I don’t know why I’ve put this one off for so long.  I think I’ve written so many cruise recaps that I was trying to figure out how to make this one more interesting, but I think you’ll just have to indulge me on this travel log.

Saturday, we flew to Florida, and entertained ourselves in extremely rainy weather by eating at the Sweet Tomatoes salad buffet after a soggy three quarter mile walk, playing cards, and having taco bell for dinner because, lazy (it was right next to the hotel).

Sunday morning, we planned to run, but it was still so rainy we went back to sleep instead.  I did get in a swim in the hotel pool even though it looked like this.

Between the rain and the humidity, my hair looked like I stuck my hand in a light socket the whole time.  *shrug*.  The good news is that from hotel to shuttle to port, we were on the ship and eating lunch in about an hour which is just friggin’ amazing, especially considering the size of the humongous Allure of the Seas.

Then, we checked out the gym, which was actually FABULOUS, and we spent more time there over the cruise than we expected.  I knocked out a nice progression 5k run (shorter than I had wanted but I didn’t feel like an hour on the treadmill) and then about 45 minutes of weights.  They had a great set of kettlebells which I made copious use of during the week.

Then, we did the normal boat drills, unpacking, cards with the fam, and then dinner.  Our waiters John and Simon were some of the best and most fun we’ve ever had, and we looked forward to dinner every day.  While it’s been too long for me to list out everything I ate, or even the highlights, really (if I didn’t take a picture of it), but we thought the food on this ship was a little better, even if the dishes were mostly the same, than our normal ship out of Galveston.

Normally, we go explore the ship and stay up and play a bit, but not this evening.  Instead of two sea days, this itinerary started bright and early in Nassau for diving the next day, so we went to bed pretty much right after supper and prepping our gear.

Monday was an early alarm (6:30 which was 5:30 back home).  I groggily did the wake up things while my husband was up and peppy and got us a plate of breakfast to split.

The giant tropical storm really mucked with our weather all week.  Don’t let some of these photographs lie – I edited the heck out of things so it looks all sunny and gorgeous, and while there were some moments of sun, it rained every day – at least a little, some days a LOT.

Nassau diving with Stuart’s Cove was something I remembered fondly from a previous trip, it actually made us choose this cruise.  However, this specific day, the conditions were crappy, we dove with a bunch of newbies, and the divemaster seemed to be over it – he went very quickly.  He said “follow ME not the fish” to which I muttered “yeah, we’re going to have problems” because I will always (in conditions I feel safe in) follow the fish.

It was not a complete bust.  I got some nice photos.

Quite a few gorgeous grouper.

Usually these crabs like to hide, but this one posed for me right on top of the reef.

However, overall, I felt kind of rushed and the visibility was just not great.  All dives can’t be Bonaire dives, I guess!

After dropping our gear and grabbing a very quick snack on board, we consoled ourselves with some Nassau beers at a bar in an alley.  Please pity us.

We dressed up for fancy dinner.  I had some super yummy cilantro crusted cod, but my husband ended up with some prime rib that he said was one of the best he’s ever had.

This is as dressed up as my parents get.  Aren’t they adorable though?

We had a few more drinks after dinner, perhaps tried out the late night pizza place like I totally said I was not going to do, and tucked ourselves into bed just after midnight.

Tuesday was an At Sea day which meant sleeping in and then really getting to explore the ship.

We hit the gym again and then tried out the “healthy” lunch area (which, I’ll give them credit, had some good choices like baked fish and brown rice and all sorts of veggies and fruit), and then went mini golfing with the family.  We lost terribly to my parents, which is not a-typical when competing against them at games. 🙂

The giant theater was gorgeous and we enjoyed a full production of Mama Mia before dinner.

I found some chairs to be really small in while we waited for dinner.

Hot. harissa. chicken.  With yogurt sauce.  Then bed.  Because more diving in the AM.

Wednesday, we docked in Cozumel and were excited for a second diving day, because #divingdaysarethebestdays

Our dive shop was right at the docks which was convenient, and our divemaster was AWESOME.  He saw I had a pretty sweet camera set up and pointed me in the direction of a lot of cool (small) stuff to photograph.

Seahorse!  Finally, Zliten doesn’t have to resent me for seeing them in Bonaire when he was sick and couldn’t dive.  I wish my lights wouldn’t have been acting up at that point, but this is an improvement over the last seahorse picture (actually not appearing in that post because it was so poor).

Red lipped blenny!  He kept poking his head out and taunting us with his adorably grumpy little face.

All the lobster.  With the new camera, it really picks up some great detail on subjects that are curious and friendly and pose for me.

This lionfish decided to pose with a gorgeous red coral background.  This is one of my favorite pictures of the bunch.

Clingy crab.

I’ve never seen such a big hermit crab in a his shell.  I love his little eye stalks.

And… a gorgeous eel.  This was with my macro.  Crazy.  For such crappy conditions, we actually had a pretty amazing diving day!

For the rest of my day in Cozumel, the ocean being unkind in Roatan, and a really rare find in Costa Maya in about a foot of water, check out Part 2.

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