Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Cruise Day 4 - San Juan, Puerto Rico

Day 4 of our vacation was Dad's birthday and also a day in San Juan. I have to be honest, our entire family was thinking this would be our least favorite stop of the cruise, but it ended up being our favorite!

Our original plan was to get off the ship and find a beach to relax for the day since we hadn't pre-purchased an excursion. Dad went to talk to one of the guest services representatives to find out where a good beach was close to where the ship was in port. Dad learned that San Juan didn't really have great beaches and she recommended us take a bus tour of the island. We were so happy we took her advice!

After getting off the ship we hopped on a chartered bus. We were taken around "Old San Juan" and "New San Juan". This picture was taken from the bus.

After a short drive the tour stopped at the Castillo San Cristobal. This castle was amazing!

B was in heaven with all the history and the beautiful views of San Juan from the castle!

Inside one of the dungeons of the castle there were drawings of ships. It is believed that a Spanish captain drew these ships on the wall of the dungeon while waiting to be executed.
This was the second level of the castle, or the "defense level". The openings toward the bottom of the wall are where the canons were!
The views from the castle were amazing!

This picture was taken from the second level of the castle. You can see our ship in port below!

This picture was taken from one of the view towers in the castle. This was what the watch man would see looking to the left...
And the view to the right....

The building with the dome shape is the capital building.

After checking everything out on the second level we headed to the third level of the castle for even more beautiful views!

Here is a picture of Mom and Dad!

And Reid...

And Me with B!

After visiting the castle, our tour guide took us to a little shopping area. We didn't go shopping we looked for more history. Barrett really loves visiting old churches, so we found this one that was build in 1756.

I loved these old doors...

Dad and Reid outside the church...
Me and Mom outside the church...

Underneath the church was a small mausoleum.

After the bus tour ended, we decided we wanted to see more of San Juan, so we ventured out on foot! Here is a picture of their new post office. I just loved this building...

Barrett found another church on the historical map and we had to go check it out. This church was build in 1511 and has been revamped over the years.

Outside the church...

Inside was so beautiful and peaceful!

Ponce de Leon was actually buried in this church! Barrett really loved the history here!

After seeing the church, we wanted to eat at an authentic Puerto Rican restaurant. Our tour guide had recommended Restaurante Raices. Although we wanted authentic food, we all chose chicken items on the menu! The food was good, but the atmosphere was better!

After eating, we continued our walk back to the port. This is a view down one of the San Juan streets, so neat!

This gate at one time was the only way people could enter the island of San Juan. The island also was surrounded by a large concrete wall. Pieces of that wall can be seen all along the island.

After walking around San Juan we were pretty tired! We headed back to the ship. Barrett headed to the gym on the ship while Reid, Dad, Mom and I headed to find a spot on the ship's deck to watch us leave San Juan. This was a view from our spot on the ship's deck.
Dad was being goofy and put a napkin on his head...
Relaxing yet again!
As we left the port and the island of San Juan, I was blown away at the breathtaking views! I was so thankful to be outside on the deck as we pulled away, because I was able to get some awesome pictures! This isn't the castle we visited, but another castle on the island!
Stunning to see the castle and the white caps of the waves...
On of my favorites...
And another great view of the coastline of San Juan.

After laying out on the deck for awhile, everyone headed back to their rooms for a quick nap before getting ready for dinner and the night's activities!

We took group pictures....

Me and B took pictures...

He thinks this one is so cheesy, but I love it!
Then we headed to dinner.

Mom had ordered Dad a special birthday cake since it was his 50th birthday!

Dad with his cake! The cake was delicious!!!

Here is the only picture I took of everyone at our table. The group of 5 girls were nicknamed "The Liberty Girls" since our ship was the Carnival Liberty. They bought my dad a post card and a chocolate bar for his birthday! They were lots of fun to sit with!

After dinner we had this "creature" on our bed. I'm still not really sure what it is!
After dinner we spent the night in the disco celebrating Dad's birthday and dancing the night away!

Happy 50th Birthday Dad!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Cruise Day 5 - Grand Turk

Thursday, was our day at Grand Turk! The picture above was our view to the right while getting off the boat. The picture below was our view to the left. Let me tell you, nothing excited me more than beach chairs to relax in! I was so excited to head to the beach with the fam and stake our claim to "our spot".
This particular port in Grand Turk was overtaken by our cruise line! We had another Carnival ship who docked at the same time we did. Here's a picture of both ships at port.

We made it to our beach chairs! Here is a picture of Reid enjoying the sand and sun with Dad's hat on!

My little brother!

Reid, Mom and me

Reid, me and Dad

My legs, the sand, the water, and our ship...

Ahhh relaxation at its finest!

With my honey on the beach at Grand Turk!

After spending a little over an hour on the beach, we headed to find our excursion group. We had decided to try power snorkeling! This is a picture of the view of the beach from the hut where we go our snorkel gear and snorkeled.

Another view! So peaceful!

Power snorkeling was SO MUCH FUN! You basically hold on to a 35 pound motor that is weightless in the water. The best part is, it does all the work for you! We only snorkeled for about an hour, but we were still pretty exhausted!

After our power snorkel excursion, we headed back to the main area around the port to shop. Grand Turk is also home to one of the locations of the infamous Margaritaville. I wish I would have taken more pictures, but Margaritaville actually had two pools and two bar areas that were really neat! While Reid, Mom and I shopped, Dad and Barrett went to check out Margaritaville!

After our day at Grand Turk we headed back to the ship. We hadn't really had anything to eat for lunch, so we hit up the pizza bar and the burger/hot dog buffet. After eating Mom and I went and spent some time looking at pictures and also shopped in the gift shops on the ship.

Before we headed to our room to get ready for dinner we were able to catch the beautiful sunset!

Dinner was our second formal night. Barrett and I had this picture made by one of the photographers on the ship. Doesn't my husband look so handsome?!?

Here are the picture of us at the dinner table:

Mom, Reid and Dad

B and Me

When we went back to our room after dinner we had this towel animal on our bed. I am guessing it is a rabbit?

After changing into a more comfortable pair of shoes, we headed to the Disco for dancing! Here's a picture of me, Mom, and Reid enjoying the music at the disco!

I LOVE this picture of my parents!!

We didn't close the disco down, but we came pretty close!

What a fun day in Grand Turk!