Thursday, 15 January 2015

Anchors Aweigh! Our Cruise...

Happy New Year! (A little bit late, I admit. We have been stricken with coughs, colds and fevers in this household...)

Over our Christmas break, we took a 2-week Exotic Southern Caribbean cruise aboard Celebrity's Eclipse ship. What fun we had, though there were some interesting moments. First, we ate far too much for our own good, eating more than the recommended three meals a day; dinnertime was always a three course meal, and that didn't even stop me from going up to the 24 hr buffet to get a late night snack! Suffice to say, my body isn't quite so medium sized anymore (hello New Year's resolution! LOSE SOME WEIGHT).

Celebrity Eclipse! (From Celebrity's Website)

We traveled with my parents, who helped us big time with Rachel. Being on the high seas meant that we didn't have consistent WiFi access that would enable us to operate our travel baby monitor setup. We weren't willing to shell out for the ship's WiFi, that's what I call ocean-robbery. I wish there was some way we could ask for WiFi on an 'accommodation' basis, but when you're traveling in International waters, I'm not sure what regulations apply to us. As a solution, Rachel stayed in my parents' cabin, while we got 2 weeks of uninterrupted sleep (probably the highlight of our trip!). 

Formal Night #1 Photo Shot with my parents :)
Other than the sleeping arrangements, the cruise provided so many features and perks for us. One being the usual ship drill, usually done just before leaving the entry port. Now, I've been on a few cruises myself, and this one was the FIRST one I could actually understand. They had TV screens in our drill meeting area and captioned the entire drill!!! I think I was the only one (next to my husband) who was thoroughly excited to understand what was going on - the captions synced with the captain's announcements, and for once, I didn't feel bored or lost. Unfortunately I didn't capture any of this on my camera.

Having a child who isn't potty trained also means that we couldn't bring her into the main swimming pools on deck. Celebrity provided us with a baby pool in lieu - something I didn't expect! Unfortunately for us, our little girl was more interested in the stairs and would prefer to 'monkey crawl' on deck and blow kisses to fellow shipmates. The stairs were unbelievably exhausting. Exhausting. I cannot emphasize how sick and tired I was of using the stairs. On one of the last few days at sea, we let her crawl from Deck 5 to 8, and that didn't even tire her out! 

Daddy and Rachel aboard the ship (this was a small splash park that she could go to)

A few comments about our ports of call:

Oranjestad, Aruba - Rachel loved the butterfly farm we went to! Plus, we did a quick hike up some rock formations and visited the natural bridge. Rachel fell asleep on the bus (but not for long) and ended up peeing on Papa (my dad) enroute back to the ship.  
Little one is so curious!

Family photo!
Willemstad, Curacao - An exceptionally HOT and HUMID day. Beautiful place, and clear Dutch presence felt!
Strolling along the pier!

St. George's Grenada - Rain, rain, go away! The lush hills of Grenada were mucked due to heavy rainfall. We got caught in the rain with a cranky baby in the stroller. Siiigh. It made for a very wet trek back to the ship. Fortunately we got out later in the day to do a quick hill hike up to a local fortress and visit the local market.
Love the lushness of Grenada!

Bridgetown, Barbados - One of my favorite ports! Papa and Grandma watched over Rachel as Mommy and Daddy went off to snorkel with the turtles. What fun! (and psst: we met another Canadian on the catamaran. She actually asked me how we hear when we're snorkeling... My answer: "we lipread! That's how we hear!")

Our 'date' day - followed by a romantic dinner at a specialty restaurant :)
Castries, St. Lucia - We were told by several crew members not to venture to town as it wasn't 'tourist-friendly' (other than the resorts). So we (sans Rachel - who stayed on board) went snorkeling again, this time by the Pitons. 
Boy, it was HOT!

St. John's Antigua - Our coveted beach day! Rachel loved the sun, sand and water. Although, we had a few incidents where she ate the sand... ewwww!
We tired her out!
Testing the waters
Basseterre, St. Kitts - We took a stroll around town, and even visited a Catholic Church. As soon as we entered the Church and saw their Nativity Scene (or Creche), our little girl went "AAAAAmen!"

Out and about - that's Immaculate Conception Co-Cathedral behind us
Philipsburg, St. Maarten - Another favorite port! It was super hot and humid, but fortunately we booked a tour that morning. Rachel was a trooper - visiting both the Dutch and French sides of the Island. Later that afternoon we went out to town and soaked up some rays while walking (and saving us the $7 fare to take a taxi boat). Needless to say, we were drenched in sweat.

How weird it is to see a 'Winter' Tree in the middle of the tropics!
Rachel had a great time flirting with the DJ!
We can't wait until our next adventure! Being hard of hearing doesn't mean we have to live like hermits, sheltered in our own little bubble world. Carpe Diem!