I used to think stress would kill me. Then I had the most amazing experience. It's called... a honeymoon cruise! I actually relaxed! Really! Like really relaxed. It was heavenly.
Now I worry, relaxation will kill me. Turns out, relaxing makes me dumb as a post! This could be dangerous, especially if on land!
There was the high of being a newlywed, of finally marrying the love of my life. Of knowing with every fiber of my being all was right with my world. We had an amazing wedding and reception, we were so happy.
There was the fact I'd been awake for 29 of the past 30 hours when we boarded the ship the day after the wedding and was so sleep deprived I probably couldn't have found my way if they were not so damn helpful and kind!
There was the fact that once we set foot on that ship, nothing else mattered but us and our happiness. Everything was done for us. Every need anticipated. We could be as lazy or as active as we wanted to. The ship was called Freedom of the Seas and was she ever freeing...I had a Pina Colada in my hand 15 minutes after boarding. Welcome aboard indeed! A quick lunch and then we were able to go to our stateroom.
The stress melted away and we passed out upon entering our stateroom. We were woken a few hours later for the Muster Drill. Impressive. We wandered about soaking in the amazing floating city that was our home for the next 7 days, determined to stay awake until after dinner. We experienced sailaway from our balcony. It was like the Love Boat! Everyone on shore waving to everyone on the ship. Music on the pool deck for the party could be heard. We were in a boat parade with the Disney Fantasy behind us and a Carnival Boat in front of us leaving port. We were treated to a gorgeous sunset with drink in hand and cheese and wine gifted to us on our balcony as we sailed out of port into the Atlantic. A beautiful beginning to our honeymoon!
We chose the 8 pm seating for dinner. The dining was phenomenal. Fantastic food. Fantastic service. Beautiful 3 story dining room. We had a waiter, assistant waiter and bar attendant fondly referred to as 'booze man' or 'medicine man'. Our table mates were other honeymooners and a couple our age on an anniversary trip. We got on quite well and had lots of fun. By the third night, there was a chocolate martini at my table spot before I even arrived waiting for me! The meals were out of this world. I had my fill of seafood and it was all fantastic! The menu changed every night with a few staples always available. With nearly 4000 passengers to feed every day, it was impressive to say the least.
Food was abundant all day and night. Room service tea and juice on the balcony every morning and breakfast or lunch anytime in several locations. Eat as often and as much as you like. I've never eaten so well in my life! The view from the 11th deck Cafe was gorgeous as was the view from our balcony. No windows in the main dining room, but it was opulent in itself. Two formal nights were lots of fun! We met the captain and had some great photos taken! Some of those ladies take their jewelry VERY seriously! Holy cow!
We enjoyed excursions like snorkeling, parasailing, a jet ski tour and a sailboat cruise on CoCo Cay and St. Thomas. We also enjoyed shopping and wandering about St. Maarten.
The ship had amazing amenities. 15 decks high! Dancing, parties, games, game shows, ice skating, rock climbing, a surfing simulator, mini golf, many lounges with a variety of music, karaoke, street parties and special events, comedy shows, Broadway caliber shows, and a magic show. A full service spa and gym were also on the upper decks. The talent was phenomenal! There were 3 pools and several hot tubs. Two cantilevered over the side of the ship and with an amazing view! There was a jumbo-tron poolside for movies, football and deck parties. We heard the kids program was great as well.
Our room was more spacious than we imagined and the balcony was a must! Everything was wonderful! We didn't want to leave and we're totally hooked on this cruise experience. We can't wait to do it again!
Problem is, I really enjoyed the pampering. I allowed myself to enjoy it. I actually relaxed completely. I'd forgotten what it was like to not be stressed. Being disconnected from the internet was a joy! By about day 3, I was far from the sharpest tool in the shed! I had no idea what day it was or what time it was. We discovered they actually have a carpet cut out in the elevators that changes every day and tells you what day it is!!! Now I know why! I was forgetting everything! One time I was looking all over for my white bathing suit when Joe pointed out to me I was already wearing it! Another time I had convinced myself I forgot the charger for my tablet after spending 15 minutes tearing apart the room looking for it when it was already plugged in! I couldn't for the life of me remember which way was the front of the ship and which way was the back. I did remember we were on the starboard side though!!
Relaxing made me stupid! It was such a luxury to have everything taken care of for you. To not have to be held to any schedule but your own. To have it be all about you for once. To have so many options available to you yet the choice was entirely yours. We talked to many great people from all over the country and the world. We enjoyed talking with the crew. Everyone was friendly and eager to share information. They were genuinely excited for us that it was our honeymoon and our first cruise. And the towel animals were always a great after dinner surprise!
When I arrived home last night I was sad to see no martini waiting for me. I was sad to get up this morning and not be able to go to the Windjammer for the buffet. There will be no towel animal tonight. Although I do still feel a bit of a subtle sway as if I'm still on the boat. We're re-connected and back to the grind. Thrown back into reality. I am slowly feeling that carefree relaxation subsiding and the to do list looming in my subconscious. The stress will creep back in.
I'm feeling smarter!
I will say this. I don't want to wait another 3 years before I take a vacation. The chance to re-charge, to re-connect with life, love and purpose was rejuvenating. It was the most amazing honeymoon experience. We were so fortunate in so many ways and blessed to share it with each other. We savored every minute. It was an absolute blast.
Oh, and we signed up for the frequent cruise plan. We'll do it again. Maybe we'll even bring the kids! :-)