Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Travel Adventures: The Lebrewski Cruise

I have been MIA for over little a week due to going to the Bahama's on a music cruise. I am going to try to piece together some of my favorite things and moments for you each day to give you an idea about our fun filled trip. This was one of my favorite vacations we have ever taken and I have traveled a lot.

FYI-- I was sick this entire trip with a pretty crappy cold.  

Day 1 Chicago to Miami--Norwegian Pearl ship
We started this day off early having drove to Chicago the night before after work. Our hotel the Loews Hotel Chicago offers parking there if you stay with them plus a really fancy shuttle service to the airport. Highly recommend staying there. Chicago O'Hare International Airport was extremely well organized and we were able to breeze through check-in and security with enough time to grab a yummy breakfast sandwich before boarding our flight. The flight was good overall because I always take dramamine while flying. With my head cold my ears where not so happy though and continued to pop all night. Arriving at the Miami airport we found our bags and headed over to the ship via another shuttle service Norwegian has. Ryan and I have cruised on the Norwegian Pearl before he actually proposed to me on this ship so it was fun to come back to the ship. They have renovated it in 2013 so a lot has changed in the layout of the ship.

Here is the ship out a sea. Pretty big ship. We decided as soon as we were on the ship we would only take the stairs the whole time on the ship. The ship is 13 floors. Needless to say we got a good workout in on the ship. 

Once on the ship we ate lunch and roamed the ship to figure out where everything was. We caught our first show of the night and managed to eat dinner too. 

Food hightlights-
Lunch I had this watermelon salad with basil and olive oil. It was simple but so refreshing. I had my first drink of the trip a Miami vice (half daiquiri/half pina colanda) it was yummy but at $28 for two we limited our intake for the rest of the trip. 

Music highlights-

Kyle Hollingsworth (The String Cheese Incident) sailed us from port with some good ole funk music. 

Later after dinner we rocked out with Tyler Bryant and The Shakedown. 

Day 2 New Providence (Nassau)
We forgot that everything in the Bahama's runs on island time so we had to wait for the tourist office to open at 9 even though we disembarked at 8. Once we had our trip to the Clifton Heritage National Park  all sorted out with the wonderful Kathleen, Joey and Vernita. Joey was our driver and car guide explaining how the island and Bahamas work. Vernita was our guide at the park showing us amazing rock formations and art along the way. The trip was $60 a person and included a 45 minute drive to the park, guided tour of the park and lunch. We paid extra for snorkeling but that was worth it to see the sculptures.
When we got out of the water I noticed giant globs of crude oil all over Ryan. I had some all over the bottom of my suit. Come to find out they had an oil spill and the ropes around the statues were covered. Getting back to the ship we rushed to change out of our beach wear and get to our first concert of the night. I scrubbed those suits clean of oil for a long time first. I got them clean and now we can laugh about our brush with a oil spill.

Food Highlights-
The chicken at lunch supplied on the beach had the most delicious seasoning on it with steamed veggies. It was perfection. Grabbing an ice cream from one of the many soft serve machines on the way to see O.A.R. Yum!
We went to the first beer tasting and there was some really outrageous flavors such as pineapple in beer. Our favorites that night were from Cigar City Brewery.  

Music Highlights-
O.A.R did not disappoint. They were fantastic live and the theater was hopping.
Stolen Rhodes was fun surprise on this cruise. These guys are seriously talented and sound just like their records.

Hollis Brown oh how I love this band. There was a light breeze and I danced my tail off. The lyrics in their music are so deep and they sure know how to make you dance with their songs.

 Day 3 Day at Sea
We started out the morning having some fruit because I almost always did that on this ship. Then we found a quiet little spot to read the morning away. So relaxing. We went and had a light lunch then decided to go to a beer and food tasting with Chef Terry French. Terry was a special chef who was plastered drunk and talked more about himself than the actual food that he was making. It was like a train wreck you could  not stop watching. We started our concert watching for the evening after a beer tasting and dinner.

Food Highlights-
For Breakfast I had these little figs and they were amazing. I proceeded to eat them at every meal if I could. I also had a really interesting beer at the beer tasting it was a belgium wheat. Lastly, even though I learned nothing that the beer/food demo the food that came out for the tasting was amazing. The little buns the sliders came on were divine.

Music Highlights-
Had to catch some more O.A.R and do some dancing!
Young Dubliners brought some fun energy to their set and had all the people dancing the "stick person dance".
Alpha Rev was one of my favorite bands on this cruise. Their music is fun yet has some intense lyrics. They really loved pulling other artists onto the stage to do little cameo appearances which was a blast.

Day 4 Great Stirrup Cay 
We ate a quick breakfast and got onto a tender boat to go to shore. I am pleasantly surprised I did not get sick on the boat to the island. It was a rather overcast day and windy. We decided to take a little trolley to the lagoon on the other side of the island for some reading in the AM. Later in the morning we walked over to the main beach for a tasty cook out and some music. The sun was out full force at this time in the PM. After this fun beach day we got some dinner and watched more music into the AM. I finally managed to locate a mojito after a day long hunt for one!

Food Highlights-
Star fruit and passion fruit on the island with lunch and all the little salads they had where fantastic. I had a ton of beer at the tasting. One of them tasted like straight up coffee. We decided to get some dessert this night and I loved these little fudge balls they had.

Music Highlights-
See the guy in the red shades? That is Ryan!!!
Andy Frasco. O.M.G. I would fly to one of his shows, swim, run or crawl. Ryan and I agree our favorite concert of all time and we have seen some damn good shows. I mean I was dancing HARD and so was everyone else. Band members would jump down into the sand with saxophones and rock out with us. "Superman" the bass player climbed on the speakers and rocked out. Andy danced and sang with us in the crowd. At the end of the set we crowd surfed him into the ocean!

We used this day to make sure we saw all our favorites one last time. Alpha Rev, Hollis Brown and Tyler Bryant and The Shakedown were amazing. We ended the night watching some really fun karaoke.

Day 5 Norwegian Pearl- Miami

We disembarked around 10ish and took an interesting taxi ride to our hotel. Once checked in we decided to walk 3 miles to Little Havana. This was a perfect overcast day for walking and there was a slight breeze as well. Miami is such and interesting mix of cultures and I found a lot of the signs in spanish which was strange when trying to find your way around when you speak broken spanish. When we arrived we ate at a little cafe and had the best cuban sandwiches. We then roamed around for a bit and started our long walk back to the hotel. We took a different way back that was a better route and we stopped at a little cuban bakery too. We had an early night after dinner due to our early flight.

Food Highlights-
So many on this day. Between the cuban sandwiches, fresh squeezed lemonade and OJ, guava filled puff, croquettes and three types of guacamole (corn, bacon and pineapple) with dinner it was fantastic. 
Guac with dinner.

Croquettes, guava puff and fresh OJ.

Day 6 Miami- HOME
I have never in my life slept through an alarm. Until this day when I was supposed to get up for 4:30am for a 5am shuttle and slept till 5:30am. It was a bit of a mess and we had to take a taxi but we made our flight okay. I even got a kale smoothie from an angry lady at the java place before we  took off. Ryan caught my cold and was feeling icky the rest of the way home which was a bummer. We did stop in Milwaukee at Trader Joes my favorite and I managed to get  home to watch the very last episode of Downton Abbey ever.

Food Highlights-
Chicago popcorn is where it is at. I got some in the airport and munched on it all day. It is a mix of cheese and kettle corn and it is fantastic!
Five guys-- Their fries are my favorite and they always give you a ton of leftovers.
Pasty's-- Ryan's step mom makes the best and we stopped to get some for dinner. So good.

In closing. We had the best trip. It really was something that I would do again in a heart beat. I wanted to get this post out in the world before I forgot all the details. I took some pictures on the trip as you can see (my phone) or I snagged them off of the cruise site. When I upload my camera pictures I may add some more here as well.

Until next time~
XoXo Emily

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