Now, I understand that people go on vacations all the time, and that it may not be a big deal to everyone. However, we have been together for five and a half years, and we have never taken a big vacation completely by ourselves, for ourselves. We have always spent our vacation time visiting family or friends - which is completely joyful and very cost effective - but that also means that we've not explored any new locations, and most of the time that means spending time on someone's couch/air mattress/spare bedroom. Nothing wrong with any of that, since we always have a great time with people we know that we love, in places we know we like...but it DOES make this trip something very different, and very special!
Not only is it our first trip by ourselves, but we've gone all out for this thing. So what are we going to do?
Go on a week long cruise through the Southern Caribbean!! Sun, sand, crystal clear waters, warm breezes, and a really huge boat to take us from island to island. We booked a stateroom with a balcony, two shore excursions, and bought a gift package with a bunch of extras.
I've never been on a cruise. I've never left the continental 48 states. Even flying has been a relatively rare occurrence in my life, so there's a lot of new experiences in this venture for me. By the way, I really geek out about flying. My family always took road trips for our major vacations. I have these fantastic memories of riding in a car all over the country as a child and teenager. I flew once when I was two, but I don't remember it...so the first time I remember getting on a plane was the summer of 2002, and I was 18. Since I couldn't compare the experience to pre-9/11 flying, I didn't have any of that disappointment to deal with, and I thought the whole thing was great. I understand that going through the checkpoints and such really isn't fun, but once you are ON the plane...I love it. I love the feeling of takeoff, I love the realization that I'm flying through the air at very high speeds to some cool new place that I've never been before, I love the busyness of the airport terminals. It doesn't bother me if my plane sits on the tarmac for awhile, or if my luggage is the last one to show up on the carousel. Maybe these things would bother me if I flew for business purposes, but since I've only ever flown for pleasure trips, I tend to not be in any hurry, and I savor the journey. Vacation doesn't start when you reach the destination - vacation starts the moment you leave the house!
This notion of traveling by ship excites me. I have traveled extensively by car, which I enjoy (although my husband HATES extended car trips, he has no patience for sitting in a car for long periods of time). I have traveled by train, although only once, and we both thought that was great fun. Very novel, traveling by train - but not for anyone in a hurry to get to where they are going. I have traveled by bus, which to date is the only form of travel that I hope never to repeat, except under specific circumstances. Traveling by bus is only acceptable when traveling by charter bus with a group of people you really enjoy spending time with, such as your marching band. Traveling by public bus, such as Greyhound, really is not very pleasant. I don't recommend it. Finally, I have traveled by plane, which I have already mentioned. To date, I have never traveled by ship - but soon I will have done that as well, and I am eager to report how that goes! My husband has been on 3 cruises, although the most recent of those has been nearly 10 years ago at this point, and he assures me that I will love it.
I don't doubt him about this for a minute. :-)
Anyway, I am brimming with excitement, soon to see new places, experience new foods, a new mode of travel, and lots of new people. I can't wait!!!
As a side note, I do realize that the cruise industry has had a good bit of bad publicity in the past few months, first with that incident in Italy, and also with another in the Indian Ocean. I will mention here that both of those cruise ships were owned by an affiliate of Carnival, who we are not sailing with. We are sailing on a Royal Caribbean ship, and their safety record is much, much better!!