Sometimes a little change is good for the soul, and our Western Caribbean cruise was exactly what we were looking for. We were able to explore four new countries in one week and the best part was that we only had to unpack once — this is definitely one of my favorite things about cruising. Over the course of that week, we traveled 2,000 nautical miles (that’s almost the same distance as traveling from Los Angeles to New York) and satiated our wanderlust as we experienced a new part of this world: Central America.
Our days in port were filled to the brim with adventure: we saw the high-rises in Miami; soaked up the relaxed island vibes in the Cayman Islands; went on a pirate’s adventure on Isla Roatan; explored ancient Mayan Ruins in the jungles of Belize; and last but not least, spent a day under the sun in Cozumel. I could definitely get used to waking up in a new country every day. 🙂
And now, the time has come to say “Bon Voyage!” to this series, as this post marks the last entry for our Central American Christmas vacation. Today, I wanted to take a few moments to recap some of our favorite moments, share our favorite port, and include a few cruising tips that even us seasoned cruisers learned this (fourth) time around.
Favorite Port: Belize
Can you Belize it? The country that first ignited our Central American wanderlust, and the country that seems to have a polarizing effect on its visitors, ended up being our favorite country of the trip. And not just because of the un-Belize-able puns. The Xunantunich Mayan Ruins were fascinating and we loved that we had a chance to see so much of the country-side as we commuted to this ancient site. As the locals say, “It’s Betta in Belize!” and we can definitely see ourselves returning to this country again.
The Cruise Crowds
I’ll be honest, when we first stepped onto the cruise ship I was immediately worried about the amount of guests on board. Don’t get me wrong, I like people. I think people are great. I just don’t like sharing my vacations with crowds. (Paris, you’re the exception, of course). On that first day, I began second guessing myself and our decision to go on a cruise — those beaches in Hawaii were starting to feel pretty remote — however, as the week went on, we either got used to the crowds, or perhaps, the crowds weren’t as bad as I initially thought.
So apparently the Caribbean experiences winter… (facepalm!) Who would have thought?! Luckily, our days in port were mostly sunny, however, dark storm clouds would roll in each evening as we cruised out of port. Unfortunately, it rained the entire day on Isla Roatan — although we went scuba diving so the weather didn’t really affect us that much — yet at the end of the day, I can’t really complain because the weather was still much better than our forecast back home.
Cruise Tip: Faster to the Fun
The best decision we made on this trip was purchasing Carnival’s Faster to the Fun Pass. For only $69.95 (per stateroom) we were basically treated like VIPs — well, at least we felt like VIPs. With the Faster to the Fun Pass, we had priority check-in and dedicated security lines, priority embarkation, priority tenders, early access to our stateroom and early luggage delivery, a dedicated line at guest services, and priority debarkation.
If you’re cruising with Carnival, buy this pass! (This is by no means a sponsored post, I am just a fan of this pass).
Cruise Tip: Items to Pack
I mentioned this tip after our first cruise back in 2012, but I wanted to add another reminder. Pack layers! While you may be cruising somewhere tropical, your nights on the ship can get chilly. The ship has the air-conditioning on at all times — so the dining rooms, casinos, and comedy club will be cold — and as the ship cruises near 20 knots (that’s around 23 miles per hour) your evenings out on deck will be chilly as well.
Also, bring a small extension cord so you can charge multiple items at once. Most staterooms have only one outlet, yes, ONE. So having a small extension cord helped out significantly.
It had been almost five years since our last cruise, and after returning home we found ourselves missing the nightly turn-down service, endless ice cream, and those breakfast burritos at the Blue Iguana Cantina. 😉 And shortly after, we both agreed that we were ready to book another cruise. So now the question remains… where will we cruise to next?