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SÜREYYA GÜVENE SAKALLIOĞLU

Memories from a perfect honeymoon

I would like to share a wonderful honeymoon experience with you. We did not have enough time just after our wedding, but our honeymoon was worth waiting for. We wanted to have fun, travel and do some shopping rather than take a relaxing vacation featuring the trilogy of sun, sea and sand on a small island. I had some ideas from an acquaintance of my husband,Kenan Tamer, who is a really good tour guide. The Maldives were boring,Bali was not in season, Phuket was too crowded, Bora Bora and Hawaii were too far. Finally we made up our minds on the Caribbean after a little research.

We went on detailing our vacation plan. We were about to travel the Western Caribbean Islands for a week on the Allure of the Seas, the biggest passenger ship in the world. Haiti, Jamaica and Mexico! Like a dream… I would not even dream about seeing those places. I am more than grateful for being such a lucky human.

Sure, shopping was inevitable as we were about to take this ship from Miami, Florida. We were about to spend plenty of time in Miami for a week after the cruise. Yes, shopping, check! I could die thinking of this. It was as if I was holding a lamp and the genie did everything I wished. We were about to see different cultures, listen to different music, have different tastes and do all this stuff on the largest passenger ship in the world. On top of it, Miami. It was definitely a dream.

When we landed in Istanbul from Ankara, before heading to Miami by way of Rome with a very long flight (11 hours), we went to our hotel close to the port we would take the ship from (Fort Lauderdale). Following an exhausting journey which took more than 24 hours in total, we had a warm chicken soup in the Italian restaurant in front of the hotel and went back to the hotel to rest.


 
After a nice breakfast the next morning, we took the shuttle bus to the port. My God! The ship was way larger than I imagined. It was like a swimming city, while I kept my eyes on this ship with a capacity of 8,500 passengers, my husband completed the necessary transactions. After we handed over our luggage and completed the entrance transactions, we took a souvenir photo. While we were rambling around astonished at the crowd on the ship, we asked a waiter where to eat. He asked where we were from. When we replied Turkey, he said his manager was also Turkish and he had been to Kuşadası before. Of course we wanted to meet him immediately. We directly when to Giovanni's Restaurant where Mr. Barış was the manager. After a warm meeting with Barış, we dived into a nice conversation. My husband and I were relieved and started to feel secure all of a sudden.The ship was indeed a city floating in the sea with 6,000 passengers and 2,500 personnel. There were numerous activities (golf course, surfing, jacuzzi, basketball, zipline, climbing etc.), gorgeous restaurants with great food and unique scenery. After a short discovery trio, we went to our rooms to take a shower and get ready for the evening. We went to a three-floor restaurant, My Time Dining, for dinner. What was that? The manager of the biggest restaurant was also a Turk. His name was Erhan. A wonderful person like Barış! Turks had conquered the ship. We met other Turks working at other restaurants. Then, it was as if we were in our home. What a relief! No sense of alienation anymore. The ship was ours. It was wonderful even from the very first day.

We were cruising on the endless Atlantic Ocean the next day. First an open buffet breakfast, then in the bubbling jacuzzi on the top floor, goofing off watching the ocean. It was like we were in heaven! I never stopped taking photographs. I had to record every moment. I had to record them so that I could remember every moment again and again for my entire life. After a wonderfully delicious dinner presented by Emre and Yılmaz, we went to see the Chicago musical play. A Broadway musical filled with music, magic and glow.



We anchored in Labedee, Haiti, on the third day. We were together with the local people at the port area under the supervision of the cruise organization company, Royal Carribbean. I bought many local products. This marketplace was very similar to ours, with insistent sellers and prices open for serious bargaining.When one of the locals asked where we were from, he started to scream slogans for Fenerbahçe, Cimbombom, Emre, Arda Turan and Hakan Şükür. After swimming a little, there was the most exciting part of the island. Zipline! We were going to slide on a wire on the sea from the highest point to the other part of the island. After brief instruction, we had so much adrenaline. After dinner back on the ship, we went to see the famous Ocean Aria Aqua Show (Aqua Theater). They were incredible! On a starry night, water, music and dance came to life under colorful lights.

There was a formal dress code for two nights a week there. We had no idea about it and were really sporty among the men in tuxedos and women in gowns. All eyes were on us. We faked the victim by saying we lost our luggage. On the fourth day, we continued to benefit from what the ship was ready to serve us off the ocean. Only this ship in the world has a Starbucks. But we preferred to drink coffee at Barış's in the company of his intimate conversation, even as I was getting impatient about debarking in Falmouth, Jamaica. We went to Chops, where the beautiful Tanja was the manager, and Çağlayan also helped us have a nice dinner. I guess we ate the most delicious steak there after Nusret's. Then, we went to the other end of the ship to see the Headliner Show.



The fifth day was the Jamaica day. I ran off the ship. Long live Bob Marley! There was his music everywhere, the idol of Jamaica. We wanted to swim at a beautiful beach after a short trip. I cannot say we were content about swimming after the beaches in Turkey. We made some shopping and bought local magnets as souvenirs. We did not leave without buying the Jerky spice they use in many of their courses, then got on the ship. We were early because the clock on our mobile phones was set to local time. But we had to act with the clock on the ship. But whatever, we enjoyed the empty ship for a few hours. We had our lesson yet, we would use a watch in Mexico. We were astounded by the animal figures made of towels by our housekeeper Keion every time we got back to our room. Everyone was friendly and helpful.



We were in Cozumel, Mexico, on our sixth day. It was the place which excited me the most. We were about to swim with dolphins. And there was the Internet available. We met the Internet again after a week. I could call my beloved ones and share a couple of photos. God, please never let this vacation end! We had great fun. We landed at the port after we cleaned our hands with the antibacterial gel at entrance/exit to/from the ship and before going in restaurants. We immediately hired a scooter to travel the island. It was larger than the other islands and we travelled safely. Then we went to the Paradise Beach (a real paradise). We directly connected to the Internet. It was hard without the Internet. We went to the Chankanaab Dolphin Park where we swam with dolphins. It was unreal to touch them and to swim with them. But I don’t think I will want to do it again. I believe they need to be set free. Moreover, we paid 76 dollars for two photos we were taken with the dolphins. We went back to the ship after a little shopping. We watched the Blue Planet Show we were very curious about. A wonderful show from the depth of the ocean to the Saharan desert, then to rain forests!

And the last day… We did not want it to end, but it did. We rested all day because our Miami vacation was about to start. We said goodbye to our Turkish friends who made our honeymoon on the ship wonderful. We locked our luggage to take off the next morning.


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