March 21, 2014
florida virginislands stmaarten
In March, after Alex and I were wed, we went on our honeymoon. It was a Princess Cruise from Fort Lauderdale, Florida to St. Thomas and St. Maarten, in the Caribbean. The cruise was also supposed to include Princess Cays in the Bahamas, but due to weather conditions, we were unable to ride the tenders to shore, and so we had an extra day at sea. We set sail aboard the Royal Princess, which was the newest ship in the Princess fleet at the time. It was the first time cruising for both me and Alex, and it was amazing.

On the first night, we actually stayed in Ft. Lauderdale, at the Marriott North. The food at the restaurant in the hotel was pretty good at dinner that night, but the breakfast sucked. After almost missing our bus to the ship, we were on our way. We made it easily through the boarding portion of the trip and found our cabin. It was awesome. We had our own balcony, which I highly recommend. It was definitely worth the extra money to be able to hang out in the fresh air outside without having to be in public. Balcony naps while the ship is in motion were one of my favorite things to do.

The next morning the Captain woke us up bright and early with the speaker system to inform us that we in fact would not be able to tender ashore at the Princess Cays in the Bahamas. That was a bummer, as it was our only planned beach day. After going back to sleep for a little while, we ended up hanging out on the lido deck for the day, watching concerts on the big screen, eating all the food we wanted.

Eventually, we made our way to St. Thomas, in the U.S. Virgin Islands. In the morning, we walked into Charlotte Amalie, the capital city of the USVI. Later we took a ferry from St. Thomas over to St. John, and visited Trunk Bay in the U.S. Virgin Islands National Park. We followed a snorkel "hiking" trail and learned about the fish and the reef in the bay. It was a new experience, but very similar to snorkeling in Hawaii, so I wasn't too impressed. The coolest thing to me was seeing yellow tangs, except the were blue! The water was very nice, and we spent the rest of the afternoon swimming and lying on the beach, before taking the ferry back to St. Thomas.

The next morning we arrived on St. Maarten. We wandered around the little shopping area set up for cruise ship patrons for a while, then caught our afternoon activity at the dock. We took a pretty large RIB with about 20 other people and our two guides, John and Trevor. They took us through Simpson Bay Lagoon and back around the smaller part of the islands, stopping in various places for swimming, snorkeling and drinking rum punch. It was great just to get out on a small boat and enjoy the water.

After St. Maarten, we started on our long journey home. We had two days at sea and enjoyed a lot more food and entertainment on the ship before arriving in Ft. Lauderdale again. It was an amazing experience, and I definitely would love to cruise again.