Sunday, August 12, 2012

the best vacation of my life {aka: the 311 cruise}

this post is only about 3 months late…but better late than never, right?

Back in May, we took off on what turned out to be the most amazing vacation ever.  I mean, I knew it was going to be pretty awesome – a 4 day cruise, to the Bahamas, my favorite band on board, a concert on an island, palm trees, white sand, concerts all day and all night… I was expecting a pretty awesome time.  But still, somehow, it managed to surpass my expectations.

The first day of vacation wasn’t all that exciting…we flew from Kansas City to Ft. Lauderdale, took shuttles, trams and a cab to finally make it to a hotel in Miami, and just hung out for the evening.

The next day was much more eventful.  We had some breakfast and then took a bus to the cruise port.  At this point, I was pretty much jumping out of my skin.  I didn’t really know what to expect, having never been on a cruise before, so it was all new and exciting to me.  We got our bags dropped off, went through security, checked in, and then waited to board the ship. 


First official cruise picture! 

We could see the ship out the window of the boarding area, and that just made me even more excited.  Those things are huge! 

Finally we were allowed to board, but we weren’t able to get to our rooms right away, so we just wandered around and checked everything out.  I was in awe the whole time…there was so much to see! 


We didn’t waste very much time before getting our first fruity drink.


And it was the best day ever.  We sat in lawn chairs with our new friend from Texas that we met while waiting to board the ship, sipping our fruity drinks, and I’m pretty sure I did nothing but smile the whole time.  I tried to just soak it all in, and prepare myself for the awesome times that were ahead of us.


Finally after getting some lunch (sidenote: the best thing about a cruise is that there is food everywhere.  All the time.  And it’s all free!  Not to mention it usually comes in the form of a buffet.  Who doesn’t love a good buffet?!) we went to check out our cabin.  There really wasn’t much to see…just picture a tiny room with no windows and a tiny bathroom to go with it.  Not that I’m complaining…we didn’t come on the cruise for the rooms!  I purposely booked the cheapest option knowing that we would only be spending time sleeping and showering there.  There was one cool thing about the room though…


bottle opener in the bathroom!  You know, just in case you needed to pop open a beer after your shower. :)

Later that evening, as the ship was sailing away, we got a special treat.  On the top deck of the ship, we got the first 311 show of the trip.  It. Was. Awesome.  I was beyond excited at how close to the stage we were, and I took about 10 billion pictures to prove it. :)






We were having so. much. fun.

Until a storm came through, and cut our concert short.  You can see in this next shot the clouds starting to roll in and the sky starting to darken. 


A few minutes later, after some serious lightening strikes, the band scooted off stage, and everyone took cover as the rain started to pour. We all waited it out for a good hour or two, hoping that they would come back and finish the show, but it didn’t happen.  Thankfully, though, this was just the first day and the first show and we had plenty of other opportunities to see 311 play over the rest of the trip.

We decided to head back to our room and order room service (again with the food!) and hit the hey.  We had a whole day at an island in the Bahamas ahead of us…we needed to get our sleep!

The next morning we woke up, ate some breakfast, and boarded the tender boats that took us to the island where a day of fun awaited us.






This place was amazing.  First of all, it was an island.  White sand, crystal clear water, palm trees, the whole nine yards.  On top of that, we were the only people on the island for the day.  And even better, there were concerts on the beach all day long!

One of my new favorite bands after seeing them on this trip: The Dirty Heads.  If you haven’t heard of them, you should look them up.  Awesome, happy music.



Have you ever watched a concert while swimming in the ocean at the beach?  Well, you should really try it – it’s fantastic.

We spent the day enjoying more music, plenty of sunshine, and our fair share of fruity drinks. We even got to have lunch on the island – you guessed it, another buffet!

After we were sufficiently waterlogged and sun soaked, we headed back to the boat.  The awesome island day may have been over, but we still had a 311 concert to get to that night!

This was the second show of the trip, and it was in the theatre onboard.


I was too busy dancing the night away to take any more pictures, but lets just say it was an awesome show.  As always!  We were absolutely exhausted by the time the show was over, so back to the room to get some sleep it was.

The next morning we got to go back to that beautiful island once again.


This was the day that 311 was playing a show on the beach, and I could not have been more excited.  This was the part of the trip I was looking forward to the most.  My favorite band, playing a show on the beach, in the Bahamas!  Are you kidding me!?

Of course, right before the show was going to start, Matt had to go to the bathroom.  For some reason, I decided to go with him up to the restrooms, and boy am I glad I did! When we got to the top of the hill heading towards the bathroom, we were stopped by security and a big jeep type vehicle pulled up. As Matt was telling the security guy that he just needed to go to the bathroom, I looked up and realized that 311 was in the vehicle!! I must have just been staring with my jaw dropped, and Tim Mahoney (the guitar player) looked straight at me, WAIVED and SAID “HI!”. I saw Nick (the lead singer) and SA (DJ) too, and waived and said “Hey Guys” back (could I not have thought of something more interesting to say?!  Or pulled out my camera?! Gah!!). They drove off and Matt and I headed to the bathrooms while I told him what just happened – he had no idea. He was so mad he missed them! We rushed to the bathroom and then back to the water, we could see 311 behind the stage at the bar as we came back by. We got back in the water just in time, as they were coming out.


This was probably my favorite 311 show that I’ve ever been to.  Ever!  They played all of my favorite songs, and the atmosphere just couldn’t be beat.  We watched the first part of the concert in the water, and then went up to the beach for the rest.  When I turned around, this was my view:


Everybody was having so much fun!  It was just a giant party on the beach.  When the concert was all over, they took a group photo of everyone with the band.

Windows Live Photo Gallery Wallpaper

Yeah, we’re totally in there…somewhere. :)  Pretty awesome picture though, right?! 

Once the concert was over, we hung around for a little while longer and then got back to the ship.  We got showered and changed, had some dinner, and enjoyed a beautiful sunset.



There was still plenty to do for the evening, even though there wasn’t a 311 concert.  We hung out in the theater and saw 2 Skinnee J’s and The Dirty Heads concerts.  Both were great.  There was a “glow party” afterwards in the theater, but we decided not to stay for it and head back to the room.  Well, we might as well have gone to the party, because our room was directly underneath the theater, and we could hear the party all. night. long.  I think we finally got to sleep around 3am.

We woke up in the morning, and I’ll admit I was a little sad because it was technically our last day.  We didn’t have to get off the ship until the following morning, but I knew this was the last full day of fun.  We decided to make the most of the day, though, and do as much as we could!  This was our day at sea, so there was plenty to do around the ship throughout the day.  Before we could do anything though, we had to go to our appointment to GET OUR PICTURE TAKEN WITH THE BAND.  Can you say AWESOME?!  We waited in line for what felt like forever, and finally got our chance to walk in, stand behind the guys and smile.  I don’t know if I even spoke a word, I was so in awe.  It was the best 5 seconds of my life. :)

Of course, when we got back and got to see our picture, I wanted to cry.



Yes, yes I did.


But I’ve moved past being upset about it.  I mean, hello…MY HAND IS ON NICK HEXUM’S SHOULDER.  And yes, I know I look slightly creepy having my hands on their shoulders, but apparently I couldn’t resist the urge to touch them.  And yes, that’s a bloody mary in Matt’s hand. 

I’m pretty much just super excited that I even had the chance to stand in the same room with the members of my favorite band ever, even if it was for only 5 seconds, and even if I did manage to make it the most awkward looking picture possible.  It was still AWESOME.

So after that fiasco was over (and I had a smile plastered on my face for the rest of the day), we spent the afternoon on the top deck of the ship, taking in more music.

We saw Cisco Adler and J Randy, who were a lot of fun.


We saw The Dirty Heads again,



And we saw 2 Skinnee J’s.  These guys are hilarious.  Quite a show they put on!


The final 311 show was that night in the theater, but we didn’t get to go since we had seen the first show 2 nights ago.  They broadcasted the show on the deck, though, so we still got to watch it.


We managed to run into the people we sat next to at the first theater show, so it was fun to watch it with them again! 


Everyone on the deck danced and sang through the entire show, it was like being at the actual concert.  It was a really great way to end our trip.

And to make it even better, when we got back to our room that night, I found a bag that had this inside of it:


A t-shirt autographed by the entire band?!?!  How did I get so lucky!  That really put the icing on the cake of this trip, leaving no doubt in my mind that it really was the best vacation of my life.


Well, if you made it all the way through this post, you deserve a medal.  But I just couldn’t pass up the chance to relive this amazing vacation, and I want to be able to look back and remember it for years and years to come.  I hope that we get to go on another 311 cruise sometime in the future, but my life is already complete after this one. :)  I say it all the time, but really, this band loves their fans.  And we love them back! 

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