Jason and I are definately guilty of blog neglect and have finally decided to take some time and get back on track! We are only a month late on this, but here is an update about our cruise :)
We had such a wonderful time!
It started off with our first experience with "days at sea". It was so nice to get to sleep in and extra nice in the cave interior room we chose! We started off our days at sea with breakfast and the dreaded omelet lines followed with exploration of the ship and attempts to take advantage of the planned activities. The only complaint about days at sea- crazy sun bathers! They scope out lounge chairs at 7am and dont move-literally!- until sunsets! I felt rather sad for them and the poor condition of their leather skin, but also very annoyed that there were very few options left for anyone else to sit down! We were finally able to find two chairs right next to the adults only pool which also happened to be on the same deck as the pizza, ice cream, & burgers and fries! Our second day at sea was spent on the water slide, minature golfing, playing cards with our new friend, and attending the various farewell event and shows-including our favorite, the Love and Mariage game.
That first night was also our first experience with "Elegant night", which I must say, we felt extremely underdressed for! There were women parading around in floor length ballgowns and men in tuxedos! I understand the thrill of dressing up, but wow, I couldnt imagine packing that stuff or spending that much time getting ready while on vacation. Maybe we will try it out next time :)
The other new thing to us was the assigned dinner tables. By the second night we really had come to love it- only because we had really hit it off with the other couple we were seated with. They were a wonderful newly wed couple our age on their honeymoon from North Carolina. As usual with cruise dining, we were very impressed by the appetizers and the main course, but let down by most of the desserts :( They all looked very impressive, but the flavor did not live up to our expectations.
Our first port of call was Georgetown, Grand Cayman. We booked an excursion to go out on the Jolly Roger- a restored pirate ship. We had a blast with our mock battles against the cruise ships in port, scrubbing the deck, and walking the plank. The crew of the ship were great with acting and dressing the part. After that we spent te afternoon browsing around the shops and walking through all of Georgetown. We stopped for lunch at Breezes, a small seafood restaurant on the third floor above the street front shops. The food was wonderful, but cost alot more due to the horrible exchange rate. Back on the ship that night was the Rockin the Promenade party. We had alot of fun with our new friends dancing, laughing at/with those brave enough to karaoke, and playing the slots in the casino.
The second port was Isla Roatan, Honduras. We spent the day taking a bus to the opposite side of the island to visit Gumbalimba Park. When we arrived we were outfitted and headed to the ocean for snuba! Isla Roatan is surrounded by the second largest barrier reef in the world which we were dive down to the ocean bottom and discover! It was truly an amazing experience to be among the tropical fish and beautiful coral formations. After snuba, we used the rest of our time to go on a private guided tour through out the park. The best part of the park tour was getting to play with the capuchin monkeys! They are so playful and just as fascinated by us as we were them.
The next port of call was Belize City, Belize. We booked the Raiders of the Lost Mayan Tomb excursion. We boarded a bus and took an 1 1/2 bus ride out of the city into the jungle. We stopped at an outpost where we were instructed to apply a generous amount of our insect repellant then fitted with harnesses, helmets, and gloves. From there we began our hike up the side of a mountain- this is when we realized why the bug spray was necessary! The mosquitos in Belize are crazy- they would still swarm and attack us regardless of the bug spray, which I am guessing they have grown immune to! We finally made it to to the mouth of the cave where we began the real adventure. We were guided through the multiple chambers of the cave making stops at a variety of spots used by the Mayans for ceremonies and rituals. We crawled through small opening, rappelled down cliff sides, ziplined across the jungle canopy from the mouth of one cave to another, walked swinging rope bridges, and treked through waterholes all before riding down an inclined traverse back to the jungle floor. We then boarded the bus and headed off to a jungle BBQ for lunch before returning to port.
Our final port of call was Cozumel, Mexico. We arrived and boarded a ferry to take us to Play del Carma on the main land. After arriving, we met our guide to take us to Xcaret Ecological Park. Much to our surprise, there was only us and another couple with their daughter that booked this excursion! We all walked to our bus which happened to be a quite nice Greyhound like bus with reclining seats and all for just the six of us. After arriving at Xcaret our guide took us on an educational tour of the bat cave, Mayan village, deer shelter, jaguar island, spider monkey island, and the butterfly pavilion. After our guided portion, we were taken to the entrance of the under ground rivers. We were given life jackets and adviced of the very cold water temperature, but told this is a cant miss! We took the stairs down to the entrance and rushed in- it was freezing! The river had such a current that we were able to just kick back and float. As we got further down the river we began to feel where the water met- the top half of the depth is freezing fresh water, the lower half is very warm salt water. It was an amazing eperience to feel such a temp difference and have a freezing torso with really warm legs! We floated for 45 minutes underground in the cave with various spots in the roof opening enough to slightly let the sunshine in. After we made it to the end, we continued our tour of the oark. We were able to see the dolphins, huge sea turtles, sharks, sting rays, vast array of sea creatures in the aquarium, flamingos, bird sanctuary, as well as the orchid and mushroom farms. We also took some time to walk along the ocean which was bordered with natural pools/cenotes and lounge in the sea of hammocks on the cliff overlooking the ocean. With so much left to do, it was sadly time to head back to the bus. We definately plan on returning Play del Carma for an extended stay and another visit to Xcaret!
Overall we had a wonderful time and can't wait to start planning for our next adventure!