Ah, Jamaica.  After a quick breakfast up at Windjammer, we went out onto the upper decks to check out the view of port.  Alongside us, on the opposite edge of port, was the Disney Fantasy cruise ship.  Once we had gotten some pictures and were done checking out the upper pool decks and enormous waterslide on board the Fantasy, we grabbed our beach bag and headed down to the gangway at 10am.  The port at Falmouth was different from the others.  When we left the ship, we immediately walked through a gated, downtown shopping area.  Jewelry stores, clothing boutiques, and souvenir shops lined both sides of the long, triangular pier, and we made our way all the way from the tip of the pier, to a large bus depot at the opposite end.  After signing waivers and getting our wrist bands, we were on our way to Chukka All-Inclusive Resort.

On our way to the resort, our tour guide and driver gave us a basic lesson in Jamaican linguistics, teaching us how to say yes (yah-mon), no (eh-eh), and everything’s good (irie).  Though they were entertaining and fun to engage with, I was mesmerized by the way our driver managed to weave the bus through the narrow streets, sometimes going into the oncoming lane of traffic, to maneuver around the people and cars parked on the sides of the road.  Thirty adrenaline filled minutes after leaving port, we pulled into the parking lot of the resort, said goodbye to our new Jamaican teachers, and embarked on our daylong adventure.

Ziplining over one of the resort pools.

After stowing our belongings in a locker, our first activity on the list was the zipline.  Donning our harnesses, helmets, and gloves, we hiked back up to the front of the property, and hopped on Line 1.  This was the first zipline we have ever needed to do our own braking on, and it was a bit difficult to get used to.  Making sure you only grab the line behind the rigging is great in theory, but when you’re spinning around on the line, it’s a bit more difficult to remember where “behind” the rigging is.  Nonetheless, we both made it through the day without losing any fingers, so I think we were successful.  At only five or six lines long, the zipline course was quick, but had wonderful views of the property, which was made up of beautiful buildings from the 1800s, spread out through the thick forest of trees.  The final two lines were the most fun, the second to last being the longest, which was lined up directly above a river, and the last line being the shortest line, which crossed perpendicularly over the same river.  Once everyone in the zipline group was through the course, a shuttle bus picked us all up, and brought us back up to where we geared up. Read More

Finally! Our first shore excursion day!  With a full day planned ahead of us, we had ordered room service the night before, and had it delivered at 7am.  Room service was complimentary, for items such as cereals, fruits, bagels, pastries, coffees, and teas, or you could opt for the $8 additional fee per room for items such as bacon and eggs.  As we are not big into breakfast, we just ordered a bagel, fruit plate, donut, and green and black tea to share.  As we ate, we watched as the ship pulled up to the port in Labadee, Haiti, a private resort dedicated to the exclusive use of Royal Caribbean’s fleet.  Once we were fed, and ready to go, we headed down to the gangway, and disembarked for our first shore excursion.

The view from our beach chairs on Amiga Island.

As it is a private resort, the only options for Labadee were to book shore excursions, or wander the few small shops and private beaches.  We chose to book two shorter shore excursions, one in the morning, and one after lunch in the afternoon.  First up, was the Amiga Island Experience.  Leaving at 8:30, and lasting about 3 hours, we first had to meet our boat at the docks, and board with our excursion group.  Other than reserving private gazebos, or using the water park and beaches, most of the shore excursions required a small boat ride to get to, so the dock was fairly busy for the first hour, as groups headed out to see the sights.  Hopping aboard with our twenty person group, we headed out to sea, and for the island of Amiga.  Because there is no deck on Amiga Island, once the boat backed in towards the beach, we had about a twenty meter walk through the shallows to reach land.  Though unexpected, it was fun to get our feet wet before even reaching the island. Read More

This picture makes it look like Ian knows what he’s doing.

I will admit. I am not the best traveler, and I am an even worse morning person. Ever since I was a kid, if I was forced to wake up earlier than my biological clock allowed, I would have terrible morning sickness-esque symptoms. Terrible upset stomach, and a foggy feeling are not the best way to start the first full cruising day, but Ian’s 8am FlowRider lesson pulled us up to Deck 15 way earlier than my body was prepared for. Especially with the added motion of a cruise ship speeding through bobbing waves. Fortunately, I had filled up my souvenir cup with Dasani sparkling water on our way up to the FlowRider lesson. Every beverage package purchase for the cruise includes a Coca-Cola Freestyle souvenir cup, which works at the many Coca-Cola Freestyle machines all over the ship, and can be filled with soda or water at any of the bar locations onboard as well. Once seated at the very back of the ship, sipping my sparkling water, and watching the FlowRider instructors teaching Ian and a small group of others the tricks of the trade, my stomach began to settle, and I became Ian’s designated photographer. Usually, Ian is the photographer for our travels, and he has picked up a heavy collection of camera equipment to prove it. But I truly enjoyed snapping pics of him as he attempted, succeeded, and totally wiped out, as he learned how to surf and boogey board on the back of a cruise ship. Read More