Cruising 2014 | Day 3

Day 3 was our first port day! We visited Royal Caribbean’s private island, Labadee, Haiti.

This morning, we woke up around 6:50 and I was SO EXCITED. The sun was already up and sparkling over the water again. Such a pretty sight to wake up to! We decided to have breakfast at the Windjammer buffet, and I got a big pile of fruit and a piece of toast with apple jelly. Bret ate lots of eggs and stuff.

After breakfast, we climbed the stairs up to Deck 12 to watch the ship pull us into port in Haiti. It was so beautiful.

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Bret and I both thought the island reminded us of LOST (which was filmed in Hawaii).

As we got closer, the boat started to turn around to back up into the port. Most people headed to the left, but Bret was clever and directed us to the right because on both sides the track makes you move through in a singe file line. Even though our path was a little longer, we made it to the back of the ship first and got to watch us pull into the beautiful misty mountain landscape.

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We decided to head inside before we docked because we’ve read warnings of malaria carrying mosquitoes being present several hours after sunrise, and we didn’t have our bug spray on yet.

Back in the room, we changed into swim suits and cover-ups, packed up our backpack with water shoes and sunscreen and bug spray, and headed down to level 1 to depart. Disembarkation (is that what you call it?) was totally simple and fast. As we walked across the pier toward the island, we got our first real glimpse of the ship. What a gorgeous sight! The weather was perfect and the mountain-scape behind it was just gorgeous gorgeous breathtaking.

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It was so HOT though – even at 9AM. We bought a giant bottle of water before we even left the pier. Of course, the only water they were selling was a $4 Evian bottle… but it was worth it!

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We walked around and looked at a map to find a the tram station. After reading cruise review boards, I knew we wanted to take the tram to the beach on the other side. Bret was skeptical, but agreed.

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Also, I really just wanted to ride the tram. Bret never wants to ride the tram at Disney because he thinks we can walk faster than the it takes to ride the tram from the parking lot which is true but then you don’t get to hear the zip-a-dee-doo-dah song.

Anyway. So we took the tram over to the second beach, and then a man brought us a couple of chairs which were super comfy and relaxing. He offered a blue shade tent, too, and we said no thank you, although, I later realized they were free.

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You can kind of see the tents behind Bret’s head here.

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Luxurious white canopy cabanas run for $500/day; blue tents are free!

After being comfy in the chairs for a few minutes, my swim boy was anxious to get in the water. We waded in and I could not believe how rocky it was by the shore. Fortunately, we had our water shoes in the bag, so I put mine on and then I felt super safe. Bret didn’t want to wear his shoes because he wanted to swim. Yep, he brought his swimming goggles!

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The water was malibu blue crystal clear and I’d read it’s a good place for snorkeling. I considered swimming out with him, but I decided I was happier hanging onto the flipcam and enjoying the waist-deep water instead.

Bret swam for a bit and came back and said he saw a “Dorie fish” (from Finding Nemo) and a bunch of other tropical fish. He told me he was glad he’s been swimming because he wouldn’t have been able to reach the bottom, and even if he did, he said the bottom was completely covered in long sea grass. This mental image was very haunting to me for some reason and then I decided that I absolutely would not be swimming over my head.

We took a few pictures together and then Bret wanted to swim out into the even DEEPER part of the water and explore. I was very content sitting by the water on one of our comfy chairs. I watched him swim away.

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And that’s the last I saw of him.

Just kidding!

But at one point, I thought I was watching “Bret” swim, but the “Bret” I was watching starting splashing a five-year-old kid on a raft, and I knew he wouldn’t do that, and then I realized that wasn’t him. I scanned the horizon, but I’d lost sight of him. Ten minutes passed, and I worried a little. I’d get a glimpse of someone and then realize it wasn’t him and I just started to wonder…what if his feet got tangled in that awful haunting long sea grass?!

I tried not to worry, but after a half hour, I stood up and walked toward the water, and then I saw him walking toward me. So relived! He had swam back to the shallow end and he was walking along the beach, but he couldn’t tell which chairs were ours since so many tents had popped up during his swim. He recognized my teal bathing suit and my hat and I was SO HAPPY to see him.

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Oh, and we watched some awesome zip liners! Check out Bret’s Day 3 recap for the video.

We sat by the water for a few more minutes to dry off, and then we gathered our stuff and walked over to the bar. I ordered a screwdriver and Bret ordered a corona.

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We moved over to a little seating area and talked with a couple from New Jersey and then  walked around through some of the shops. Bret really wanted a wooden flute(?) and sure enough we spotted a guy playing a wooden flute within minutes. I told him to act “not that interested” so he could barter the price down. As soon as we got close, all of the shop owners tried to talk to us and get us to buy things right away. One of them put a bracelet on my hand and told me to touch anything I liked and he would give me a good price. I kept saying, “no” and, “no thank you” and finally managed to pull the bracelet off as politely as possible. I squeezed over to Bret who was looking at the flute. The guys said it was $10 and Bret said he only had $5 and he said we could have the flute for $5. Then Bret looked at me because I had $5 and he actually had $10 haha. The guy offered to carve Bret’s name on the flute, but Bret said no thanks.

For the buffet, the cruise ship actually carts food off of the ship, prepares it on site, and then distributes it to three different buffet locations. If you like barbecue, this is a great option. If you don’t eat meat, there is some yummy salad and potato salad. Bret got all the BBQ stuff, and he also grabbed some desserts for me. We ate lunch and almost went over to watch a local show but we realized they wanted us to tip and we didn’t have any small bills with us and I felt horrible because I did want to tip them, but we ended up leaving.

We decided we were done swimming so came back to the ship to drop off the stuff we didn’t need (i.e. the flute, our beach towels, goggles, swim shoes) and we picked up the good camera. We took a bunch of pictures. Bret used the fancy cam and I used the flip cam. I felt like a child taking pretend pictures, but I love that little camera.

We sat by the beach again and saw some people training for the awesome zip line that went down the beach. I told them, “Good luck!” And they laughed.

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Ah, the life.

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We walked around and took a few more pictures and then decided to come back on board for good. As soon as we were back on the ship, we both agreed that we felt like we were, “home”. This is a reoccurring theme of our cruise week!

We left our swimsuits on and went up to the pool deck/Windjammer because we wanted cookies. We were still taking the stairs everywhere so with each floor we climbed Bret would say, “three more floors until cookies!” “two more floors until cookies!” “one more floor for cookies!”

We did get some delicious coconut cookies, but we decided to grab an ice cream cone from the pool deck first.

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When we sat down to eat them, we sat in lounge chairs in the cooler shaded area next to this sweet woman in her 70s or 80s. She told us that she’d been trying to use her tablet to take pictures of the island all day, but she couldn’t get it to work. Bret helped her figure out how to take pictures and she was so incredibly grateful. She said, “It’s not that hard is it? It’s just that no one ever told me how to do it.” I loved how Bret was so patient and took the time to make sure she really understood how to take, view, and save pictures. He even set up a short cut so she could access the camera easier!

Then, Bret took a nap, and I talked to this lady for, like, an hour. Her husband doesn’t travel anymore, but that doesn’t stop her! Instead, she travels with her friend. Her friend loves to “bake” in the sun, though, and this lady was a skin cancer survivor.  She pointed out her friend, an 80-year-old woman sunbathing, and she just shook her head and said, “There she goes – now she’s baking the other side.” I agreed that that wasn’t healthy. I talked to her for a little while longer and then Bret woke up and we decided to finally get those cookies and also another round of lunch since I only ate fruit for breakfast and salad for lunch.

We came back to the room I went ahead and took a shower in preparation for dinner. The ship took off a few minutes earlier than planned and the captain made an announcement thanking everyone for being fast and he said that it will get less windy shortly… hopefully that means less wobbly, too, when we aren’t going into the waves.

Dinner was “smart casual” and I wore my fun white dotted dress that I love.

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The dinner theme was “shitake” and I had chilled mango and pineapple soup (in the same bowl as last night – good thing I didn’t knock it over this time!) For my entree, I had the.best. shrimp dumplings ever ever with bok choy. And then we shared two delicious chocolate desserts. Dinner was really yummy and, fortunately, I didn’t feel seasick this time.

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Each night, there is an evening show at 7PM for second seating guests (8PM dinner) and then again at 9PM for main seating guests (5:30 Dinner). We met someone who suggested trying to go to the 7PM showing right after the 5:30 dinner. They said they will let you in if there are still seats even though we’re technically supposed to go to the 9:00 one. We missed the Broadway show from the night before, so since we were finished with dinner at 6:30, we decided go go ahead and grab seats for the magic show.

The Magic Show “Now You See It” features Drew Thomas from America’s Got Talent. We’re supposed to check his facebook page later because he took a video of the audience (May 27, 7PM), but I couldn’t find anything.

Bret goes into more detail about this, but the show was not great. They had a bunch of technical difficulties and the magician basically performed the same magic trick over and over. It was super loud and flashy (to distract you from the actual magical secrets) and I just hated the way women were represented the whole time as half-dressed objects to be cut in half, disappeared, and saved. The magician also told a story about this kid at a children’s hospital who was sick and wanted nothing more than to see snow …and then he used the “magic” of a fake snow machine to blow snow into the audience. It was sweet, I guess, but I felt like he was using a made up story to pull on our heart strings only to tell us that he never got to perform the snow trick for the kid, but he would do it for us now. And literally, it was a snow machine.

Anyway. I’m glad we saw the show only because for the last “trick” our cruise director appeared behind a curtain in a bathrobe and shower cap. He’s funny.

We came back to the room so I could grab a cardigan and then we went down to Windjammer to get some more food…(?) You’re probably thinking there’s no way you could eat anything more, but next we headed over to the Promonade. I wanted to go to Vintages for their dessert and port wine flights.

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There was no one else in the whole bar! We talked to the bar tender and shared a dessert wine flight… and he went next door and brought us 3 brownies to share! I would have been so delighted if I wasn’t so full. The dessert wine flight was great, though, because Bret found a chilled sparkling sweet red wine that he likes.

We walked around for a bit after that, but we were both sleepy and happy with our full day, so we headed back to our room. I was feeling good, not seasick, and so in love with cruise life by this point.

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