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Carnival Conquest Cruise 2010

November 17th, 2010 No comments

Everyone probably wants to have my sister in their family, especially since she was the reason why we went on a cruise.  My sister is known for finding great deals…and that is exactly what she did for all of us (Larsen, Hansen, Farley) to go on a cruise together.  Thankfully we all have terrific friends in our church who watched all of our kids so the adults could be together for a week.

Getting ready to board the ship

Matt giving Freddy, the Carnival Tail some love

Antoine Dawson does kareoke on Halloween Night

Girls sing kareoke

Mini golf on the cruise ship

Playing some doubles volleyball on the ship

ice cream 24 hours a day

2nd formal night

Matt as the Carnival Legend Sir Elton John

Beautiful sunset

We spent time together eating, dancing, singing, sleeping, talking, playing and eating again!  View more of our photos on the ship here.

Categories: Family, Travel Tags: , , , , , , ,

Boy’s Cruise — Just another episode of the Matt and Ryan show

October 10th, 2009 1 comment

My best friend Ryan Sawyer graduated from law school this year and I knew I wanted to do something really nice for him (and me).  Thus, several factors led to the epic vacation that was our “Boy’s Cruise”:

  • I had extra vacation to use up thanks to our assignment in the U.K.
  • In January, Tia left me for a “girl’s cruise” with my mother and two sisters.
  • Mason was only a few months old and still nursing.
  • Ryan and I share a fascination with marine wildlife.
  • Ryan was graduating from law school.
  • Cheap cruises are available out of Houston.

Ryan flew into Houston (first class, thanks to my frequent flyer miles) on Saturday, September 5th.  On the morning of Sunday the 6th, Ryan participated in Mason’s baby blessing at church (along with Chris Larsen and McKay Hansen).  That afternoon we were in line to board the Carnival Conquest on our way to Jamaica, Grand Cayman, and Cozumel.

Below are some of the highlights of our 7-nights on the Caribbean seas:

Jamaica:

  • Dolphin Cove – Here we played, touched, rode, kissed, and swam with a dolphin!  They also offered the same experience with nurse sharks and stingrays!
  • Dunn River Falls – We hiked through uphill rapids on a beautiful river which empties into a white sand beach on the coast of Jamaica.

Grand Cayman:

  • Sea Turtle Farm – After an up close and educational tour of the facility’s breeding lagoons we were able to snorkel in the park’s artificial reef which contained many fish and turtles.  There was also a “predator” section containing sharks and barracuda who were partitioned from the snorkelers by a thick wall of glass.
  • Jet Ski’s to Stingray City – After a nice lunch at the Hard Rock, we rode jet ski’s out to Stingray City.  With a private guide, the three of us each had our own jet ski which we rode to a sandbar where stingrays have been gathering for decades.  They were very friendly and our guide helped us to hold and pet them.  He then took us snorkeling and located a large moray eel for us to see.

Cozumel:

  • Scuba Diving – As non-certified divers we had to take a 30 minute crash course and stick by our instructor the whole time.  The water was very warm and crystal clear. 
  • Jungle ATVs – A private tour by a self-proclaimed Mayan, we rode ATVs through the Mexican jungle.  We were covered with mud at the end of the tour, it was a blast.
  • Snorkeling – With yet another personal guide who showed us an octopus and large scary fish with big teeth.

We had just as much fun on the Boat:

  • Food – Giant buffets, 24 hr pizzerias, ice cream machines, fancy dining.  We probably averaged 6-7 meals a day.
  • Entertainment – Comedians, magicians, Broadway-type productions, game shows, etc.
  • Activities – Basketball, mini-golf, swimming, gym, spa, sauna, etc.
  • Massages – Yes, we did a couple’s massage, and it was worth every penny.
  • Dance Club – We spent several late, late, late nights on the dance floor.  Ryan’s abilities were unmatched and drew much attention.
  • Karaoke – Ryan dominated the karaoke scene and I did a classic rendition of Ice Ice Baby.
  • Sir Elton John – Winning a karaoke contest, Ryan was invited to perform in the final show of the cruise in a packed theater of fellow passengers.  They dressed him up in a white suit and had him memorize and perform Crocodile Rock, by Elton John.

The vacation was a blast from the moment we stepped on the boat and it stayed that way for 7 days straight.  I’ve never experienced anything like it.  The best part was being with Ryan again — and the hardest part was being away from my family.