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gunn family blog » Dream Vacation 2008

Dream Vacation 2008

As many of you know my father has started a tradition in our family that we have been blessed to be able to take part in for about six years now. Every other year we try to go on an adults only trip. In the past few years we have been to Bermuda and Hawaii. The planning and anticipation of the trip is almost as fun and memorable as the trip itself. For about a year we have been looking forward to this years trip. A seven day cruise of the Western Caribbean.

We left for Florida the morning of Friday, January 4th. It was hard to say goodbye to the kids but they were good sports and were looking forward to their week of sleeping over at Grandma Pam’s. The flight to Florida will forever be remembered for the bizzare eye “alergy” Jami experienced. Early in the flight she mentioned to me that her eye itched. About an hour later she asked me if her eye was swollen and I looked over and about gasped. She had a Robins egg size welt below her right eye. I tried to stay clam but the looks of concern on my mom and the stewardess who brought ice probably didn’t help. Luckily once we got some ice on it the swelling went down. By the time we landed it was pretty much back to normal. We still don’t know what caused it. I have a picture but for Jami’s sake I won’t post it.

We flew into Orlando and after much debate we decided to use our Saturday to try to tackle all four of the major parks at Walt Disney World. It is pretty pricey for a one day park-hopper pass but we bit the bullet and gave it a shot. We started at Animal Kingdom at eight am. We got to ride our favorite of all the coasters “Expedition Everest” two times and also caught the Safari ride. We then went over to MGM Studio and rode Rockin’ Roll roller-coaster twice and Tower of Terror once. By mid afternoon the parks were getting incredibly crowded. We decided to head over to EPCOT where we rode a couple rides before the weather turned sour and it started to rain pretty good. We caught the monorail over the Magic Kingdom where we enjoyed our favorite Disney snack – DOLE pineapple whip and then waited an hour to ride Pirates of the Caribbean. By the time we got off Pirates the rain had let up but we were physically drained and every ride had at least a 45-minute wait. We decided to call it a night a little after nine. It was an amazing day. Something I am glad we tried but something I don’t know if I would want to do again. Disney parks are meant to be experienced in days, not hours.

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We got up Sunday morning and drove about an hour west to Tampa Harbor where we were able to register and check-in without much hassle. We were cruising with Holland America Line aboard the MS Veendam. Someone had told Matt that Holland America was the cadillac of cruise lines. We came to realize that while the service and quality was amazing the moniker was more a representation of their passengers than the cruise itself. There was a lot of grey hair aboard the Veendam. While some may view this as a negative we found that there were a lot of advantages to cruising with the older crowd.

Cruising can be summed up in about three experiences: Excursions, food and events. There is always something to do and there is always something to eat. I could go on for hours about what we were able to see and do but rather than that I thought I would just hit each days highlights:

Sunday: Bon Voyage party, Dancing in the Crow’s Nest – My parents win a bottle of Champagne in the Twist Contest.

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Monday: We port in Key West and set out to find the city’s best Key Lime Pie. We enjoy a lot of shopping before heading back to the ship for a fun night of Kareokee and late night desserts.

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Tuesday: This was a full day at sea. One of the most relaxing days I’ve had in a long time. The ladies wore themselves out in a spinning class. I spent the afternoon reading and lounging on the deck. Tuesday night was formal night and we enjoyed a lavish dinner before settling in for the evenings entertainment.

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Wednesday: Belize: we caught the first tender of the day and took an hour bus ride into the mountains of Belize to experience cave tubing. This was probably the coolest thing we did on the trip. I wasn’t expecting the caves to be so big and beautiful. The bus ride was a bit scary. Rapheal our bus driver about rolled the bus on the way back.

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Thursday: Guatamala: We hung out on the ship until about noon when we headed out to our shore excursion. We took another hair razing bus ride into the mountains of Guatamala to tour the Mayan ruins at Quirigua. This was a fascinating but brief look into the ancient world of the Mayans
Because of the distance we were only able to stay about an hour at the site. Guatamala was by far the most beautiful place we visited and we saw just enough to know that it would be a great place to visit again someday when we could spend more time at Quirigua and other Mayan sites.

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Friday: Cozumel: We did not roll into Cozumel until about one on Friday. It was nice to be able to spend a relaxing morning hanging out by the pool. Cozumel is a typical mexican tourist trap but we enjoyed the fun shopping experience and also did a fun little Snorkeling excursion. Friday night was our last formal dinner and we all endulged in the lobster tail.

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Saturday: Our last sea day. We slept in then hung by the pool most of the afternoon. Sarah, Ben my mom and I were invited to take part in a Kareokee challenge Saturday afternoon and that was a lot of fun. Sarah should have won as she did an amazing job but for some reason they robbed our family of any awards.

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Sunday: I will never forget waking up, looking out the window and thinking we were docked in Tampa only to have the captain come on and tell us that due to heavy fog we were still 5 hours out to sea and would not be able to dock in Tampa until the port reopened. What I thought was a cement wall was really the thickest fog I had ever seen. Lucky for us we had a late flight out of Tampa so we were able to enjoy an extra five hours on the ship without stressing about having to change travel plans. It was sad to check out. We had made a lot of great friends and more memories. It was so nice to be pampered and spoiled for a week but by nine o’clock sunday night we were back in bitter cold Utah, trying to shovel the two feet of snow off our driveway that had fallen while we were gone. Karma sucks.

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5 Responses to “Dream Vacation 2008”

  1. Jealous!

    No wonder the DJ picked up on Jami- you look like a hot mama!

  2. Well, congratulations on making my cry. yes, I started to get misty-eyed as I read this post. Sounds like a wonderful, perfect, relaxing, amazing trip. Jealous doesn’t even begin to describe my feelings at the moment.

    Happy for you guys, sad for me. :) :(

  3. Wow, what a ride! You guys were all over the place in such a short amount of time! Awesome photos! Beautiful, Jamie! You are just glowing!

  4. Have to admit it was hard to look all the pictures without being jealous. . . oh the sunshine and no kids, does it get any better?

  5. I have a pretty good looking sister :)