With dreary and chilly days surrounding most folks in late January, the idea of a winter getaway seems dreamy and ideal. Luckily, my awesome mom had the right idea.
I know this entry is several months overdue (we went on this trip in late January), but still, it was worthwhile enough for me to want to post about it for a few reasons:
- It was a delicious food & drinking adventure
- I took a break from some very stressful work commitments
- What better way to spend time and bond with my one and only mama.
So it wasn't the French Riviera, but instead a low-key, fun-loving cruise aboard the Carnival Magic out of Galveston, Texas. A 7-day adventure that included 3 stops in the tropics: Key West, Florida, and Freeport and Nassau in the Bahamas.
We spent a few days getting to our first stop in Key West, sipping Piña Coladas of course - but once there we had such a fun day off the ship. We took a walking tour to Ernest Hemingway's house - checking out the awesome furnishings from his world travels, the legendary 6-toed cats and learning more about just how psychotic -- err, I mean, "Creative" -- Hemingway really was. Sheesh. We got to stop at the ever-entertaining Sloppy Joe's bar for a Yuengling pint and, well duh, a slice of Key Lime pie.
After that it was off to Freeport, where (since it's pretty industrial, i.e. a working port) there's not much to do except go on an excursion - so we were pretty excited when we signed up to swim with dolphins. As cheesy as it sounds, IT WAS INCREDIBLE. If you've never done it, please put it on your list of vacation to-dos. I promise you won't regret it. The facility where we swam with dolphins had a menagerie of birds to watch and even "play" with, as well as a little bar to grab a drink while you waited for your boat to take you back to the ship. We enjoyed the day by bonding with each other, making new friends (both aquatic and human), and getting out of our comfort zone. I'd go back tomorrow.
In Nassau, we had no "official" plans, which initially made things stressful, but it turned out to be the BEST plan. We wandered around downtown until a sweet and spunky local female tour guide informed us of what she could offer in terms of a tour of this beautiful island - so we talked a few other shipmates into joining us and headed off to see the sights. We drove around the city, checking out local art murals, old churches, a fort that was built in the 1700's, visiting a rum distillery (YUM!), strolling through Atlantis, and then finishing up the day at a private beach. I'd say it was worth the $24 ticket. When we returned to the ship, we had made more friends (which is always fun when you run into them on board) and dreaded getting back to reality - luckily we had a few more days on the ship to enjoy all the good food and drinks. To be honest, I've never been really impressed by cruise food, but, honestly... it wasn't bad!
All in all - a great trip. It fed my little traveler heart, we got to be on the water (which always honors my dad's sailing legacy), we ate and drank to our hearts' desire, and returned to real life well-rested and tan-skinned.