Caribbean Cruisin’

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One of the best things about a vacation is I always feel grateful and fulfilled while on them. I know not everyone gets the opportunity to see parts of the world as I have and for that, I am always high on gratitude throughout my journey whether it’s closer to home or far away. I have been to some wonderful cities and spots in the world with family, friends, and my boyfriend. I’m so thrilled to love spending time with my boyfriend’s family as well as having a chance to travel with them as it has happened quite a few times in the last three and a half years. Happily, I’ve had a blast each time!

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My extended family is huge. My mom has well for 50 first cousins (can you say Italian?) but my more immediate extended family consists of one first cousin (now two as he got married last year). We are six months a part, look like twins, and have some hiliarous childhood memories together. His wife has gelled right in too and my sister and I both love her.

I love my small family, being an aunt, and my parents and sister more than anything in this world. However, I also love my new family too, my boyfriend’s family, as I have the chance to experience life and fun with a bunch of cousins and aunts and uncles! I feel very blessed to have so many extra, wonderful people in my life.

That all being said,  7 days cruising the Caribbean with my boyfriend’s fam – 22 of us to be exact – was an absolute blast! Sitting front row at the comedy show, even the comedian made mention that he has never seen a family so happy to be together. And it’s true! I really appreciated such the simple, sweet compliment since I know not all families out there feel the same. (However, I may have enjoyed less the jokes at my Jason and my expense.. though hilarious, they were prettttyy embarrassing.. -I’d say more but it is FOR SURE an in person story). ;o)

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This cruise was prompted to celebrate Jason’s Granny and Head Matriarch’s 90th birthday. Her 91st is just peaking around the corner too and as I have previously mentioned, she’s basically a badass and never skips a beat, always keeping up with the crew! (She even kills it at flip cup!) She played all the games as this wonderfully fun and competitive family does including spoons, charades, and poker. We also spend time cheering on some of the family playing ping pong and volleyball!

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That was just a fraction of the cruise ship fun. We saw countless shows and went to many entertainment events: diving, ice skating, comedy, game shows, wine tasting, Vegas performers, concerts, musicals, and more! The entertainment was great and the audience games were the best as Jason’s sister Julia and cousin Ryan helped lead one. There was also plenty of karaoke to be had which I wanted to do but unfortunately couldn’t as I was a sleeeeepppy girl. (Noted for next time: do karaoke in the beginning of the cruise when the sun, food, and drinks haven’t taken all your energy).

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We also went to plenty of bars on the ship with live music, dance parties, and clubs! I think as a whole family, as there was so many of us together, took over quite a few dance floors and if you have ever seen Jason dance (I know there are a few of you out there starting to smile), he has these crazy moves. He feels the music. He goes for it and nothing holds him back and as easy-going as he sometimes comes off, it’s both shocking and hilarious and one of my favorite things to watch. He’s split a few pants in his day too doing some acrobatics he has added into his choreography which also adds to the magic. Fortunately, the pants survived this trip but he still kept us entertained. Fortunately, it runs in the family (I’m talking to you Caroline) so everyone was equally fun to watch and it was nothing short of a blast.

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We danced at Latin Clubs (I happily busted out my Zumba moves), sang “Sweet Caroline” at pubs, and drank yummy drinks and finished each night at late night pizza. Oh sheesh and speaking of the food…. YUM! It’s pretty great to get wined and dined for a week. It is especially great when you cant have unlimited amount of appetizers, entrees and desserts…which we all did!

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I would say too that eating so well and stuffing my face all week too would make me come back feeling like a roly poly but NOPE! There was a full gym (which we did go too…among full spa services which I refused to let myself divulge in for the sake of my wallet…) but not only that, the ship is the biggest in the world and walking back and forth definitely adds some cardio, as does walking up and down the stairs…mostly though? Dancing our booties off made sure that we all came back essentially still feeling healthy!

Aside from all the fun on the ship, I did have moments where I could relax, soak in some sun, and read. In fact, while on the ship and traveling I read two books that were on my list and LOVED both- The Girl on the Train and First Comes Love! Gosh, nothing better than soaking up the Caribbean sun by the pool and/or ocean and reading a book you can’t put down! No exaggeration though, I got out early in a game of Spoons, of course very unlike me and likely subconscious (tee hee), so I went back to the room and grabbed my Kindle to finish The Girl on the Train because it was at the end and it was a real nail biter. SO GOOD!

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Aside from all the incredible fun that the ship had to offer…there was of course the breathtakingly stunning islands that we visited – Cozumel, Mexico, Falmouth, Jamaica, and Labadee, Haiti.

Let me just start by saying that I live right near the ocean, go to beaches often as it is one of my favorite places in the world, but it’s been a few years since I’ve been able to swim in a warm ocean aka last time I was in Hawaii a few years ago. It was just as fabulous, relaxing and therapeutic as I wished.

We went to a gorgeous and fun beach in Cozumel. It had a playground-esque floating structure in the middle of the ocean which was fun and scary all at once as fear of slipping and/or accidentally plowing into a small child was completely valid. The boys did love it though. It was basically American Ninja Warrior on water.

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We also enjoyed the delicious homemade guacamole by the beach and some ice cold beers. Couldn’t have asked for anything better!

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Afterwards, we journeyed back to Senor Frogs. Needless to say, we got pretty tipsy and had quite the time, as you may be able to imagine if you have ever gone there or anywhere like it.

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When we made our way to Jamaica a couple days later, I fell in love pretty quickly. The people were friendly and welcoming and the beach we went to had amazing drinks, deliciously blue waters to match my deliciously blue drinks, a man singing Bob Marley and other reggae hits (some of my absolute favorite music), and even gazebos with some lucky people getting massages. They offered WIFI there which was the one time I had it the entire trip (being unplugged was AWESOME) but I was grateful nonetheless because I FaceTimed my sister and niece and then my mom who I actually FaceTimed while swimming in the water. SO marvelous! I loved the whole day! We ended our time in Jamaica roaming shops and getting a drink at Margaritaville.

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As for Haiti, I had no idea what to expect, until I learned that the Royal Caribbean bought a portion of the island and basically turned it into a beautiful vacation spot heavy with excursions, yummy food (hello jerk chicken!), volleyball courts, and beautiful beaches. They even offered yoga on the beach… which I was so sleepy to do (have I ever mentioned that waking up early has never, EVER been my forte?)

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We had so much fun just hanging out in the water as family and enjoying the beautiful waters!

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Since it was my first time in the Caribbean, I was so excited to step foot everywhere. Every time I travel to a new destination, I switch to this childlike state of wonder and love looking around, and taking in the culture, food, and of course, the views! It absolutely didn’t disappoint and I am so happy to have had the chance to visit. As I mention, there is always a rush of sincere, strong gratitude whenever I travel. The world is a scary place, especially right now, but sometimes, it is nice to take in the beauty and all the wonderful things it has to offer.

That being said, I am writing this on July 4th (Happy Birthday America!). As you can see, we’ve had plenty of fun, sun, food, and drinks so we took it easy. We made breakfast, cleaned up a bit, went to the gym, made Moscow Mules and are crockpotting chicken for tacos. Though the celebration today is pretty low-key,  I love our country and the freedom and opportunity we have been granted here. People died getting us that right (as tragic as it always is) and that fact is not lost on me. I am very grateful. On that note, I am also grateful to learn and visit other countries who have fantastic, interesting cultures and amazing things and people to offer the world. In lieu of all the tragedy we see on the news every week, I just wanted to leave a hopeful note that if exploring other countries does anything, it allows us to be open minded and learn more about others who are different than us which in my opinion, is what bridges those gaps and eases fear. So as mentioned, it is just another reason I always feel grateful when traveling and this day, of all days, is a perfect time to reflect upon that.

Okee doke my loves, hope you enjoyed the pictures and stories on my shenanigans! I also hope your holiday was fun, safe, and fabulous! Can’t wait to get back to blogging…though a break away from computers and phones was nice, I did miss you guys!

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