The Cruise: Days 5, 6 and 7 – Honduras, Grand Cayman and Day at Sea

Finally, last one!

Day 5 was at Roatan Island, a small island off the coast of Honduras, and unfortunately it was our shortest day in port.  It was a stunningly beautiful island.

We spent the morning at Gumbalimba Park   When I first read about Gumbalimba Park my first instinct was to not go.  I just saw pictures of people with parrots and Capuchin monkeys, and I’m just not on board with the whole animals-on-display-for-human-pleasure thing.  But looking into it I saw that really wasn’t the case.  It’s a preserve and the animals are in their natural habitat.

A bridge we had to walk across to get from one side of the park to the other.  I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t just a teensy bit nervous.

 I was impressed as we walked through the park.  Yes, they did have tree houses built for the monkeys and big cages (think of a greenhouse with no covering) for the birds, but they were only there for them if they wanted to use them.  The doors were open on everything.  They weren’t confined and weren’t forced to interact with us in any way.  But BOY did these monkeys interact!!!  It was quite hilarious.

After leaving the park, we went to Tabyana Beach.  It was perfect.  It was serene.  The water was beautiful.  There was live reggae music at a bar behind us.  And the bar waitstaff made sure we stayed plenty hydrated while we were out there.  🙂

I could have laid right there on that beach until sunset and been perfectly content, but Carnival had other plans for me.  We had to be back on the boat by 3:00 to head out for our fourth and final stop:  Grand Cayman Island.

I was SO. NOT. IMPRESSED. with Grand Cayman Island.  It was just way too commercial.  Seriously, if you weren’t looking to buy jewelry (overpriced jewelry at that, compared to the rest of the Caribbean) then there was nothing here for you.  I didn’t lose anything on Grand Cayman Island, so I have no reason to ever go back.  The beach was really pretty, but on day six of a cruise it takes more than a pretty beach to impress.

 
My favorite part of this whole port was the kick-ass candy store.

Floor-to-ceiling Jelly Beans???  Heaven.

That night was the second “elegant dining” night, so again we got dressed up and had our pictures taken.  These are seriously great photos.  It’s our scanner that sucks.

And the last day was another day at sea.  We spent the majority of the day poolside and the majority of the evening packing.  Really nothing more to say about that.

Overall, we had a nice time.  Fantastic time?  No.  Was it my favorite vacation?  Not even close.  But it was a week away with my favorite person in the world, and that, my friends, is priceless.

Body Composition Test

While on the cruise, I met with a personal trainer in their gym for a body composition assessment.  When I signed up and paid for this, I kinda thought there was gonna be a little bit more to it than what it really turned out to be.  It turned out to be more of a sales pitch for their detox services and products than anything else, but I guess I should have expected that on a cruise ship.

The first thing we did was talk about lots of things–my activity level, stress level, nutrition, etc., and that’s when she really started trying to sell me on their $300 liver detox pills.  I told her right up front that while I was interested in hearing the benefits of liver detox there was no way I was spending $300 that day.  Some of the stuff she said was pretty interesting and gave me a good starting point for doing research of my own.

So then she picked up this gadget about the size of a desktop adding machine and started punching in stuff like my sex, weight, age, and height.  Then she told me to take off my right shoe and sock.  She taped electrodes to my right foot and right hand.  She explained that the electrodes would send a current through my body, and the machine would measure how that current traveled.  She said the current travels differently through muscle, fat, and water, and she would know how much of each was in my body.  So the electrodes fed information to the gadget for a minute or so and then it spit out a summary.

It looked like this:

Percent body fat:  18.3%
Fat body weight:  24.2 lbs
Lean body weight:  107.2 lbs
Basal Metabolic Rate:  1488 cal/day
Total body water:  34.8 liters (71.1% of lean weight)
Bioresistance:  480 ohms  (<—–I have no idea what that means with regards to this test.)

I understand how that machine can tell her my body fat percentage, fat/lean body weight, and water volume, but I’m not banking anything on that BMR number.  From what I understand, a real BMR test involves exertion and a ventilator for VO2 measurement and can tell you what fuel sources your body is tapping into during exercise.  (For instance, are you depending heavily on glycogen during exercise, or is your body burning fat?)  That machine only knows what the trainer told it, and that information alone isn’t enough to give an accurate BMR.  Two people of the same sex who have the same body mass can still metabolize very differently.  So while 1488 calories a day may be the norm or average for someone with 18.3% body fat, that doesn’t mean it’s true for me.  So yeah.  I don’t buy it.

So what was the purpose of me having this done?  Curiosity.  That’s about it.  I know I’m not overweight or anything.  I mean, sure, I’d like to lean up and lose a few pounds.  (I’ve already lost a couple since this.)  I was really just curious to see what my body fat percentage was, and I was really hoping that I’d come away from this with a better knowledge of how MY body burns energy.

Have you ever had anything like this done?


What are your thoughts on detoxing?  

The Cruise: Days 3 and 4 – Cozumel and Belize

Okay, I’ve been jacking around long enough.  We’ve been home for almost a month and I still don’t have this post series complete!  The details are starting to get fuzzy, so I’ve got a feeling the posts will be more photos and less words from here on out!

On Day 3, we reached our first port of call–Cozumel.  As soon as we debarked, we met at the assigned rendezvous point, boarded a large catamaran and set sail for a private beach on Passion Island.  It was magnificent.

We did a lot of this:

and drank several of these:

and all too soon it was time to go get back on the catamaran

to head back to this:

We didn’t have any lunch, so we were pretty hungry by the time we got back on the ship.  After a rather competitive game of mini-golf (Hey, we’re competitive at EVERYTHING, but mini-golf brings out the most smack talk.  And darts.  And ladderball.  Oh, and Skip-Bo.), and after I put in a few treadmill miles, we just decided to clean up and grab something at one of the other quicker, more convenient and casual deck-side restaurants rather than waiting until our 8:15 dining time.  This was by far the most laid back, relaxing day of the whole trip.

Day 4 was spent in Belize.  It was our longest day in port, but rather than spending it doing lots of stuff, we chose to do one thing that we had both always wanted to do.  See some Mayan ruins!  In order to do this, we had to take a two-hour bus ride inland.  Yes, there were ruins in Mexico that we could have gone to that were closer and would have taken less time, but by doing my homework in advance I knew that there was much more to see at the ones in Belize.  The site we visited was called Xunantunich, and it did not disappoint.

It was miserably hot that day, so as awesome as it was we were definitely more than ready to get back on the air conditioned bus!  Our driver managed to make up some time on the road, but the boat still ended up having to wait for nearly an hour for our bus to return.  Had we been off on our own, we would have been S.O.L., stranded in Belize, but since we were on a Carnival-booked excursion, they had to wait for us and the 34 other guests on the bus.  The reason for the delay?  When we got to Xunantunich, we weren’t allowed to go in. The Belizean Tourism Police (Yes, they’re real.  They were wearing uniforms and everything.  Belize must have a low crime rate if they have nothing better to do.) stopped us at the entrance to the state park.  We exceeded the guide-to-guest ratio.  No, I’m not joking.  There was supposed to be one tour guide for every 20 guests.  There were 36 of us.  We weren’t allowed to go into the park until the tour company got another guide there, which took nearly an hour.  This made NO sense whatsoever because you didn’t even HAVE to be part of a tour to go into the park.  It was just that–a state park.  Anyone could pay their admission and walk up in there.  Why they felt like we had to have our hands held was beyond me.  Everyone was a little miffed about that, but overall it was still a great day.

As soon as we got back on the ship, I had just enough time to go back to the stateroom to change clothes and get to the gym.  I had an appointment with a personal trainer for a body composition consultation.  But that will be a post of its own!

The Cruise: Day 2 – Day at Sea

After a bumpy first day, we woke up to much smoother sailing for Day 2.  It was a full day at sea, so we were in no hurry to do anything.  True to form, I woke up way before D did, so I did what I always do on vacation.  I left him to sleep while I entertained myself.  I got up, put on some running clothes and headed to the gym.  Now I absolutely hate a treadmill, but when you’re in the middle of the ocean, it’s kind of a girl’s only option.  The couple of days before we left home were pretty hectic and I didn’t get a long run in, so I just got on the mill with the intentions of going as long as my head would let me.  I was hoping for about eight.  My sanity cracked at five.  I didn’t fight it.  Instead I went back to the room, changed into a swimsuit, and hit the main deck.  I had looked outside on my way up to the gym and found a gloriously sunny, beautiful day, but by the time I made it out to enjoy it, it had come up a good cloud.  “It’s okay,” I told myself, “it’ll blow over.”  So I laid my towel out on my chair, pulled out my magazine, and … drip.  Drip drip drip.

DRIP DRIP DRIP DROP DROP SPLATTER SPLATTER SPLATTER

Damnit.

By the time I stuffed my towel, magazine, camera, etc., into my bag and shoved it under my chair so it wouldn’t get wet, it was really coming down.  But I refused to get up.  Everyone else was scrambling to get their things and leave, but not me!  Nope, I am stubborn like that.  It would rain hard for a few minutes, then let up, then pick back up again, then almost stop… I and a few other hard-heads laid right there in the rain.  After about 30 minutes, D finally dragged himself out of bed and made his way to the deck to find me.  He suggested just getting some lunch while we waited out the rain.  So we did.  (Side note:  While we were at lunch, we saw a kid, probably about 13 or 14 years old with his parents, wearing a shirt that said “SINGLE & DTF.”  Either the parents are REALLY lax on what they’ll let their kid wear, or the kid told a really good lie when he came up with something to tell his parents that DTF stands for.)  A little while later we came back out to find this:

Ahhhhhh, sweet, glorious sunshine!!!!

And that is pretty much how we spent Day 2.  Soaking up the rays.  After we had had our fill of that, we headed in and got cleaned up, but it was still early evening and our assigned dining room time wasn’t until 8:15.  Now you don’t HAVE to go to the dining room, but I had had such a great time the night before with our tablemates, and besides it was “elegant dining” night and I was looking forward to getting all gussied up with D for that.  He even bought a tie!  (GASP!  I had never seen D in a tie. Not even when we got married.)  So in the name of killing time, we headed to the casino.  I put $20 into a quarter slot machine and had only been played that down a few bucks when I hit for $250.  I considered that a win and called it a day.

Fast forward a little while to that night.  We got all dressed up and I insisted on marking the occasion with photos.  They are ALL ABOUT THE PHOTOS on cruise ships.  In the evenings, one whole side of the casino was lined with photographers with various portrait backdrops.  That first elegant night, the lines were crazy long, so we only had time to get one done before we had to be at dinner.

It’s really too bad our scanner sucks.  This is really a good photo, but this is the best scan I could get.

To prove we’re really not vampires, here is the one our new friends took of us with my camera at dinner.

After dinner we headed back to the room to figure out what we wanted to do the next day.  We looked through the information on Cozumel, our first port of call, and decided on an excursion that would take us to Passion Island by catamaran.  When we logged into our account on the interactive TV in our room to book the excursion, we also saw a menu where you could check your account balance.  (It was a cashless cruise.)  I reviewed our charges and noticed a $34.50 charge made at the pool bar that day.  I knew that wasn’t right.  Yeah, we had a couple of drinks, but those were on there as well.  This $34.50 was wrong.  I called guest services and told them of the error, and she said she would forward the issue to the bar manager.  Kudos for excellent customer service because the charge was reversed by the next afternoon.  So a word of caution to any future cruisers out there.  Check your account balance frequently!  It was much easier to correct a problem as soon as it happened than it would have been to have tried to get it corrected at the end of the week when 4,000 other people are trying to get their accounts settled.

We got our excursion booked and were all set for Cozumel the next day!

The Cruise: Day 1 – Embarkation

Last Monday, D and I celebrated our five-year anniversary, and to mark the occasion we did something we’ve never done together before.  We went on a cruise.  I went on one right after I graduated high school (14 years ago!), and he went on one for his first honeymoon a lifetime ago, but we had never done one together.  While we did have a great time, saw some beautiful sights, and ate some way too much delicious food, I can honestly say a cruise just really ain’t my thang.  I always felt like I was on too much of a schedule.  You had to be here at a certain time, there by this time, be back on the boat at that time, eat at this time… when we go on vacation, we stay in a condo and do things at our leisure.  We stay in one place for an entire week and we see and do and experience everything that one place has to offer.  I felt like with the cruise we were only allowed enough time for a quick snapshot of the four ports.

We flew to Miami on Saturday even though we weren’t to leave until the next day at 4:00 pm.  We didn’t want to run any risk of anything crazy happening with delayed flights or anything and missing embarkation.  I was super glad not to have that stressor, even though everything turned out okay.  I got up and went to work for a couple hours Saturday morning, we left for the Nashville airport shortly after, landed in Miami that evening, checked into the hotel, ate a pizza, and went to bed stress free and excited to wake up and really start our vacation that next morning.

What we woke up to the next morning was the sound of thunder.  But it was all good.  It could rain, but it couldn’t rain on my parade.  I was going on a cruise!  We took advantage of the free shuttle from our hotel to the port.

First glimpse of the boat.  It was raining just a smidge.

When we got to the port, checking in our luggage and getting cleared through customs was an absolute breeze, then we were left to entertain ourselves in the waiting area for a couple of hours before we were allowed to get on board.  Thank God for Fruit Ninja.  And I can always entertain myself with a camera.

Once we were finally allowed on the boat, we still kind of felt like we were just waiting around for something to happen.  We didn’t have our luggage and we couldn’t go into our rooms yet.  The shops and the casino weren’t going to open until we were at sea.  We couldn’t go out on the deck or to the pool because it was coming a monsoon.  So we just sat in the main lobby for a little bit and had a couple drinks and listened to the chick singing/the guy playing the piano.

Then we spent some time just exploring the inside of the boat, finding where the different restaurants and lounges were, where the gym was (I actually sucked it up and ran on the treadmill 5 of the 7 days we were on the boat.  You do what you have to do!), and when we finally made it around to finding our room, it was clean and our luggage was there, so we went on in and unpacked.

I was so excited to walk in and find a king bed.  The description of the state room said it had two twin beds.  Technically it WAS two twin beds, but at least they were smooshed together!

At one point while we were unpacking, I was like, “Did you feel that?  Are we moving?”  We only had an interior room with no window, so we went up to see, and sure enough we had pulled out of port and were sailing.

I was kind of disappointed that it was so anticlimactic.  When I cruised with Royal Caribbean several years ago, there was a big bon voyage party on the deck.  I mean I know we obviously couldn’t be out on the deck in that weather, but I just guess I expected SOMETHING.

When we got out of port and into the deeper water, that’s when the boat really got to rockin’.  In both the figurative and literal senses.  You couldn’t tell which people were wasted and which ones were sober because NOBODY could walk in a straight line.  I don’t get motion sick at all, so I was rather entertained by the challenge of remaining upright, but there were LOTS of people that didn’t find it fun at all.  D was one of them.  He went to the gift shop and got some Dramamine, but it just didn’t cut it.  We had just taken our seats in the dining room that night when I would swear that our boat rolled over.  It was then that he broke out in a cold sweat and told me he had to lie down.  I sent him on his way and ate THE MOST FABULOUS vegetarian Indian dish in the company of my equally fabulous tablemates.  (How crazy is it that they assigned us to a table with a couple that lives about an hour from here?  I made quick friends with the wife as we had plenty to talk about.  She’s a raw vegan chef!)

After stuffing myself full of more food than I even thought possible, we pretty well closed the dining room down.  I stayed and chatted forever with my new local friends as well as our new friends from California and Ohio that were also seated with us.  We finally called it a night and I headed back to the room to find D completely stoned on Dramamine.  I tried to wake him up to see if he still wanted to go to the 11:45 comedy show that was about to start, and all I got in response was some kind of undiscernible primal grunt.  I took it as a no, joined him in bed, and turned the lights out on Day 1.

Tuesday Tidbits

  • April and May have been positively crazy!  I’ve had to prioritize where my time went, and blogging/reading blogs was the first thing to go.  I logged in yesterday and saw that I had 366 unread items, so I’ve obviously missed a lot in your worlds!  Obviously there’s no way I’m catching up on that, so what’s a girl to do?  “Mark All As Read.”  Sorry if I missed any earth-shattering announcements!
  • Yesterday was my 5-year wedding anniversary.
  • We celebrated said anniversary by taking a cruise week before last.  (Post and pictures to follow soon!)
  • Cruises are not my cup of tea.  However, I have never eaten more delicious food than I ate that week.
  • For the second year in a row, I came back from vacation to bad news at work.  And this time, D did too.  It’s been an emotional week around here.
  • I didn’t get to run either the half marathon or the 5K that I was trying to decide between on 4/21.  I had to work.  I can’t bring myself to complain about that though.  My fill-in had a family emergency.  I’m sure he would have much rather been at work than planning his mother’s funeral.
  • I didn’t get to run the 10K last weekend either.  I’ve had the flu or some other equally unfun ailment since last Tuesday.  So has D.  It’s been an emotional AND snotty week around here.
  • For the last couple of days, my cat has been licking her nipples incessantly.  Poor little things are red and raw!  I see a trip to the vet in our very near future if whatever it is doesn’t clear up STAT.  Anyone else ever had anything like that happen with their feline?
  • I picked up my first CSA haul last Thursday night.  I’ve never seen so many greens in my life!  Turnip greens, mustard greens, kale, swiss chard, bok choy, a couple of lettuces, napa cabbage… And there were a couple of other things I had never seen.  I was introduced for the first time to kohlrabi and garlic scapes.  This will be an interesting summer in my kitchen!