March 7th – 14th of 2015 was a special week for me and Augustine. It was our first cruise, the MSC Divina bound for St. Marteen, San Juan and Grand Stirrup Cay. Leaving the snowy and ice cold New Jersey, I figured anything I experienced would be better than where I took off from. Little did I know that on the 14th, I’d be sitting at MIA writing this and calling it the best week of my life. Here is a summary of everything I saw, experienced and came across. In the next few days and weeks, I’ll be writing more posts, going into depth on specific stories and the lessons I've taken from this past week.
The very nature of the cruise means you’ll be exposed to many people.. many different people. The first set of significant people were Vinny and Nikky, who were assigned the same dinner table as us. It was nice to touch back with them on a daily basis to see what everyone was up to during the day. They are an incredibly friendly, respectful and interesting young couple.
The next two people we met were the real MVPs of the trip. First night at Galaxy Disco with DJ Marco [rude Marco], walk on dance floor and get pulled in by a relatively over-sized, middle-aged, drunk woman. She pulls Augie and I towards two blonde girls from South Carolina… who become our best friends for the week.
Chelsea [in the middle, who also has a blog and will be writing about this trip, here], Kayla, Augie and I clicked the first night; the squad was formed.
We then proceeded to doing most things together.. like losing [or winning without us] on bingo..
Taking over karaoke without actually being on the stage and taking over at the salsa dance lesson [about to be a killer salsa dancer].. making it onto the MSC promo video!
Then proceeding to take over the dance floor at Galaxy Disco on the daily.. and going to the cafeteria for the ‘3am fruits and water’ recovery
Exploring Puerto Rico with the best tour guide ever...
Ending up at Señor Frogs in both San Juan and Nassau and killing it..
And each one of the spring breakers on the ship who ensured the cruise stayed fresh and young every day and night, so many whom I have no pictures with..
The very nature of the cruise also meant we were exposed to so many different forms of entertainment. We played and won football tournaments on the boat..
The first team was Uruguay [in blue, still don’t know his name], Ray [in red] from Costa Rica, Augie and I. Neither of them spoke much English but the universal language of football spoke for itself.
Our second team, on Thursday, was Alissa, camera man Jim, Augie and I. Needless to say, we killed it once again.
In St. Marteen, we rented scooters and explored the 7 mile long island. With our free map that had barely any detail, our mirror-less scooter and relatively advanced sense of direction, we managed to get around. Thankfully, we were lost for two hours which allowed us to see some incredible scenery.
In Puerto Rico, we were toured around by one of the nicest guys ever, the great Jose. We explored the city of San Juan..
We also lost money in the casino, swam down water tubes, had unlimited access to food, made enemies, played some volleyball in Nassau, "somehow" ended up in Senor Frogs twice, got very sunburnt, slept on the deck, went 7 for 7 nights strong with DJ Marco and laughed more than ever.
Personally, I don’t think it was the activities themselves that made the experience magical. It was the gathering of completely unrelated strangers all in a common purpose; to have fun. Each of us were displaced from our normal lives, wherever that may be, and put together into a moving ship for an entire week. Relationships were formed, alcohol was drank and many laughs were shared.
For most people I came across, the only thing I knew of them was their name. The cruise has ended and it's likely I’ll never see, hear or learn any more from most of them. But I know that for 7 days everyone had an unspoken connection, guided by our mutual sense of adventure and drive for a good time.
I love meeting new people and traveling to new destionations. I can't wait to see where this will take me to next!
Here is a video that gives some insight on everything that happened..