Cruising Through Paradise
On April 28th Wyatt and I flew out to Florida for a week long Caribbean cruise. We met up with Wyatt’s brother Wynn & his wife, Heidi, and spent the night at a hotel near the airport until the next day, when we boarded the “Carnival Triumph.”
Our itinerary had three locations to visit: Cozumel, Mexico; Grand Cayman Island, The Caymans; and Ocho Rios, Jamaica.
The first day and a half was at sea, so we spent the day exploring the boat, hanging out at the pool, and eating the food!
The second day we landed in Cozumel. Wynn & Heidi decided to do a boat excursion (an excursion put together by Carnival) where they did some climbing, zip-lining, repelling, and snorkeling (sounds like fun!). Wyatt and I decided to go it alone, and got off the boat just looking to see what we could come up with. We decided to rent a Jeep, and from there drove around the entire island (maybe 40 miles in circumference). We stopped and explored some ruins from the 800-1200 AD.
We went to “Punta Sur,” a park/reserve with an everglades-esque swamp full of alligators! We walked on a board walk and watched 6 foot alli’s swim just 18 inches beneath us! On the other side of Punta Sur are these pristine white sand beaches. They’re protected for the sea turtles that come to lay their eggs there. And at the very top of the park was a lighthouse, at the top of which you could see the entire island!
We found Wynn and Heidi later that afternoon, and the four of us went back to the far side of the island, where the beaches were so beautiful. We went to a little open air restaurant on one of the beaches and ate a giant platter of seafood (chicken for me!). Then it was time to head back to the ship, and off to our next location: Grand Cayman island!
After another day at sea, we landed at Grand Cayman island. Wynn & Heidi decided not to do an excursion with the cruise line, but come along with us and see what we could see. We rented another car, and drove out to “Seven Mile Beach”–perhaps the most beautiful beach I’ve ever seen for just laying out and playing on the beach itself. It had this soft white sand, there wasn’t any sea weed, or trash or anything corrupting it! And the water was so sea-glass green that it looked more like a swimming pool.
Wyatt & Wynn rented wave runners while Heidi & I relaxed on the beach. When the boys got back Heidi & I went snorkeling on a reef about 100 yards out. I wish I had an underwater camera. There were so many bright and beautiful fish.
In the afternoon we drove out to the other side of the island and chartered a boat to take us to “Sting Ray City”–a place a few miles off shore where there are tons of sting-rays. They have become so accustomed to humans that they will swim right up to you and eat out of your hand! Our guide caught a few and even handed on over to me! It was pretty cool. The water was only about 15 feet deep, so we snorkeled there for a while, playing with the sting rays and swimming along the reef.
The next day we landed in Jamaica. Instead of renting a car we decided to hire a driver who would take us around to the different sites. We drove through “Fern Gully,” a ravine that is covered in rain forest. We visited Duns River Falls, but didn’t hike it since I’m expecting. We also went to an open air market and ate Jamaican cuisine at a resturaunt on a cliff overlooking a little lagoon. We finished the day off by sitting on the beach.
We had another day on ship before we landed back in Miami. A lot of people have asked what we thought of “the cruise.” Well, here’s my take on it: The locations were beautiful, and it was a lot of fun to travel with Wynn & Heidi and explore these new places. The boat itself–on the one hand it was nice to unpack once and just hang out, on the other, since I’m not a drinker, smoker, gambler, or enjoyer of “adult shows” I didn’t find there was much to actually do on the boat. A lot of people get excited about the food on a cruise–you can theoretically eat what ever when ever, but I found the food to be not particularly good, so that wasn’t a huge draw for me. I enjoyed sitting by the pool–but invariable someone would “light up” within a few feet of me, and I’d be enjoying an unhealthy dose of second hand smoke (seriously, with all the available education in this country about the effects of smoking, you’d think people would wise up!) I don’t mean to sound like a complainer. The trip was so much fun and SOOOOO relaxing. But it was definitely different than the way Wyatt and I usually travel (backpacking, and never any down time), so that was just a little disconcerting. For what it is though, it was a great trip, and a lot of fun.