun on the Ship









We did origami with Bill and Cindy (from church)- we made "dove candy bowls."  I doubt anyone will use them to hold candy, but they were easy
and fun to make!









Our wise instructor shows us the way.










The finished product: a flock of doves!  Aren't they lovely?



Nathan and I played shuffleboard against Larry and Robin.  Nate and I won, but none of us were very good!








In motion!






We went to what was supposed to be "ballroom dancing class," but it turned out to be how to dance the cha cha cha!  It was still fun to learn, but you have to be very quick on your feet!

Here's Allie and Rachel dancing- they were pretty good!










 Cha cha cha 2 3...











 They had "chocoholic night" on the ship, and not only was there everything chocolate to eat, but amazing sculptures like this!  I don't know if it's actually solid chocolate or not, but regardless it's pretty impressive.  Unfortunately, the chocolate didn't taste good at all...















It's just like we're back in Italy... sigh. 














One day these amazing fruit carvings showed up too!  There are some very talented artists on that boat. 











This goofy donkey was probably
my favorite. 




There were about a dozen different restaurants on the ship, so we ate several different places.  Just about every meal was four or five courses, and we all took a lot of risks and tried new things- of course the results varied.

This is our last night on the ship, and we ate at Mama's Italian Restaurant.  The food was disappointing, but it was a very pretty place with great ambiance.




















 Our first stop, on the second full day of our cruise, was Cozumel.  Here's the view from the ship.  Look at that water!










 Blue blue blue










Here's what the Norwegian Jewel looks like from the outside... wow is it big!









  Rachel, Larry, and Nathan marvel
at the bigness.














Here's Allie getting her picture taken with a... a...
what is that, a dolphin?  A whale?? 









We took a cab to the beach as soon as we could snag one.  

The lovely ladies in the back seat: Allie,  Amanda, Rachel, and Holly. 











OK, I just thought this was really cute... 








The beach we went to was in a state park.  They had their very own
thatched roof hut!  Ooooh! 















I thought it looked pretty awesome from the inside.  All that grass is actually tied on with string!  Wow. 











 Waiting to get in...













 Pretty birds!  These guys were hanging out,
looking good for the tourists.




 Here's the beach!  It was weird- see that little wall that they're standing in front of?  And see those jagged rocks sticking up behind it?  The sand just stopped (I think the sandy beach was man made) and turned into those sharp rocks.  You had to climb down stairs straight into the water.  Once you got in the water was clear and there were lots of pretty pretty fish.  I had trouble with my snorkeling mask though...
my head is too small.










On the sunny sunny beach! 
Look!  I match the sand!!













Look at these beach beauties!

Rachel and Allie are ready to snorkel.








Those people standing out on the dock were playing with dolphins!!  We saw a couple dolphins swimming and a couple jumping out of the water.  One day I want to swim with them too.


I managed to get stung by fire coral.  Lucky me!!  I love the ocean,
but it does NOT love me
(see: honeymoon, sunburn).

The buoy rope (where the fire coral apparently lives) touched my shoulder and it started stinging.  And it got worse and worse and worse until it turned into the worst pain I've ever  been in!  Not only did my skin burn like fire
(go figure), but my muscles ached (like I'd been beat up or something) from my shoulder all the way down my arm.  I had bright red skin and tiny blisters all over my shoulder and upper arm. The life guard at the beach couldn't do much, so we ended up going back to the ship where they put meat tenderizer on it (that's supposed to neutralize the venom) and gave me some anti-inflammatory pills (like uber ibuprofen).  It got to the point that you see in the above picture within a couple hours (which, believe it or not, is LOADS better than it looked right after I got stung), and by then it felt just like a really really bad sunburn.  I felt completely better by the next day.  Thank God

It goes without saying that this was the end of our adventures in Cozumel.

Grand Cayman





I'll tell you right away that Grand Cayman was much better to me than Cozumel, so you can relax.

We had to take little boats from the cruise ship to the shore because we were just anchored in the harbor.  The little boat in the picture is just like the one we were riding when I took
this picture.










 The majestic Norwegian Jewel.








We got chased by this little boat.  We think the crew got to ride on these.

The life boats look just about like this, in case you wanted to know.










The windy trip to shore.









Arrrgh!  Pirates!

This picture gives you a good idea of how humongous cruise ships are.










We're there!  I love the brightly colored buildings in the Caribbean.










This is what the shore looked like.  This also gives you a good idea of what the beach on Cozumel looked like.









We ran into a shark!  I battled it off while Nathan tried to remove his head from its jaws.








Nathan and I spent much of our day walking along the shore looking at tide pools- this was my favorite part of the trip!  We saw some really amazing things.  Take a look!










 Nathan takes a peek into the big blue.










Some of the tide pools were really big- like these ones!










Can you spot the sea urchin?








I think the whole area (all those pointy rocks that make up the shore) used to be a coral bed.  We saw lots of things like this brain coral in the rock.  Amazing.










 We found a deep dark hole in the ground!  Turns out that the water flows under some of the rock.  It probably eroded over lots and lots of time.













 You can see the water shining underneath the rocks.  It was a few feet down there.






And now for the coolest part!!

We found this pit of coral and rocks that have been there for who knows how long.  The water laps up into this pile of treasures constantly, so rocks and pieces of glass are smoothed until their edges are round.  This is my favorite memory of our trip.









Look at all the pretty things!  Click for a bigger picture.  We have this as our computer desktop background
right now :)  Lovely!










Nathan rummaging for treasures.  His feet got wet from the waves.










A closer view of the coral stash.










Here's what we ended up taking home.  The brain coral is our favorite.










Rachel stopped by to treasure hunt too!










And here's what she found.














Nathan, looking majestic.










Look at all the teeny tiny snails clumped along the water line of this tide pool!










Looks like a tree is about to sprout from this coconut.










Here are some BIG snails.  They were probably a couple inches long.










 This is just pretty :)











Can you spot the birdie?





Moving on!

As we continued walking back to town from the tide pools, we saw some people cutting up fresh fish. Then we saw these fins sticking up out of the water!  We thought they were sharks at first, but they turned out to be just really big fish eating the scraps the fishermen had thrown into the water.







I hope you can see the big fish under the water (they're long and skinny and in about the middle of the picture.  The smaller rounder things up front are dead fish scraps).  I don't know what kind they were... except to say
that they aren't sharks.









We ate lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe.  This is the view from where I was sitting.  Such a pretty day!










 Yes, that IS a yellow submarine!! Hehe!











We wandered into a shop just to browse, which is what we were doing when I looked down and realized there was nothing beneath my feet!  Turns out there's a really old well under the town, and they managed to preserve it.  There used to be more but they were accidentally destroyed when the town was built.  It was pretty cool!!

 Sorry the glare is so bad.














See the steps down to the water?










 Nate found himself a chicken to chase.










 Heeeere chick chick chick...










 Chicken sufficiently chased.









We went iguana riding, but Nathan had some trouble.  I don't think the iguana liked him very much.














I, on the other hand, am a born iguana rider.  And a lady.









And here are the real things.  These ones have some growing up to do before they can be steeds.










Time for the ride back to the boat.  But wait!  Nathan has spotted something!









It seems to be a home made cannon... veeery interesting... better tell the captain to get the ship out of here!








Pulling up to the cruise ship.  Yep, that little hole in the side is where we get in.

I hope you enjoyed Grand Cayman!



it's not over yet...