Cruising 2014 | Day 4

May 28, 2014 | Falmouth, Jamaica

words-0320Day 4 was a gloriously victorious day for me because Day 4 was the day I wore my 9th and final pair of shoes that I packed – thus justifying the need to bring 9 pairs of shoes on a 7-day vacation.

As you can imagine, I received some skepticism in the need to bring 9 pair of shoes, but I’m here to tell you that I wish I’d brought 10! In fact, before I even get into the details of our Jamaica Day, let me go ahead and share the purpose and function of each of these pairs of shoes in a short little rant entitled, “Nine is not enough.”

People will tell you to bring 3-4 pairs of shoes: dress shoes for the formal nights, sandals or flipflops for moving about the ship, walking shoes for the some excursions or the gym, and maybe water shoes to protect your feet while swimming/snorkeling. And yes, in some cases, I can imagine that certainly being sufficient.

If you really want to make sure all of your bases are covered though, I recommend bringing 10:

  • Casual comfy clothes toed shoes (cuter than tennis shoes, but still comfortable. I wore these around port in Jamaica and one other time maybe…but I was glad I had them!)
  • Tennis shoes (necessary for jogging/walking around the track or if you want to go to the gym or climb the rockwall)
  • Practical daily wear flip flops in a fun pattern (my zebra stripped flip flops – these were my primary pool shoes)
  • Practical daily wear flip flops in a coordinating color (my red flip flops – wore several days around the ship)
  • Practical daily wear flip flops in a neutral color (this is the 10th pair that I didn’t bring and wish that I did. Black, white, tan, something neutral)
  • Water shoes (I never would have made it into the ocean at Labadee without these to protect my feet from the rocks)
  • Stylish daytime sandals (I wore these to casual dinners)
  • Stylish, frivolous sandals that make you feel like you’re on vacation (check out those black and white cloth ones – perfection. I almost didn’t buy them, but I’m so glad I did. I wore these to dinner and to shows a night)
  • White dress shoes (I could have just worn black – but this one coordinated with one of my outfits so much better)
  • Black dress shoes (these sparkly black sandals are the best. I don’t do heels anymore.)

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Yep, there’s Velveeta saying, “Mom why are all of these shoes in front of my favorite napping spot?!” I’m moving them now. It was just for a picture, pookie.

So now, that that’s out of the way…

This morning we woke up, sang the GREAT BIG BEAUTIFUL TOMORROW song. At this point, I realized I was definitely having internet withdrawls because I dreamt about sending work emails and reading blogs! I laughed about that (and said a silent thank you for some much needed un-plugged time). And then we put on gym clothes! We had breakfast at the windjammer. I had fruit and some brown rice and veggies and a slice of French toast. Bret had a big ole pile of eggs and breakfast meat goodness.

THEN we went to the gym! It was packed so we headed up to the track instead. We ran for about ¼ mile haha and walked for a little over a 1 mile. There were people who were running successfully, but it was crowded and we wanted to stay together and it was just more pleasant for us to walk. It wasn’t our usual 3 miles, but it was something.

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I felt great! …but thirsty. We went back to the Windjammer for a glass of water and a glass of mango water. That’s one of my favorite things about the ship, too. You can choose to purchase a beverage package (soda or beer/wine, mixed drinks, etc.) Or you can stick to water/tea/lemonade for free and then pay per drink if you want a specialty drink. We did not buy a package because we mainly drink water. In addition to water, though, you get unlimited coffee, orange juice, tea, lemonade, and some specialty choice each day. This day was mango water, and it was delish!

We came back to our room, and watched Casey the Cruise Director’s morning show which was hilarious, and then got dressed to visit Jamaica!

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Here’s the thing about Falmouth. It’s a new port in an area that is very historical but also very oppressed. If we had planned an excursion to Dunns River Falls or one of the other awesome tours they offered, I’m sure we would have loved it, but we made a decision early on to save our money and only go on two excursions (our favorite of which is coming up in the Day 5 post!). Instead of doing an excursion, we decided to walk around the port, do some shopping, maybe buy a Bob Marley t-shirt, maybe lounge on the beach if there was beach access (there wasn’t), and have lunch at Margaritaville. Yes, the port has a Margaritaville WITH A SWIMMING POOL.

Well, walking around the port was really underwhelming and pretty sad. We weren’t expecting much, but the disparity between Americanized chain retail Jamaica compared to under-resourced Jamaica right across the way… it was too much. We walked around in shops that were all identical and I’m sure equally exploitative. At 11:00AM, we decided to have lunch at Maragaritaville which, based on reviews, I’d expected to be the highlight of this port.

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It wasn’t.

I’d heard decent reviews, but as soon as we made our way inside, I had my doubts. The hostess tried to get us to sit out in the sun even though we asked to sit “inside” in the shade with the fans. It was all open-air and there was no air-conditioning which was fine, but between sitting at an outdoor table with a thin umbrella or sitting by the bar under a roof, we picked the roof.

When we were seated, our server shook our hands and patted my arms. She was super nice and friendly which was wonderful, but honestly, after we had been instructed to wash our hands before every meal, shaking hands with someone who was shaking hands with all the other customers and handling menus that lots of other people had touched, well, it made me reconsider ordering a sandwich or anything I’d eat with my hands. It probably would have been fine, but I didn’t want to risk getting sick on the ship.

Instead of ordering lunch, we just got drinks. Our server convinced us it was worth it to get the souvenir glasses. Since we didn’t have any other souvenir from Jamaica, I decided this was a good idea. How much would you pay for two drinks in souvenir glasses? $33.00 + $5.00 tax? Good, because that’s what it cost. I couldn’t believe it. PLUS this random dude who I thought was a cruise ship photographer took our picture and then said we should buy it for $10. We agreed to get the picture when he threw in a “free Bob Marley CD”. Bret handed him a $20 and he ran away without giving us change! At least we have this:

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So that was our experience in Jamaica. Two drinks and $60 later, we couldn’t get back on the ship fast enough!

Back on the ship, we were so happy to be “home.” We went to the Windjammer for lunch (I was so hungry since we didn’t have food at Magaritaville!) and then we sat by the pool and ate some frozen yogurt. Then, we relaxed in the room. Bret slept and I read on our perfect balcony. I think it’s so easy to know that you’re on vacation but to take this “go go go” mindset because there are SO MANY THINGS to do and explore. It’s really important to just enjoy some downtime, too. We feel so fortunate to have had a balcony right off of our room – we wanted to make sure we were taking the time to enjoy that little luxury.

After resting up for a bit, we played putt putt! We didn’t have the camera with us, but we snapped this picture of most of the course later:

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One thing I did not expect our cruise ship to have  on board was a 24/7 puttputt course. If you can play putt putt on a ship, you should.

After that, we moseyed around the ship some more. We checked our photos (the people on the ship are ALWAYS taking pictures of you and it’s fun to check them out). We ventured up to the top floor walked up to the front of the ship. It’s such a cool feeling to be soaring forward through the ocean on such a massive vessel.

I wanted to go to “tea time” which was advertised to be at the Windjammer Cafe at 3, but there was no hot tea to be had (if it was there, I couldn’t find it). I was kind of disappointed about this, but later we went to the Cafe Promenade, or, as I liked to call it, the “pastry station” for hot tea (me) hot chocolate (Bret) and coconut cookies. The coconut cookies are one of our favorite cruise staples so far! And the “pastry station” better known to most as the Cafe Promenade was arguably my favorite place on the ship. Unlimited pastries, coffee, and desserts. Open 24/7!

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We went to our usual 5:30 dinner time. Tonight’s dinner theme was “Tropical Casual” and we had Italian style food. I had the eggplant parm and caprese salad. During dinner we departed from Jamaica and the executive staff did a tour around the dining room and we clapped for them. We went up to watch us pull away from the port, and a nice guy snapped this picture of us:

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My highlight of the day came about two hours later when we went to the Love and Marriage Game show!

Our hilarious cruise director was the host. They picked three couples from the audience: a honeymoon couple, a couple who had been married over 20 years, and a couple who had been married for 55 years! There was someone in the audience who had been married longer, but they didn’t want to be on the show because they’d done it before. It was so funny! It was just like the Newlywed show in terms of format.

We came back to our room to this delightful little towel creature which made me SO EXCITED for the stringray excursion we had planned for our next day in Grand Cayman…

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Check out Bret’s Day 4 recap here.

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