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They may have less, but they may live more - recap of Carnival Celebration cruise March 31, 2024

Late doesn’t really cut it on this post. The trip dates were Friday March 29th to April 7th, 2024. Life has been busy. Immediately after returning from the trip, I moved back into the Main St Charmer, visited Denver for a work conference and then it was all hands, time and energy to finish up “Filling My Bucket: A Year of Solo Travel Across Seven Continents” now officially launch out into the world on Amazon and Barnes and Noble, recapping my 2023 journey to step foot on all seven continents in a single calendar year.

Since the trip, Wyatt and the 2 Great Danes also moved in.

We are all adjusting well, including little Macie Mae. Now at 17 years old, her resiliency and adaptation to all of the changes and moves have been remarkable.

Wyatt and I both have a TON of kitchen stuff. It’s resulted in the kitchen being more organized and well thought-out than I ever imagined. Like mortgage lending, it was a puzzle putting all of the pieces together and in their “right place” but the same satisfaction as when you snap the last piece into the bigger picture.

Getting back to the actual vacation update, it was fun. They always are and I hope they continue to be. My first time out of the country since the December 31st, 2023 return from South America and Antarctica. We flew to Miami, set sail on the Carnival Celebration with stops in St Maarten; San Juan, Puerto Rico before our final port in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic.

I always like to fly in early, at the bare minimum a day early, before departing in a cruise. After taking a red-eye from Denver we arrived in Miami in the wee-morning hours on Sat, March 30th before our cruise departed on Sunday the 31st. We spent the day and night soaking in all that Miami has to offer including watching the Icon of the Seas (Royal Caribbean’s newest and monster ship) sail away from the same port that we would set sail from the following day.

We boarded the Carnival Celebration a little after 12 noon on Sunday. The Celebration is a special ship to me. For those of you that followed along from the beginning, I sailed on her for two weeks during the first trip in 2023. It was the site of a lot of the initial personal growth that laid the groundwork for becoming comfortable with myself thru solo travel, and the launching point for the “People n Places” photography series that gave 2023 so much purpose along with this blog.

Sharing all that the Carnival Celebration is to me with Wyatt, a first-time cruiser was an important milestone in our growth together as a couple.

The most memorable story of the vacation is a little less glitz and glamour and involves sea sickness. He gets motion sick in normal life, and I was quite nervous that he wouldn’t like cruising. But now a few months into dating, I guess cruising was part of the lipthmus test of our relationship.

The first two days of the cruise were sea days as we set sail from Miami to our first port. He was having fun and remained a good sport but was a little green in the face during those first few days. Seated at our table for two at dinner on our second night, more than 48 hours after we set foot on the ship, he crouched down a bit with his face close to the dinner plate, eyes WIDE open, and with sincere concern in his voice, whispered “do you see the water moving?” It was sloshing around a bit. A noticeable, but slight wave back and forth against the sides of the clear goblet. With a gentle smile, trying not to chuckle but also concerned for his health and enjoyment, I just stated “you can’t pay attention to it as you’re making yourself sick.” I mean, what else do you say to someone that’s loaded up on the behind-the-ear prescription sea sickness patch but also oral Dramamine in a one-two punch to try and gain the upper hand on the green-face.

He ate VERY little the first two days. Finally, when we stopped at our first port and he was back on dry land, he got his sea legs, and thankfully the remaining 5 days were much more enjoyable for him and less concerning for me.

St Maarten, our first stop was a beach day. Orient Beach is world-famous and it didn’t disappoint. It was a non-camera day. Just relaxing and soaking in the sun and surf before wandering thru a small shopping area on the French side of the island before hailing a shared taxi and getting dropped off in downtown Philipsburg back on the Dutch side of the island where we did some souvenir shopping and hopped on the water taxi from downtown to the port. It’s walkable, but after numerous visits to St Marteen, it was the first time I’ve taken the water taxi and it was a fun, quick, and much more enjoyable option than walking. Back onboard, we set sail for San Juan and arrived the following morning.

San Juan sparkles. It remains one of my favorite cruise ports and I’ve visited at least 5 times in addition to spending several days there in 2007.

It was time to bust out the camera, really for the first time in 2024. I was excited to show Wyatt some of my favorite Puerto Rico sites. Paseo de la Princesa water fountain, gate into the walled city, Cathedral Basilica de San Juan Bautista (home of the tomb of Ponce de Leon) and neighboring El Convento Hotel before wandering up to the Paseo del Morro fortress and then back down the hill to the central square and site of last years first “People n Places” photo in Plaza de Armas. We had lunch at Casa Luna, again a repeat from my 2023 stops in San Juan before ending the day at a beach.

The colors, cobblestone streets, people, beaches, and food are memorable. I just love San Juan.

Our last stop was Amber Cove, a cruise port about 15 minutes from Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic. After several prior visits here in 2023’s travels, I wanted to visit the city of Puerto Plata itself as I hadn’t ever done that. From the cruise terminal we hired a private driver for the day who took us around the city, both in the air conditioned van and also on a walking tour where we visited some souvenir shops, the central cathedral and adjacent central square where the city was literally out dancing and having fun in a simple and refreshing way that we Americans seem to struggle with.

I think Wyatt noticed and even commented on how enjoyable it was to see people out living life and having fun in contrast to the daily grind that we see in everyday life in the U.S.

They may have less, but they may live more.

We wrapped up our final destination of this voyage at the beach, under the umbrella outside of a restaurant not far from the city center, we spent a few hours going back and forth between cooling off in the waters and resting in the loungers beach side.

Near the end of the day, a handler with a parrot walked by and being Wyatt’s first time out of the country, had to do a quick photo opp on the beach with the parrot, who took a very quick liking to his conical style hat.

Since this was my belated birthday celebration, over the course of the week onboard the Carnival Celebration we dined at Chef’s Table, a 12 course tasting menu with 16 fellow passengers, we ate in the main dining room several nights and at the steakhouse in the evening after the Dominican Republic stop. My “first dinner” often consisted of a burger from Guy Fieri’s Burger Joint, which are not only some of my favorite burgers on a cruise ship but also in general.

We rode on the ships water slides, spent hours at the adults-only pool during the day, caught a few comedy shows and of course, I spent some time in the casino.

All-in-all, it was a wonderful holiday and I am thankful that I got to share this years birthday celebration with my new beau.

Cole from Colorado

(Wyatt from the Wild West)



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about me:

Hey!  I am Cole from Grand Junction, Colorado. In 2023 I stepped on all seven continents, in a single calendar year, solo!

The year continues to shape my life and my lust for travel.

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