Sunday, May 29, 2011

food for finance: oh ship

(healthy) food for finance is a column where we talk about how fitness and finance correlate with each other. join us on our journey to be both physically and financially fit.

I know what you're thinking. Why would Kyle and Angie go on vacation when all they talk about is getting out of debt? Because we earned it! Was it in the budget? OF COURSE! When we decided to really tackle the remainder of our debt, it only took 5 months of hard work. And to think I was going to pay on my student loan for 15 more years. Not this girl! We were focused and we had a goal in mind. That goal involved the sand and sun! We are still in baby step 3, building our emergency fund, but together we thought it was time for a real vacation! One that was not work related. One that lasted for a week! One that we could pay and not have to worry about our debt (except our house) when we came home! It was a time to celebrate being debt free! And our vacation just so happen to be our anniversary week!

We decided to go on a 7 day cruise in April. Kyle had never been on a cruise and I had been on 2. So off we went. We left Friday to go to Mimi's house in Jackson, MS. As always she had wine, chips, and dip ready for us upon our arrival. We left around 8am from Mimi's and headed south to New Orleans. We directly boarded the ship around noon and ate lunch. Ahhhhh, vacation!

We heard that the average person gains anywhere from 1 to 2 pounds a day while on a cruise...1 to 2 pounds A DAY! YIKES! We found the massive work-out room and weighed in. We wanted to be mindful of our weight. 

My sweet husband got us a room by the spa and work-out room. We worked out everyday but one. We did not want to be a statistic!

Here is the view from New Orleans from the deck. 

Look at the muddy Mississippi river! GROSS! I was ready to be in the middle of no where with blue water!

We started cruising around 5. This is a picture of the our view rolling on the river. And look, we had a balcony in our room!!! I had a view of the wall on my 2 previous cruises. Kyle said he wanted to do it right for our celebration cruise. So we did! I can never go back to a regular room. I'm spoiled.

After dinner, I was so wiped out. I think I was asleep by 10.

Day 2 at sea: I read in a blog to leave the shades open for the sunrise wake-up view...

It was early, but it was worth it.  And the strange thing was, we couldn't figure out how to call for a wake up call. There was no alarm clock in the room and our phones didn't work. God took care of us!

We spent the day in the the sun reading, relaxing, and....
...going down the slide!!! I got a great action shot of Kyle.

Kyle is definitely a cruise fan. They added the jumbo tv to the deck (on the left).

A signature item, the animal towels. So cute.
Note the blue water in the background.

We had to watch the sunset since we saw the sunrise.

After dinner we went to the comedy club with our new friends. At dinner, they pair you up with people. Ours were a very nice couple from Boston.

Day 3 at port: Key West, FL.
Kyle is day dreaming he is on this island.....oh wait. HE IS!

If I could only go to an island that looked like this. Wait...I am THERE!
 Watch out Key West!

I loved the trees in Key West.
After breakfast we disembarked and went exploring. We didn't do any excursions on our cruise. We thought we'd just wing it.

We found President Harry Truman's  little White House where he spent his winters.

Harry's sand sculpture.

I heard roosters and chickens run wild in the streets of Key West. They do.

The famous mile zero.

Next up we went on a tour of Ernest Hemingway's home.
Kyle contemplating becoming a writer.
We had the best tour guide. He had a long beard, dark skin from being in the sun, one earring in his ear, and white shorts. A retired hipster who was an amazing story teller. A good option for a retirement job.

I am gathering up blog ideas from Hemmingway's bedroom.

Hemmingway's home is known for the 6 toed cats. There were around 44 there roaming around.
 He is also known for having many wives. Long story short, this fountain used to be a urinal. Ernest and his ex-wife did crazy things to each other to get back at one another. I made sure no one was looking when I had Kyle pose for the above picture!

I was looking for the perfect spot to take our "third" anniversary picture. Low and behold, the Hemmingway house also does weddings!  Perfect picture for our special day! We are 3 years old. I keep telling Kyle that I want to push pause or is going by too fast. I've loved the past 3 years being married to him.

A lighthouse picture for my dad.

Another famous spot. The southern most point in the continental U.S. There was even a line to take this picture.

southern most beach

After walking and touring, we were hungry. I was told to go to Sloppy Joe's Bar. It started back in 1933 and Ernest himself was a frequent visitor when it was a saloon.

I guess it still is a saloon because there was a horse peaking his head through the swinging doors. I kept telling everyone it was our anniversary.  Then come to find out, Key West is the number 2 destination spot to get married. How very egocentric of me to think we'd get special treatment on our special day! I thought that since it was a Monday, it'd be different. Then I saw a bride walk in the door....on a Monday at 3pm! I
guess everyone was celebrating their anniversary. 

We gave Key West 2 thumbs up! Time to board our ship and head onward.

Bye Key West! We'll miss you and your southern most points!

Since I was telling everyone it was our anniversary, we got a piece of cake at dinner. Yet again, it was every one's anniversary! There were even 2 weddings on the ship.

Day 4: Freeport, Bahamas
We were already ported when we woke up. We ported in an industrial area. So you couldn't just get off the ship and walk around. We were tired from the day before so we decided to relax and enjoy the ship with less people.

We laid out, played mini-golf, worked out, and enjoyed the ship. We heard later that the people who opted out of the excursions took a taxi for $5 and went to town and to the beach. We don't regret our day of relaxing!  

One thing Kyle looked forward to was our Fun Times daily newsletter. He kept it in his pocket at all times to make sure we wouldn't miss anything. In the picture Kyle is drinking his cup of Joe from the deck, reading the Fun Times! Carvinal runs a tight ship! We were well informed.

Our Boston friends. After dinner, we watched the magic show.

Day 5: Nassau, Bahamas
Yet again we didn't have a plan for the day (very unlike me). We heard that the Atlantis was a fun place to go. We had no clue for what we were about to encounter. We disembarked the ship and took a local ferry over to Paradise Island. It was about a 12 minute ferry ride with a surprise tour guide that told us all about the island. Apparently, the Atlantis is a 144 acre disney world type place with everything you can imagine. Kyle and I were not prepared for the awesomeness!

We walked into the hotel and ended up at the casino where the minimum bet on black jack was $500. Talk about some high rollers! Out of place much?!!! We said to each other "where in the world are we?!" This place went on and on and on. There were tons of high end stores such as Versace, Gucci, etc. Picture Kyle walking around in his swimming trunks and me in my braided pig tales. We totally fit in. We were just on our way to the beach...yeah that's it! 

And the beach is that we found. We followed some people to the pool area then we realized the Atlantis hotel guests had on wrist bands. Being the rebels we are, Kyle put his hand in pocket and I had my hand in my bag! We just acted like we belonged!

It was absolutely breath taking! There were sea turtles hanging out in the water ways. Later we found out they had a 1 hour lazy river ride through the resort. ONE HOUR!  That just tells you how big this place was. They had a slide you can ride down that you go in the middle of an aquarium with dolphins!! 

We noticed everyone had "special towels"  that were for members only! So we inched our way to the beach area. I kept telling Kyle "act like this place is normal....and act like we own it!" HA! So we walked down the private beach. Not long after walking we saw the Carnival cruise towels! We did it! We found the public beach right beside the most amazing resort ever. Then my camera went dead. We laid out for about an hour or so then took the ferry back to downtown Nassau. We walked around then boarded the ship.

Here is an aerial view of the Atlantis. This picture does not even show how big that place was. It was a nice surprise for us! The casinos and some the hotel were open to the public. If you ever go to the Bahamas, I highly recommend the Atlantis!

Our nightly routine was to get sushi and watch the sunset from our balcony.

Another wonderful sunset!
After dinner we went to a Mexican party on the deck and enjoyed the nice cool breeze under the stars.

Day 6: at sea
We slept in, worked out, and caught some rays. I took Kyle to tea time at 3! Then we went back to to pool and slid down the slide some more with the youngsters!

Dinner was formal as it was the captain's ball. Surprisingly, the food got better with each passing day.

After dinner, we went to get a martini. We heard Zoran made the best ones.

He did! I got the tiramisu-tini! It was the best dessert! Afterwards we went to another comedy show and we left because the guy was so bad. So we went to the disco to dance off some calories.

Day 7: at sea
Same story....just relaxing!

I saved our towel animals and our steward left us a note that said it was about time for them to go home.

We could tell we were getting closer to New Orleans with all the oil rigs. And the dirty water.

Our last sunset. From here on out....balcony or bust!

Look! Angie I see land!

My sushi man. He knew what I wanted every night.

Our wonderful waiters. We loved Jovie (on the right.)

Kyle and Mike (from Boston). They wore their shirts and didn't plan it! Later that night, Kyle and I watched the talent show. We took full advantage of our time on the ship.

We docked early the next day and finally got off the ship around 11am. Our friends Jen and Leon met us in New Orleans for the day. After checking in our hotel, we went sight-seeing.

The best pralines were at Southern Candy Makers.

Here is a view from hotel!  Hotwire did us well!

Kyle and I on Bourbon St.

St. Louis Cathedral. We also could see this as were were leaving from the ship.

We saw a lot of wedding parties. Here they are marching down Bourbon St. I also learned that funerals do the same.

Jen and I at dinner after a long day of touring.

The boys-Leon and Kyle.

We went to Cafe Begniet to hear Steamboat Willie. It has special meaning to Kyle and I. When we went to New Orleans back in 2007, we stumbled across him and I feel in love with his traditional jazz. He played A Kiss to Build a Dream On and because of that moment, that was our first dance at our wedding!

Steamboat Willie asked for suggestions and Kyle shouted out A Kiss to Build a Dream On and he played it!  Another moment in to go in the record books.

We left the next morning to head home (after a tiny detour). We stopped in Jackson to have lunch with Mimi and Aunt Eloise. Overall, we only gained a couple of pounds a piece! We'll definitely keep a piece of ship in our hearts, not our waistline. We had the best time and it was hard to come back to reality. One thing I really appreciate about our marriage is how much we agree on money. We are such a good team. There is power in numbers! We motivate each other. We have a long ways to go to pay off our house. But I know with each other, we're going to be very happy when that day comes. So until then, we'll celebrate the little victories and keep on rolling with the punches.