I recently had the pleasure of traveling to the Caribbean on the Celebrity Summit cruise for winter vacation. My parents love to travel (#blessed) so we try to go to two new places every year. However, now that I work full time in Silicon Valley, these family trips are fewer and farther in between.
As a family, we’ve been on a few cruises to different places around the world. My parents have discovered that cruising gives them the opportunity to explore new places, without the hassle of booking different hotels and hopping from location to location. And as they’re getting older (sorry Dad, but it’s true) they are no longer as eager to trek through the Himalayas or backpack across Cambodia, so they’ve been choosing more “relaxing” destinations in recent times. In particular, tropical island destinations.
This trip was exceptionally special, because my cousins and my aunt and uncles (from both sides of the family) decided to join us. The last time all of us were reunited together was probably 12 years ago. (My family lives in China, my mom’s sister lives in New Jersey with her family, and my dad’s brother lives in Virginia.)
San Juan, Puerto Rico
First, my family and I spent a day in beautiful Puerto Rico. We wandered around Old San Juan, which was one of the most charming towns I’ve been to. It had such an old world quality about it. We sampled Latin cuisine, visited ancient castles, and I went salsa dancing with the locals.
The next day, we boarded the cruise – a gorgeous 12,000 ton ship. This was my second time cruising with Celebrity, and I have to say that they are one of my favorite cruise lines – although the Celebrity Summit was a slightly older vessel that was showing some wear and tear.
To save money, my cousins and I stayed in an “inside” stateroom, which meant that we had no windows. So we had absolutely no concept of time, which made it easy to sleep till noon. (My cousins Lilly and Sandy abused this liberally.)
Day 1: Tortola, B.V.I
Our first stop was Tortola, a British Virgin Island. We headed straight for the beach for some snorkeling action and sunbathing. Lots of bikini photo ops, such as these pics:
And if you’re wondering how I possibly got these photos, I stood in that location for around 5 minutes waiting for the perfect wave. Let me tell you, trying to hold a pose while the ocean is giving you a beat-down is not easy.
And another “model” shot, where I purposefully sucked in my food baby so much that I was practically concave:
In the evening, we got dressed up in our “Evening Chic” attire. I busted out this minimalist maxi dress. No sucking-in here; the lines of the side panels helped give me the illusion of an S-curve. Posing tip: When you turn your body slightly to the side, you can fake a flawless figure.
Also, apparently I only have one pose:
Day 2: At Sea
We had one day At Sea for ship activities. Some members of my family and I did a tour of the kitchens. In the afternoon, the girls and I took a Zumba class in the gym to work off our lunch. I explored the ship and watched a hilarious water polo game on the deck. After night, we played some cards and got gelato from the ship’s special Gelateria.
I decided to go for a vintage nautical look while we were at sea.
Day 3: Dominica
Our excursion in Dominica was probably the biggest letdown of the trip. We were supposed to go river tubing. However, it poured the previous night, which made the river rise to dangerous levels. So unfortunately, our excursion was cancelled. Instead, we hiked through the rainforest to a place called the “Emerald Pool,” and afterwards we snorkeled in the volcanic waters of Champagne beach.
Day 4: Martinique
We spent some more time at the beach (shocker, I know.) In Martinique, we actually discovered a “floating swimming pool” sort of thing in the middle of the ocean. That was a lot of fun to chill in and run around on.
One thing to keep in mind: Martinique is considered French territory, and the currency used is Euros. We got into an argument with our taxi driver because we didn’t have any.
Day 5: St. Kitts and Nevis
The girls and my little brother did a very special excursion in the morning – a dolphin encounter! Dolphins are one of my favorite animals, so obviously I jumped at the opportunity to meet them. We got to swim out and have a dolphin push us back on a boogie board, and we also got to have them drag us back with their fins.
I’m so glad I got to interact with the dolphins, but I’m not sure if I would ever do such an activity again. I found the way the dolphins were confined to be questionable, and not much better than those at Sea World. Hopefully people will post more research on these places.
Day 6: St. Thomas
More beach time and snorkel time in St. Thomas. Pina Coladas on the beach, sunbathing, and feeding the fish.
All in all, it was a fun trip. It wasn’t one of the most exciting, but to be honest, I’ve been spoiled by great travel adventures – diving in the Maldives, trekking through temples in Cambodia, climbing volcanos in New Zealand, etc. But the fact that I got to spend it with my extended family is what made it special.
Looking forward to my next travel adventure!