This past October, my husband and I were fortunate enough to go on the adventure of a lifetime! We went on a cruise on the Oasis of the Seas (Royal Caribbean) to Jamaica, Haiti, and Mexico. What a whirlwind!
I’d definitely be remiss if I didn’t start off this post by talking about the ship itself. The Oasis of the Seas is 362m in length, weighs 100,000 tons, and carries something like 8,000 people (including over 2,000 staff members). However, none of these impressive numbers do it any justice whatsoever! It is truly a floating city, with every type of food, drink, and entertainment you can think of, and then some. And it provided us with some of the most spectacular views of Caribbean sunsets…
Our first stop on the cruise was the island of Labadee, Haiti. The island is owned by the Royal Caribbean – they trek all the food & drinks off the boat for the cruisers, for our day on the island.
Labadee boasts some spectacular landscape, however, it was a bit of a facade.
When we looked a bit closer, it was obvious that we were in a very contrived place; a place created for cruising tourists.
Upon even closer inspection, we even realized that we were separated from the actual village of Labadee by barbed wire; we were fenced IN (and perhaps, the Labadeeans (sp) were fenced OUT).
How unfortunate to separate people from people.
This was by far my favorite island on the cruise. We were lucky enough to secure the services of a very kind taxi driver who took us out to Montego Bay – beautiful!
We even had authentic jerk chicken for lunch. Those of you who know me know this is quite a departure for me; I was a bit terrified that I’d get sick from the food (the jerk chicken shack, yes I said shack) was just off the side of the road, and honestly, it looked a bit sketchy at first glance. But with a bit of convincing and a reminder that we only live once, we went for it – the risk was 100% worth the reward!
We listened to lots of reggae and met more kind Jamaican people. Jamaica honestly had blue sea and sky for miles and miles. Truly a place where heavenly memories are made…
We spent most of the day walking through the city and exploring on our own.
The poverty was heart-wrenching in some spots; similar to what we’d seen in both Haiti and Jamaica.
Another reminder of where we’d come from back home and how lucky we are for what we have in our lives. It’s incredible to travel halfway around the world, only to be reminded how good you have it where you came from…
Such an incredible trip, for both my husband and I. We absolutely loved our time on the cruise. We traveled with another couple, who were fantastic companions and with whom we had a great time, shared so many memories, and made new and stronger friendships.
Most importantly, this trip gave my husband and I chance to reconnect.
This time away was just what I needed to remind me where I come from, and to help me re-focus on what’s truly important.
It reminded me, quite vividly and repeatedly, how lucky I am to live where I do and have what I have.
The simplest things like having a glass of water from a tap or waking up under a roof with four walls everyday and having a warm shower and a fresh cup of coffee are things that many of the people we met will never experience. Things that I do, on autopilot, every day. Without a second thought. Without a second moment spared for gratitude at the luxury in which I live.
So easy to take it for granted. So fortunate to be reminded of all that we have.
In this crazy, fast paced world of consumerism and workaholism, it was indeed a blessing for us. We enjoyed every minute of it; safe to say I think we might have the cruising bug!