Tag Archives: Vacation

Travel Diary | Cruise Half Moon Cay, Bahamas Port – 5

Hi all!

Oh no! It’s Sunday again. The dreaded day of the weekend that goes by way too quickly and the day you remember all the things you need to complete before Monday.  Today in Chicago it’s freezing and snowing, actually it’s been freezing this whole weekend, however we were able to do a few outings since it was Valentine weekend.  We went to the movies on Friday and saw The Imitation Games and The Kingsmen: Secret Service, which was comedy mixed with lots of fun action – I recommend checking it out if you haven’t already.  And on Saturday, we went to watch the India vs Pakistan cricket world cup match at a friends house– I won’t talk much about it since I know very little about cricket.

Half moon cay bahamas cruise

Welcome!

half moon cay beach port

We got to Half Moon Cay on a small boat since there wasn’t a docking area on the island– you would think with $17.5 million they could have made one. Regardless, this was about a 10 min. ride from the ship.

Anyways, back to talking about the last stop on our cruise vacay back in Decemeber, Half Moon Cay, Bahamas.  Again, it has taken me so long to put up all the posts since I’m quite busy with school, however looking back at all our vacation snaps is really making me miss the sun and beaches.

Chicago to half moon cay

Chicago was only 1297 miles away from Half Moon Cay– we were getting a bit homesick. hehe…

We had heard a lot of great things about this island since it is Holland America’s private island.  We were really looking forward to our time on this island, however if you have been following my cruise review posts then you know the husband and I are not the beach bum type, thus this island was a let down for us.  I would describe Half Moon Cay as Disney World-meets-a-wealthy friends-private beach.  Literally, we walked off the cruise ship and saw the main areas in 10 minutes and were thinking about going back to the ship.  However, we had paid for an island tour so we gave it the benefit of the doubt and decided to wait around for that.  Our original excursion ideas was to go horse-back riding but those were sold out by the time we booked our excursions.

half moon cay beach port

The main area of Half Moon Cay where you meet for the excursions, check out shops, or chill at the bar area.

half moon cay beach port

Private beach overview

half moon cay beach port

Kiddie area at the beach

half moon cay beach port

“Abandoned ship” and bar area close to the beach

The island tour was an hour long tram ride covering the different aspects of the private island.  We learned the island was leased for $9 million, and remodeled for another $17.5 million –enough said! The beach sand is made from very fine milled coral, and the whole island is laid out as if you are visiting different shows/activities in Disney World, except you had to pay for them on this island and call it an “excursion.”

half moon cay beach port

Ahhh…envious of the horseback riders. During the tram tour we stopped at each of the excursion areas.

half moon cay beach port

Here a worker is feeding the stingray at the swim with stingray excursion area

half moon cay beach port

Another beach shot with some water excursions taking place

Majority of the worker’s on the island live in other close islands such as Nassau, Bahamas and only a few maintenance workers actually live on the island. There were hardly any shops to visit, a few bar areas, basketball area, and picnic area.  Every time a cruise ship stops on this island there is a buffet-style BBQ picnic that takes place with several veggie and non-veggie items.  After our tour we decided to enjoy the picnic even though the long lines didn’t make it enticing, and we almost decided to leave and enjoy better variety on the cruise ship.

half moon cay beach port

Enjoying the views from the “abandoned ship”

If it wasn’t for our tour, that cost about $25 but could have actually been free or no more than $10, and the picnic we would have explored the island in under an hour and been ready to head back to the ship.  With that said, it was still a nice relaxing last port day of our cruise vacation but I think in the future we would prefer to visit a major Bahamas island –for the real experience.

half moon cay beach port

Of course, photo session during our tram tour breaks

half moon cay beach port

And a photo with the husband!

Our cruise experience overall was a great one and shouldn’t deter any Muslim couple/family from enjoying their vacation, however on AnUblog.com we give our honest feedback on our experiences since we pay for these trips and excursions our self, and give the Muslim/hijabi perspective.

Half moon cay bahamas cruise

We did dip our toes and feet in the sand and water even though we didn’t swim.

Thank you for visiting our blog and following our cruise travel diary.  If you missed any of the posts check them out here (cruise part 1, Grand Turk part 2, Puerto Rico part 3, and St. Thomas part 4) or would like to see more snaps from our cruise then click here.

Half moon cay bahamas Hollan Amercia cruise

Goodbye beach and sunshine until we meet again.

Have a wonderful week!

Umair’s Sweetheart,
Ayesha

Travel Diary | Cruise St. Thomas, USVI Port – 4

Hi loves & Happy Valentines day!

St. Thomas USVI cruise port

What a breathtaking, picturesque island!

Today I’m sharing with you our favorite stop on the Caribbean cruise, St. Thomas.  Oh my, was it alluring from every 360 angle.  We took loads of snaps on the USVI  because it was so scenic.  We definitely will love to visit this island again in the future.

iguana on st. thomas cruise

On our arrival, we were greeted by this fella’ and his friends since we were waiting for the shops to open. Quite friendly!

We arrived at St. Thomas early in the morning on Christmas day, and were worried that tours would be cancelled and stores closed, however since the “cruise ships” actually own the port areas they were a little late in opening but everything did run smoothly for the rest of the day.

St. thomas paradise point cruise

The husband and I with the gorgeous views. The yellow sticker was to show we were with the tour.

St. Thomas USVI cruise

Lush greenery and lovely scenery. Just imagine living in one of those houses on the mountains.

For our excursion on the island we decided to do a full island tour that included a gondola ride up Paradise point, then a tour up the mountains to enjoy the island from every angle.  The tour guide and the rest of the tourists were all friendly, but mostly elderly, however we didn’t mind since it was our first time on the island and still  made the most of our time there.

Paradise point st. thomas cruise

Paradise point gondola — how scenic!

St. Thomas USVI

Posing with the islands

Magen's bay usvi cruise

50 shades of blue on Magen’s Bay

After the tour through the mountains and picture-perfect views the tour guide asked if anyone wanted to stop at the shopping area, and since we still had a few hours before the cruise departed we stopped at the massive luxury shopping area to mostly window shop.  To our surprise most of the jewelry shops were owned by South Asians and we got to chit chat with them to find out they have been living on St. Thomas for most of their lives (how lucky, and they can visit the US anytime they want).

the shops St. Thomas cruise

The shopping area overview before our tour started

shopping area st. thomas

The famous shopping area of St. Thomas–had to check it out.

We had a great time on St. Thomas, and if we get to go back we are definitely going to check out the famous Magen’s bay, and St. John.  I highly recommend this island to anyone interested in beautiful views, luxury shopping and clean, natural beaches (my meaning of “natural” will be discussed in the next post about Half Moon Cay, Bahamas).

St. Thomas USVI cruise

Can’t wait to come back!

If you missed our previous cruise posts, check out part one, two, and three.

Have a wonderful Valentine’s Day & weekend.  And remember love day is everyday.

Umair’s Sweetheart,
Ayesha

Travel Diary | Cruise San Juan, Puerto Rico Port – 3

Happy Monday all!

My apologies for taking a hiatus after Grand Turk post, however I have been completely swamped with studies.  I know this is how it will be for majority of this year so please bare with me as I try to get new posts up slower than usual.

San Juan Port Cruise

Overview of San Juan right before entering the cruise port

San Juan Fort

View of Fort from our cruise

Puerto Rico, was a beautiful stop on our cruise of the Eastern Caribbean.  It had been a place I was wishing to visit and I was excited to find a cruise itinerary that worked for us with a stop at San Juan, PR.

San Juan cruise yacht island

Beautiful yachts and boats area next to the cruise port

For our excursion in San Juan, we decided to take a trip over to the rainforest, El Yunque. This excursion was almost 5 hours long since it took almost an hour to get to the rainforest from the cruise port. The husband and I enjoy nature and scenic activities, thus we thought this would be a fun way to explore a part of Puerto Rico that not many tourists may get a chance to explore. Also, we figured once we got back from the rainforest we would still have some time to explore areas of Old San Juan.

El Yunque Puerto Rico cruise

The visitor center area in El Yunque

El Yunque rainforest

A waterfall area in the visitor center

El Yunque rainforest puerto rico

Waterfall in the rainforest…can you spot Umair?

El yunque rainforest puerto rico

Serene water area in the rainforest

After almost 3 hours in the forest we left without covering much ground. We found out that some areas of the rainforest were restricted to tours on buses. Thus, that was somewhat a disappointment, however I had gotten a headache from being on the bus therefore I was happy to head back to Old San Juan and explore on foot.

streets of San Juan

Colorful buildings of Old San Juan

old san juan

Another shot of the beautiful streets and buildings

The cruise port was walking distance to Old San Juan where we were able to see the beautiful brick streets and colorful building that I have admired from pictures for many years. This area is quite small and of course, touristy. We had about 2 hours left before our cruise departed the island so we made the most of it by walking around the local shops. We did want to check out one of the forts on the island, however we weren’t sure if we will be able to make it back in time so we resisted that urge and admired the forts from afar.

old san juan

Island overview from Old San Juan. In the background are the mountains where the rainforest was, and the cruises were docked where the ocean is.

For the 8 hours that we were on the island, we were still able to explore a lot since we got to see new San Juan on our bus tour, along with some of the rainforest and the beauty of old San Juan. It was a nice long, somewhat exhausting day but it was worthwhile. Our tour guide was friendly, but very talkative to the point where he was talking about personal stories that I didn’t feel fit the mood of the tour. I would definitely recommend checking out El Yunque rainforest if your are in Puerto Rico as it has beauty that can’t be found other places.

If you missed part 1 on the cruise, and part 2 on Grand Turk do check them out. Thank you for visiting, and have a great week!

Umair’s Sweetheart,
Ayesha

Travel Diary | Colorado – 2

Us at Vail Village on New Year's Eve.

Winter love at Vail Village on New Year’s Eve.

Peace be upon you

This is a continuation of travel diary from Colorado (more snaps in last post). This post will feature our wonderful time in Vail, where we spent New Year’s Eve, and breathtaking snaps from Garden of the Gods which was in Colorado Springs.

Walking around Vail Village

Walking around Vail Village. It was a beautiful mix of Disney World and Swiss Alps.

Vail was full of skiiers!

Vail was bursting with skiers!

Us going up the mountains in Vail on a scenic gondola ride.

Us going up the mountains in Vail on a scenic gondola ride.

Beautiful mountain scenery

Beautiful mountain scenery

Panoramic view of the breathtaking mountains in Vail.

Panoramic view of the breathtaking mountains in Vail. (click to enlarge)

Taking in the view before tubing down the mountain.

Taking in the view before tubing down the mountain.

This tubing area was located at 10,000 ft. elevation.

This tubing area was located at 10,000 ft. elevation.

An ice skating rink in Vail Village

A pretty ice skating rink in Vail Village

Enjoyed walking around to take in the dreamy views

Enjoyed walking around to take in the dreamy scenery

Lots of tourists & shops in Vail Village

Lots of tourists & shops in Vail Village

Garden of Gods

Garden of the Gods

Breathtaking red canyons. It's hard to believe that these canyons are so close to snow covered mountains. (click to enlarge)

Breathtaking red canyons. It’s hard to believe that these canyons are so close to snow covered mountains. (click to enlarge)

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SubhanAllah – how pretty!

Kissing Camels

Kissing Camels

In front of Kissing Camels

In front of Kissing Camels

If you look closely you will see two men, one is on top of the canyon and the other is hiking up. Kind of gives you a perspective on the size of the rocks.

Us posing with the formation Three Graces

Us posing with the formation Three Graces

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Just beautiful!

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Courtesy of the husband for these candid shots!

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How amazing are these! Called Cathedral Spires

Just being silly!

Just being silly!

How amazing are these Siamese Twins

How amazing are these Siamese Twins

The Siamese Twins beautifully frame Pikes Peak-- look closely behind us

The Siamese Twins beautifully frame Pikes Peak– look closely behind us

This rock formation wasn't mentioned on the guide, however to us it looked like a praying man. What do you think?

This rock formation wasn’t mentioned in the guide, however to us it looked like a praying man. What do you think?

Thank you visiting!

Travel Diary | Colorado – 1

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Peace be upon you

Over the winter break the husband and I visited Colorado. We explored the charming state and all that it had to offered – we weren’t disappointed. Here are a few snapshots of our trip. I will be dividing it up into two post – this one will have snaps from our time in Denver, Georgetown, Loveland ski area, and our visit to the famous Rocky Mountain National Park!

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A local mountain biking in Denver. This sport takes major dedication. We were impressed.

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The husband testing out the frozen lake where many locals were ice fishing and having a picnic.

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Many locals and tourist were ice racing on this frozen lake. We thought they were crazy! Yes, those are jeeps…on a lake!

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The husband suiting up to go skiing in Loveland.

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I look like a big blueberry in this ski gear. We couldn’t take snaps while skiing due to all the gear we ended up with only one snap of us. Boo hoo!

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The beautiful ski area during sunset.

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Rocky Mountain National Park

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Map of places to visit in the Rockies.

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Beautiful snow covered mountains and me.IMG_1698

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The husband and I and the snow covered mountains.

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SubhanAllah

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Up close and personal with wildlife at the RockiesIMG_1781

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How pretty is this!

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Pictures don’t do just to the beauty of Colorado.

By the way, Happy New Year! I know I’m a little late but my year doesn’t start till February- mainly because it’s a special month for the husband and I and of course there’s Valentines day! Celebrations all month long for us!

Also, I will only be posting when time permits. I have lots of fun things to share, however grad school keeps me pretty busy so most times I just don’t get time to put together these posts. Lastly, the blog will be going through some “construction” Insha’Allah will keep you all posted.

Thank you for visiting!!!

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