This past week Josh and I got back from a Royal Caribbean cruise to Mexico that we planned back last November, obviously before we knew we were pregnant. It turned out to be perfect timing as it fell right into my second trimester where I wasn't as sick as I had been and not enormous enough that I wasn't super uncomfortable, even though the hot Mexican sun has me dreading the summer months coming. Basically I won't be leaving my house or any air conditioned space.
We have cruised with Royal Caribbean before and enjoy it because it seems more tastefully done (perhaps if you've been on other cruises you know kind of what I mean), and that it's pretty cost-friendly! We booked this trip during the Black Friday sales and got our second ticket 50% off with 30% off our excursions. We saved even more money by driving down to Galveston instead of flying somewhere because with Josh's Prius, it maybe cost us $50-$60ish on gas for the whole drive. Maybe we're just getting more responsible with how we are planning our vacations, but I felt a lot less financial pressure with this trip then I ever have. I had the trip paid off months ago and then was able to save up spending money to where I didn't feel like we were going to come back and scrounge for a little while. We even came back with extra cash! Anyways, I've said it a million times, but I just highly recommend cruises, you get so much for your money and you don't have to plan or worry about much after the initial booking!
To split up the drive on our way down there we stopped in Waco to visit our friends, the Gaines's new business ventures. Our last trip there they had not yet opened the bakery, so we visited both the bakery and their new restaurant.
We got to the restaurant pretty early for breakfast (6:30am) and had no wait at all. It was busy, but not crowded. Maybe I'm just one of the millions, but I just find it so fun to be able to see the things they thought up and created for me to see on television, first hand. Anyone that really follows their dreams is so inspiring to me.
Do you see that window box!!?? South Texas and it's green and lush plant life, compared to my backyard that looks like a desert. I love Oklahoma and where I live, but the dryness is so depressing sometimes. I have wild dreams of becoming a wonderful gardener (which actually most of my family is in spite of the dry weather), but so far I have a lot of luck killing things. Keep inspiring me, Joanna!
We got on our ship, Vision of the Seas the next day and spent the following day at sea, watching people be in silly contests, listening to live music, and pretending we were fancy people for the Captain's Dinner. I never got a good picture of us like I have on our past cruises, and our "professionally" taken photo of us was horrible, but that night is always one of my favorite parts of cruising. How many times in our lives do we really get to dress up nowadays?
Our first port of call was Progresso/Yucatan. Progresso is a city, that really doesn't have much, but it is close to many mayan ruin sites which is the main draw to stop there.
We took this tour that loaded us up on the most comfortable bus I've ever ridden on and took us to visit the Mayan Salt Mines.
Here the Mayans still practice harvesting salt by creating this water bed that is filled when it rains. Salt is drawn up from the ground, making the water that pink color, and then collects on these wooden rods that they harvest the salt from.
Next we rode to the Mayan Ruins called Xcampo (pronounced like ex-sh-campo). I have been to Chichen Itza before and though it was really neat, it was very crowded, filled with people trying to get you to buy things, and you couldn't touch hardly anything. At these ruins there was a tour leaving when we got there and we were the only ones there besides a single man selling ice cream, which was welcomed by many people on my tour.
Here you are allowed to climb on any of the ruins, which you are not allowed to do at Chichen Itza, and if this preggo girl could do it in a dress, anyone can!
It is definitely a smaller area, but there are many neat things to see. Our guides were very informative about what each building was. The one Josh is standing at in the photo above is where the mayans practiced their sacrifices, which unlike most belief, was mostly animals. Apparently they only sacrificed humans for something really important, like wars and such.
Next we were taken to a small town to see an old, large church that was shown to us to represent the Spanish influence on the Mayans from their worship of many Gods to Catholicism.
There, some locals showed us a traditional Mexican dance in their traditional garb.
This tour ended with us eating a very yummy lunch and spending some time at a beautiful white beach. We weren't there long enough for me to be interested in me swimming and getting sand in every crevice of my body, but it was a very nice end to an interesting tour.
Our following day was in Cozumel. We started our morning with an excursion in a submarine! Again, I love seeing the tropical fish and the beauty of the ocean, but I am just not much for the actual "swimming" in the ocean unless I'm close to a place I can take a legitimate shower in and a change of clothes afterwards. So we opted to stay completely dry while visiting the sea-life instead of the ever popular snorkeling.
The Atlantis Submarine Tour took us down to part of the world's second largest coral reef (the first being the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, mate).
The space is a little tight, but not claustrophobic. The submarine part of the tour lasted roughly an hour actually in the water and you were too preoccupied with the sites to really notice the amount of room you had.
The submarine takes you down to 100-ish feet below the surface and at each seat you have your own window to look out of as well as a little guide to tell you what each fish is that you may see.
Unfortunately all of my pictures I took ended up looking like a lot of blue blurs, but we saw many schools of colorful fish, a few big grouper fish, many sting rays, some eels, and a sunken ship! Again, our guides were great, the submarine was air-conditioned, and we felt that it was money well spent!
We finished our last day of the cruise on the open ocean being lazy. I finished reading a book and ate more food.
Honestly, as much as I love cruising, I will say I have never been on one, and I've been on 4 different cruise lines, that I thought the food was great. I think it's just the result of mass food production. Which is both a good and bad thing. Good because I never really over-eat (which is what you're supposed to do on vacation) and bad because...that's what you're supposed to do on vacation. I think it didn't help that even though my stomach is much better, it's still much more sensitive then my previous non-pregnant stomach. Either way, it's not the worst thing in the world. There are still yummy, local places to eat on shore and this time we tried one of the specialty restaurants (which you have to pay extra for) on the ship, which was actually really good compared to the rest of the ship's food. We had never done that before, but I'd say it was worth it!
That about sums up our little babymoon! For the last couple of months I have had many trips to look forward to, and now the only big thing ahead of me is this baby's arrival, which is 90% overwhelmingly exciting and 10% daunting. Okay maybe more than 10%, but I just can't wait for this little ones arrival, to meet her, to spoil her, to clean up her bodily fluids, and to just be a mommy, and neither can Josh (to be a dad that is). I'm pretty sure she was all we could really think about on this trip anyways, but it was a fun last hoorah as just the two of us! What an even greater adventure we have ahead!