I get the Worst Blogger of the Year award for taking so long to get this out! Better late than never I guess.... I recently got back from a 7-day cruise with my family. We traveled to Mexico, Belize, and Honduras via the "fun ship" Carnival Dream. I say "fun ship" because that's how Carnival has positioned this particular boat. I suppose it's fitting if you're like me and your idea of fun is eating like a king and drinking like a fish for 7 days in tropical waters. Instead of taking you through the play-by-play of what we did, I'll give you the highlights from each of the four ports of call. 1. Cozumel, Mexico Since I'd been to Cozumel before, I knew what to expect but that's not to say that it wasn't a great time. We opted for a day at the beach and authentic mexican food instead of an excursion. After lots, and I mean lots of discussion about which beach we would go to, we ended up on a beach with brownish water. Not really what I was hoping for, but due to the weather being crappy the color of the water couldn't be helped. One thing to point out if you ever go: you have to pay to sit on the beach. We paid $2/person to rent a chair and take in the sun. I guess it's not so bad since the beaches are private, but it was still weird to bust out a 10-spot for a seat on the beach. Highlights of Cozumel included: first sunburn of the trip, buying my brother his first tequila shot, delicious food, and smuggling tequila back on the boat. See this post for more information on how to do that. Overall, Cozumel isn't my favorite place, but it's a nice starter to prepare you for the rest of the cruise. Here's a pick from our beach of choice: 2. Belize City, Belize The stop that everyone asks about when you tell them it was on your list of ports. I learned the most in Belize. One thing to note if you're planning on going there is that it's not a good idea to leave the port and explore on your own. Belize is a very poor country and you would be best advised to vacation at a resort if you plan to stay a while or book an excursion if it's a port of call for your cruise line. The excursion we chose included zip lining through the jungle followed by a cave tubing tour. Both were exhilarating for different reasons. As a person who has never been zip lining, I didn't really know what to expect in terms of the excitement/fear ratio, so it was great that as soon as I got on the platform it was all excitement. With only 6 lines to zip, the tour went fast but it was loads of fun. Typically I have a fear of heights, but for some reason being that high in the air didn't bother me. I'm blaming the adrenaline rush. Once the zip line tour was complete, we changed our clothes, strapped on our helmet with light, hopped in our inner tube, and enjoyed the slow ride through the cave looking at stalactites and stalagmites (I still have no idea which is which). The best part of the whole thing was swimming in the cave, where you could look down and see 30 feet to the bottom. The water was very cold, but as Carlos our tour guide said, "It's not cold, it's refreshing." Seeing Belize from the inside of our bus, to and from the excursion, was both sad and humbling, but overall this was a culturally rich experience that I am glad we spent the extra money to do. Here are a couple of pictures of zip lining and cave tubing. Note: I don't know who these people are, but you get the gist. I didn't bring my camera with me on the excursion...I know, super lame. 3. Isla Roatan, Honduras Described as one of the most beautiful places on Earth, Isla Roatan, Honduras must be where they filmed those old Corona commercials. You know the ones that don't show actual people, just the crystal clear water, white beaches, and the sound of the ocean. This was the stop we were most looking forward to. We couldn't wait to get a bug in our margarita (or however that song goes) and a tan. When we woke up at the port we were greeted to rain, clouds, and an announcement that all of the excursions were cancelled. We got rained out in Roatan. Total bummer. Whatever would we do in paradise for 8 hours on a beach? Tequila shots! I didn't leave Honduras with a tan, but I did leave with eight 32 ounce margarita cups and three plastic shot glasses. Here is a picture of my brother "dancing" at the bar in Roatan. Notice the cowboy boots...in ROATAN! WTF? 4. Costa Maya, Mexico Finally, God took pity on us and gave us what we came for...paradise. To be honest, we thought Costa Maya was going to be a stinker port. We'd never heard of it, it was at the end of the trip, and we only had a few hours to spend touristing. Needless to say, we didn't expect that this would be our favorite stop. The port is really all there is in Costa Maya...aside from the beach. We boarded a bus that took us to what felt like the other side of the world, but was really a beach. But not just any beach. For $40/person we enjoyed all-you-can-drink free cocktails, complementary kayaking, $10 snorkeling, lunch, sand volleyball, and a cute little gift shop. It sucked really bad that this was our shortest port of call, so we could only spend a few hours soaking up the sun and pounding...ehm...sipping our bevs. You haven't lived until you've had a 16-year-old local hand pour you a margarita. To. Die. For.
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