S: Caribbean Friend's Cruise ~ September 9th through 15th 2012
BC: DEPARTED | MONTEGO BAY | 13 SEP 2012 | Red Rocket | Captain Chaos | Double D | Spacey | ZoomZoom | Big Block
1: CARNIVAL VALOR | MIAMI, FL | DEPARTED SEP 9, 2012 | was our vessel of choice for a six day Caribbean cruise! We were welcomed to our staterooms with chocolate covered strawberries and complimentary bottles of white and red wine. First sailed in 2004, the Valor was renovated in 2011 and is themed with "Heroes and Heroics." The Valor holds almost 3,000 passengers and over 1,100 crew members. She has 13 decks, a water slide, casino, sushi bar, and steakhouse.
2: MIAMI, FLORIDA | was home to our port of departure. We boarded The Valor around 1pm, Saturday afternoon, and quickly settled in with a light lunch and inaugural cocktails. Everything from Fosters "Oil Can's" to the classic Margarita on the rocks, to the Goombay Smash was ordered and a nice buzz was had by all, just in time for muster training to being.
3: Day One ---------------- Miami Florida
4: SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 9, 2012 is the day a group of 10 friends rendezvoused in Miami, Florida for a six day cruise to three Caribbean destinations. Also aboard the Valor was Tracy and Greg's former neighbor Bob, who welcomed us with special Chips Ahoy!
6: SOUTH BEACH, MIAMI passed by as we began our journey down the Florida coastline and toward the southern most point of the continental United States.
8: KEY WEST, FLORIDA | was named Cayo Hueso or "Islands of Bones" by the Spanish Conquistadors who found bleached bones after a battle between the Seminole and the Calusa Indians. Today visitors come to enjoy the fantastic sights, glorious sounds, delightful shops, and interesting museums of this island paradise. But our group was mainly just there for the hot sauce....
9: Day Two ---------------- Key West Florida
10: was our first stop in Key West, Florida! Our group got off th ship together and soon headed for specific excursions. Our hit list included Sloppy Joe's, Pepper's of Key West, a walk all the way down Duval St., the Coach Outlet, a quick chocolate run, and a detour to an incredible set of hammocks. The girls acquired Coach wristlets and a wallet, two of the three boys got scored new hats, and everyone enjoyed local a local brew or three. | SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 10, 2012
13: Our time in Key West was amazing. Local beer, hot sauce, hats, and music. And on top of all that, Ben got to hang out with a giant parrot!
15: Key West, FL | DID YOU CALL ME A SLOPPY HOE?! We stopped at arguably the most classic of all Key West restaurants for a local brew and lunch - Sloppy Joe's! The music was live, the beer was cold, and the nachos were the perfect receptacle for our new hot sauce!
16: KEY WEST, FL | It's 5:00 Somewhere! | 10 SEP 2012
18: Carnival Valor | KEY WEST
20: DINNER AND A COMEDY SHOW Our second evening aboard the Valor was a busy one. After soaking up as many rays as possible, we cleaned up and headed to dinner in the Lincoln Dining Room. Afterward, we hit the midnight adult comedy show at the Eagles Show Lounge!
22: 1ST FUN DAY AT SEA | Our first full day at sea was spent soaking up the sun and preparing for our first formal night. While Vince found the casino, Tracy and Greg kept to their room and Ben, Jesi, and Ali hit the pool. It was also the 11th anniversary of 9/11, and the ship observed a moment of silence, followed by a long horn blow, in honor of those we lost.
23: Day Three ---------------- Fun Day at Sea
24: Our first day at sea turned into our first formal night! The girls got dressed up and met in the casino for a few quick photos while the entire group made their way to the main staircase on deck three for professional, formal photos. Afterward, everyone headed to the Lincoln Dining Room for dinner. | OUR FIRST FORMAL NIGHT
26: CORAL GARDEN & STINGRAY SANDBAR | When our original excursion was canceled without notice, we were all worried about how our time in Grand Cayman would be spent. Thankfully we found the Coral Garden and Stingray Sandbar excursion, where we took a super chill boat ride to snorkel in warm, crystal clear water. Afterward we coasted to Stingray Sandbar. In waist high water we were greeted by friendly stingrays and even held them ourselves!
27: Day Four ---------------- Grand Cayman
28: Snorkeling in Coral Garden off the coast of Grand Cayman
30: STINGRAY SANDBAR Each of us got to hold or pet a friendly stingray, some of which were as old as us!
37: GRAND CAYMAN | Georgetown | 12 SEP 2012
38: CIGAR BAR & KARAOKE After a long day of snorkeling, we got comfortable and went in search of the ship's cigar bar. Vince passed around some bonafide Cuban cigars and the rest of the group held down a prime spot for karaoke. We heard an excellent rendition of Johnny B. Goode, and Ben serenaded Jesi with Brown Eyed Girl.
40: MARGARITAVILLE | Whether we got an early start or a late start, we all ended up in the same place: the bottom of a 20ft. slide at Margaritaville in Montego Bay! This restaurant was basically an adult water park. Vince may have broken his nose, Greg might have Brian's forehead imprinted on his leg, and the rest of us might still be trying to get the salt out of our eyes, but a jammin' time was had by all!
41: Day Five ---------------- Montego Bay Jamaica
42: Our second formal night was spent in Scarlett's Steakhouse on Deck 10 of the Valor. With a Five Star Dining experience, the staff at Scarlett's served escargot, New England crab cakes, lobster bisque, Ahi tuna, and tender, juicy filet mignon and New York strips. For desert we enjoyed chocolate samplers and caramelized Washington apples. | FORMAL NIGHT AT SCARLETT'S STEAKHOUSE
44: All Dressed Up The Best of The Best Formal Night Photos
48: OFFICIALLY THE BEST DAY EVER | Our last full day on board the Valor was spent drinking, tanning, and going down the ship's slide. All in all, the weather was perfect and our activities unscripted. The girls got sun, the boys ate chicken tenders, we had as many drinks as we wanted, and it was pretty much the best day ever.
49: Day Six ---------------- Fun Day at Sea
51: Our last night on board The Valor, our group went to the Lincoln Dining Room for dinner (where Tracy tried frog legs), and caught the last two comedy shows. It was a laughter filled evening to complete the trip of a lifetime. | ONE LAST | Dinner & Laugh | 14 SEP 2012