Carnival Destiny Part 3: Ports of Call

 

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Turks & Caicos: Grand Turk

We are docking at Grand Turk. Excitement and anticipation as the ship is maneuvered into the dock. I never tire of watching this procedure by the ship’s crew and the dock workers. From the lido deck I can see the port area. The port area is a ship ready shopping and tourist area made just for the cruise ships that dock here. One could just get off and stay right here without venturing anywhere on the island itself.

Susan and I aren’t exploring the island of Grand Turk. We are taking an excursion to a nearby uninhabited island where we will swim with the stingrays. Susan booked this tour. I see stingrays in the water all the time and am not thrilled about swimming with them. I am excited about the boat trip to the island and exploring the uninhabited island and of course getting into this beautiful warm Caribbean Sea!

The guide provides us with information about the stingrays. He gets into the water with food and soon a swarm of stingrays are swimming around him. One at a time he has each of us come into the water with him. Susan and I watch. Susan backs away. “I am not doing that. I am not going in the water right here. You do it and have fun. I am going over there and go in the water away from the stingrays.”

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I wait with some hesitation myself about doing this but we are here and so I will do it. I go into the water and to the guide. He gives me food to feed the stingrays. I cautiously put my hand out. Then the guide places a stingray in my hands. A photographer is taking pictures. A picture with it in my hand, on my head, on my shoulder. Once done I quickly move away. Off to the side to enjoy the water.

The water is crystal clear. It feels warm on the skin. It relaxes me. I am in heaven. Being in the water is comforting. It is a different feeling than being on it. Being on the water makes me feel safe and grounded. Yes I am more grounded and at one with my being when I am on the water than I am on land. On land as long as I can see it I feel at peace. The water, the ocean truly is a deep part of my sense of being and my sense of myself.

Returning to the port area we wonder around the shops. Susan wants to see what Margaretville is all about so off we go. Up in the restaurant we sip our drinks and have lunch and watch all the activity going on around us. The bar area is wild. People are drinking and dancing, yelling and laughing. Susan can’t believe what she is seeing. I love when I can catch some of my sister’s wonder and awe.

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We had a wonderful experience both on our excursion and at Margaretville. We are here only for a short day and it is time to head back to the ship. Like many people we never left the port area of Grand Turk to explore the island!

Half Moon Cay

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The day at the private island on a cruise is the most wonderful relaxing day. It is like being in heaven. Once on the island, paradise awaits. A ship full of people spilling out into the island doesn’t hinder the experience. Some people head off to hike and explore, many, like us, head right to the beach area. Sitting in the tropical sun on a lounge chair. Drinks are brought to you by the waiters from the ship. The water is heavenly, calm, clear and warm. You can smell barbeque cooking and when you are ready to eat you can head over to the pavilion where the most amazing barbeque awaits with an array of foods.

I lounge and sip my strawberry daiquiri. Soaking in the sun’s rays. In the water I float on a raft, letting the water take me where it may. Every once in a while I roll of into the water, swim a little and then back on the raft and back to paradise. Susan is in heaven lounging, drinking a strawberry daiquiri, swimming in the water. All cares are forgotten and we are right here enjoying life in this very moment. I can’t imagine a more peaceful heavenly experience.

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Time to eat. I enjoy a hamburger and potato salad. Sit a bit on a lounge chair with another daiquiri. Then a group starts dancing in the water. I can’t resist I must join them and with drink in hand I become a part of the conga line. Laughing and dancing we move through the water to the sounds of the steel drum band. So much fun!

The day ends way too soon. I could live here. Reluctantly people begin leaving the beach to return to the ship. This day will remain a perfect memory.

Nassau Bahamas

Our last port of call and our last day on the ship. It has been years since I have been here. Susan has a vision of the Atlantis Resort from all the television commercials. As usual the beach is my only priority. Susan booked a tour of Atlantis that allows us to use the beaches. Susan was excited.

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We arrive and explore the resort looking for the areas of the resort that Susan is excited to see. When we arrive at the pool slide. She said, “That can’t be it. It isn’t as big as it looks on television. There must be another one.”

“No Susan, this is the slide you see on television. Nothing looks like they make it look on television.” As we walk around she is disappointed that it doesn’t live up to her expectations. Atlantis is not what Susan expected still the place would be fun if you took advantage of all the amenities it has to offer.

We head out to the beach area. The beaches are closed due to rough surf. I am unable to get into the water but we sit and watched the surf against the rocky shore. I am just a little disappointed in the rough conditions of the sea so that I am not able to get into the water today. It happens. The sea is mighty and magnificent, sometimes calm and gentle and sometimes fast and furious. So off to find something else to enjoy.

Before leaving the Atlantis resort, we have lunch at one of the lunch stands by the pool area. Then we head back into town to explore. Back in Nassau there are now several cruise ships in port. We wonder around the little market place in town. I purchases some gifts and a painting for myself. It will be a wonderful reminder of our journey.

South Beach, Miami

We pull into port in Miami. The end of our cruise. It is over way too soon. Both our flights are later this afternoon so Susan thought this tour to South Beach would be fun. It was a last minute idea.

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We admire the architecture. I love architecture. Once upon I time I wanted to be an architect. Our first order of business is to head to the Kardashian store. I have no clue about this but Susan wants to go and take a picture of herself there for her daughters. I doubt my daughters would care.

We explore the beach, the shops, and the restaurants. Here our expectations of South Beach are not what we expected but in fact exceeded our expectations! Turns out to be an unexpected highlight of our trip. We love it! We end our time in South Beach having lunch outside at one of the restaurants.

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Now we must head to the airport and go our separate ways, back home and back to our lives. This interlude was a much needed respite from the stress of mom’s care and the affects it is having on us. For Susan it is the day to day responsibility and care. For me it is the resurgence of the feelings of not being good enough, of the inability of being who my mother wanted me to be and the shame of who I am. I must somehow maneuver this path without stepping backward into a person who I am not and continue to remain strong in who I am becoming.

We hug our good-byes at the airport and promise to do this again, to return to one of our loves and passions – taking cruises.

Until next time…..

Note: This cruise took place December 2012. I have reminisced and now an catching you up to our return to traveling and cruising together working my way up until the present of our Sister Travel Adventures. I will continue writing and keeping you up to date as we cruise and travel together.

Note: The Carnival Destiny was refurbished after we were on it and renamed the Carnival Sunshine