The Best Vacation Ever {Part 1}

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…I was wondering if after all these days you’d like to meet. To go over…EVERYTHING.

I couldn’t get it out of my head, I’m sorry. I’m done with that joke now.

But seriously, HELLO! I am no longer cruising through the deep blue sea, but I’m happy to be back to a routine. My family and our close friends were on the Royal Caribbean Allure of the Seas last week for a fantastic vacation. That ship is a city on water, guys. A freaking masterpiece.

Without further ado, here’s part one of three (maybe four?) recaps of just the highlights of what I deem to have been the best vacation ever. Grab some popcorn if you so wish.

Friday, July 1st

Pop and I had a 9 pm flight that was delayed for three hours (guess that’s a lowlight, not a highlight).

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We killed a little bit of that time by walking through the parking lot with our luggages. This was actually Pop’s idea! #PopMovesAndGrooves

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Saturday, July 2nd

Madre and Ben picked us up at the Orlando airport at around 2 AM. I was half asleep and groggy, but Pop was basically sprinting out of the gate to find them. In my head: “Pop, 2 AM is NOT a time to have pep in your step.”

Breakfast at around 9:30.

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quick cook steel cut oats with peach, banana, and nuts

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sunny egg

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a piece of “banana bread” (a strange but satisfying texture)

3 rounds of this circuit workout with a 36# bar. That Florida humidity makes me feel like a soggy vegetable.

Lunch before heading to Disney’s Blizzard Beach water park with Ben. He worked there last summer, so he got some free park pass perks, and I got to mooch off the benefits.

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There was a 1.5-hour thunderstorm safety closure, so Ben and I were sitting out in pouring rain in our bathing suits for a while, because we were wet anyway (we also forgot towels because we’re geniuses). But we still managed to ride all the slides once they reopened!

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Showered and dried myself with a single tank top.

Dinner at Crazy Buffet (pronounced cuh-RAZY, according to Ben) with good family friends! I ate one plate of real food, dessert second, and then another salad last. Needed to make sure I had room for dessert, ya know?

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Sunday, July 3rd

Early wake-up to drive to Fort Lauderdale for Mass before boarding the ship.

Once we met up with our family friends, we boarded and booked it straight for the lunch buffet. We were a little excited for the cruise food.

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The first of many. Lunches were usually all the veggies, some sort of curry with rice…

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…and a dessert that I really did NOT need to eat.

Our tiny stateroom was cozy, and our balcony overlooked the “Boardwalk” area of the ship. So cool.

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Of course, we had to explore this monster of a ship. I still don’t think I covered the whole entire thing over the course of a week.

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Pop was walking on the track at this time, I think #PopMovesAndGrooves

Oh man, this is where I start feeling sad because I miss it.

We were served a three course meal for dinner every. single. night. It was decadent and so delicious. You would think that I would feel full and bloated during the trip, but nay! On the contrary (ew, okay I’ll stop talking like that), my stomach felt GREAT the whole vacation. And I don’t care about having a flat belly, but it was actually flatter than ever.

Know what that means?

  • I’m not lactose-intolerant (I had so much ice cream on the cruise).
  • My bloating/GI discomfort comes from stress and eating as quickly as I can during my busy day.

Will work on that. But back to this cruise food. Three courses for EACH PERSON (sometimes even four if we were feeling two appetizers, because it was all included ← dangerous). Night 1:

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eggplant artichoke puff pastry tart

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orange “mojo” sauce pork chop

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carrot cake!

We also shared a lot of our food with one another, just so we could taste all the delicious flavors. Classy gluttons, I say.

I don’t remember what else we did that night, but I’m sure it was a blast.

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p.s. when we walked through this “Royal Promenade” area, there was ~included~ pizza, sandwiches, water, coffee, tea, desserts, and other snacks all day #help

Monday, July 4th

Breakfasts at the “Windjammer Marketplace” consisted of oatmeal with some combo of eggs, bacon, corned beef hash, and/or yogurt with fruit.

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topped with peanut butter later (yes, I did bring my own jar of Jif Natural)

First port — Nassau, Bahamas.

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“what do we do with it?”

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mannequin’s eyebrows impressively on fleek

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view from the ship as we sailed away

We didn’t do too much in Nassau except some walking and a little bit of underwhelming beachin’. It was a beautiful day though, and the waters were so clear!

Back on the boat, we celebrated America with some free pre-lunch flag cake that greeted the masses in front of Windjammer’s doors (not tantalizing at all for hungry tourists waiting on line for a table).

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‘Twas delicious cake, I must say.

Vegetables for lunch, please!

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salad, roasted carrots and sweet potatoes, turkey burger with mushrooms and caramelized onions

The fitness center on the ship was great. I think I was most excited about the kettlebells, which I used in my workout on Monday. There were also TRX’s, but the fitness center lady reprimanded me for using it without a certified TRX instructor.

I forget exactly what I did on Monday, but I know it involved kettlebell swings, pushups, sumo squats, Russian twists, jump lunges, and BOSU ball stuff.

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PSA: Stretch, por favor

Monday night was formal night! AKA the night Alison gets into something other than athletic clothes.

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Fun fact: We went on our first cruise ever with Christie and Monica (pictured above) and their parents 12 years ago. Naturally, we did a then and now photo.

Everyone nailed it, but I’m WAY off.

Dinner that night was delicious, but not quite as good as the first night.

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one of my favorite appetizers: “Roman Vignolo Salad” with arugula, edamame, green beans, tomatoes, prosciutto, artichokes, and parmesan

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sole with a tomato caper sauce

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butter almond ice cream

I believe we saw an acrobatics show that night— Royal Caribbean’s original “Blue Planet”. Very entertaining and impressive! Followed by a super late night comedy show, which made me laugh until my abs hurt.

Tuesday, July 5th

We were at sea all day, so we slept in before a sit-down breakfast to change it up a bit. We decided that we all liked the buffet more though (mostly because there were more options).

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smoked salmon and herb egg white omelette 

Ben, my uncle, and I gave the FlowRider a go later on. If you’ve never seen a Royal Caribbean commercial, the FlowRider is essentially a surfing simulator on the ship. There are two ways you can do it— boogie board on your stomach (easier) or surfboard on your feet (harder).

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I don’t know this girl, but this is what it looks like.

A few comments about the FlowRider:

  • It’s a lot harder than it looks.
  • 10-year-olds show me up.
  • Falling off doesn’t hurt, but being swooshed up to the top like a half-dead fish can be painful…

…and it did do some damage to my brother. Poor Ben dislocated his shoulder on his surfboard run.

I’ll spare the image for privacy reasons, but long story short: The doctor on board popped it back in (I contemplated popping it back in when he first told us about it, but…I’m not that dumb). He was given a sling to wear for a while, he lost a little bit of function (guess who cut his food the rest of the trip? :D), but he’s okay, thank God.

After all the excitement, I went to eat a late lunch by myself at Windjammer.

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A few activities and maybe a nap led us to dinner.

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Ben and I shared the caprese salad + the arancini for appetizer

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pork tenderloin with provolone potatoes (*angels singing*) and vegetables

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favorite dessert of the trip: bread and butter pudding a la mode ➔ it was like a cross between creme brûlée and bread pudding

While Madre and Pop were at the “Love and Marriage Game Show” at night, Ben and I decorated the stateroom for the ‘rents anniversary the next day. Ben was the brain behind the beauty of the setup!

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When Madre and Pop came back late that night, they were so surprised and touched. Woohoo! Happy 25th to the lovely couple 🙂


Part 2 coming tomorrow! Holy toledo, this is quite an epic recap.

So tell me:

Have you ever been on a cruise?

Does your stomach feel better on vacation, even with more food?

What did you Americans do for Fourth of July?

Have you ever dislocated your shoulder?

What was the best thing you ate last week?

More content = more questions for you. Let’s chat, please; it’s been a while!

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14 thoughts on “The Best Vacation Ever {Part 1}

  1. 1. nope – though my parents have been trying to get me and my sister on one for years. I’m just not comfortable being on boats in the middle-of-nowhere ocean even though my parents insist “But you won’t even know you’re ON a boat!” Nope! I won’t get on, haha.
    2. My stomach usually feels fine (if a little bloated after dinner and dessert some nights hehe) as long as I’m moving enough throughout the day/working out and drinking coffee and eating at last one banana; all things that I find help keep my digestion flowing like a charm 😉
    3. I went on a nice 4 hour hike with one of my best friends and her lovely family! Then just came home and relaxed – nothing too festive over here.
    4. *knocks on wood* Nope, and I hope I never do – as a swimmer that would be so frustrating.
    5. Last week…this sounds boring but I hadn’t made it in a while so it hit the spot! Egg whites with sauteed broccoli with lots of ketchup bc I can’t bear (bare?idk) to eat eggs w/o ketchup my fav condiment. 🙂 Your trip looked like so much fun Alison! ❤

  2. Even though I do make some dietary changes to help my stomach, I notice that stress is ALWAYS the biggest issue for me, too. No idea how to properly manage that particular symptom with school, etc., but I try really hard.
    I need to practice splits. Holy cow, you’re flexible and I have the tightest hips and hamstrings in the world!
    I’m craving a cruise. I think we’re tentatively planning one after my graduation, but it’s been about 10 years since i was on my last one and they’re so fun!

  3. What an experience! I’ve never been on a cruise before, but it does look like its own little city on water–so much to explore! I love that you guys decorated your parents’ room, too. 🙂

    I was in Canada for the 4th of July (and in the US for Canada day, haha)! So we didn’t do much besides hang out on the beach and nap, like pretty much every other day of our vacation. 😛

  4. Wow wow wow, this looks amazing! I was entranced the whole way through. I love what you and Ben did for your parents’ anniversary.
    I’ve been on one overnight cruise to Tasmania, but nothing like that. I find, on holidays, that the different environment and schedule (or lack thereof) causes anxiety for me, sometimes more than my daily routine, so there’s a fair bit of difficulty with food and digestion. So good to hear that you had a positive experience though! Stress usually has so much to do with these things. 🙂

  5. So tell me:

    First of all, I have never been on a cruise, but I totally lived through you and this picture by picture and word by word description. Alison, your free joy on vacation is entirely too contagious. 😀 That’s so sweet and ingenious of you and Ben to do the decorating while the parents are gone at the show. 🙂 I’ve heard the food on a cruise is EPIC, and you know what? Often it seems like stress = ‘weight gained’ for me, which is weird, and if I’m not stressed I don’t? I have no scientific explanation for that. 🙂 God does amazing things.

    It made me really happy to see that your stomach did totally fine, and I have to admit that my stomach is probably the most affected by stress. Isn’t it amazing how stress plays into our physical state? It’s just amazing and incredible how God made us a beautiful, whole person.

    On the Fourth we went and saw an epic fireworks show after the Colorado Symphony Orchestra played so many beautiful scores, especially some amazing John Williams. I think I may have dislocated my shoulder when I fell snowboarding this year. At least it was really painful, but then again, maybe I didn’t.

    I CAN’T WAIT for more recaps!!! 🙂

  6. The Fourth of July wasn’t too eventful for me, but I still had a fine time at home. However, I’m planning to make the rest of the month very fun! Anyways, I am so jealous of your amazing trip! Aren’t lunch buffets the best?! Especially Indian ones!

  7. Omg that ship is INSANITY. Like… how does it even float?!?! That sort of thing boggles my mind big time. And makes me convinced the I need to go on a cruise. You know… for research purposes 😉 And I always find the same thing when I’m on vacation – my stomach gets a tonne better. Stress is a serious killer when it come to stomach problems!

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