Last Sunday morning Adam, my sisters Charity and Emily, my brother Bryan, and I flew to Miami. We spent one night at the Hilton by the airport and near little Havana. There really wasn't much to do close to our hotel so we just hung out at the pool, went to the gym, and walked down to a local grocery store. It is safe to say that we were definitely the minority in that area. Almost everyone walking on the streets, working in the stores and restaurants, driving our shuttles, etc were all from Cuba. The next day, we were shuttled over to the Miami Port and boarded our cruise ship. We spent the next five days and four nights aboard The Majesty of the Seas, making stops in Key West, Florida, the Bahamas, and an island paradise called Coco Cay. EF generously paid for everything (airfare, cruise, gratuities, drinks, shuttles, and hotel) for everyone in my party. In Key West, we rented a 6 person golf cart and cruised around the island, stopping to take in the beach, shops, an old cemetery, and Ernest Hemingway's house. It was fun and I'm really glad we decided to rent it. We were able to see a lot more than if we had opted to walk. Although we had fun in Key West, I really have no desire to ever go back. It was severely overrun with tourism and the surrounding water wasn't even blue or clear. The next day, we stopped in Nassau, Bahamas. EF paid for us to go on a snorkeling excursion which took the majority of the afternoon. They took us out on a katamaran and we snorkeled for about an hour around a coral reef. The water was uh-mazing. Absolutely beautiful, crystal clear and warm. We saw a lot of beautiful fish and swallowed a lot of sea water. By the time we got back to land, a major thunderstorm hit and we ended up getting sopping wet while trying to get back on the cruise ship. We decided to stay on the ship for dinner since it was free anyway rather than try to head back into the storm. After dinner, we got a taxi and went over to Atlantis resort to check out the aquarium and view the grandeur of the largest resort in the Caribbean. On our way to Atlantis, our taxi driver took us to a very scary looking liquor store so that my brother could by some rum for some coworkers who gave him money to bring some back. (That's a whole story in itself) On board, the ship itself was pretty fun. While it's not exactly my absolute ideal vacation, it was fun and how can I complain when it's free? There were a lot of activities to do on board. We went to the gym and danced every night to 70's, 80's, and top 40's music. We also sang karaoke, hung out on deck staring at the ocean (I saw a dolphin!), played games, hung out by the pool, saw some shows, and ate, and ate, and ate. I was so sick of eating by the end of the trip. Our last day was by far the best day of the cruise. We spent the entire day at an island owned by the cruise line. It was so amazing. The beach was saturated with shells, the water was indescribably beautiful, warm and clear, and the sand was as soft as cookie dough. Adam and I played beach volleyball, we played in the water all day, had a beach barbecue, and then ended the day at the aqua park. The aqua park was so fun complete with a trampoline, and super fast slide that sent us soaring into the ocean. Holy awesome! I found a starfish, my sisters saw two stingrays, colorful fish abounded, and we had the water and beach to ourselves for the most part. It was sad when we had to leave and head back to the ship. All in all, it was a really fun trip. I'm glad my sisters and brother were able to go. They really made the trip a lot more fun. As for James and Ruby, they spent most of the week at grandma's. I can honestly say that I really didn't miss them that much until I got home and then I realized how glad I was to see them. However, it was really nice to have a break from the fighting, and the screaming, and the tantrums, and the parental responsibility. I love my kids but I also love having a break from them once or twice a year. They were really happy to see us. Sadly, it's back to reality for us now. Adam starts his glamorous job at DirectTV tomorrow. He was a little depressed about it today. Oh well, I'm hoping it won't be for long.