Finally I'm getting around to writing about part 2 of trip - I have a really bad memory so hopefully I can remember everything :)
Thursday, February 4th was Nathan's birthday and, fortunately for him, probably the best day of the whole cruise!
Port of call for the day was Philipsburg, St. Maarten and the weather was hot and fabulous!
We did the Loterie Farm Tree Top Zip Line Adventure excursion and it was the most fun excursion ever! Over 30 different obstacles including zip lines, suspension bridges and rope obstacles. It took a 1/2 hr bus ride to get there, and the course itself took about an hour to complete. It was so much better than the zipline course we did for the first time last year in Cozumel. An absolute blast!
After we got back we had a quick bite to eat and headed poolside to soak in some rays.
For supper we headed to Chops Grille ($25/person) for the most amazing dinner ever to be had on the seas.
I had steak
and Nathan had steak and lobster. Nathan said it's the best steak he's ever had - easily beating out The Keg (which we love!). The bread was better at Portofino, but everything else about this restaurant was top-notch. The atmosphere, the decor, and the food - oh, the food! Dinner was not the end of the delicious experience. The best was yet to come - dessert!!!
This was seriously the best dessert I have. ever. had. period. Later on in the cruise they had a Royal Caribbean cookbook for sale. I asked them if this recipe was in that cookbook - because I would've paid the $20 just for that one recipe, but alas, it was not to be.
After dinner we went to the show - magician Drew Thomas (star of America's Got Talent) along with the Royal Caribbean Singers and Dancers. This was an absolutely amazing show - probably our favourite of the whole week, just incredible.
Friday was the first of our remaining two at sea days and it was a beautiful one. The evening show was a ship comedy musical called Once Upon a Time, and we had dinner in our regular dining room.
Saturday was starting to get a little cooler as we neared Florida, but was still a fun day. Freedomfest took place in the afternoon on the Royal Promenade - the entire walkway was filled with table displays - everything from learning how to fold those cool towel animals, to delicious samples.....
to fruit carving demonstrations. We went back to Chops Grille for more steak, lobster and oh so delicious chocolate mud pie! The evening show featured the comedy of Phil Palisoul and the aerial artistry of Agnes & Peter once again. We packed our bags and left them outside our door (making sure to keep out clothes and toiletries for the next day!).
We set our wake up call for our final morning at 4:30. Why? Because we were docking at Port Canaveral virtually at the same time as a rocket launch was scheduled, and it was even going to launch on our side of the ship so we would be able to watch from our balcony!! So, we were up at 4:30 and standing out on our balcony waiting for the 4:39 am launch. And then the captain came over the loudspeaker to announce that they had just postponed the launch minutes earlier. Ugh. So, we crawled back into bed for a couple more hours of sleep before we had to get up and get ready to leave.
Normally we book flights leaving around noon, but because there was an hour bus ride from the port to the airport, and we weren't sure how quickly that would all happen, we booked our flight for 3:30 in the afternoon. Turns out we could've kept our noon flight time. We were in the airport before 10am with lots of time to kill! Once we could finally check in our luggage we headed to Chili's for lunch and killed some more time till we could board our flights homes. Unfortunately our flight in Denver was delayed by about an hour, but we made it home - Sophia and Emma were there to meet us at the airport.
The girls did fabulous while we were gone - they loved it actually. Jacob, unfortunately, got sick right before we left. He had a fever and cough. He was fairly good during the first 24hrs for our first babysitters (my cousins - thanks girls!) and then needed to be held a lot when my parents were babysitting. By the time it was Nathan's parents turn he was feeling well enough to be crabby :) By the weekend he was good again, thankfully.
Well, there ya have it. Our trip in a nutshell. It was totally fabulous and we can't wait to do it again - maybe next year! Oh, and did I mention it was free? Yup. A huge benefit to Nathan's job - he builds houses and puts the majority of the materials on a credit card with a great travel plan. It maxes out at $4000 worth of travel per year. So, definitely a huge perk and one we are very thankful for.