Tuesday, January 4, 2011

A New Year's Celebration At Sea!

Celebrating the New Year is always a fun event, but this year my husband and I decided to do something really exciting and take a New Year’s cruise!

We took it easy, did some amazing sightseeing, enjoyed the company of some awesome friends, and ended it all with a stupendous New Years bash… as well as some other exciting surprises!

We sailed out of Galveston on the Carnival Conquest. 
The Conquest first embarked in the fall of 2002 and is one of the larger ships in Carnival’s fleet at 110,000 tons.

Although the cruise was busy with many other cruisers hoping to enjoy their New Year at Sea, the ship didn’t seem incredibly crowded. This being the case, we had a much greater advantage than we might have had on a summer cruise to enjoy all of the public areas which were based on impressionist style artworks.

This particular cruise was a tour of the Eastern Caribbean.  Our first stop was in Montego Bay where my husband and I took a tour of Rose Hall Great House… the former home of Annie Palmer, the white witch of Rose Hall.

The legend of this impressive Jamaican Georgian Style Home starts with Annie.

Ballad of Annie Palmer: by Johnny Cash
One time I was down to Jamaica to a place called Rose Hall Plantation
They grow a lot of sugarcane and tomatoes and things at Rose Hall now
It used to be just a sugarcane plantation back in the days of slavery
And they tell stories about the place and about the great house at Rose Hall
That many many years ago they came from the country of Haiti
A lady named Annie Palmer who lived in that great house there
And she was a mistress of the plantation she was the boss her word was law
Well they tell a lot of tales about Annie
They say she had three husbands one at a time I guess
But they also tell tales about Annie and the slaves
There were about 5000 slaves on the plantation
And she had her favorites and she had the ones that weren't her favorites
Well down on the sea there're three tall palmtrees wavin' in the breeze
And they say that maybe Annie Palmer's three husbands
Are buried under those palmtrees

On the Island of Jamaica quite a long long time ago
At Rose Hall Plantation where the ocean breezes blow
Lived a girl named Annie Palmer the mistress of the place
And the slaves all lived in fear to see a frown on Annie's face

Where's your husband Annie where's number two and three
Are they sleeping neath the palms beside the Caribbean Sea
At night I hear you ridin' and I hear your lovers call
And still can feel your presence round the great house at Rose Hall hmm

Well if you should ever go to see the great house at Rose Hall
There's expensive chairs and china and great paintings on the wall
They'll show you Annie's sittingroom and the whipping post outside
But they won't let you see the room where Annie's husbands died
Where's your husband Annie...

The story states that when Annie Palmer was a young girl living in Haiti her parents died of yellow fever. After they passed she was adopted by her nanny, a voodoo priestess. 

When Annie came of age she was sent to Jamaica to look for a wealthy husband and this is where she met her first husband, John Palmer in 1820.

John was the owner of Rose Hall Plantation. Sadly for John the legend states that several months after their marriage, when John discovered Annie’s affair with a young slave Annie snuck into poor John’s bedroom while he slept, and with the help of her young slave lover strangled him to death.

Worried that her slave lover would talk, she had him flogged to death. The legend then goes on to tell that after the death of her first husband she went from lover to lover, killing them all in various ways whenever she bored of them.

She married two more times during all of this. The second husband was stabbed and then, to make sure he was dead, Annie poured hot oil in his ears. The third husband was poisoned with his morning coffee.

The legend of Annie Palmer ends with her being strangled to death by an angry lover… although there are many different versions of her tale.

When Annie was found strangled in her bed in 1831 she stood only 4’11’’. It’s hard to believe someone so petite could be so evil but I guess you can’t judge a book by its cover.

Despite its ghastly history Rose Hall Great House was a really beautiful place to visit.
The grounds were lush with vegetation and when our tour ended we were greeted with rum punch and live renditions of reggae and Johnny Cash songs about the infamous Annie.

Would you dare take a trip to Annie Palmer's home?

Our second stop on the trip was 55ft under the sea with a dive in Grand Cayman.

Our dive was through Don Foster’s Dive Cayman.  

The water clarity was some of the best we’ve had on a dive but we unfortunately didn’t get to see much in the way of the stingrays and turtles that Grand Cayman is famous for.  The fish that we saw were still stunning!

The island itself was pretty neat to explore but I would have been just as happy to spend all of our time on Grand Cayman diving.

(I’m still waiting for our dive photos to be processed and/or emailed but I should have some fun underwater photos to post soon!)

Our last excursion started out in Cozumel but took us about an hour out to Playa del Carmen and then on to the ancient Mayan city of Tulum.

Our guide explained that Tulum roughly translates to stinky dirt and was not the original Mayan name of the site. The ancient cities real name was Tumlum meaning stone dirt but there was a misunderstanding in the pronunciation and spelling of the city’s name and thus when mapped the city was stuck with the name stinky dirt.

Despite the mistranslated name the ruins were an amazing and beautiful site to visit.
The earliest date lifted from the site is A.D. 564 though its peak of success came much later.

During its prime the city was a major link in the Mayan people’s extensive trade network and so far no sign of human sacrifices have been found making it one of the Maya’s more peaceful cities.

On a beautiful day like when we were visiting it certainly felt like a peaceful city. 
Playa Del Carmen is a stop I wouldn't mind checking out again.

The night that we got back from Playa Del Carmen also happened to be New Years Eve!
We did a quick change and then caught up with our friends to celebrate the evening.

Carnival really knew how to throw a party!
There was a show at dinner, followed by a balloon drop in the lobby.

After the balloon drop we all ran over to the lido deck to celebrate the New Year's countdown with live music and champagne.

At 12am the music was blaring and a very special event occurred!

Congratulations Roxanna and Josh!!!

What a fantastic cruise… I can’t wait for the next one!


tasha ulbrich said...

What an awesome trip! It sounds like you two really had an amazing time. :)

The Adventuresome Pearl said...

We did have a lot of fun!!!