And you can read about all of the wedding planning here!
All caught up? Great, we're ready to continue on with Day 11 of our awesome honeymoon cruise:
MAY 12, 2011 - DEBARKATION DAY / GOING HOME!
We woke up and it was still dark out. Tim went out on the balcony and let me know that we had already docked in Miami. It was over. My fantasy wedding and honeymoon had come to an end.
We showered and dressed, and packed our carry on bags. Brian called while I was in the shower, and Tim said he and Norma sent wishes to us for safe traveling home. What a nice couple they were! We were glad to have met them. Tim and Brian promised each other we would all keep in touch after the cruise.
We double checked all of the cabinets and closets. We heard Noonan calling debarkation numbers over the speaker. By the time we were ready, Noonan had just called numbers 10-15.
We thought we would have seen Amung by then, we poked our heads out the door, but there was no sign of him. We wanted to say goodbye. We waited for a few minutes and decided to head up to the lido deck and see if there was any breakfast being served at the buffet. We thought we might have one last chance to see Achmed serving breakfast.
We took a last look around our cozy little cabin, and we went out in the hallway for the last time. We walked slowly down the hallway, hoping to run into Amung as we were leaving. No Amung, and we walked our last walk to the Lido deck from our cabin, a route that we had both traveled many times in the last 10 days.
Up on the lido deck, we found the breakfast buffet was open, and we filled our trays one last time. We found a table over by the window overlooking the port, and we ate breakfast and waited for Noonan to call our number.
I suppose I'll add this part in here: I just really wanted to mention the drinking water on the ship. I thought it was REALLY GOOD! I drink a lot of water and I considered carrying on a case of bottled water when we boarded the ship. In the end I am glad I didn't bother with the case of water. The ships water was pure and clean. There was no aftertaste and there were no little floatie things in my glass. I thought the ships water was better than my own tap water at home.
Since we were one of the last numbers to be called, the ship was emptying of passengers as we waited. We saw the crew begin to clean for the next group that would cruise.
I walked around the lido deck and took a few pictures, and Tim and I sat around and texted our friends and family, and checked our email.
We found out the next group coming on was a NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK cruise, and the ship was being decorated with posters and banners.
Below, you can see Tim sitting at our table just behind those stairs. You can see his head through the lower part of the stairrail.
We weren't in a hurry, as our flight wasn't leaving Miami until 1:30. We sat around and patiently waited for our number to be called, and enjoyed our last few minutes of being on the ship.
Noonan eventually called our group, and Tim and I grabbed our carry ons and walked to the elevators. The crew had just put these New Kids on the Block stick-ons on the elevator doors.
We went down to the lobby deck, and because most of the passengers had already gotten off the ship, the lobby was nearly empty. I was hoping for a line to get off the ship that we would be stuck in for a few minutes so I could savor the moment. There were no lines, we walked right up to the machine and the crewmember dinged our S & S cards for the last time.
Before we knew it, we were off the ship and standing in the luggage area. We found all of our bags rather quickly, as most of the people had claimed their bags and were long gone by now. The customs line was short, and we went through it quickly. Next we went outside to find a cab to the airport.
After an uneventfull day of flying back to Kansas City via Atlanta, Tim and I arrived safely back in real life around 6:00 PM. Tim went to find our luggage, and I went out to see if we had a ride home.
I spotted our car, with 2 of my sons inside! They missed us! I hugged them both and sent them into the airport to help Tim with our suitcases.
Soon enough, all 3 of them came out with luggage, and we drove the 35-40 minute drive back home. All was well at home, and the house was very clean! I was sure there had been a flury of cleaning boys just hours before we walked in the door!
I was excitedly telling the boys all about our trip (there was SO MUCH to tell!) and I was looking for the t-shirts we had brought back from Jamaica when I noticed that 1. TSA had left a nice note in one of the suitcases that they had gone through the suitcase. and 2. I couldn't find any of our baggies of sand. OUR SAND!!! Oh NO! I hadn't thought that we may be doing something wrong by bringing sand back into the USA. And here I had labeled each baggie with a sharpie telling TSA exactly which country each baggie came from. I felt sure we hadn't come home with any of the sand. I was devistated and I began to furiously dig through each suitcase. Eventually I came up with a baggie of sand, and then another, and another.
All of our sand, coral pieces and seaglass were accounted for, and I was thrilled. I realized that the sand seemed way more important to me than the t-shirts and souvineers we had bought.
One thing I want to say about the crowds: We knew there were 3500 people on the ship, but yet we managed to avoid most of the crowds. There were a few times at the buffets when it was a bit crowded, and a few times while we waited for tenders to get on and off the ship, but mostly we didn't feel crowded. We also didn't feel that we had to stand in many long lines, or wait very long for anything. The only time the waiting began to annoy me was waiting for a ride to the beach at Grand Cayman. It was really not a big deal.
All in all, Tim and I both had a truly wonderful time! The whole beach wedding and honeymoon cruise went about as close to perfect as it could have - except when I set my alarm clock for 6 PM instead of 6AM on my wedding day! And the time I took a COLD shower for no reason on Grand Turk day.... And there was also the time we got chased off the beach in Jamaica by the swarming locals....... and don't forget how I deleted all of our Grand Cayman pictures - all of those things are actually funny now that we are home, and most (3 out of 4!) of those things were my own fault! Silly me!!
Would we do a cruise again?? ABSOLUTELY!!! But the next cruise for Tim and I has to go to the bottom of our vacation list. We have talked about several places we want to go, Hawaii, England, Australia, but first.......we are already planning a trip for 2012 to a very magical place......
My favorite parts of being on the cruise was, well, the cruise! I loved being on the ship.
The islands we visited in order starting with my favorite:
2. Grand Turk - I loved Jacks Shack! I'd love to re-visit Grand Turk.
3. Jamaica - This would have been 1st on my list of favorites, except for the locals.
4. Grand Cayman - Beautiful island, nice day, no complaints really
5. Nassau, Bahamas - hustling bustling town, couldn't even compare this place with the beaches we visited
Funny thing, Tim was laughing at me for over-planning THE ENTIRE time I was planning out our wedding and honeymoon. I really wasn't wanting to "over-plan", I just wanted to know what our choices were so we would have the best opportunity to do what we really wanted to do each day.
So I backed off of the planning and I left 2 of our island days to be "wing-it" days with no planning at all. Those 2 days turned out to be our least favorite 2 days of the whole 12 day vacation.
Tim has now told me I can micro-plan all of our future trips and vacations to my hearts content! YEAH!!!
I would give this entire vacation a 10 out of 10. I would say it was quite perfect!
THANKS FOR READING ABOUT OUR HONEYMOON!
If you would like to read more about the Cruises Tim and I are taking next, check here