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Day 2 – Samana | Cayo Levantado

Day 2 we were to be heading into Samana, in the Dominican Republic. We had heard that it wasn’t the best place with not a lot to do so we booked an excursion through our ship that would pick us up at our ship and take us to a small island called Cayo Levantado. It has been described as Bacardi Beach because it looks like the photos on a Bacardi bottle.

It was a rocky start that day. Due to bumpy water we ended up stuck on the boat waiting for our excursion for 2 hours after we were supposed to leave. We had to sit in the theater and just wait. It was worth it though. When we finally got there we were greeted with rum punch, parrots and a pirate. For real. Some poor smuck had to dress up but being a pirate at heart, I sure appreciated it. Yo ho ho and a pineapple filled with rum.

We walked a short way to the beach but just long enough for Nick to smoke a cigar and buy a pack for a gift. Probably overpriced but oh well! Once we got our chairs I hopped straight into the water. It was like bath water. The warmest water we would be in that whole trip. The sand was white and everything I dreamed. We even got drinks served in coconuts and pineapples. They were so yummy. I plan to make them here soon. It was just blended up pineapple, rum and coconut milk. And they had an umbrella. I was sold.

After enough time in the sun with our SPF 45 we headed to the little bar/hut in the center of the beach. Beer was the cheapest we would see the rest of our trip. $5 for a large, local beer. We each had two. I loved the spelling on the signs. Draff Beer. Miamy.

Right as we were leaving a little mist came through. Just enough to make a rainbow appear. It was pretty rad. It was that day that I started planning our next cruise.


Day 1 – Day at Sea

The first day after embarkation was a day at sea so you pretty much just bum around and do whatever you like. After breakfast I hit up the pool deck while Nick went in to log a few study hours. While waiting I realized that there was food below and it was free and you know, why not? So I went to my first solo in-between-meal. I called them those because it wasn’t breakfast, nor lunch, nor dinner. I had them often. I had them alone.

When we got to our room the first day we had a bottle of wine and $25 in casino chips waiting for us as a gift from our friends the Casters. It was the neatest surprise ever and made us glow! It was totally awesome!!! We felt it would be rude to wait so we marched right downstairs with our bottle and drank it on the pool deck while watching the sunset.

That night we ate at our first “cover charge” restaurant. The ship has many free places to eat but the food is just average. Tasty but nothing special. Then they have a handful of restaurants that you pay a small cover charge for and can still eat anything on the menu. We went to Mambo that night which is a Mexican restaurant. Yes and yes. It was heaven. The restaurant opens up to the main lobby area where they have live music every night. While eating we heard the performer mention that she was from CD’A Idaho. Small world! We chatted with her later and found out that she is a few years younger than us.

That night we watched a comedian perform. He was friggin hilarious. We ended up watching him a couple more times that week.


Bienvenido a Miami

Wahoo!!! It was such a fun relief stepping off of the plane into 80% humidity, and I am serious. Nothing says you have left the frigid potatoes for the tropics like that. It was sick in a bad way and sick in a good way. We got a free upgrade when we got to our hotel so we ended up with an awesome view of Biscayne Bay, a neighbor to South Beach.

I was FAMISHED. I had already gone into cruise mode expecting my free buffet but nothing in a “safe” walking distance (to me safe was the lobby) was open so we settled for an $8 beer and called it a night. With promises of a great Cuban restaurant down the road I fell into a light sleep with cuban sandwiches and pineapple dancing in my brain.

That morning we got into our second of many sketchy magoo cab rides and headed to Latin Cafe. It was tasters but didn’t knock my socks off. What did were the people. One 92 year old woman gave our 23 year old, and completely unamused waiter, her phone number on the back of a receipt and instructed him to give her a ring (accompanied by a ravenous laughter). Then came the outfits. The theme for Miami is tight and illegal. I saw a tank top that had spent the night being shredded by a tiger, then thrown into a shark tank only to be rescued by Edward Scissorhands. She showed more skin than tank. But I was down with it. I wasn’t so sure about her underwear made out of denim. Clearly they were underwear. Had to be. Nobody would make “shorts” like that. But I fear the worst. Someone has made them and even worse, people, large people buy and wear them to BREAKFAST! Ok, ok…Will Smith did not mention this in his 1998 hit single. I was misinformed.

After digesting our new friends and food, we made our way to the port to stand in line for a couple of hours. That was a crack-up in itself. All of these funny people who don’t understand why one line is moving and theirs isn’t but think they deserve the world. Agh. It was funny. I think. And sad.

Finally we boarded the ship. It was AWESOME! Our rooms weren’t ready for another hour so we headed straight for the pool bar and ordered a bucket of beer for the bargain price of $25. WHAM! I had heard but wasn’t prepared. No worries. It wasn’t real money until the end. You just rack it up on your card and pay for your week of gluttony and sins on the last day. Gluttonous I was.

Before we pulled away we practiced our evac procedures in case we hit an iceberg and sank. They said we had enough life boats for everyone. Sure. I know how this one ended. No thanks. Being on the 5th floor (AKA Steerage) I know we wouldn’t even get to hear the string quartet playing as we plummeted to our deaths with Jack and Rose.

The ship was fantastic. I think it is a pretty new one. Totally rad with 12 restaurants, bunches of bars, lots of pools and other fun things. That night we just ate at the free buffet and relaxed by the pool. As you can see Nick got really relaxed as we watched the sun set pulling out of Miami.