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Entries about carnival

Cruising to Montego Bay

Our stop in Montego Bay was a repeat trip for us. We had gotten married here a few years prior and spent a week at the Sunset Beach resort. During our previous trip to Jamaica other members of the group had gone to Negril the day that we were meeting with the wedding planner. So our excursion of choice was a trip to Negril.

We found our tour group and were loaded into a bus with a rather small group of people. I always prefer the smaller groups. I hate being shuffled around in a group of fifty people. The drive from the port to our first stop in Negril was rather enjoyable. We wound our way along the coast line through tiny villages. Our first stop was Margaritaville on seven mile beach. Here we got a free lunch. I of course chose jerk chicken. One of my favourite Jamaican dishes. We then laid on the beach and played in the surf drinking red stripe for around half an our.

The next stop was Rick’s Cafe. Famous for it’s views and cliff divers. I had been excitedly waiting to go here. The view was astonishing. Nothing in the way of miles and miles of ocean. The sun sparkling along on the top of the teal blue water. We walked down the stair case towards the ocean where the divers jump. Across the tiny inlet is a gap in the rocks shining through to the other side. The locals had told us to go down there. They say that it looks like Bob Marley. It indeed looks like a mans head has been carved into the rocks by the waves.

I wanted to jump from the cliff but I wasn’t sure how much time I had so instead we enjoyed some beer while looking out at the view.

We got the chance to watch one of the cliff divers jump from the very top. Then we headed back to the port. The day seemed rather quick. But the travel time from the port to Negril and back had unfortunately eaten quite a bit of our exploration time. I definitely recommend going to see this despite the around hour long trip to and from. It was beautiful and enjoyable. Our tour guide was amazing and the driver as well.

I have plenty of things to say about Jamaica, plenty of recommendations of what to do and what to see. I intend on writing a post specifically on the island as a whole. But for cruising, it’s a wonderful port to visit. I would happily cruise there again.

Until tomorrow, happy adventures everybody.

Posted by Wanderlustcanuk 11:33 Archived in Canada Tagged cruise jamaica bay carnival montego cafe cruising rick’s Comments (0)

Cruising to Freeport

Freeport Bahamas. What do I say about you? It’s hard to have a negative view on any island in the Caribbean. Freeport was not quite what I expected.
The port itself was extremely industrialized. I can’t complain too much. I live off of industry and I live with industry around me. But when I vacay I tend to try and escape that. Out on my balcony, I watched a ship be unloaded of all of it’s shipping containers. Carnival and Royal Caribbean both currently have ships on the dry docks here. Off in the distance I see large oil containers poking up against the horizon. Disembarking was simple and finding our tour was relatively easy. The drive from the port to our excursion was pleasant enough.
Palm trees and cute little residential areas. We had chosen to try the My Bahamian House excursion. Once again booked through Carnival. I don’t always recommend booking through the cruise line you travel on. But for my own personal comfort the first time that I visit a new place I choose to do so. The house we were taken to was a cute little place on the canal, with a beach directly across the street. We were escorted in through the home and out into the back yard to sit upon the canal. The people working here were extremely kind, they laughed and joked with us. But I cannot with good faith recommend this excursion.
The canal had diesel fuel floating in it. This is something that I know the employees cannot control. But all the same, I could smell it wafting up into the backyard. We had been told there would be paddle boarding and they did indeed produce a paddle board. But not one person was ever put onto it. I got a drink. Which was great and waited for help onto said paddle board for over half an hour. Unfortunately that never happened. I finally got tired of that and walked over to the beach. This was beautiful. The water crystal clear and the sand was lovely. I spent an hour floating around in the waters.
Lunch was served back at the house and it was delicious. I followed it up with another drink and a few minutes later we were loaded up and taken back to the port. For $99 USD per person I was rather disappointed in this excursion.
Back at the port I found the shopping to be extremely dissapointing. I spotted a tortuga store and power walked my way over praying for tortuga vanilla rum. No such luck this store sold tortuga rum cakes and some souvenirs but none of the alcohol.
I do feel that Freeport needs more exploration If I am to give a true opinion of it. The disappointing excursion and the industrial port tainted my view of it. I know plenty of people who have enjoyed their visits there.
As per my usual opinion I suggest taking a visit to this place. I would still take a cruise if it stopped here and I wouldn’t tell anyone not to go. But so far this port has been my least favourite stop.

Keep travelling and keep exploring my fellow travellers.

Posted by Wanderlustcanuk 22:37 Tagged cruise carnival bahamas freeport Comments (0)

Cruising to Nassau

Diamond

I recently visited Nassau for the first time. I had read about the tiny island before but a lot of that information had not been good. The Canadian government warns travellers to the island of crime and other unfriendly issues. But when I stepped out on the balcony the morning we docked I was pleasantly surprised at how beautiful it truly was. Beautiful blue ocean and waving palm trees. Atlantis resort in the distance. We had booked an excursion through the Carnival website and the tickets told us to be on the pier at 1:30. With time to kill we headed off into the shopping area of the port known as Bay Street. In the walk from the ship to Bay Street we were offered multiple taxi rides, tours and even wagon rides. I just politely said no thank you and walked along my way. I found that the people peddling their services here were less pushy than in other corners of the world and I was pleasantly surprised.
I had purchased a coupon book from the shopping specialist on the boat. She had also directed me great places to shop. I utilized the information I had been given and explored the stores. On Bay Street you will find a large variety of jewelry shops. While I don’t have a massive budget I did purchase a beautiful tanzanite bracelet for $99.00 USD at Tanzanite International. I was given a tanzanite necklace and earrings for free to match. Just a few steps away I exchanged one of my coupons for a one carat loose sapphire. I also ventured into Diamonds International to collect my free Bahamas charm for my bracelet.
If like me fancy jewels are out of your budget there are other places to shop. Del Sol for instance which has items that change colour in the sun. Pandora. There is a pharmacy in case you were needing something and didn’t want to spend the extra price on board. There are a few souvenir shops along the way.
We returned to the ship after our morning of exploring Bay Street, dropped our shopping bags in the room and headed to the pier for 1:30.

Here we boarded a small boat which took us out the water way past some of the massive mansions on paradise island. Oprah Winfrey, Jimmy Buffet and Tiger Wood’s ex wife all own houses in this area. These extravagant homes tower over the bay with their perfectly manicured lawns and glowing white paint. Just past the homes a few minutes we stopped to take a picture of the Island where Gilligan’s Island was filmed. Hurricane’s have destroyed the trees on it leaving it much less forested than what it had been. But a few of the buildings still stand. A fast and bouncy ride from there we jumped into the ocean to swim with sea turtles. The water around us was a bit rough and cloudy so it wasn’t the best day for this excursion but it was really nice. I didn’t see any turtles but my husband saw two. I just enjoyed watching the fish as I snorkelled along in the warm Caribbean waters. Jumping back into the boat we drove to Rose Island where we snorkelled again. Here over a reef we snorkelled for about half an hour. The reef was beautiful and bountiful with fish. It was colourful and the water here was clear. Our life guard swam bellow us spreading food for the fish. We then spent about a half an hour basking in the sun on Rose Island before returning to port and boarding the ship.
I would like to return to Nassau and explore more of the island one day but I am a true water baby at heart and I always enjoy doing any sort of water excursion. In conclusion anyone concerned about visiting the Bahamas I would recommend Nassau as one of your stops for exploring this beautiful area of the world. The shopping is tax and duty free and the locals that I meant were wonderful people.

Posted by Wanderlustcanuk 21:36 Archived in Canada Tagged cruises carnival bahamas nassau Comments (0)

What to Pack for a Cruise

I will admit openly that as I age I pack more and more stuff that I could truly leave behind. I used to go for a week vacation with nothing but my carry on. I honestly was being cheap. I hated that $30.00 baggage fee that I always got. But even still when I pack for a cruise, I still choose to pack wisely. It is important to remember that a cruise stateroom is not the same size as a hotel room. You won’t want to spread your suitcase wide open in your stateroom and scatter your stuff for a week long vacay. I truly recommend unpacking as soon as you get the access to your room. Putting your suitcases in the closet and then enjoying your trip without “Tripping” (Pun intended) over your stuff. The following list will hopefully help you decide what to bring and what to leave behind.

1. Documents:
Passports, ID, Credit Cards, Insurance papers. I also bring a photo copy of my passport. It’s good to note that in many cruise ports you need your passport only to get on the ship. When you dock in ports often all you need is a photo ID such as a drivers licence and your sail and sign card.

2. Carry On:
The staterooms are not always available immediately when you board the ship. Bring a carry on with a bathing suit, sunscreen, shorts, any medications that you may need access too. You’ll want to enjoy the ship and the sun right away and there is no reason why you can’t.

3. Formal Wear:
Bring your formal wear for fancy night. Get dressed up and have some fun. The meal is excellent and honestly how often do you get to dress up at home? Each cruise line is different in what is required for formal wear. Check the website to find out what they expect. I cruise with Carnival and I often wear a nice little black dress with fancy sandals. Some people go all out with ballgowns. The choice is yours.

4. After Sun and Sunscreen:
This probably isn’t quite the necessity on an Alaska Cruise. But Caribbean cruisers it is going to be hot and you are out on the water. Slather it on and enjoy those rays.

5. Shoes:
I doubt any of us will forget our flip flops. But you will want a pair of closed toe shoes to wear on the boat as well. Sneakers or boat shoes something a bit more sturdy. The Carnival skycourse requires closed toes. Your excursions may dictate different foot wear as well, do you need hiking shoes? Or water socks? Check for any requirements. Fancy shoes for Formal night as well. You don’t want to wear sneakers with that fancy little dress.

6. Binoculars:
My husband thinks I am Insane. But every time I go to the stateroom I grab my binoculars and sit out on the balcony watching for things to see. Many people expect to see only water but in all honesty there can be tons of things out there to look at. Other cruise ships, shipping boats, islands, wildlife, stars. I love horizon watching.

7. A Sweater:
It can get breezy out on the Ocean and in the evenings you may find yourself chilly. Bring along some warm sweaters, poncho’s or wraps to keep warm when you go for an evening stroll.

8. Toiletries:
Use travel bottles to use less space for things like shampoo, conditioner, body wash, mouthwash, toothpaste. Carnival does provide shampoo and conditioner but if you’re like me you prefer your own stuff.

9. Medical kit:
I have yet to use any of the items in my medical kit but I bring it anyway just in case. Advil, Tylenol, Gravol, Benadryl, Bandaids, peroxide. If you have special needs for this item add those as well.

10. Wrinkle Release:
This depends on your wardrobe. Many people swear by it. I don’t bother because I live for clothes that don’t need ironed. If something looks a bit wrinkled after it comes out of my suitcase I will hang it in the bathroom while I shower. The steam often gets rid of those wrinkles. If that doesn’t work I have been known to take my hair straightener to my clothing. Worst case I send it off to the laundry to be pressed. It’s extremely cheap a few dollars per item and I don’t have to do it.

11. Clothes Clips:
I pack a few big clothes clips that I got at the dollar store, I use them if I need to hang something in the stateroom but it won’t stay on the hanger. I take them to the deck and clip my beach towel onto the chair so it won’t blow away if I get up to grab a drink. Clothes clips are a must have.

12. Mosquito repellant:
Last but certainly not least Mosquito repellant. You won’t see much for bugs out on the ocean. But the ship does stop in ports and here you will find a never ending list of annoying pests. Mosquito’s are the number one killer of all humans. They spread a wide array of diseases. Zika Virus and Dengue fever are two that anyone travelling to the Caribbean needs to be aware of. Protect yourself and keep covered with repellant.


How much and what else you pack in your bags should depend on where you are going and for how long. There are lots of options for hanging things in the closets, shelving and drawers for storage in the staterooms. But try not to go overboard on the packing. The stores on the ship have most of the major things people need so if you forget anything just grab what you need there. But be prepared to pay extra.

Posted by Wanderlustcanuk 10:01 Archived in Canada Tagged cruises carnival Comments (0)

Tips for cruising with Carnival

Cruises with Carnival

The trip on the Carnival Liberty that I took last week was my second cruise. Even though this was a been there, done that experience the excitement was still there as I awoke early and arrived at the port before my check in time. I was like a giddy school girl as I found myself on the boat in just a few minutes. In comparison with the Carnival Breeze which was the ship I took for my first cruise the Liberty is a bit smaller. When I booked I was honestly a little bit wary about the size difference. I wondered if I would find this smaller boat to be boring and too confining. But from the outside I honestly could not tell much difference. At 110,000 tons and almost a thousand feet in length even this size smaller was still a massive ship. Anyone who has travelled carnival before has seen the major similarities in all of the floor plans. This boat was laid out very similarly to the Breeze. But as I entered into the main lobby on deck three I saw my first major difference. This ship was particularly beautiful. I am not saying that the Breeze has flaws. But the details on the liberty stood out more to me. Brighter, Shinier, more intricate. The Liberty is beautiful. I drug my carry on up to the Lido deck and parked my butt on a deck chair by the pool. After getting myself a rum laced pina colada of course. For anyone who has cruised before I am sure you have your own tips and tricks and for those of you who have not I am going to share my tips with you.

1. Book Early
While this is not a necessity and some people choose to book later or even last minute. I like to take advantage of the payment plan. Often times Carnival offers a $50.00 deposit so for two people all you need is a hundred dollars to start paying towards your next vacation.

2. Watch for price changes
After booking your cruise keep an eye on the price. Check it on holiday’s or anytime you get an email from Carnival about a sale going on. If you haven’t finished paying for your cruise they will change the price in your online account. If you have they generally give an onboard credit. Either way it is a win win situation for the cruiser. This is another reason to book early. More time for price changes to occur.

3. Pack Wisely
Staterooms on a cruise are not as generous in size as hotel rooms. It is smart to pack only the necessities. Avoid too many bags as you will want to put your bags in the closet to save room for getting around in the room. I will be making a post of what I pack to help new cruiser’s decide what to bring.

4. Try the food
The buffet is obviously the easiest place to quickly zip in and grab a bite. But cruising has so many options for food. Guys burger joint is my choice. But I also enjoy going to the dining room for a few of my dinners. Grabbing Pizza at the 24 hour Pizza joint and ice cream at swirls. Don’t limit yourself try everything. Remember that each cruise line has a few restaurants that have a fee to eat. I avoid those places and go for the free food but to each their own.

5. Enjoy the free activities
Dive In Movies, Mini Golf, Comedy Shows, Live Music, Dancing, Broadway, Hot tubs, Swimming pools and water slides to name a few. Each cruise ship has it’s own unique activities. Check the schedule that get’s dropped off at your room and hit up what you want to do. There is a constant flurry of activities going on.

6. Drink Packages
This one varies for each cruiser. How much do you drink? Is it a smart money move for you? Carnivals cheers packages allow you to consume up to 15 drinks per day. It costs $51.95 USD per person per day with an extra 18% gratuity on top. Each adult member of a cabin must purchase the package it cannot be purchased by only one. For cruises leaving Texas or New York the package doesn’t start until the second day as state law prohibits alcohol sales. On a 5 day cruise that ends up costing $519.50 plus gratuities of $93.51 for a couple. The average price for drinks on board without a package varies slightly but beer is around $7.50 and fancier drinks around $10.50. In those 5 days if each person drank 15 fancy drinks without the package a couple would run a tab of $1575.00 plus $283.5 in Gratuities. I suggest running the numbers for yourself and deciding if the program is a smart move for you. Remember that port days you may not drink as much as you won’t be on the ship the whole day. Carnival also offers the bottomless bubbles package which is for non alcoholic beverages and is offered at a much cheaper rate of $35.11 per adult for a 5 day cruise.

7. Bring on your wine allowance

With Carnival each adult is allowed to bring one 750ml bottle of wine onboard. My husband doesn’t like wine so on cruises when I feel like we don’t need a drink package I consume both of our bottles. There is a fee to open it in the dining room so I usually sip mine sitting on the balcony. Don’t forget to bring a cork screw. I have a small one I leave in my suitcase.

8. Take the stairs

With sugary drinks and carb ridden foods finding their way to your waistline, skip the elevator often and take the stairs. Most people find that they gain a rather large amount of weight on a cruise. I manage to keep that gain down to 1 or 2 pounds and I attribute that to the fact that I take the stairs often.

9. Excursions

Decide which excursion type is best for you. Some people take the cruise lines excursions as they have a certain amount of security. The cruise lines guarantee that they will not leave without you if you are on one of their excursions. But you do pay the extra price for that and many people feel that these excursions don’t show the true culture of the place you are visiting. Other’s go of on their own and find a local to take them on a tour when they get to the port. With this you are on your own with no guarantees from the cruise line. But many people prefer this method. Each person needs to figure out which one is best for them.

No matter what cruise line you choose, or excursion you decide on. Where you eat or what activities you participate in. Pick what is best for you. Enjoy your vacation and most of all have fun.

Posted by Wanderlustcanuk 13:23 Archived in Canada Tagged cruises cruise carnival tips liberty Comments (0)

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