Hey guys! Guess where I went on vacation at the end of March??? I went on a cruise to the Caribbean!!! It was amazing!! I highly recommend going on one if you ever get the chance! Once I got back home I was ready to book my next cruise because I did not want to leave. The crew members on board the cruise were extremely polite and very helpful. Anything you needed or any question you had, they were able to provide you with it. When people say it is a city on the ocean, they mean it is a legit city on the ocean. They had everything there! But anyway, let me start from the beginning and tell you all about my experience. It is one that I’m sure not many people are able to say they had nor is it one that I am hoping to experience again. But a cruise is definitely something that I would go on again!! If I didn’t have to be back to work the following week I would have most likely refused to leave our room and hoped that they would have let me stay on! 🙂 Unfortunately, that isn’t how it works. But one can wish!
So our cruise was scheduled to leave Miami, Florida at 7 pm on Saturday, March 25. Since we had to fly out to Miami from Iowa we decided to book a flight for that Saturday morning and then head straight to the dock once we landed. That way we could avoid having a long wait or having to get a hotel room the night before because, let’s be real here, the cost of a one night stay in a hotel in Miami is definitely not the same as Iowa. The prices in Miami were a lot steeper than we are used to. So our flight took off from Des Moines, IA early in the morning and since we had a later start than anticipated we almost missed our flight. So we took off for Miami, all excited for our break from reality! Later during our layover in DC I discovered something that not only took away all of my excitement but it also left me with a sense of dread and disbelief. I had forgot my green card back home. Without it, I wouldn’t be able to go on my cruise. Well we were already on our way to Miami so I figured maybe there would be something else that I would be able to provide to board the ship. Well… long story short, if you are not a citizen of the US (like me) then you have to have your green card when you travel. Without it traveling outside the US is a lot harder than you would think. Our flight to Miami was delayed in DC on the runway and that caused us to arrive later than scheduled in Miami which resulted in us almost missing the boarding curfew. So by the time we got to the dock (around 5:30 pm) I was extremely stressed out, tired, and ready for a long nap. Unfortunately for me, I couldn’t get on the ship without my green card. So while my friend boarded the ship I frantically tried to put together a plan in mind as to what I should do. The weather in Miami that evening mirrored my mood to the T. After my friend got on (it only made sense for one of us to at least enjoy the vacation while I tried to figure out my own mistake) I stood by the dock with my suitcase, with the sun going down and the rain picking up. I was by myself in Miami with a phone that was about dead, only a small amount of cash in my purse, and no idea where to go. After a meltdown in the hotel room (that I found after frantically searching for one that was decently priced and close by) I was able to form a plan with my family. The quickest way for me to not only get my green card but also the cheapest thing for me to do (besides go back home) was to fly my brother out to Miami with it and then fly myself to Jamaica where I could then meet my cruise ship. Once Monday morning came around I found myself sitting on an airplane heading towards Kingston, Jamaica. Once I got there I met two women who helped me find my way to Ocho Rios where I could meet the ship. Stacey Hines, if you are by any chance reading this, thank you so much for your help!!!! I couldn’t have made it without you two! I was extremely blessed to have met you gals!!!! Thank you!!!!!!!
Jamaica was beautiful! When I had signed up for our excursions I never once thought that I would see as much of Jamaica as I did. The island is gorgeous! The scenery was like nothing I had ever seen before. A masterpiece is what it was. The people I met along the way there were friendly and extremely helpful. I don’t know how I would have done it without them. If any of you guys are reading this, thank you again for everything!! Once I finally got on the ship and through security and registration I felt as though a huge boulder had been lifted off of my shoulders. I was finally, FINALLY, on the cruise that I had been awaiting for the last few months! Originally I was supposed to go horseback riding in Ocho Rios, Jamaica and end the ride in the water but because of my set back I wasn’t able to do that. But I was able to see so much more of Jamaica then I had thought I could. I actually got a feel for it and was able to see how people lived and what life was like over there. The differences between Jamaica and the US are abundant. Life is so different over there! But the people where just as nice as the people in the Midwest. The ocean that surrounds the island was beautiful. It looked even more beautiful in person than the pictures had shown us. That kind of beauty is almost impossible to capture. No camera of ours was able to see what we saw. It was also only about 80 degrees over there but to someone who was used to weather being around 40 at the highest I did find myself perspiring a great deal more than I thought I would!
On Tuesday morning we docked in Georgetown, Grand Cayman and even though I didn’t think any other place could compare with Jamaica the Grand Cayman Island sure did. It was beautiful! The water was so clear and shifted from a green to turquoise then to a darker blue, yet all the while staying as clear as can be. We ended up shore snorkeling on the island and even though we were really close to the shore the water was really deep. I wanted to see if I could dive down and touch the bottom of the ocean in that area but since it was my first time snorkeling I let my nerves talk me out of it. But seeing a dark image moving underneath you while you are looking around at your surroundings did cause my heart rate to speed up until I looked down into the water and got a closer look. The fish over there could have passed for the same size as baby sharks… just saying 🙂 and to anyone who is trying to figure out if anyone found Dory, no worries. I found a lot of them near Georgetown! Leaving that island was harder than I thought possible. I met a native while we were snorkeling and to hear about their life over there made me debate on whether or not I should just stay there for a few extra days. In the end though we did catch one of the last boats that took us back to our ship. No worries though! I will be back to the Grand Cayman Islands one day (hopefully soon)!!
On Wednesday we stopped in Cozumel, Mexico. Now that day was a bit more eventful than I could have predicted. We had to take a thirty minute ride on a ferry to get to the land and no one on the ship knew just how rocky the ride was going to be. The lady next to me ended up having to have two bags due to the seasickness that she faced while we were heading towards land. That day we went on an excursion to the Tulum Mayan Ruins and they were exquisite. To see that kind of history in front of me was remarkable. The view of the ocean and everything around us was something that one could not even try to imagine. You just had to see it for yourself. As our tour guide was giving us the history of the place we could see the ocean in the background. The waves were pretty calm and just rolling to shore with no care in the world. As I’m writing this now I can see the view as though I am still there, staring out onto the magnificent ocean with all of its hidden secrets and stories. On our way back my friend had bought some medicine for the nausea that we had experienced earlier that day. I had decided that I was fine because I no longer felt sick but, boy was I in for a surprise. It did not matter that I felt fine on land. Once we hit the water in the ferry my stomach started churning just as it had done to land in the morning. Yet, stubborn old me, still refused to take any medicine because I thought I could just wing it. But after being back on the ship I was still feeling sick an hour later so I decided to go ahead and take a dose of the medicine. It did help me a great deal though. By the time we were done with dinner I felt great. My stomach wasn’t upset anymore and nothing that night bothered me. I was calm as could be. I’m not sure if I might have taken something else with those pills but they did the trick for sure! I slept really well that night.
The following Thursday we were at sea all day and worked on our tans. Even though it might not feel as though we were getting any sun, that evening I found myself a lot redder than I would have thought. On Friday we stopped at Nassau, Bahamas. I fell in love with that island! It was amazing!! It was beautiful!! But, then again, I feel as though it would be almost impossible to find an island anything but beautiful what with the ocean surrounding it and all of the sunshine. We went on a tour of the island while there but the few hours that we had there was not enough time to see everything. We ended up having to rush back to meet the ship before it left. The Bahamas did remind me a bit of Florida but with more of a tropical feel to it. It was interesting to see just how much of an impression England had left on the country though. It was evident in the architecture of the buildings and in the way that people talked. I loved it there! Our cruise in general was superb! I wouldn’t have changed it for the world. I met some people on the ship that were amazing, I saw countries that I most likely wouldn’t have been able to see right away, and the best part was that I got a tan in March where people normally wear winter clothing back home!! Everyone on board the MSC Divina was amazing! I can’t wait until I am able to go back on board once more! Now that I have graduated from ISU and have my college degree I’m going to see if I can travel around the world and see God’s beautiful creations. His work of art is beyond anything that anyone could ever create. Well MSC, I will one day soon be doing business with you once more!! Until then, have safe travels around the Caribbean and Europe!