Hey loves! So as I mentioned briefly in my last post, I just got back from my vacation on a 9-Day Cruise. It was my first time cruising, and I cruise with Norwegian Cruise Line. It was definitely an AMAZING experience, however I definitely would not go on a cruise that leaves from NYC in the middle of the winter EVER AGAIN! Because New York is nowhere near the Caribbean, we were at sea for the first two days and the last two days. The first two days weren't too bad, it was pretty warm on the second day so we were able to hang out outside by the pool and sun-bathe and such. The two days on the way back to New York were a nightmare. Apparently, there was a huge snow storm just North of us so we got hit really bad with large waves for two days. I got super seasick and couldn't really enjoy the last few days on the cruise. But, on the bright side it was definitely worth the annoyance on the last two days because the islands were beyond blissful and the food on the boat was amazing!
We visited Puerto Rico, St Maarten, St Thomas, and Dominican Republic. I loved each place in a different way. If you don't know I am 50% Puerto Rican (the other half is Italian), and I was really excited for my first visit to Puerto Rico. I've always wanted to visit with my family because I have relatives there but my Grandmother got sick a few years ago so that's not really possible right now. In Puerto Rico, my best friend and I went zip lining in el Parque Forestal la Marquesa in San Juan. Did I mention I'm scared of heights? Boy, was that an experience! LOL No, but really, that was probably one of the most fun things I've ever done, I can't wait to tackle more things on my bucket list! That evening we ate dinner at a local restaurant and I can confidently say that I have never tasted better spanish food in my life…but what can I say, Puerto Ricans do it best lol.
The next day we visited St. Maarten. The island is really small and completely centered around shopping, with a beautiful mountainous landscape. Let's just say, I fell in love with the place. The colors were so vibrant in everything, from the fruits and plants to the buildings and architecture. The people were extremely friendly and entertaining. We walked around the marketplace for a little while, browsing some shops. One shop owner actually loved my sunglasses so much she bought them off me. We bought some mangoes off of a street vendor, best mangoes I've ever tasted! After we shopped around a bit, we relaxed on the beach for the rest of the day. We made some friends with the guys who worked there. The water was clear and crystal-like, and the sand was white. I was loving it!
The following day we visited St. Thomas which is very similar to St Maarten, it's just a bit less commercialized and more calm. My best friend and I split up from my brother and his girlfriend again and went parasailing. Once again, one of the best things I've ever done! Even the boat ride was fun and exhilarating. The feeling of being so high in the air, seeing the scenery from a completely different angle was beyond amazing. The gradation in the blues of the ocean was beautiful, they even dipped us in the water for a few seconds. It was such a thrilling experience, I would definitely recommend to everyone! After that we hung out on a small private beach for the remainder of the day. I liked this beach better than the one in St. Maarten because there was less seaweed and the sand was much cleaner. Me and my friend spent a lot of time in the water, swimming around, dodging waves, and trying to boogey board. It may sound corny, but when I am in water I literally feel like I am one with the universe, I swear I was a mermaid in a past life LOL. I definitely had the most peaceful time on this island, and I would visit again without thinking twice about it.
The last place we visited was the Dominican Republic (on Valentines Day). We explored a bunch of caves and mangroves (trees or shrubs that chiefly grow in caribbean swamps that are flooded at high tide.) We saw ancient cave paintings written in the caves by the native people, and several natural landforms. I think its beautiful the way nature works, I enjoy the simple things in the world like the trees, and the birds, the water and the mountains. I swear I was also a hippy in another one of my past lives lol.
That afternoon we ate a huge meal at a restaurant on the beach under the palm trees. Another memorable event, and of course delicious food! Later that evening, we all (me, my friend, my brother, and my brother's girlfriend) got dressed up and went for a nice dinner in one of our favorite restaurants on the boat and attended a life-changing comedy show after dinner. My brother had been planning to propose to his girlfriend on the cruise and he did so on Valentines Day, at the comedy show! The comedian, Jeff Harms (who was HILARIOUS btw) actually worked the proposal into his show and called my brother and his girlfriend on stage and she had no idea what was going on until he got on one knee and pulled the ring out. I felt almost as nervous as my brother did because I knew about it the whole time and it was a very nerve-wracking event. View the full event HERE !!! I'm so happy for my brother, he is literally my life-line. I would not be nearly half the woman I am today if it wasn't for his wise guidance throughout my whole life. We had a rough childhood, so I am beyond happy to see him grow into such an honorable man and I can't wait to experience all the greats things that are to come for our family.
Over all, my vacation was … I don't even have a word to describe it, it was that great! I was really stressed before I left and this vacation definitely gave me the peace of mind I needed to get past certain things and remind me of the beauty in life. I am definitely a wanderer at heart and this is just the beginning of many travels to come and I hope to take you all on my journey with me!