Eastern Caribbean Cruise

During June 2011, we went on our second cruise as a family. This was our fourth cruise together. We left Miami, FL, on June 19th. We were on the ship, the Carnival Valor. cruise20111Susan and I actually sailed on the Valor previously, but with a different itinerary. It was overcast in Miami, but the rain held out for us. Our friend Dan Bell traveled with us. We enjoyed seeing South Beach on our way out to sea.

On day two, we anchored at Half Moon Cay, Bahamas. Half Moon Cay is a private island that Carnival purchased a few years earlier. The island was very nice. We spent the day lounging at the beach. Brian and Aaron spent the day hanging out with their new cruise20112friends. Carnival brought food out to the island to feed us lunch. At Half Moon Cay, I purchased another Del Sol frisbee since my other one was getting worn out from use. Below is a photograph of Aaron and I standing near the beach with the Carnival Valor in the background.

Our second stop was at St. Thomas. At St. Thomas we boarded a ferry boat and rode to St. John. Susan and I decided to visit St. cruise20113John since they have been to St. Thomas before. We took a short truck ride at St. John to Trunk Bay Beach. We snorkeled around a natural reef at Trunk Bay Beach. We saw a lot of fish. There were schools of lane snapper that swam around us. Many of the snapper would come within an arm’s lengths. I saw a four foot tarpon while swimming back to shore. Aaron almost caused the family to miss the ride back to the ferry boat. When it was time to leave, he was about 150 yards from shore snorkeling. I had to swim out and get him (without any gear as it was all turned in). cruise20114Fortunately, our truck driver waited for us. To the right is a photograph of Susan and the boys on the ferry ride from St. John to St. Thomas. The photograph below is of Susan and I with Harass Island behind them. This photograph was taken from the Carnival Valor while leaving St. Thomas.

Our third stop was in San Juan, Puerto Rico. In San Juan, we hung out with Dan. We grabbed a cab to the Bacardi Factory. At the Bacardi Factory, we enjoyed two free drinks made with Bacardi. We toured some of the facilities. We cruise20115learned a lot about the history of Bacardi. After our free tour, our cab driver, Susanna, drove us around San Juan. We saw the beach front and downtown San Juan. Susanna dropped us off at the port, where we shopped for some liquor. There was no limit on liquor purchased in San Juan since it is a U.S. territory. The photograph below is of the boys at the start of the Bacardi Factory tour. The photograph on the left is our family with Susanna He was a very cruise20116nice man. He was a retired fire fighter.

Our fourth, and final, stop was Grand Turk. At Grand Turk, Susan and the boys went on a catamaran sailboat for a snorkeling excursion. They snorkeled near the “wall,” which was a location where the ocean floor dropped off quickly. Susan and the boys could see a lot of fish. Most of the fish stayed about 30 feet away though. I went on a certified scuba diving excursion. My excursion first stopped at the cruise20117“Rolling Hills” reef. The reef was natural. The reef was near the wall. I dove to 75 feet. During the dive I saw many fish. Some of the fish looked like colorful trigger fish, which I am accustomed to seeing in the Gulf of Mexico. On the second dive, I dove at the sight called “Coral Gardens.” I saw a barracuda with a fish in his mouth. On the way in from the dives, I saw the boat Susan and the boys were on.

All of the family thoroughly enjoyed the cruise. Susan and I enjoyed having their friend, Dan, join them. Brian met a friend, Jordan. Brian and Jordan usually hung out together while on the ship. Aaron met several good friends as well. As with the previous cruise, Susan and I had to force the boys to spend time with us during the days at sea. Brian and Aaron always joined us for dinner in the formal dining room.

Click on any of the photographs to view the entire gallery.

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