Our trip started on New Year's Eve aboard Amtrak via the "City of New Orleans". Because of flooding of the Mississippi River we ended up being bussed around the track flooding from Southern Illinois to Memphis, TN.
The train was a great way to ease into vacation.
New Orleans was freezing cold! Good thing we dressed for Chicago weather when we left.
We rode the streetcars, visited the French Market, and stayed in the Garden District for a few days.
We were all ready to set sail for the warmer and sunnier Caribbean Islands.
After a couple of days at sea we arrived at our first stop,Island #1-Grand Turk
We spent the day lounging on the beach right at the cruise terminal. Our boat, the Carnival Dream
, looked huge compared to this Princess Cruise Boat on it's journey around the world.
We spent the next day at sea before arriving at Island #2-Aruba
. We spent the day on beautiful powdery white sand beaches and visiting a bar with great views of those beaches.
The next day we were on to our third island-Bonaire.
We rented a car and headed to go kayaking
in these beautiful clear waters.
And through the protected Mangroves.
We stopped at a local distillery
and bought some delicious cactus liquor before heading back on board.
During our next sea day I went to the ship salon and shortened my hair by about 10".
Our next stop(Island #4
. We decided to rent scooters for the day. It was fun but terrifying as we had to get used to riding on the "wrong"/left side of the road.
We visited Caribelle Batik.
And drank some local rum while sitting in the rain forest.
We rode to a spot where we could view the Atlantic Ocean on one side and Caribbean Sea on the other.
The next day we rented a car in Antigua(Island #5)
. Not only was I driving on the left side of the road but the driver's side was on the right side of the car. We headed to the north east side of the island to Devil's Bridge, a natural limestone bridge crossing the waters of both the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea.
Beaches were beautiful here.
We were unable to dock at our last island, St Marten due to large ocean swells so we had one more beautiful day at sea.
Over the days on the ship there were delicious mojitos.
Mini Golf with the family on the top deck.
Formal dinners with my Mom and Dad.
Ping Pong at Midnight.
Cribbage games, coffee drinking and knitting on Lido deck.
Lots of relaxing and goofing around as a family.
And one of my favorite things, watching the sun sink into the sea.
It was hard to get on the plane in Puerto Rico knowing we were heading back to temps that were 80 degrees colder.
I am so very thankful to have made some beautiful memories with my family.