Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Western Caribbean Cruise April/May 2012

I would have loved to have blogged and posted on a daily basis on the ship, but WIFI is expensive (65 cents/minute) and really, really slow. So I journaled in a Word doc instead...shown below.

04.28.2012 – Saturday - Cocoa Beach, FL

I was surprised how “good” I felt when I got up earlier today. My right eye lid was slightly swollen but nothing too bad and it went away quickly. Heart rate was around 130 but came down with hydrocortisone and a beta blocker. I had great energy and was in a good mood most of the day.

04.29.20120 – Sunday - Cocoa Beach, FL/Freedom of the Seas

Unlike yesterday I woke up this morning with my right eye lid horribly swollen, both eyes were red and burning, and I felt much worse than the day before. Things improved a little bit by the time we left for the pier but overall I was definitely feeling worse again.

We got to the pier around 10:30 AM and there were people in line already. Since we are now Emerald status with Royal Caribbean we are able to go to the priority check-in which didn’t take long at all. Right at 11 AM they let us on the ship and as usual we were among the first people to get on. It’s awesome being on the ship when there’s hardly anybody there yet

This is the biggest ship we have been on yet so we went to look at the promenade first.

Many of the shops and cafés are the same, but this one has more than for example the Mariner of the Seas (our favorite up until now) or the Voyager of the Seas. Around 11:30 AM we went up to lunch at the Windjammer Café (buffet) then we walked around and explored the ship some more.

At 1 PM we were able to get into our cabin and the balcony is AMAZING. We have never had a cabin at the end of the ship before and this is definitely the way to go. Not only is the balcony much, much bigger, but you can see out to the side and the back. The standard balconies on the side fit 2 chairs and a very small coffee table and beyond that there is not much room. This balcony had 2 regular chairs, a small coffee table, and 2 lounge chairs and there was still plenty of empty space. I put the small coffee table between the two lounge chairs and took the slightly bigger coffee table from the room, which always seems to be in the way, and put it in front of the two sitting chairs.

We had barely gotten to our room when they brought our suitcases. So by 4 PM, when they did muster, we were completely unpacked and ready to have fun. After muster we went to the sail-away activities on deck 11, then dinner, then to the Welcome Aboard show in the theater. The sunset was amazing.

04.30.2012 – Monday - Freedom of the Seas – Sea Day

Although I slept fairly good and almost 8 hours, I woke up with horribly swollen eye lids again and also red and burning eyes. I am not sure what this is about but it’s so annoying. I also don’t have the energy I had just a few days ago and my mood is not as good as before. I had so hoped that I would feel better on this cruise but so far that’s not happening. I decided to cut out the Lyme cocktail today and cut way back on some of the other anti-bacterials thinking that might help. We’ll see how I feel tomorrow. 

Waking up to this, however, was pretty awesome.

We spent the day relaxing, watching movies (on this ship they show movies in the theater that normally has the Broadway shows), and just taking it easy. It was a nice relaxing day. It was cloudy and rainy all day long which made it even more fun to hang out inside and just chill.

05.01.2012 – Tuesday - Freedom of the Seas – Labadee, Haiti

Cutting back on anti-bacterials did not help….I felt just as miserable this morning as the last two mornings. I have no idea what is going on but it’s pretty frustrating. I am also struggling with all the other crap I have going on, most notably the abdominal distention, fat gain, and muscle loss. Yeah, I’m thin but I hate this distended gut and the layer of fat my body as accumulated. It’s even harder being in Labadee, where women are walking around in bathing suits, sun tanning, and swimming….all things I used to do and enjoy when I felt comfortable about my body. That is one reason I don’t like going out because it just makes it so much more obvious how much crap I am dealing with.

Anyway – on to Labadee. Royal Caribbean has “fenced off” part of Haiti and has made it their “private island”. They have water sports, other activities, a zip line, a small roller coaster, bars, a spa, and more. It’s been a while since we have been here and they have added a lot of new stuff, including some hiking trails. So we hiked around the entire “island” throughout the morning then found a spot in the shade to chill. I went and braved the market – people there hassle you like CRAZY – and found a really cool, and big lizard. I have a wall in my bathroom with just lizards from the different places we have gone to. The one I found was really big and the guy wanted $45 for it. I offered $20, which was probably still too much, and of course he tried to get more. I stuck to my price and when I started walking away he agreed to take $20 for it. I named him Jerome. The lizard not the sales guy.

After an ok lunch of chicken, pork chops, various salads, and more, we went back to the ship and spent the afternoon relaxing again. It was pretty hot and humid in Labadee so it was nice to get back to a cool room.

In the evening, before dinner, they had a “Welcome Back” party for Crown and Anchor members. The latter is Royal Caribbean’s loyalty program and since we have cruised with them quite a bit we are now Emerald members. So we get pretty cool coupons, a welcome back gift in our cabin, parties like this with free drinks, and more.

On all of these cruises they always have hamburgers at lunch and dinner. I have made the mistake of eating them since they have wheat and soy. They taste really good IMO, but they also cause cravings and with a gluten intolerance I need to avoid wheat. So tonight at dinner I saw two of the “chef” looking guys standing in the Windjammer (buffet restaurant) and decided to ask them what it would take to find out the ingredients in the hamburgers. One of the guys (Vinroy) said that he would have to walk all the way downstairs, look on the box, write them down and bring them back to me. He was actually being cute/funny about it and I told him it didn’t have to be today. He then asked if I have food allergies and when I told him that I do and wheat is one of them, he said that the hamburgers have wheat. I figured they did but one could hope.

I was visibly disappointed so the other guy (Eric) said that they can make me hamburgers from just fresh ground beef when I come in for lunch and dinner. He said to just find them and let them know. YES! It probably seems odd to be excited about getting a chunk of fried ground beef, but I love hamburgers and I can only eat a fraction of what they serve on this ship, so to be able to get hamburgers is pretty exciting to me. In the more formal dining room it is not unusual to get special food prepared since I have allergies, but in the buffet restaurant this is pretty uncommon. Normally they tell me I need to go to the dining room if I have allergies.

We also got an email from Dr. Johnson – Mojo’s oncologist. She actually drove out to our regular vet’s office earlier today to evaluate Mojo herself. She said that his leg is back to normal size and he seems happy and well. In addition, she said that he is back in remission which was a HUGE relief.

05.02.2012 – Wednesday – Falmouth, Jamaica

I think I may have felt even worse today as far as the swollen eye lids, my energy, and my mood are concerned. Actually, my whole body felt “swollen” this morning, I had an almond size “lump” under my left eye, and I was in that horrible numb/angry state. The good thing about the whole body fluid retention is that it lowers my heart rate so that I don’t need a beta blocker. Although, as much as I hate taking this beta blocker, or any medication for that matter, it almost seems better than dealing with all the symptoms I have today. So I decided to cut out just about everything – all the Homeo-Ks, Cordy Chi, Lyme Cocktail, Rizol Gamma, probes, and more – and I also cut back on salt. Maybe this will help. Below is a picture of what my eyes  looked like before going to bed last night and what they looked like this morning. They were actually a tiny but puffy that night, but notice the swelling in my right eye lid the next morning and also how red the whites of my eyes are.

We took a cruise last year in November with these same ports, minus Labadee. In Falmouth, they have a fairly new gated pier with a bunch of shops. Some of them are owned by Royal Caribbean, others are owned by locals, and all of them are fairly expensive. Last year we got off the ship, walked around, then decided to go into town and buy souvenirs from locals rather than give our money to the cruise line. In addition, we were hoping to find an internet café so we could check emails. Well, that was not enjoyable. Jamaica is by far the worst for hassling people to buy stuff. They literally start following you down the street trying to get you to come look at their store, so we had decided not to get off the ship in Jamaica this time. Plus it was really hot and humid so overall it was not an enjoyable experience. However, this year it was pretty cloudy and didn’t feel too hot, plus they had added more stores at the new pier so we decided to get off.

We walked around for a bit and found some souvenirs and some candy to bring back for various people. I also found another really cool lizard which I was excited about since I don’t have one from Jamaica yet. After we had what we wanted we went back to the ship and had some lunch. In the afternoon we spent some time in the sun, and then as usual, went to dinner and a show. As promised I got hamburgers both for lunch and dinner. Eric had called a guy named Hopeton to make them for me. They were incredible.

Here are a few pics of the sunrise, pier, the nice, blue water, and the sunset in Falmouth.

05.03.2012 – Thursday – Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands

Finally a day of feeling slightly better – my left eye lid isn’t near as swollen as usual, I don’t feel like I am retaining fluid, my face isn’t puffy, I felt more cognitive getting up (before taking hydrocortisone), my eyes are barely red and burning, and that numb/angry feeling was gone. The downside is that my heart rate went up all the way to around 160 when I first got up. Oh well….at least I woke up to this today.

We got to Grand Cayman around 8 AM I believe but we took our time getting off the ship. In Grand Cayman there is no pier to dock at for a ship this size so they use tenders to take people to shore. Since we didn’t have any short excursions schedule and didn’t plan on staying a long time, we waited for the first rush of people to get off the ship then worked our way down to deck 1. The water looked amazing and so inviting.

Once we were off the ship we found an internet café, had some coffee/water, and stayed for a while to get caught up on emails. 

Then we walked around for a bit, took some pictures, and found some of our favorite shops. Around lunch time we returned to the ship and ate lunch at the Windjammer. I got my two hamburgers again which I ate with tons of butter. So good!

After lunch we went out to the pool, sat in the sun, sat at the “bar” in the pool, and just took it easy again. This has definitely been a relaxing cruise for us which I think we both needed. Nothing new/different in the evening – just dinner and a show as usual.

Some more pics from Grand Cayman.
Grand Cayman does not have a pier big enough for these large ships so we had to take a tender.

 Doesn't the water look awesome and inviting.
Love the shape of this tree. So cool.
Thought this "string" of clouds looked neat.

05.04.2012 – Friday – Cozumel, Mexico

Back to more swollen eye lids and more fluid retention than yesterday, increased redness/burning in my eyes, and less cognitive this morning, but not as bad as the other days.

This is our favorite port and we have a little routine here. We normally get off the ship, walk the roughly 3 miles to the down town shopping area, sit at “Coffee Bean” for a bit to check emails, have lunch at our favorite restaurant La Mission which we have been going to since 2003, then walk down to Jeanie’s to sit and chill until it’s time to head back to the ship. A few years back when we went to Jeanie’s there were 3 or 4 boys jumping off the little “pier” into the ocean. I thought it looked like a lot of fun and couldn’t help but jump off that pier myself. Since then, this is one of my favorite things to do at Jeanie’s, besides looking at the ocean while relaxing with a cold “agua mineral”.

I also somehow became friends online with the owner of La Mission and Bob and I have stayed in touch with him. His family owns 2 other restaurants, Parilla Mission and Casa Mission, which we had never tried before. Parilla Mission is more of a taqueria versus a restaurant, and Casa Mission was never open for lunch before. However, now they are so we decided to give it a try. The menu is actually exactly the same as at La Mission, but it has a totally different ambiance. While La Mission has become quite touristy, is in the middle of the down town hussle, and is rather loud, Casa Mission is further away from downtown in a quiet area, is not very busy at all, and has a nice relaxed, and quiet atmosphere. Damian, the owner of these restaurants, met us there to hang out with us and eat with us. He said that his parents still live right there so we asked if that is where he had grown up. He said it is. Turns out that the area that now is the restaurant (see below) used to be their patio when he was a kid. When he and his sister when to college his parents experienced the empty nest syndrome and got lonely. So they decided to open a restaurant and bring people to them. Of course – what else would you do when your kids leave home and you miss them!?

Anyway, the house is beautiful and so are the grounds surrounding the house. I can imagine that it must have been awesome growing up there except for the heat that is. It was SO friggin’ hot I could barely stand it. When we walked off the ship we knew there was no way that we were going to walk to downtown this time so we took a cab instead. Here are a few pics from Casa Mission...

 ...and Jeanie's.

After eating lunch with Damian we took a cab to the Mega Mart (sort of like a Walmart) which is right across the street from Jeanie’s and bought some Mexican candies and cookies to bring home to people. Then we sat at Jeanie’s and like I stated above,  I jumped off the pier into the ocean a few times. That water felt so good after walking around in the heat and sitting in hot taxis – all of them have an AC but none of the cab drivers for whatever odd reason use them. (The picture below is actually from 2007 when we were in Cozumel as well.)
We got back to the ship around 4:30 AM although we weren’t scheduled to leave until 7 PM that night. As usual, we took a shower, went to dinner, then a show, then we watched the movie “Joyful Noise” on the big screen outside. One of the things I absolutely loved on the Princess cruise we took in 2004 is that they had a huge screen outside on the pool deck and they were showing movies at night (Movies Under the Stars). So I was thrilled when I found out that this ship has a big screen on the pool deck doing the same thing. The movie was pretty bad but it was still fun to sit outside in the fresh air at night.
I am not sure if I ate something I reacted to (like dairy for example), if it’s hormones, or if it’s die off, but for some reason I started having that insane, bottomless pit type hunger sometime in the afternoon. I was also craving sweets in addition to the insane hunger which could definitely be a dairy reaction or hormones. I ate ceviche, guacamole, steamed veggies, and a fried pork chop at Casa Mission, so I am not sure where/how I would have gotten dairy. Of course it doesn’t take much and it could have been cross contamination from the kitchen. I also had much worse fluid retention in my body which is another dairy reaction for me. It took all the restraint I had not to raid the dessert table after dinner, but I knew I would totally regret it if I did.

05.05.2012 – Saturday – Sea Day

More fluid retention, feeling worse, basically more of the same. As for the cruise, it was a lazy, relaxing day at sea. Not much to report.

05.06.2012 – Sunday – Back in FL

I woke up around 6 AM and we were at the pier in Pt. Canaveral already. Sat on the balcony one more time drinking my coconut oil blended iced coffee, checking emails, and enjoying the beautiful full moon. 

The trip back was uneventful and I was glad to be home by around 4 PM. It was strange being home with just Pepper and I so wished I could have picked up Mojo right then, but I had to wait until Monday morning.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing your Western Caribbean cruise experiences- the pictures are so exciting to look at!