See that beautiful water up there? That’s what I was surrounded by for four glorious days last weekend.

Last year, after our good friends announced their engagement and plans to take their show on the road, er—sea for the wedding, we booked a cruise with 28 other glowing guests for a destination wedding to The Bahamas.

I’d been looking forward to the trip for a while; it was my first time ever taking a cruise (apparently I missed the Spring Break cruise phase in college). After months of counting down the days and shopping for the perfect bikini, it was time to set sail!

J.R. and I decided to drive down to Cape Canaveral, Florida, instead of flying, and stay the night in Orlando before we left the next morning. The weather was perfect. The crazy money we spent in tolls trying to navigate the highways of Mickey’s hometown was not.

We woke up the next morning bright-eyed and bushy tailed to make our way to the coast, stopping at nearby Cocoa Beach for lunch before we went to the port. We found this great little pier with a few dive-bar-style seafood spots.

We sat down at Boardwalk for a few beers and to grab a bite to eat. I thought I would be too excited to eat, but changed my mind as soon as I saw Gorgonzola & Shrimp Skins on the menu. They’re basically like potato skins, but with gorgonzola cheese and shrimp instead of the normal toppings. Amazing. Only at the beach can you find a dish like this.

Then it was time to set sail!

Our boat was Royal Caribbean’s Monarch of the Seas. It’s one of the older and smaller ships in their fleet, and scheduled to be retired next April. But the ship was huge with tons to do, so I’m sure sailing with any of the other ships in Royal Caribbean’s fleet would be just as great an experience.

If you’re like me and want to spend your cruise vacation laying out and enjoying the rays, there’s a huge pool deck. Not long after we boarded, it was packed with people catching sun and having a blast.

If being active is more your thing, there was also a rock climbing wall and sports deck, complete with ping pong, shuffleboard and basketball.

And of course, lots to eat and drink.

And if there’s not enough salt on your pineapple margarita, you can always pick some up off the railings. Everything on the ship was coated in sea salt from the ocean spray. I almost wanted to bottle it up and bring it home. Almost.

After exploring the boat for a bit, it was time to set sail, go to bed and wake up in Nassau. Click here for Part 2 of my cruise recaps to check out our time in Nassau and the rest of the destination wedding cruise.