Here is my friend Lori's Journal to her kids that she emailed to them each day while we were on the cruise.....it had a lot of the details that I didn't want to forget, but didn't want to re-write, either. So with her permission....
My First Ever Cruise!
Southern Caribbean- Feb. 24-March 2, 2008
By Lori Cebollero
Cruise Group: Jonathan & Lori Cebollero, Ron & Kristin Elinkowski, Kerry & Makell Westenskow, Dave & Angie Rands, Dan & Jewelia Wall, Darrell & Wendy Wamhoff, Rick & Annetta Williams & their sons- Braiden and Nick
We flew out Saturday night and flew all night to Puerto Rico. When we landed in NC, we had a message from Dan saying the plane door wouldn't open and they missed their flight and couldn’t get out of Vegas. They were devastated and so were we. It ended up that they could only get them to PR Sunday night by 10 pm and that would be 2 hours after the ship took off, so it would be too late. So the Airlines ended up getting them a hotel in Vegas and they flew them to Aruba late Sun. night and arrived Monday am. So they missed the first two days of the cruise and met us in Aruba Tues. morning.
The ship looks like a Polly Pocket cruise ship, only gigantic, but the same set up. There are 2 pools in the middle and several hot tubs and another pool and hot tub for adults only. There is always a Caribbean band playing by the pool so it is fun all the time. One morning, we were coming back from the gym on the ship and the band was playing away and Ron just headed right up on stage and starting dancing on the stage with 4 old ladies in bikinis. We were all laughing at Ron, I mean with Ron, and having a good time.
We eat dinner in a huge dining room with four floors. The dining room looks like the dining room on the movie, Titanic, which it was designed after. We have 2 tables, since our group has 16. We are the only ones not drinking alcohol, so to be funny; we all have chocolate milk with our dinner. Our waiter is the same every night and he is very nice and thinks the Utah chocolate milk drinkers are very funny. He tells jokes, when we joke with him. His name is Lorwin and he is from India. So Sun. night, we had our first dinner and we wore casual clothes.
Monday was a sea day as we headed to Aruba. On Monday, we just hung out on the deck, by the pool all day and read and talked and relaxed. It was very warm, but always has a breeze. It is very nice and so relaxing. Then that night was a formal dress dinner, so we all dressed up and it was fun. After dinner each night, we go to a show, like a comedian or a musician or something. Then we go to Jesters, a room on the ship for dancing and they have a DJ and we dance and dance. Guess what? Daddy dances! Are you shocked? I was! Ron likes to dance too. He has lots of moves like the snow shovel, the fishing cast, the lawnmower, etc.
Then we went to bed that night around 1 am and when we woke up our ship was docked at Aruba. We got off and immediately saw the Wall’s. We were so happy to see them that I cried! We went on a jeep safari all over Aruba. It was a jeep like off of Jurassic Park, all open, but no dinosaurs. It is a desert/tropical island, so you see cactus and palm trees in the same picture. It was so beautiful. The jeep ride was awesome. Our group was in two big jeeps and Dave Rands drove one and Bella's dad drove the other jeep and the jeep guy was driving the third jeep in front. We just followed him and he took us all over Aruba and we made 3 or 4 stops. We went down rugged hillsides and everything. One spot was a natural spring next to the ocean, surrounded by rock walls. This is where I went snorkeling for my first time. I was scared, but did okay.
After the jeep ride, some went back to the ship and the rest of us (Elink, Williams & boys, Westenskows, and us) went to lunch in Aruba at a place Makell and Kerry had been before. It was so good. We had giant apple/bacon pancakes, more like a crepe and delicious pizza too. Then we all went to the beach. I got to try snorkeling out in the open sea, and it was a bit too big for me and I was very nervous, but my friends helped me…after they finished laughing at me. I was supposed to be following Makell and Kristin and my face was underwater and I was snorkeling along, but I forgot to kick my flippers, so I was staying in one place. I could hear them laughing and so I came up and they said I looked like a dead man just laying there not moving. So they suggested that I not only remember to breathe in and out, but that I must kick my feet too! That night we got back on and had dinner and went to a show and went dancing again and we always ended up in the library after dancing to talk. The library was a sitting room on our floor by our rooms, it was a great place to meet and talk.
We traveled during the night and when we woke up we were in Curacao. We slept in and got up for a brunch and then went out to Curacao and ran into the Elder missionaries; They were from SLC and Maine- the one from Maine was at BYU before his mission. We ended up asking them if we could take them to lunch, so all 14 of us took them to lunch and bought them anything they wanted to eat. Then we had a tour bus get us and took us on a tour of the whole island and then we went to an awesome beach.
After playing on the beach on Curacao, we got back on the ship and got right in the hot tub. That night we did dinner and dancing again. Thursday was a Sea Day, so we hung out on deck and in the pool. It was very relaxing. That night we went to an ice skating show on the ship. It was very good and amazing that the skaters didn’t fall because the boat was really rocking. That night was another formal dinner so we got all dressed up and went to dinner and danced again.
Today, Friday, we landed in St. Maarten and it was one of the funnest days. We went on an excursion called America's Cup Yacht racing boats....what a thriller. My job was easiest, the timekeeper. I had to watch the flags that told us when to start racing and keep time for 6 minutes, and then the race really begins. It was a riot, we all got soaked, because it was windy...great day for sailing. Then we went to Orient beach and it was the most beautiful turquoise warm water. We played in the water and layed on chairs on the beach. It was a very exciting day at the beach, thanks to “Long John Silver.” We had lunch and drinks and it very relaxing. Then we took a taxi back to the ship and got right in hot tub. We will be in shock when we get home and have to fix dinner again.
Tonight Lobster is on the menu...you have 5 choices every night and Dan Wall orders everything and eats it. Today at 6 pm when we got on the ship, Dan was hungry so he and a few others headed to “Johnny Rockets” and he had a BLT, a hamburger, a chili dog, French fries, onion rings, a shake, a piece of pie and two more desserts. Then at dinner at 8:30, Dad had 4 entrées of lobster, plus several appetizers and desserts. Tomorrow we go to St. Thomas and plan to ferry over to St. John.
Today, Saturday, we shipped into St. Thomas and then our group (with Kristin's advice) immediately took taxis and a water Ferry over to another island called St. John. It was the prettiest beach and most beautiful water I have ever seen. It was a super awesome beach day. It was the perfect weather, warm and nice. Most of us snorkeled and were shocked when we saw a lobster the size of a giant sea turtle! It was pretty cool. It was also Makell’s birthday on Saturday, so we treated her to writing her name in the sand and did an all-girl pyramid just for her. It was like cheerleading all over again…she was so thrilled. We were sad to leave our last beach and finally headed back to the ferry and headed back to St. Thomas. Before we got on the ship, we did some more shopping. We hot tubbed, ate well, went to a farewell show, and danced late again. We had a good last dinner and left Book of Mormons with Lorwin, our waiter, and Edmund, our drink server from the Philippines. I think they will never forget the chocolate milk drinkers!
It was a great cruise and I am so glad we went. It was really good for us to reconnect and get to know each other as a couple again! We played hard, relaxed much, danced wild, laughed too much and just had an absolute blast! Now back to reality and our great family life!