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Cruise to Cozumel

Cozumel Mexico is an island a short sea bus ride from Cancun. While most people who dock here cross over to the mainland, my husband and I chose to explore Cozumel itself.
The port is busy, and there is no lack of shopping in the area. When you disembark you will be expected to stand while dogs sniff you.
Then you will be shuffled through a duty free store. Here is where I put on my blinders and just walk through. I am interested in the island itself not the cheap cigarettes.

Our tour took us through San Miguel to a Mayan ruin. Tucked in the dense jungle of the island, is San Gervasio. This ruin was at one time the island's cultural and religious center. It is believed that Mayan's from hundreds of miles away would travel here to worship the goddess of the moon. Ixchel. 
Couple's wishing to be married would bring extravagant offers for the royalty who owned San Gervasio and then would stand upon the platform and if the moon shone upon them they would be married. Our guide took us wandering through the archaeological area telling us the legends of the ruins. 
Along our walk we were told about the local flora and fauna. We also viewed the large amount of iguana's hanging out on the cold rocks. 
While this ruin is not the massive size of many other ruins. It's myths and legends make it extremely interesting. Pieces of it are still being excavated as well.


After our exploration of San Gervasio we were taken on a scenic drive along Cozumel's shore line.
Returning to Port we took advantage of the time we had left and explored some of the shops. Here we found the typical touristy trinkets at extravagant prices. Then enjoyed a lunch at Senor Frogs. On the way back to the ship we skipped the duty free store by skirting to the right and proceeded directly to the security check point.
Until Next time, Wanderlust, Wander often, Wander more!



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Posted by Wanderlustcanuk 15:37 Tagged ocean cruise tropical cozumel Comments (0)

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)

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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