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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Aflac Cruise Part I

We had to be at the Valdosta Airport at 3:45 am on Sunday (Oct 24th) in order to fly out of Valdosta at like 5:15. It's super nice that Aflac pays for a flight directly out of Valdosta as it's so much easier than having to drive to Atlanta. Parking at the Valdosta air port is free, you don't have to be there 2 hours early, and there is only one terminal :) Once in Atlanta we hooked back up with several of our Aflac friends (including the new friends we made in Jamaica) and hung out with them until it was time to board the plane.

We were VERY excited for the flight from Atlanta to Miami because we would get to sit in First Class! Zach's never been in first class and it's a pretty exciting thing for a guy who's almost 6'6" ya know? He earned VIP status for this trip since he wrote so much business for the company over this past year. Pretty great to get rewarded for hard work isn't it?

When they called the Priority Seating we hopped up to board the plane and handed them our tickets. When they scanned it they said we had missed our flight...wwwhhhat?!? Turns out Zach had assumed we were on the same flight as everyone else and that in reality we were supposed to be on an earlier flight. We had to stand there at the counter and wait for everyone to board (including all our Aflac friends...embarrassing!) before the lady could look and see if there were any available seats. Goodbye first class - we were just lucky to make it on the plane!!! Thankfully, our luggage was still waiting for us when we arrived (and thankful too that I did manage to get over my upsets of the situation...)

While we missed the VIP first class perk, we did enjoy our VIP town car ride to the port
and getting to the front of the line to check in for the cruise (which if you've been on a cruise you know how annoying that can be!)
and getting to check in first at the Aflac desk
and getting one of the largest rooms on the ship with a balcony!
pretty big for a cruise ship room huh?
Aflac hooked everyone up with freebies - chocolates in our room, champagne (which was a VIP thing but we had them change it out for sparkling grape juice that we never did open), jackets, books, an Aflac bag, and spending money (everyone got $100 and since Zach was VIP he got an additional $500!).

showing off my jacket!
It was odd to me that we boarded the ship in the early afternoon and by dinner we were still docked. I guess since we were only going to Cocoa Cay and Bahamas that it didn't need to be in a hurry? Our ship was The Liberty of the Seas by Royal Caribbean (so no "spamcation" for us! haha) and I guess it's a really nice one?!? I've only been on one cruise and it was a timeshare presentation freebie so it was awful. I think every cruise ship is nice compared to that!

Aflac rented out the ENTIRE ship! Isn't that awesome? It was neat to see Aflac represented almost everywhere we went on board. This table had Aflac spelled out in candies and is where Paul Amos (the last living founder of the company) sat each dinner. We got to meet him in Paris and it was such an honor. He and his wife (who is so adorable and sweet) still travel on each Aflac trip!
Dinner the first night
Typically we don't hang out with Aflac people while on Aflac trips (we use them as vacations to spend just the two of us!) but, duh, we were on a boat together. We ended up eating all our dinners with a crew of 10 that are in Zach's state and made some great friends. We met Mike and Whitney back in Jamaica and really, really like them. They are Christians, don't drink, and are FUN! We spent a lot of time with them on this trip and I wish they lived closer (they live in Columbus - 3 hours)! After dinner the first night we went and got some desserts (and I got one of those motion sickness patches from on of the Aflac friends b/c I was feeling SICK), went to see a comedy act (which, shocker, wasn't funny) and then hung out in their room (which was funny b/c their room had a view of the mall area inside the ship haha) just talking and getting to know each other.

Our crew met up on Monday morning to eat breakfast before going to see Bobby Bowden speak at the Aflac Prayer Breakfast. The dress code was casual so Zach and I decked out in FSU gear for the big event ;) I'm going to write a separate post on Bobby Bowden b/c it was the highlight of the trip for both Zach and I!

with our new Aflac buddies!
That afternoon we all layed out by the pool and napped (being on a boat wears you OUT for some reason!) then got ready for the "fancy night" on the ship. Every National Convention there is an Awards Banquet and Monday night was the night. I LOVE to get dressed up and even did my hair a little different than the norm for the event :) 

at dinner (I LOVE that the Metropolitan Mixed Chains Necklace can make a simple black dress fancy!)
before the awards banquet (where we found out next years trip is to HAWAII!!!)
After the banquet we went to watch another show with Mike and Whitney - this time it was a "Broadway style production." It was pretty cheesy, but there was some great talent!
Tuesday morning we woke up to being docked off the coast of Coco Cay, this little island that Royal Caribbean owns. I was praying that it would help me to get on some land so I wouldn't feel so sick. The patch thing didn't help as much as I'd hoped it would plus my special "friend" was visiting. Awesome timing right?!?
We had to ride on these little boats to get to the island
view of our MASSIVE ship
On our first day on the boat we looked at all our options for ways to spend our Aflac money. We are so "frugal" (aka CHEAP) that we didn't want to waste it on dumb stuff. We did buy one of the soda packages and shared it the whole time (how dumb that they didn't include soda?) so we had a good bit of money left and decided we wanted to spend like we usually don't spend and do really fun stuff with it! In Coco Cay we rented jet skis! We did an hour tour thing and went at 8 AM because passengers got to go for free at that time (you can't get the cheap out of us!).
I grew up with a jet ski at Dad's house so I was pretty excited!
Once we actually got going my excitement went to zero. I haven't been on a jet ski since I was like 18 and I also haven't ever been in the ocean on one and I wasn't typically the passenger when I rode Dad's. I was terrified. I screamed over and over and over and over. I begged for them to turn back and take me back to land! At first we started out at #1 (meaning the fastest driver) and every pit stop I asked us to be moved back haha. At the last pit stop thing Zach told me to drive and omg I LOVED it! It was SO fun and I totally wanted to spend $80 to do it again!!! Zach even admitted that being passenger was super rough and scary...so next time we're totally renting two of them ;)
After the jet skiing, we went over to another part of the island and Zach participated in the Aflac beach olympics. It was even less organized than the resort one we did in Jamaica! I tried to be supportive by taking a few pictures and videos (video 1 and video 2) but I ended up falling asleep (no joke!) in a lounge chair watching him while I was in the middle of a conversation with some Aflac people...I'm telling you I was half out of it on the entire trip. The boat, the medicine patch and my "friend" were just wearing me out!

annoyed with the un-organization of the olympics ;)
Something Zach wanted to do with the free money was to have access to this slide thing so he did that ($20 for unlimited use of the slide all day) and I paid $10 to rent a float for the day. Well, we did all this prior to seeing the island. It's how they getcha! I did not feel like walking across the island to pick up the float and the fun of the slide lasted only like 17 seconds (as you can see in this video).
We were mega un-impressed with Coco Cay. It was just a trap to earn more money for the cruise lines and if we hadn't done the jet skis we would have really hated it. You couldn't even eat lunch on the boat - they pretty much forced you to go to the island and eat the food they served out there! Not cool! We ended up calling it a day pretty earlier and headed back.

you can see how HUGE it is compared to the little boats we were in
We got back, changed into pjs, bought (yes, they charged for it!) some ice cream and watched The Office. A perfect afternoon!
That afternoon we got ready for dinner with the gang again and took a few pictures of the sun starting to go down from our balcony before going to eat:
After dinner we went and played a little putt-putt with Mike and Whitney (the boat had TONS of stuff: putt-putt, rock climbing wall, some surfing ride thing, and multiple pools). I LOVE the dress I wore that night...Mom gave it to me as an early birthday present and it's a maxi and isn't (by some miracle) too long! I wore my Garden Party Chandelier Earrings constantly on the cruise - they go with everything!!!
We went back Mike and Whitney's room to change before the ice show and had this guy waiting on us ;)
The shows on the boat didn't start until sooo late but we wanted to check out the ice show so we waited around for it. It was pretty cool, and if you like ice skating then you'd probably love it but we're not big ice skating people. The best part was this girl who ice skated while hula hooping. Here's a little video of her finale.
any show can't be too bad if they have Elvis ;)
I know this was a long one but I've been giving you guys such short let-me-catch-up-quick ones that I figured a long one is over due! Part II of the cruise is coming up!

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