Family Matters - Caribbean Cruise [Princess Cays (Bahamas), St. Thomas (U.S. Virgin Islands), Grand Turk (Turks and Caicos Islands)]
I returned to Chicago to the familiar faces of family and friends, good food, and my favorite city in the world dressed in its best for Christmas. A few Holiday parties and a homey holiday later, I fabulously brought in the New Year – 2009. A day later it was time to hop in a limo headed to the airport at 4am… the ultimate family vacation was ahead.
My brother Zach, sister Ashley, Dad, Mom and I would enjoy a 10-day trip of relaxation and fun. We spent a day and a half in Florida enjoying the hot sun, and were ecstatic to board the Crown Princess for our week-long Caribbean getaway! We sipped mojitos and explored the familiar vessel (we have been exclusive Princess-fans since we were younger), and took off to the honk of the commanding horn. That night we dressed up for our first elegant dinner of many – and I was delighted to be re-acquainted with the delectable treat of chocolate mousse fittingly named “The Loveboat Dream”. We sang karaoke in the lounge until close, and got some shuteye amidst the ocean waves.
The next day brought an all-you-can-eat brunch (I love cruises) and a bucket of beers. Laying in the sun aboard the ship deck was euphoria… our first island stop came soon after – Princess Cays! This Princess-only island is a man-made tourist escape lacking authenticity but evoking pure beauty and plenty of bars. We got a bit drunk in the sun and were last to leave the island and board our ship again – sad to sail away from the private oasis. That night we fancied up for dinner which was topped off with some lemon cello shots and another karaoke contest in the lounge bar. My Tina Turner impression was uncanny… minus the singing. We got our groove on in the impressive nightclub gaping over the dark sea, and turned it in for another relaxing and otherwise uneventful day at sea the following day.
We had a full day of sunlight, food buffets, and beers. When we needed a break from the rays, we would wonder the ship and find respite in the many activity rooms… even catching a live acrobatic show in the lobby. We topped off the lazy day with a delicious meal and night on the ship for formal night,
dressed in long gowns and tuxes. We played “James Bond” sipping martinis in the piano bar, saw a live comedy show, and followed dinner with a singing and dancing musical in the theatre.
The next day brought a bit of adventure with a large catamaran excursion which exported us to another beach – a slice of paradise for the day. I spent a large portion of the excursion spying on a young couple enjoying their honeymoon – and we all boarded the sailboat for a bumpy ride back to the ship, enjoying gorgeous sunset views along the way. That night was of course followed with an unnecessarily large meal, and some equally unnecessary gambling in the casino.
We woke up our fifth day at sea to the gorgeous U.S. Virgin
Island of St. Thomas, my favorite of the trip. We hopped in a local cab which drove us way up the mountain town where we were rewarded with insane views of the beaches, islands, and never-ending ocean below. We made our way across the
island to the coveted beach rated one of the Top Ten National Geographic Beaches, Magen’s Bay. The title was well-deserved with the jutting rock formations, shallow blue waters, and pure white sand. I basked in the day, wishing it would never end. We did a small photo shoot on a nearby rock, and came across a wedding ceremony set up for later. That night was spent on the ship, reminiscing of the gorgeous day we had experienced.
The following day was another relaxing one at sea – and that night we played up the decadence with our second formal night. I loved pretending to be aboard the Titanic in my flowing magenta gown, (excluding the whole sinking part). We imbibed on red wine and champagne while gluttonously consuming as much fresh lobster as we could. Zach and Dad looked particularly dapper in their matching white tuxedo jackets, and Dad even sang some Sinatra at the karaoke bar!
Our last day brought a stop at Grand Turk, a bustling island
which boasted a Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville swim-up bar as its best asset. We basked in alcohol and drinking games on this final day and as the sun set, we knew it was out last day in paradise. The trip had been an ideal way for me to relax from a non-stop semester abroad, and really bond with my wonderful family. This trip was probably the last of our family vacations, and it is one I won’t soon forget…
For more pictures from the Caribbean, visit the PHOTOS page or click here.