Monday, March 25, 2013

Western Caribbean Cruise

Our first full day on the cruise was a sea day, so pretty much spent the time exploring the ship, seeing how many ice cream Andre could consume, and passing the kids every now and then in a hall somewhere.  We all had supper together every night, but that was the only real plans.  Liam has taken over the sports court and we pretty much know where to find him at any time of day that it is open.  Kyle has become part of a group of the huge amount of teens that are on board this week, should be a great week for them!  The rest of us adults do not “love” cruising up to now,  but we do have fun exploring the ship, people watching, and just spending time together.

New bar just added to Carnival ships

Love this tier set up around the pool deck
Port of Miami

Nice sunset leaving the port, delayed departure meant nice sunset shots

Our first stop is in Cozumel Mexico.  All of us have been here before on day trips when we have been in the Mayan Riviera, but never as a cruise stop.  Original plan was to rent a car for the day and tour around, but I decided Margaritas were in order for me too and jail time in Mexico is not something I ever want to do so we hired a driver for the day.  I felt kinda sorry for him because he got a lot of been there, done that already, so basically he drove us to a snorkel spot, stopped for pictures a couple of times, then we were happy to stop for drinks and lunch at a nice beach spot away from the cruise crowds.  It was a great relaxing day.  Spent a little time shopping for silver then back on board to head off to our next port.

So hot that yes Wendy enjoyed a beer

Snorkel stop at Corona beach

Lots of cruise ships in port in Cozumel

The "wild" side of Cozumel

Do we look like tourists?

Hello margaritas!!

Lunch and beach break

Back on board for a round of golf, yep we got some golf in this trip

Fun after a couple of margaritas
Our next stop was Costa Maya, Mexico.  This was somewhere I had never even heard of before researching what to do at the ports of call on this cruise.  Looks like this town is basically a cruise stop, that is it.  We found transportation to a boat trip I had found to go snorkeling.  What an amazing find!  These reefs are still in great shape, so much better than Cozumel.  Liam got the hang of snorkeling now too and seemed to have some fun as well.  The boat was a little “suspect”, but we did not sink, though I didn’t check to see what was under that carpet thing covering the floor.  

After snorkeling they took us to a private beach, which was very funny.  Not sure what the deal was, but it seemed like it was some guys beach that he has set up a little shack on.  About 6 dogs were there to greet us, and the man eventually did show up.  The guys that gave us the snorkel tour cut down some coconut for us to try.  The kids played some Frisbee on the beach and we had enough pretty quickly for this beach.  Yes it was very quiet and secluded, but lots of garbage around that no one seems to care about.  This guy had cleaned up his 100 feet of waterfront, but all around was very sad.  Deserted beaches but full of washed up garbage.  Next we go back to where we launched from for the tour, had some lunch and delicious margaritas.  Very strange sand bar things here, but the water was the most beautiful colour, I could have stayed for the rest of the week at this one spot!  But no, back to the cruise ship we go.

Boat tour, Kyles pose of the week

Our secluded beach

Amazing snorkeling from the boat

We were the only ship in port today

Tonight Joey, Wendy and Andre did the the Chef's table dinner.  The chef gave us a tour of the main kitchen where we were served champagne and  some appetizers.  This was followed by a 7 course meal in a small banquet room.  12 of us for supper with the chef and about 7 of his cooks plus a waitress serving us. Wine was included and some of us took advantage of a little too much.  Liam was so tired that he skipped dinner and went straight to bed and slept until the morning, easy night for Kyle to babysit!

Bread was made and served in these pots, check out the garlic on top, YUM

Amazing dessert, the chocolate put us over the top of full though

Next stop is Isla Roatan, Honduras.  This was a stop we were all really looking forward to and it did not disappoint.  Again we found a tour online where a guy picked us up just outside the Carnival dock, then took us on a tour of the Island.  We stopped for some pictures of views, then next stop was at a little zoo that they have put together.  Here we were able to go in the cage with some monkeys which was fun.  It was a brother and sister monkey that we were in with, she could hardly get near us before her brother would chase her away.  They were extremely cute, their faces and expressions amazing.  We were also able to visit inside a cage with some parrots, one somehow managed to eat the button part on top of Kyles Expos hat without anyone catching him do it.  We also saw Toucans, and some white tail deer at the end, exciting finish!

Yum I found something to eat here!

They called this a rabbit, sure looked more like a rat to all of us!

From this little zoo we went to the local beach to snorkel and spend time on the beach.  I think we were the only cruise people at this beach, and we were definitely targeted by the vendors.  They weren’t too aggressive, we just had to say no about 100 times. Some really great snorkeling here from the beach, but if I had it to do over again we would have taken a boat out snorkeling as there were turtles out there but we never saw any.

Yuck, we saw two of these snake things, why are there creeps things in the ocean, more turtles please

Local beach we spent the afternoon at

Nice hat

Nicer hat!
Magic tricks at supper back on board, this guy was fanstastic

Liam enjoyed the magician doing CPR to the rabbit

Our final stop is Grand Cayman in the Cayman Islands.  This day we had nothing organized but I really wanted to see the sting rays on the sand bar that they are famous for.  Spent some time melting in the heat while looking for a deal to get there, finally decided to go with the first one we were offered, got a Russian couple who didn’t speak a word of English to sign up along with us to get a bit of a deal. The tour didn’t start for an hour and we had to check in with our new Russian best friends.  It all worked out and it was really a neat experience.  Our boat was way overloaded, which I was sure it would be, but we all still had some good interaction.  Stopped for a snorkel at a small reef on the way back to shore, then back to the ship.

Sting ray tour, bring them on!

All those black spots in the picture are sting rays!

Doesn`t get much closer than this, sometimes you didn`t even know they were there until they bumped into you!

Kiss for 7 years good luck, or good grades

Free massage

Stallones house we passed on the way back

Last day was another sea day.  The adults all came off of this cruise saying how much we all had a great time and would do it again,  the kids have always loved cruising, adults not so much but we would go again.  Probably our last trip with Kyle, hard to believe only one year of high school left, so we finished on a great note.  Who knows maybe he’ll keep inviting us on his family vacations when he has his own family??

One night in Maimi before we split up again.  Tonight we have tickets to go see the Miami Heat.  They are on a roll this year and we witness their 26th win in a row.  Lots of fun again, but no where near the atmosphere of the baseball game we saw last week.  Not so much fun trying to get a taxi back to the hotel after the game as there are about 55,000 people around for the Miami Ultra Music Festival last night of the festival.  It is crazy, this is really people watching.  I love the fur boots with really really short shorts and bikini top look.  The festival is mostly downtown, the American Airlines arena where the Heat play is downtown, talk about crazy to find a taxi.  But we made it safely back to the hotel eventually.  Joey and kids are now back in Fernie, and we are in Spain for the next few weeks, keep watching for updates to the blog on Spain!

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