Sunday, March 20, 2011

Our Winter Escape - A cruise to "warm places"

"The sea is everything. It covers seven tenths of the terresterial globe. It's breathe is pure and healthy. It is an immense desert, where man is never lonely, for he feels life stirring on all sides."
~~Jules Verne, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea

We are just back from a wonderful almost 3 week break from the winter weather. It is hard to describe the way that we delighted in spending 2 weeks sailing the seas visiting "warm places" all over the Caribbean.

Our vacation actually began with a brief stop in sunny Florida where we stayed a few days with some friends. (we couldn't stay in our own place as it is rented for the winter~) While there, we were fortunate to be able to share an amazing experience with a few of our closest friends~~ (LOL!)

~~~ the last launch of the Space Shuttle Discovery

We feel so very lucky that the timing was perfect for us to be able to witness this incredible sight!
(photos compliments of my flicker friends)

Our cruise left from Fort Lauderdale and our first stop (after two wonderful and relaxing days at sea) was the beautiful and colorful island of Antigua.

Some views of the lovely harbor and the brightly colored buildings~~



our first morning in port


I think these rusty old ships have so much character
see those beautiful church spires over in the distance?
we're going there in a minute~

here comes another ship into the harbor
"we were here first!"


Our beautiful ship
the "Celebrity Constellation"

ahh - (we're the little one!)
The megaship Norweigean Epic
followed us around
the entire trip.
these folks followed us around also~

the "Disney Magic"

The day seemed to start out a little cloudy and rainy so we opted for a short taxi tour around the island before heading to the beach. First stop - this old church that I spotted from the deck of the cruise ship that morning. We could not go inside because of rennovations - (but they will be completed when we return next year) - (yes, we are going back again!)

As we drove out of town and into the countryside - I spotted this old church. (yes - I am one of those people who LOVE old churches!) Our taxi driver said that this was the oldest church on the island and dates back to the early 1800's. I said - STOP the car!





our next stop was at the historic
"Nelson's Dockyard"
the dockyard dates back to 1725
you can read the great history
of this famous landmark



our great friends and travel companions
Bob and Jan
were along with us on this
fabulous 2 week cruise
(this guy makes me smile so big!)
My dear friend Jan



the restoration of the dockyard
includes many beautiful waterfront restaurants
and some great shopping


this shop makes sails for schooners
and sailboats

the dockyard bakery

(I lusted after that guava danish!)

the Gardener found the bakery
(no surprise there!)
he bought a yummy pineapple

how old do you think this tree is?
(really, really old!)

the National Park gift shop


the courtyard of the
Copper and Lumber Hotel

love that cozy restaurant!


these guys are "Trouble"!

persons who enter the island
via the English Harbour
must pass through
this historic Customs Building



the Dockyard has some
lovely gift shops

amazing craftmanship!
Wow! this boat was gorgeous!!



We took so many photos of our wonderful trip~~
I will have to make several postings in order to share them all with you. This is the first part of our time spent on beautiful Antigua. Let's stop here for now because we need to give away that fabulous sea glass necklace~~

Here she is - Miss Maddy girl, outside on the very first day of spring. She is all set to pick some winners~~




The winner of the sea glass necklace made by my friend Andria is~~
Sharon from the blog Wildflower House. Congrats Sharon - you will so love this beautiful necklace!

And the winner of the contest just for my much loved followers~~
A box of chocolates that I brought home from my favorite chocolate shop
on the island of St Martin~~

~~~ is Jan from the blog A Journey. Thank you Jan for being a devoted follower. I appreciate you so very much! You are going to LOVE these chocolates!

Coming up next - in my second post relating to Antigua - some breathtaking views of the island from the Shirley Heights hilltop area. These photos are truly amazing - one of the most beautiful views in all of the islands that we visited.
I have been gone from my blog for what seems like forever. You know when you travel - there is SO much to do when you return to home!! Catching up takes forever - my pile of mail was about 2 feet high! I am all caught up now - totally unpacked - laundry all done - AND I am finishing up those Nests!! I have missed you all so very much~~ our trip was beyond wonderful - I can hardly wait to share it with you all~~but, there is no place like home~~


DreamChallenge said...

I am ready to go again. You captured the joy of our trip in this first posting. Thank you for the memories. We live you both. Jan

Wildflowerhouse said...

Vicki I am so thrilled to have won that beautiful sea glass necklace. Please give Miss Maddy a big hug and thank you from me and thank you Vicki. My birthday is this coming week and what a wonderful gift this is.Hugs, Sharon
will email you my address. :-)

Unknown said...

Wonderful pics, thanks for sharing, I so want to go there, we are due to cruise from LA to Vancouver in 7 weeks I cannot wait:)

elvira pajarola said...

MAGIC, MAGIC...dear Vicki....You opened the Fairytale Book of's bright colours; wonderful greens and flowers, You took so very beautiful Photos...what a joy reviewing these heavenly places!!!!! got the most radiant sun tan..... this sweet white-violett-sun-dress looks fabulous...!!!!!!

What an exotic andventure; fantastic!! Sharing a wonderful travel experience with dear friends is even more fun...; I am looking forward to continue this gorgeous cruise.......!!!!

ciao ciao cara Vicki
un abbraccio elvira

Dorthe said...

Hi sweet Vicki,
I have missed you,too- have been thinking about you this last week- many times :)
But you have had the most fantastic tour I can see- dearest- how wonderfull, to really see those places- ---but for all us not being able to go...THANKS for showing your beautifull photoes.
-----congratulation to your lucky winner of the necklace ,and lovely chokolate-- and welcome home, sweet.

Hugs, -Dorthe

PoetessWug said...

Congratulations to Sharon and Jan...and Welcome home Vicki!! :-) Thanks for sharing your cruise with us!

Anonymous said...

Welcome back, you have been missed. Congratulations to the lucky winners.

myriamkreativ said...

Hi my dear Vicki,
.... gosh - it was gorgeous just to see this wonderful pictures. Seems you had a wonderful trip. And now you are ready for spring, aren`t you *lol*? We have wonderful weater at the moment and the sun shines and nature is bursting with colours and birds and bees ... so wonderful. So welcome back home and have a good start. Hugs & kisses Myriam

SuZeQ said...

I have been DYING to see all your photos (knew there'd be tons - thanks for not disappointing!) and reading all about your wonderful get-away-from-winter. Judging by Maddie's outfit, you did just that because those blue skies and green grasses look like Springtime to me. Congratulations to the necklace and the chocolate winners, too. Missed you, girl!

audrey said...

Congratulations to Sharon and Jan!!

What a fabulous trip you had. These photographs are beautiful. I almost felt some of that relaxation sweep over me as I looked at the photos. Antiqua is a gorgeous place. It is wonderful that you were able to take this trip and have such a good time with good friends. But you are right - there is nothing like HOME.
Happy Spring.
♥ audrey

Elizabeth and Gary said...

Wow! what a beautiful Island.I have never been to the Caribbean. It's on our list of things to do. Now that I see your photo's it makes me want to go even more..Amazing photo's!
The church is so charming and I love the windows with the shutters!
I can't wait to see more...
Have a sweet day and big hugs, Elizabeth

Anonymous said...

Your trip photos are just wonderful. Looks like everyone had a great time and made some great memories!

THANK YOU for picking my name and I'm so happy to have won the chocolates! YUMMY! I'll be sending you my email shortly!


Erica said...

This looks like a beautiful island! I love old churches, too and most of my vacations include stops at several, like our upcoming trip to Spain. I can't wait to see more of what you did!

Low Tide High Style said...

Vicki your trip pictures are amazing and how wonderful that you got to see the shuttle launch! Our old neighbors were there too! I can't wait to read more about your amazing trip and congrats to Sharon and Jan!

Kat :)

Jody Hammer said...

So dreamy!!! Congrats to the winners!!!

Unknown said...

"Escape" indeed! Sooo jealous! you look well...happy..and rested my friend. Good for you! Will chat soon! :)

The Painted Garden said...

Hi Vicki,

Popping in to wish you a Happy Spring - goodness - what a wonderful winter get-away you and your husband had - as usual your photographs are fabulous.
Have a lovely day.

The Polka Dot Closet said...

I have been on cruises before, but never 2 weeks. Oh, that would be wonderful, cannot wait for the rest of your journey!!


Deb said...

Hi Vicki~ I just thought about you in the last couple of days and wondered if you were back yet! Sooo glad that you were able to see the launch! And your pictures are marvelous! I love the old church buildings. It surely looks like you had a wonderful time.

Congratulations to the winners! Lucky ducks! :) But thank you for making us all feel a part of your trip. I love pictures!

I leave on Saturday for SC to bring Granny back home...she's been away since Christmas! Much longer than you've been away even! LOL! And we are anxious to have her back, too!

You were missed! Thanks for a great post and look forward to seeing more.

Sandies' Patch said...

Wow Viki!
Love the colours on your trip!
The beads and shells caught my eye too!
I'm going to have a go at making something like your giveaway necklace, it is so beautiful!
Looking forward to the next Cruise instalment!


Sandie xx

Lili said...

Oh Vicki what a wonderful time you had, you and the gardener look so relaxed and in your element there! That shuttle launch was such a bonus for you to be able to witness at the beginning of your journey. Everything looks so dreamy there. So good to see you back on here posting and congrats to the winners of your giveaway! Looking forward to more of your vacation pictures! xo ~Lili

yaya said...

Wow, what a beautiful trip..the colors and the history is really amazing. Thanks for all the fun pics, now I feel I've atleast had a mini vacation! Glad you had a great time!

A Scattering said...

Welcome home!

Looks like you had a great time. I have two stepsiters who live in Antigua. I'll be forwarding your post url to them so they can see what a lovely job you've done of showing off their home.

Still cold here, just scaps of snow left but we're expecting more overnight and into tomorrow. Yuck!

knitalatte said...

How amazing to see the launch! It looks like you had a great trip. Hope the Gardner is feeling better and that you were spared from catching his cold.
Welcome home!

peggy aplSEEDS said...

i didn't win that lovely necklace but thank you for a fascinating post. i love the pictures of the space shuttle Z(lucky timing!!!) and the old church (i love them too!). wonderful!

Lois Evensen said...

What a great cruise review and images of your cruise! We literally spend half of our time at sea on board Royal Caribbean ships so your destinations looked very familiar. We are home for ten weeks now, but will return to Freedom of the Seas next month.

Very best,

Her Art Nest said...

Amazing photos! Thanks for sharing. All the special moments are just breathtaking. What a gorgeous trip you had. Whoo Hoo, Nan

sjmcdowell said...

Hi Dear Vicki,

So very happy to see you back here again!! I missed you but I know you were having such a wonderful time my dear.
Oh yes..I was lusting after the picture of that Guava Danish too!!
YUMMY!! I have loved the taste of Guava since I was little.
The ships look great and you look beautiful...Love your sun dress!!

Congratulations to the winners..those lucky ducks!! Lol

Love and Blessings to you and Gardener,


Donna said...

Wow was almost like being there with you!! Your pictures were just wonderful the sights beautiful! So glad you had a wonderful time and look forward to more!
I love my nest and my daughter is envious...ha!
Glad you are home posting again!

Shell said...

Oh My Vicki Girl! How you always make me SMILE!

I LOVE the photos,,,,,and what an adventure! I cannot even imagine! Thank you SO much for sharing these lovely images!

I lit up like a Candle when I saw your comment on my blog! You are SO dear to me, and I've missed you So!

My computer/internet has been busy with BOTH of my boys/young men. If you noticed a gap of sorts in my posts it is because One was looking for work (Sean) and finally found it,,,,,and Andrew printing out finals/housing and the likes!

I'm reclaiming my Puter along with my blogging/emails and catching up with dear friends!

I'm So, So glad to catch up on what you've been doing.....and I look forward to additional convo's SOON!

Big Loves, Salty Hugs and a Shipside Bus on the Cheek! So glad to hear from you!

susan jenkins said...

Oh what gorgeous pictures! Loved every one of them. Thankyou for sharing your wonderful adventure in paradise!!


Finding Joy said...

What a wonderful trip and I just loved looking at all those photos (I love to find old buildings to photograph - they have so much character). I feel like I have been on holidays with you after looking at all those holiday snaps:)

I would have loved so much to see the space launch - once in a life time, so thank you so much for those photos.

Good to hear from you as well - missed you while you where away.

Jo said...

WOW!! The photos were beautiful. Glad you are back. I'm sure you had a wonderful time, plenty of rest and good food. A cruise is a wonderful way to travel. Can't wait to see the next pictures. I still love my nest and everybody that sees it wants to know where did it come from so I tell them about you. Maybe one day you will be sending another nest to Alabama. Hope you have a wonderful weekend.

Esme said...

Vicki-these photos are just gorgeous. I love the green church-the large mast boats are something else. I also like that if you enter through the English side that you go through customs.

I cannot wait to see more photos and maybe a bite of the pineapple turnover.

You look good and relaxed.

sjmcdowell said...

Hi dear Vicki,

Thank you so much for your prayers for my Sam. He is getting worse and I can't wait till my husband comes home so we can take him to the poor little Sam!



Silke Powers said...

Oh, my, Vicki, I feel like I have been on the cruise with you!! Those incredible photos make me look forward to our next cruise to exotic places. (I'll have to talk to you about our destinations and get your recommendations of what to do there...) I am so glad you had such a wonderful time - and that shuttle launch looked magnificent!! WOW!!! Oh, and congrats to the winners... Love, Silke

Thistle Cove Farm said...

Bless you for all these beautiful photographs; I am "there"! As well, you look beautiful in all your photos; so wonderfully happy y'all had such a grand time. I love the Caribbean; would love to be there now -smile-.

Nella said...

Welcome back! I was thinking now as I was reading your posting; you're actually saving me a lot of money! I don't ever have to travel anywhere in the world - I can just read Vicki's blog! I love to read about your adventures and all the pictures you put on your blog!

Anonymous said...

WOW, what a fantastic and beautiful trip! Thank you for taking us along with you! Oh my goodness, so many gorgeous photos! I almost feel as though I felt the kiss of sunshine and tasted the tang of salty sea air! High Tea is a wonderful and relaxing pastime of mine also! Oh the delightfulness of sweets, for a girl can never have too much of a good thing!!

myriamkreativ said...

Hi my dear Vicki,
... yes we had a wonderful weekend. At the moment it is sunny and really warm here about 18 ° C. So we could have nice walks and stay in the garden the almost the whole weekend - wonderful. Im sure there will be spring for you too very soon. Have a wonderful week.... I will come over later when you posted the new treasure with which you join in with the multicreative moments 2011.
Hugs & kisses Myriam

Cruise Deals said...

Hi Vicki, your post is quite interesting. You obviously had fun with your travel. The pictures you took are really good.

The little girl is really cute. And before I forgot, Congratulations to the winner of the sea glass necklace. That's really nice. Can I ask your friend to make one for me too? Just kidding.