Well, howdy! How've you been? It's been a while since I've written to you, but you see, I was on a fabulous cruise awhile back and I didn't want to make you feel too jealous.

Here's me looking fabulous.

The truth is I didn't want to yammer on about it - who wants to read that - and a week-long trip is a difficult thing to encapsulate into a tidy little blog post. I do have a few highlights to share and Andrew's beautiful photography to highlight.

The Carnival Valor and our ship, the Crown Princess - or - A Couple o' Canadian Conveyance Crafts

We went on the cruise with eight of our friends. I'd never really considered taking a cruise...well, I'd considered it and thought "smurf no. Not for me." I'd talked myself into a too cool for school mindset, resenting the idea that of being told what to do, or rather when to do. When we travel on our own, Andrew and I are only moderately structured in our approach. We know the city we'll be in and, if it isn't a road trip, we know the hotel we'll be in. Everything else is up in the air. Not quite Jeff Bridges in a cardigan - free spirits, man - but not too far off. We research the location, but we don't put together an itinerary. Let me tell you, cruise ships are big on itineraries.

The cruise turned out to be a great vacation choice for such a large group of people, catering well to our varying abilities and interests. On the shore excursions, Andrew and I were able to go for the active options, including a bike tour around Grand Cayman and a hike up a steep hill in Roatan, while the pregnant lady in our group was able to take more leisurely excursions.

Andrew and me on the hike in Roatan

Of our stops (Grand Cayman, Roatan, Cozumel, and Princess Cays), I enjoyed Roatan most of all because I felt like I got the closest glimpse of daily life on the island. I'd like to go back there some day. A cruise is a great vacation for B destinations - places you're not dying to explore - mostly because of the limited amount of time in a port. I think a Mediterranean cruise would drive me batty (9 hours in Rome?).

I'd been worried that the activities on board the ship would be a little...cheesy (see too cool for school comment), and yes, there were plenty of activities that would fill that bill. The shopping seminar on the first day at sea left my friend and I with plenty of joke fodder for the rest of the trip. The art auction I did not attend, but Andrew did. Turns out auctions where no one bids are a little awkward. Just like the construction of those last two sentences. Snap!

Nobody got sick from the rocking ship, thankfully. I rather enjoyed it, especially while swimming, with the water sloshing about. The bulk of the ship's movement was at night, and in the darkened dining room the movement-induced vertigo made me feel quite tipsy. We ate in the dining room every evening, with attentive waiters and four courses. It took me several days to recover from my dessert withdrawal.

Overall, it was a great time. I don't think I'd rush out for another cruise right away (unless it was JoCo Cruise Crazy, which I'm sorry I missed), but it was great to have an extended stretch of time with our friends. That was the best part of all.

Oh yeah!