2016 Caribbean Cruise

Yesterday, we arrived home from another cruise in the Caribbean. This was our second time cruising with Shannon, Rusty, Ben, & Stephanie. However, this time Caitlin and Alaina also tagged along since it was their fall break. This cruise lasted 8 nights and was scheduled to stop at two ports in the northern Caribbean and two ports in the southern Caribbean. It was unique for us since we were sailing on a ship we’d already been on (Carnival Conquest). In fact, our cabin was the exact same cabin number we had the last time. Here was our itinerary.

  • 09/30 – Evening flights to Fort Lauderdale: We flew down to Fort Lauderdale and stayed at a hotel close to the port using Hilton points.
  • 10/01 – Start Cruise: We boarded the ship and had lunch which was around the time met up with everyone else. We explored the ship for a little while before I went to the sports bar to watch college football with Ben & Rusty. After the muster drill, we went out on deck to watch as we sailed out of port. After dinner, we returned to the sports bar to watch more football.
  • 10/02 – Day at sea: After breakfast, we started our day at the pool and water slide. After we got too hot, Kara and I played a couple rounds of trivia. We came in third on the general knowledge trivia. After a nap, we went to dinner for the first formal night of the cruise.
  • 10/03 – Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos: We spent our time on Grand Turk at the beach near the cruise center and at the pool resort area near the Jimmy Buffet’s. It was convenient to the cruise terminal and was a nice free place to enjoy.
  • 10/04 – La Romana, Dominican Republic ► Day at sea: Our ship was originally scheduled to stop in La Romana, Dominican Republic, where we would have taken a tour of Saona Island. I say “would have” because nearby Hurricane Matthew necessitated a change in plans by our captain. The previous day, we cut short our stop in Grand Turk by a couple hours and we skipped the stop in La Romana altogether. The bright side of the changes were that we were able to extend our time in Curaçao and Aruba. So, while it is a bummer that we didn’t stop in La Romana, the captain made the right call to keep everyone safe. Actually, this is our second cruise in a row that we were near a hurricane, although this was the first time we needed to change our schedule. The closest we came to the eye of Hurricane Matthew was approximately 425 miles when we were off the southeastern coast of Hispaniola while Matthew was off the southwestern coast.
  • 10/05 – Curaçao: We spent the morning on Curaçao by going to a beach resort at Jan Thiel Beach. After returning to the ship, we then walked over to explore the very European-like downtown Willemstad. Our ship was docked until around 10pm, so we were there most of the night. After dinner, we all went up to deck 12 to play cornhole. This was pretty cool because we had the backdrop of the lights of Willemstad at night while we were playing.
  • 10/06 – Aruba: We spent the morning on Aruba by going to Eagle beach, which was a nice beach. Kara and I had expected to be the only ones from our group there since the others had booked an excursion for this port. But their excursion was cancelled, so we met up with everyone else and had a great time. After returning to the ship, we explored downtown Oranjestad and did some shopping.
  • 10/07 – Day at sea: This day at sea was much like the others with pool/water slide, naps, trivia, and other games with the group.
  • 10/08 – Day at sea: We started our last day with pool and water slide in the morning. After that, I went to the sports bar with Ben & Rusty to watch college football. We watched a double overtime thriller between Tennessee and Texas A&M. With about 60% Tennessee fans in the sports bar, the place went nuts when they inexplicably forced overtime but then fizzled when their luck finally ran out and lost the game.
  • 10/09 – End cruise in Fort Lauderdale: We debarked from the ship, but our shuttle back to the airport got us back a little close to our flight. To speed things along, I checked us in on the Delta app while on the shuttle to the airport. So, all we had to do was drop off our bags and clear security. As we arrived, there were sirens blaring and bright lights flashing throughout the terminal with an automated message announcing that there was a security threat (bomb threat I suppose) and that everyone should leave the terminal. However, no one was leaving the terminal. That was bizarre enough, but the Delta line to drop off bags was completely full and snaking down the sides of the terminal. I’m not sure why it was so backed up, but if we had waited in the whole line we would have missed our flight. Luckily, the Delta agents handled it well and called all passengers from our flight to the front of the line so we could make our flight. It was so backed up there was no one in the security line after dropping off our bag. We made it to our gate with about 5-10 minutes to spare before boarding.

We had a great time on vacation. I’ve posted the pictures to my Flickr in the collection titled 2016 Caribbean Cruise, which contains the following albums:

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