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Saturday, June 28, 2014

10 Year Anniversary Western Caribbean Cruise - Carnival Sunshine

On Saturday, June 21st, we drove to Port Canaveral with Abby and Nate to start a fun 7-day cruise on the Carnival Sunshine to the Western Caribbean. Cozumel, Belize, Isla Roatan, and Costa Maya.

Connor and Paige were very sad to see us go, and it was hard to leave them at home, but we haven't done an adults only cruise (especially one this long) in over three years.

We got on the boat with no trouble, and it was nice that we got priority boarding since we were in the VIP club as we've been on quite a few cruises with Carnival.

We snapped a few pics on the top deck as the boat set sail.

The first day was a sea day, as the boat made its way South. We sat out on the side of the boat and since we didn't get up at the crack of dawn to reserve a seat, it was pretty crowded and we didn't have the best seats. It was nice to be able to sit in the Serenity (adult) area, however on that first day we could barely find any seats at all.

We did some exercise, relaxed, and then we got all dressed up fancy for dinner. Abby and Nate both looked great and you could really tell that they've been dieting and working out for a long time now. I got to wear my new suit, which had been quite the ordeal to put together since I'd been pretty picky about how I wanted it to fit and look. Andrea looked awfully pretty in her nice white dress and I caught quite a few people checking out my lovely wife.

After dinner, we watched the musical show and saw a comedian and then Andrea wanted to check out the "club" on the boat to see if anyone was dancing. The layout on this boat is pretty unique and instead of a dedicated dance club area, they transform the theatre in to a club by moving around a bunch of chairs and hiding the stadium seating with curtains. It was very wide open and I think that intimidated many people from jumping out and dancing. When we got there, most people were just standing around and I was wondering if the party would ever get started.

We were slowly getting warmed up when Nate walked over holding 4 Long Island Ice Teas. It was quite the shock, and we snapped a quick pic before we sipped on them.

After the much needed drinks, we got the party started. We all got in to the music and danced it up. During the "Shots" song ( Nate got everyone shots and then my memory gets a little fuzzy. Thankfully Andrea was on point with the camera and we got some fun pics of us all having a great time.

There was a guy there with a whistle that was tooting along to all the songs, which cracked us up. Andrea got a pic of him before the night ended.

The night ended abruptly at 2am when the lights came on. They actually kept playing some music, but it suddenly seemed weird to be dancing when you could see everyone and everything so clearly. We went up to the top decks of the boat to get some ice cream and water. Abby got a little hot from all the dancing, so she decided to jump in the pools to cool off. A few of the other girls from the dance club did the same and it was probably the highlight of the night. Andrea snapped a pic of Abby posing by the Serenity pool.

The next morning we had to get up fairly early to do zip lining in Cozumel Mexico. Everyone was a little bit hung over, however I was absolutely miserable. It has been a long time since I felt so bad. I actually begged Andrea to let me stay on the boat, but we couldn't get a refund for the excursion at the last minute and Andrea really wanted me to go with her. I manned up and barely was able to drag my sorry butt off the boat. We missed our original time for the zip line due to my delaying and the customs officials taking extra long to clear our boat. That gave me an extra hour to get my head cleared before it was time to get suited up and get to zipping.

Andrea and I have done zip lining a few times and Nathan had last year in Gulf Shores. This was Abby's first time on a zip line and she was very reluctant to go, but she was brave and jumped off anyways. I love her expression in the pics, you can see the terror.

Overall, the zip lines weren't especially exciting or too challenging. They were all built off of platforms and while it was a good beginner course for Abby, it wasn't the most scenic or exciting zip line we've done.

The next day we stopped at Belize and Andrea and I didn't get off the boat. Abby and Nate had a snorkel excursion planned, however it was canceled due to the rough seas. We had a relaxing day on the boat and went to bed fairly early since we had an early morning planned in Isla Roatan, Honduras the next day.

As it turned out, the first zip line in Cozumel was perfect for the adventure in store for us in Honduras. We got off the boat early and although we were a little early the zip line people were ready for us. We had planned to do the Zip Line Express, and it was neat that the Zip Lines were set up very close to the boat. We walked over and as we started to get setup, a lady asked us if we would like to pay $20 each to upgrade to the Extreme zip line package which had 1.5 miles of lines vs 1 mile and had much longer lines. We decided to give it a shot and then we finished getting geared up.

The zip lines were amazing. The first zip line alone made the entire thing worthwhile. It was a 900 meter line that stretched from one jungle hilltop to another. The line dipped down in to the valley and then had a slight rise at the end where you stopped up in the trees. The views were stunning and the ride was exhilarating. Andrea and I had done a Canopy Tour zip line in Isla Roatan a few years ago and never thought we'd do one better, but the Extreme zip line tour was the best we've done.

Nate got a really awesome video of his turn on the first line.

As we zipped the last line, which ended at the beach, the tour personnel took a few photos of us. Unfortunately that line had sagged a little or something and the guy that rescued me said that only 1 of 20 people typically made it to the final platform. Andrea and I held hands most of the way down and let go near the bottom just as the guy took our picture. We were a little worried that our hand holding had caused a little too much friction, but it wasn't our fault.

Abby and Nate followed after us and held hands too most of the way. They also had to be rescued.

I'm glad Nate rented the action camera and took good videos, they came out really well.

After finishing up, Nate and I walked back to the Zip Line building to get our bags and beach gear. There were at least a hundred people there checking in, it got very busy and was getting hot. I'm glad Andrea picked an early time.

The girls saved us a nice spot in the shade and we spent most of the rest of the day chilling in the water and napping by the beach.

We ate some fairly mediocre food at the beach and tried to get connected to the wifi network. We managed to stay connected for a little while and did a Facetime video call with Connor and Grandpa and Grandma. Paige was at school, but we were glad we had a chance to say hi to everyone else.

The next morning, Andrea and I got up early to do our ATV tour at Costa Maya. It was dark when we got up and as we were walking on the top deck we saw that the staff had made at least a hundred towel animals. I snapped a pic of Andrea with some of the big alligators, but I didn't capture all of them in the pic.

We had perfect lighting for a pic with the boat as we walked down the pier.

We waited a little bit and then got on a bus for a 30 minute ride to the Jungle Beach club where the ATV tour, Rhino Tour and snorkel tours operated. The ATV tour was a lot more fun than we expected. Andrea and I have only ridden an ATV a few times and we were a little worried it'd be too hard, but it was not bad at all. The more experienced riders went a little too fast for our comfort a few times, but we kept up well.

We went on a few paved trails, but much of the tour was through the jungle and on the beach. Often we'd be ducking under palm fronds and weaving through the trees. The beach trails were well put together and had lots of hills and bumps.

Halfway through the tour we stopped at the beach to rest and take a few pictures.

The whole tour took about an hour and we really enjoyed it and look forwards to trying it again on another cruise.

After we parked our ATV's, we enjoyed our time at the Jungle Beach club. They had an open bar and had food available to purchase. The beach was much better than we expected and aside from a little bit of seaweed in the water, it was perfect. We walked around on the beach for a bit, but didn't put on our swimming gear since we had to be back to the boat by 2pm. Unfortunately it wasn't a long stay in Costa Maya. We really would have liked to ride the boats out and do some snorkeling. That excursion looked like a lot of fun and one of the Mexican guys offered to let us jump in on an excursion that was getting ready to leave. Unfortunately, we didn't have enough time left to do it.

After we got back to the boat, we went up to the top deck to do the Sky Course. Nate came along with us and we were surprised that it was actually more challenging and fun than we expected. There were two paths and a bunch of obstacles. We were hooked in with harnesses, but once you got up high it was a bit scary and a little windy even though we weren't moving. 

We ended up doing both sides of the course and we're glad we did it when we did since it wasn't busy at all.

Afterwards, we rested up and then got dressed for the other formal night for dinner. We didn't quite get as fancy this time around, but we still looked pretty sharp.

After dinner we went back up to the club for some dancing. Abby and Nate gave it a go, but weren't feeling it and went to chill on the Serenity deck instead. Andrea was definitely in the mood for dancing and we stayed until they kicked us out.

We made friends with some of the people there and I got a pic of Andrea dancing next to one of the nice gay guys. He complimented us on how cute we were and how well we danced even though were were white. He, and his buddy, were very funny and we had fun hanging out with them.

After I took the pic, I tried to get a video of Andrea doing the Wobble song, but only caught the last little bit unfortunately as it ended.

That was really it for the trip. The last day was a sea day and we took it easy and mostly maxed and relaxed in the room. We packed up and in the morning got off the boat pretty early and were home by 10:30. It was good to see the kids again!

I'm so thankful to be married to my awesome wife and had so much fun celebrating our 10 year anniversary together. It was really neat to also get to celebrate with Abby and Nate. They were celebrating their 15 year wedding anniversary on the cruise and I'm so happy they sailed with us.

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