Thursday, June 4, 2009

Paradise Found!

We're back from seriously the best vacation! It was awesome, it was relaxing and after a rocky start, just what the hubs and I needed. 

New York was awesome even though too short, and cruising did not let us down -- it's an awesome way to travel and definitely the ONLY way for us to travel at this time. We had the wheelchair and that was a life saver, we seriously couldn't have done most of the stuff we did without it. So indulge me as I go through our trip and try to document it here in blog land.
We finally made it to New York City on Saturday night. I was still in a lot of pain and
subsequently don't really remember all the details of the first few days. But I do know we were so happy and triumphant to have made it to our favorite city. Getting through the airport with me the invalid, all our luggage, etc was always going to be a challenge and because I was really worse off that we anticipated, it was even more trouble, but we did it...with a lot of help. My mom helped us pack up and get to the airport, then stayed at our house another day and cleaned everything, she rocks! And as luck would have it, our dear friend's sister happened to be on our new flight out of Long Beach to NYC. She was awesome and helped push me, while the hubs got all the luggage and off we went to grab a cab in to Manhattan. Thank you Danie for all your help!

Our NY plans got cut in half, and we did not get to go to the show we had tickets for (as a lovely "up yours", the theatre was only half a block from our hotel.) Had to laugh, as not to cry, but what can you do. We still made it on the trip. 
But one thing we weren't missing was the Empire State Building -- Our building. For those of you that don't know, we got engaged on top of the Empire State Building exactly five years ago. It was so romantic and I was so surprised, my hubby is the best and such a romantic. 

We headed over there on Sunday morning, before the cruise. Luckily I had the sense to buy the express pass tickets in advance that allowed us to skip all the lines. This turned out to be some of the best money spent, as I was urgently needing the bathroom every couple of minutes and we could just pass the lines and make it to the top quickly with the pit stops along the way. It was hard, but I'm so glad we pushed through and did it, it was just as amazing as we remembered and made us all nostalgic. I'm so happy and thankful and lucky to be married to the best guy in the world and he started all that on top of this building. 
When I was planning our trip and found that their was a Caribbean cruise departing from
NY when we wanted to travel, it was meant to be. So even though it sounds crazy that people from Cali would leave for a Caribbean cruise out of NY and not Florida, now you know why it just had to be that way! 

After a quick rest at the hotel, it was time to pack up and head off to the cruise terminal. The ship was amazing, beautiful and huge. Because of the wheelchair we got to the front of all the lines there too, it was awesome! We were so excited to be there and ready to commence the relaxing. We set sail at 5 p.m. that evening and sailed right past the Statue of Liberty and out of New York Harbor. 
We spent the first two days at sea and promptly got working on our tans, and I continued to
sleep a lot and rest. We had a plan each time we left our stateroom, where exactly we were going, where the bathrooms were along the way, and where I could sit along the way. It was perfect. 
While on board the ship we also experienced the Lotus Spa, both specialty dining restaurants
 -- Sabatinis and The Crowne Grill -- and BINGO, all totally worth it and only added to our relaxing and full vacation experience. It was so great to never have to worry about where to eat, where we were going, transportation, etc. We didn't have to make any decisions, it was great. We could do what we wanted, when we wanted. 
Because of my hospital stay, we decided to cancel our snorkeling excursions and just enjoy the beautiful beaches, the hubs was going to do his real underwater adventuring in Bermuda, 
while I stayed on the boat. Our first port was the Island of Grand Turk. My man pushed me off the ship and around the little downtown area. We took a bus to Governor's Beach, which was beautiful but unfortunately located next to a maneur plant... so you can guess what that was like. We enjoyed the beautiful water, but then decided it was best to head back to the beach next to the cruise ship. We couldn't believe the water, it was so great. 

The next day we stopped in San Juan, Puerto Rico. We went on a tour of the Bacardi Rum Distillery and Old San Juan, which included a self-guided tour of St. Cristobol Fort. It was really neat but very hot and humid, the poor hubby had to push me all around and up big hills. It was a lot of work for him, but he didn't complain once. He's the best!

Our third port-of-call was in beautiful St. Thomas, this was by far our favorite stop. It was amazing, true paradise. We went to this secluded little beach called Magen's Bay...breathtaking! And the shopping was amazing, too bad we didn't have the money to drop on the gorgeous jewelry, oh well, we'll just have to go back;)

Thankfully, we had a sea day after that, which I desperately needed to rest and sleep and recoup from being pushed all around in the wheelchair for the last three days;) During this sea day, we decided to partake in The Sanctuary, the private sun deck area at the front of the ship. The lounge chairs were so luxurious, the deck attendants so helpful and it was so peaceful. We just read and I slept and it was a great way to spend the day on the ship. 
On Sunday, we were supposed to dock in Bermuda. Remember this was the day the hubs was going to be free of his invalid wife and do what he loves, some real underwater exploring. He
 was going to try Snuba and I was going to stay on board an lay out by the pool. But as with the whole theme of this trip, plans changed a bit. Due to bad weather, our captain decided it was too dangerous to navigate our extremely large vessel down the narrow channel to get to the port. It was disappointing and I felt bad for my hubby. He was really looking forward to this day and he so desperately deserved it. But true to his form, he just said well as usual we'll just go with the flow. We still had a great day on board, again I guess we'll just have to go back. 

Monday was our last day at sea and Tuesday morning we returned to New York Harbor and by Tuesday night we were back on the West Coast. Home Sweet Home! 

I really can't say enough about this vacation. We loved getting dressed up for dinner each night, especially the formal nights. We loved being just the two of us, no phones and very limited email. We loved the incredible people watching:) We laughed a lot, tanned a lot, enjoyed really nice dinners and the whole experience. It truly was the most relaxing vacation we've ever been on. It was so nice to get away from the reality of insurance claims, medical bills, doctors appt, etc. We made the trip work for our situation and that was so great. 

Now we're back and it's still taking me time to recover from the travel experience on the way home. Back to real life, ugh! But at least we can do it with a little color on our face and the memories of the pure relaxation. I'm going to picture this when I want to punch someone over at the insurance company, at least for the next little while;) Monday, I'll be back on the trail!
If you haven't had enough random pics from our trip, visit this link for a few more:)

P.S. I know the formatting is all funky on this post, I've tried to fix it and before I loose my zen like aurora, I'm going to just stop and let it be, go with the flow as the hubby says;) Sorry if it makes it hard to read, just look at the pics then.


Lauren said...

I am so glad you had such a wonderful vacation! You deserve it :) You are so stunning in all of your pictures and have great style! and your man are adorable together :)

Natalia Ritchie said...

Yay for great vacations!! I am so glad that everything worked out, and even though you had that rocky start, it was amazing!

Aim said...

So, so so SO glad you had such a great time. I was worried there for awhile it wasn't going to happen. I really enjoyed looking your pics and reading about your trip (even know I got the verbal play by play already) Oh, and cute outfits Al! Especially, that one with the skirt, white blouse and brown belt!!! :) hee hee!