I am so glad you're here! This is my little corner where I get to share some of my most favorite images from engagements, weddings, births, my travels and my own little family from time to time. Hang out, look around, and please reach out to say hello!
It’s been really tough the last few years as we’ve walked through the summer and seen everyone’s summer beach vacation photos pop up on social media. But the reminder of how our vacation was coming up in just a few short months and knowing that we’d be getting away when most people would be at work really helped those summer months go by! In 2011, I made a paper chain out of our wedding colors to help count down the days to the wedding. Each night before Ben would go home, we’d tear off another ring and be that much closer to him not having to say goodbye as he said goodnight. So, this year I decided to do something similar… I took one of the chalkboards from our wedding, hung it in the hallway, and updated it every day with the number of days until we would be cruising! It’s not that we wanted to speed up time and miss out on life before vacation, but it’s just nice to have a reminder that a break (and a solid week of hanging out together) wasn’t so far off.
We’d been talking about cruises since we were engaged… we couldn’t find the right one for our honeymoon, but we knew we’d have plenty of time to go after we got married. And after much research and looking and number crunching and everything else, we landed on Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas leaving out of Port Canaveral. We had some Delta vouchers to use so we flew down to Orlando on Saturday, rented a car, had dinner in Downtown Disney, then drove to Port Canaveral on Sunday! The car rental place even had shuttles to take us to the port. It was fabulous.
Raglan Road Irish Pub and Restaurant had plenty of things going on… including Irish dancers and players!
And then we made a quick stop at the Lego store :-)
Sunday morning arrived and we were off to the port!!
The ship was huge. I think there were 14 decks, room enough to sleep about 4,000 people, as well as over 1,000 staff and crew members.
I’d asked for our room to be decorated since we were celebrating our anniversary… but let me just say that I was NOT expecting cupid to be joining us!
They also delivered cupcakes to us that day along with a few other treats during the week… including breakfast in bed one morning!
The dining room spans 3 decks on one end of the ship and can seat 2,000 people at once.
It was a tad windy out on deck (before and after our safety drill). But we wanted a good spot for when we departed!
The first formal night… and yes, he DOES look good in a suit and tie (even when being goofy).
We had 2 days at sea and just enjoyed being on the ship and on vacation!
Ben took a stab at the Flowrider our second day at sea… I didn’t get my own courage up until later in the week.
The ships now have specialty restaurants where you can make reservations and everything… so we opted for the Italian place called Portofino’s.
Wish I could have gotten a picture of this seafood on its skewer… it was on some contraption that was allowing it to stand straight up! It was super delicious.
And oh my heavens… this dessert. I had the chocolate amazingness on the left (that I took back to our room because it was SO rich and I couldn’t finish it)
and Ben had the tiramisu on the right.
Oh and the shows each night?? Amazing.
These two brothers played the piano and the xylophone.
The xylophone, people…. it was incredible!
This was Day 4 before we got off the boat at St. Thomas. Part of me wishes we had kids with us so I would have had an excuse to play in the H2O Zone!
Instead of staying on St. Thomas, we took a ferry over to St. John for the day.
It was simply beautiful… and quaint!
Our taxi driver stopped just before he took us around the bend so we could get an overhead view of the beach we were visiting… Trunk Bay.
We were actually planning on snorkeling here, but the lady renting the equipment said the water was a bit rough and visibility wasn’t great.
So we just played in the water for a few hours (and went back to the ship with more sand than we want to talk about…).
100 bonus points to anyone who can guess why I thought this sign was funny…
We debated which ship to get onto back at the port, but decided it was worth it to stay with the one we arrived on :-)
View of St. Thomas from the ship.
This was just after dinner and since the ship was still in port and not moving much, I was able to rest the camera on the side rails (while still holding on tightly to it!) with a slow shutter speed to capture all of the lights. It was stunning.
The day after our anniversary, our waiter and head waiter brought us a cake and sang the “Happy Anniversary” song to us!
An illusionist that was on America’s Got Talent performed one night (can NOT remember his name… so if you recognize him, please tell me!).
Oh my heavens… if you ever go on a cruise, you MUST go to the Marriage Game Show night. It’s always SO FUNNY!
John and Irene (the older couple on the far right) had been married for almost 60 years. They were so precious and SO funny!
Day 5 was in St Maarten! Half the island is Dutch owned and the other half is French owned. It was pretty spectacular.
We did an ATV excursion… and let’s just say it was interesting and we probably won’t be using that same company again!
Orient Beach was gorgeous…
Ha! This man makes me laugh SO much!
We later learned that the yacht below us (and the helicopter) was owned by a Russian who owned a vodka company. Clearly he’s doing well with business!
I love the panoramic feature on my phone… to be able to get half the island and half the ship in one shot with no photoshop is amazing!
The sunset was stunning…
Please note that the helicopter is now gone… not because it took off but because they lowered it into the boat!!!
After St. Maarten, we had 2 days at sea before getting back to Port Canaveral, so we did all that we could on board on Day 6 so that Day 7 we could just relax!
And yes, they had an ice skating rink on board. Crazy!
I promise I went ice skating and rock climbing too, but those pictures are on Ben’s phone :-)
And then I got brave enough to try the Flowrider out… and I was actually doing ok!
Until I tried to get on my knees and ended up swallowing half the water.
So, this is hilarious… the second formal night we dressed up as usual. But what I haven’t told you yet was that half of our cruise ship was occupied by a group of Harley Davidson bikers!! We had no idea what the week had in store for all of us, but they were all SO nice. They actually do this cruise every year and spend much of the week raising money for Kidney Disease. Not only that, but they use some of the money to bring kidney/dialysis patients (and the dialysis machines) on the cruise! These are people who don’t get to travel because of the expense, but this group of bikers make it happen.
But on the second formal night, they all dressed up as pirates!! It was amazing some of the outfits they had! I should have gotten more pictures….
By the way… if you ever end up on a cruise and Richard Spacey is the cruise director, don’t worry. You’re going to have an even MORE amazing time! The guy is hysterical!
(He did his evolution of dance – aka all the dance moves he’s seen people do on cruise ships – before the show one night)
And this show? The cast went through several fairy tales while using modern music! It was so funny and SO good!
Our last day at sea, I decided to get up for the sunrise over the water and get pictures. It was so overcast and I was a bit disappointed, but God is still amazing no matter what…
and the morning out on deck with hardly anyone else up and awake was worth it.
Our last night consisted of a Dreamworks Parade, one last supper (where we had lamb, ha!) and one last show.
We were wiped out, rested, and still making each other laugh at the end of the week :-)
Ben…. thank you again for these last 2 years. They only make me that much more excited about this coming year and the next 50 or so that we’ll get to spend together! I love you!