Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Back From Vacation

I'm sorry for the unannounced blog hiatus...I haven't forgotten about you, Inky friends! Steve and I went on a week-long vacation, and I've been catching up on work and home tasks since we got back a couple of days ago.

As you may recall, we got married last May but didn't have time to go on a honeymoon due to my convention schedule. So we planned to do something special this winter, which turned out to be a cruise:

We chose to sail on the Celebrity Summit:

(Doesn't that photo look almost like a postcard? Steve snapped it from one of the ports.)

We booked a balcony room, so most mornings we were greeted by a scene such as this one in St. Kitts:

We were excited to go ashore, just like these little folks we "met" on the boat:

Of course, when we spotted a grocery shop in the U.S. Virgin Islands, I had to check it out. This seamoss beverage looked, um, interesting:

But I chickened out at the last minute and opted for a watermelon soda instead:

Even though it's a flavor I don't normally associate with pop, it was actually quite good.

Being the foodie that I am, one of the shore excursions we took was called "Around the Isle of Spice" in Grenada. Did you know that cocoa beans look like this when the pod is first opened:

And nutmeg is actually a seed inside a "lacy" reddish covering called mace (which is another spice used in cooking) and a larger shell:

We forgot to pay for the tour, so they put Steve to work turning the nutmeg as it dried in the racks:

(Yes, of course I'm joking here.)

We also visited a rum distillery, where the sugarcane was loaded into the hopper and waiting for its juice to be extracted:

The fermenting juice smelled a little like molasses:

Grenada was quite scenic, too. It rained so we didn't go to the rainforest, but we did see a gorgeous rainbow that appeared to be descending right into the land:

Even some of the trees, such as this eucalyptus, were like rainbows:

After the weather cleared, we visited Annandale Falls:

Througout our trip, we saw so many delightful things. Some were big and some were small...and some were in surprising places, like in this port shopping mall:

Can you guess what the snowman is made from? Yup, it's plastic cups. How cool is that!

And each evening when we got back to the ship, there was something fun waiting in our stateroom:

The towel elephant was made by our talented attendant, Christopher:

There were also things to see and do all over the ship, such as this ice sculpture demonstration:

It only took the chef about ten minutes to create this:

Other sights included intricate beaded lady sculptures on every staircase landing:

And additonal fascinating pieces of art:

There was entertainment, too. We watched a Celebrity version of Family Feud one afternoon:

There were live performances in the lounges:

And shows in the theater:

Plus gambling if you wanted:

Or gazing at scenic beauty if that was more your speed:

But, you know me...I enjoyed the dining most of all:

On our last day, we toured the galley. This was only one small section of it:

I was floored by the sheer amount of food that is prepared there...3000 pounds of tenderloin, 2300 dozen eggs, 12,300 pounds of potatoes, and 11,340 gallons of milk (just to name a few items) on any given seven-day cruise. This chef was par-cooking chicken, one of twenty tubs he was doing that day:

The food was beautifully garnished with love and care:

Apparently the average cruiser gains up to ten pounds per trip. I'll admit that I did my part...I gained six pounds and now my jeans are snug!

Thanks for reading about our trip...how about some BLOG CANDY for getting through the whole post? I'm curious about YOUR vacation plans this winter. Leave a note in the comments section of this post telling me where/when you're going (or where you'd like to go, if you don't have anything in the works right now).

I'll take entries until this Friday at midnight Central time. The winner, who will receive a few surprise winter/holiday themed clear sets, will be randomly chosen on Saturday and I'll post the results here. Good luck, everyone!


Thebug415 said...

Oh how fun!!! Looks like a fantastic trip! If I could go somewhere, I would pick the Disney Cruise. I would love to take my girls on that one.

Sandi said...

Congratulations on your honeymoon!
If I could, I would love to take a cruise to Alaska, I can dream, can't I?
Good wishes on your marriage.

Lucy said...

It sounds like you had a great time. We're heading to Pensacola, FL for Christmas with family.

~Michelle~ said...

don't add me in for the candy Jackie...but what a fun trip! Glad you enjoyed it!
We'll be heading to Lutsen MN for our winter vacation....I don't ski, but the family does. I'll be playing with paper and enjoying some time during the day to relax!

Suzanne :O ) said...

I'd love to hop around Boston some time. I've been once, but didn't stay long enough to do much. Thanks for the opportunity to win.. I've been using your stamps like crazy for my Christmas cards! :D

Tracy Durcan said...

Our only vacation destination in the winter is Sunday River in Maine for skiing. I love it :)

Deloris said...

Wow, what a fabulous cruise! We don't have any vacation plans right now since we just adopted a new dog from our local rescue shelter. Can't leave him until we get him used to a regular routine and settled in his new home. But if I picked my favorite vacation spot, it would be Florida in March instead of being in the snowy cold weather here in Ohio.

RustyBird said...

Thanks for sharing your photos. I never new that mace and nutmeg were from the same plant, and I've been cooking with both of them for years.

If we could go on a vacation this winter (or anytime, really), I'd love to go to Hawaii.

Noelle said...

Sounds like you had a wonderful honeymoon! You make me want to go on a cruise, but the vacation we have planned is skiing, love the mountains! It will be the first time for my youngest and the 2nd for my oldest.

Moose Ridge said...

it looks like you had a wonderful time!!

other than Christmas with family, we don't really have any winter plans... but in March, to celebrate my husband's birthday, we're going from TN to Tucson for a Steampunk convention!!

Anonymous said...

I want to rent a chalet in Gatlinburg, TN and enjoy the snow, but alas we are stuck in TX and can't make it this year. Maybe next year.

Edna R

Sue D said...

Glad you enjoyed your cruise--I have friends that have shared their pics of cruises including the adorable folded towels. My daughter-in-law graduates from med school next fall and wants us to go with them to Disney World. The trip would include her parents, our son and our two granddaughters so it should be fun.

Tammy C. said...

Thanks for sharing the great pics! Looks fabulous! Now I want to plan a cruise. If only I could talk my husband into it!

Chelsea said...

Congrats ... looks like you got a bunch of R&R! Well deserved!

Jovita said...

Welcome back, it looks like you both had a fabulous honeymoon. Thanks for sharing the wonderful pictures, I think I need a cruise!
Take care ~ Jovi

Bev Gerard said...

*Not a Candy Entry*
Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh, such great pics you've shared of your much-deserved delayed honeymoon!! See you in TX next month! Yay!


Allie Gower said...

I went on my first cruise this year. I had a wonderful time. I'm so glad you got the chance to do something wonderful with you sweetie. Be well, and welcome back. Stay warm!

Kathryn said...

I'm like Sandi - hoping to take a cruise to Alaska. But, since I'm from Wisconsin and see enough snow in the winter, I think I'll wait until next summer! (Actually, we are expecting 9-12 inches of snow this weekend!)

Sheryl said...

I would love to take a cruise...to anywhere. It just sounds like such a great get-away. I just came back from my winter vacation...a visit with my daughter's family. It was wonderful but snowy weather forecasts caused some concern...I'm staying put til warm weather returns