Last week, I had the most incredible time with my mama and sis aboard our very first cruise – the Royal Caribbean Navigator of the Seas on their 7 night Western Caribbean Cruise! I documented so much of the experience on Instagram (@lonestarsouthern) and Snapchat (@lonestarsnaps), and many of this week’s blog posts were shot on the ship, but I wanted to give you a more in-depth peek at my time through this blog post. So sit back, scroll through the photos below to see some of my favorite momentss from the trip, then read below to hear all about it! (And just a heads up, click the little icons below to shop an image!)
What. An. Adventure.
Going through these photos has me nostalgic already… I don’t even know where to begin! There’s so much I want to tell you about this magical week. Ok. Collecting my thoughts. Let’s begin.
Like I mentioned, I had never been on a cruise before, or traveled to our three ports of call – Mexico, Grand Caymans, or Jamaica! It was incredible to take a short road trip to Galveston (only 4 hours from Dallas) and within a week, have traveled to those three amazing destinations. For those of you in Texas, this would make an incredible, hassle-free vacation!
Having no idea what to expect, I was blown away when we first walked into the ship. I guess I hadn’t expected just how huge it would be! Numerous restaurants, shops, pools, decks, and even a rock climbing wall and surfing simulator made it seem like we were on our own little floating island. Our room, y’all… goodness gracious! We had a stunning room with a balcony, and every morning and evening had a front row seat to the incredible sunrises and sunsets. In fact, we’d sleep with the curtains pulled back so the light would wake us up!
During our “sailing days” (the days we sailing to our destinations) my mom, sister and I would spend all day laying out looking at the ocean. A reggae band played pool-side, and there were always fun games to keep everyone entertained. It seemed like there were always a million things to do!
I was also blown away by how incredible the service was. You know how sometimes you go to a restaurant and the waiter makes it pretty clear he/she doesn’t want to be there? Imagine the total opposite. Every single crew member, whether it be someone on the wait staff at the specialty restaurants or our stateroom attendant (we miss you, Josephine!), went out of their way to be helpful and absolutely kind. Shoutout to Rakesh, Josephine, Niveshsingh and the many more Navigator of the Seas crew members we befriended over our short week aboard!
Now let’s get on to our ports of call. Y’all. Incredible! Our first stop was Cozumel, Mexico. We booked a snorkeling + catamaran excursion and had the most incredible time! (Please see incredibly attractive snorkeling selfie above.) After boarding our catamaran (we went on The Fury) we took a gorgeous ride to the reef and got to spend half an hour swimming around looking at the amazing marine life. I even saw an eel! To top it off, we got to spend an hour relaxing on a private beach before heading back to the boat. What a dream.
Unfortunately, it rained all day that we were at George Town, Grand Cayman, so our stingray excursion was cancelled. *Cue the tears.* But having the time to explore the gorgeous little town all day made up for it! We even stumbled into a little coffee shop and had the best time chatting with some locals. Though we only got a little taste of it, I’m dying to get back to the Grand Caymans. I’ve heard the 7 mile beach is stunning!
Our final, and absolute FAVORITE destination of the trip was Falmouth, Jamaica! I’m going to go ahead and say that if you every make your way there, do yourself a favor and book the Chukka Horseback Ride & Swim adventure. I gushed about it on Instagram here, and still can’t get over it!
Since it was an hour bus ride to the stables, we got to see lots of Jamaica and how the locals there live. Definitely grounding, as it wasn’t as “glam” as I’d always imagined, but incredible to get this firsthand look. Upon reaching the stables, we saddled up for an on-ground trail ride through some old Jamaican plantations. One of our guides even led me ahead of the group to canter! They were all incredibly hilarious and fun, and I snapped a picture with our favorite above.
Then they switched the horses into bareback saddles while we stuffed our faces with jerk chicken, a Jamaican specialty that definitely lives up to the hype. Finally, we got to the best experience of my life… riding the horses in the ocean! I can’t explain how incredible it was. Running through the ocean and swimming in it all on horseback was something I’ve always dreamed of doing…. and let me assure you, reality was even. better.
Needless to say, by the time we boarded the ship once again, we were exhausted. I also had the best time getting to know our excursion guide, Dameilia, over the course of the day who has the brightest smile of anyone I’ve ever seen. She’s just one year younger than I, and on the bus ride back we had the best time sharing our stories – mine from the US and hers from Jamaica! Definitely a special memory.
All in all, the week was nothing short of amazing. If you haven’t ever taken a cruise before, I can’t recommend it enough! The Royal Caribbean Navigator of the Seas was perfect for us – gorgeous ship, incredible staff, amazing destinations, and the list goes on! I think it would be perfect for a college spring break trip with a group of friends, a big family vacation, or even a couples getaway since it’s just so easy and restful, and there’s something for everyone to do!
That week abroad was the best way to kick off the summer, and I’m so thankful for the memories we made through it. So a big thank you to Royal Caribbean for such an incredible experience! And thanks to y’all for sticking through this long recap with me – too much to gush about. :) I’d love to hear your experiences/thoughts on cruising, so if you please, I’d love for you to spill in the comments!
Love from Texas,