NCL Pearl Cruise to the Eastern Caribbean

end of our hike on St. Thomas

Our recent trip to the Caribbean was to say the least... very eventful. It had some amazing moments and some moments I could have definitely gone without.
I can honestly say that I am very happy to be back home! It was a wonderful vacation, we got to see and do a lot, but my heart was never far from Seth. I don't think I will ever go through a 10 day separation from my son, if I can take him with me he's coming with. I realized something while Chris and I were flying away that Saturday morning... we are no longer just the two of us, now it's the three of us. And it just doesn't feel right if he is not there. But on the other hand, I did appreciate the time for some one on one with my husband and some very needed full nights of sleep.
This was our 2nd cruise and I feel that I've learned a lot more about cruising than I knew in the past. First off just because a cruise line says it's freestyle that is not always a positive thing. I learned that I don't really mind the set dinner time, it was ok not having it but cruising in the freestyle way doesn't help with making friends, and I had been looking forward to meeting at least one more couple we could hit it off with and maybe enjoy some of the sights together. But with the freestyle cruising making friends is not that easy to do. However I did meet a very nice single 40 something lady who was cruising alone... she loves it which surprised me. I don't think I would ever have the guts to take a long vacation on my own. I mean I can see that it could be very peaceful and she likes doing what she wants when she wants. For me however, I think I would be dreading the loneliness that I would for sure feel, with all the couples and groups of friends having fun together. Anyhow she liked it and that's all that matters.
The one thing I liked the least about this particular cruise was the first night's show. It was written up as a comedy show followed by a supposed Broadway-like show. Chris and I were both looking forward to it. on our last cruise the shows were fantastic, the one thing we looked forward to every evening. But the comedian was mediocre at best and the dancers and singers in the show were terrible. Not only was the Broadway show too risque for the audience there (including very young children) but the vocalists were terrible. It sounded like they were barely able to carry a tune but you couldn't make out the lyrics at all.
We were talking about skipping all the shows after that but we did get a peek of the next evening's first show and decided to attend it. Norwegian truly made up for the first show the second night. It was magnificent it was a tribute concert of the Four Seasons, the show was called O What A Night! Very fitting. The singers were fantastic and they  even did a bit of comedy on stage. Awesome!
The highlight of our trip was St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands. We did a half a day of shopping/browsing in the many jewelry stores that they have there... The diamonds there are beautiful they have one that has like 90 facets I can't remember the name of the cut but I have never seen a diamond reflect the light like that. Most diamonds reflect about 58% of light but these reflect 90%. The Diamond international store there actually owns part of the mine where these diamonds come from and if you are in the market for a diamond and want to take a vacation at the same time that would be the place to do it. 
However that was  not quite the highlight I was mentioning before. The best part of that day was spent on a Kayak Hike and Snorkel Trip, a bit pricey excursion but very much worth it. We got to see some amazing scenery and got to learn about the St Thomas Mangroves. How they are the protection from the storms that these islands face, they have many hurricanes that hit their shores every year. The mangroves actually grow in the saltwater and although they don't like saltwater they are made with an internal filtration system. They absorb the saltwater but the trees actually filter out the salt by putting it into some of their leaves. You can tell which leaves have been sacrificed for the rest of the plant because they are not green but yellow and dying. On our hike we got to see some amazing lava rocks and a lot of little crabs on the narrow wooded path we were on. After our hike we cooled off by going snorkeling. I loved all the colorful little fish but for me the highlight were the two stingrays that past right under me. I get very nervous when the water gets shallow because I don't want to touch the coral and hurt it so I made myself spread out right on top of the water barely moving an inch so that I don't actually hit anything with a knee or elbow.
The cruise itself did get a little boring we hit part of hurricane Thomas and therefore we had to forgo our stop in the Bahamas. That gave us way too many days at see with winds that could easily knock me down if I wasn't hanging on to something.
I have to say that if you love to eat a lot a cruise is the way to go because there is food pretty much at every turn at all hours. That was hard for me because I was trying to maintain some semblance of my diet. It lasted for a few days I even did two days of jogging on the treadmill in the gym 2 miles a day we were also on deck 11 and we took the stairs every time each day I probably did 20 flights of stairs throughout each day of the cruise. I think that helped with some of the extra deserts I allowed myself. :) I tried to take photos of all the foods I ate kind of like a food photo journal.
Well that was our trip in a nutshell, I probably need to say that I won't be cruising any time soon, I thought it would end up being a less expensive way of seeing more places but it ended up being a very expensive vacation and due to the weather we were limited and what we were able to do and where we were able to go. However, we did get a lot of rest and did a little bit of gambling (I won like 200$) so overall I have to say it was a fun trip.
I will include photos on my photo page and a few on this one.