A very long part two...
Progreso â Dzbilchaltun Ruins â Great for someone like me who wants to see ruins without spending the whole day there â only about a 30 minute drive from the ship. The cenote made it even more enticing, it was so refreshing to swim in. Our tour guide, Miguel, was very knowledgeable, almost too much â we were stuck in the museum for an hour, plus 30 minutes viewing the sample modern Maya house. I was a little disappointed at the lack of free time, but others in our group loved all the history. Just preferences, I guess. I just wanted a brief history followed by my own exploration. This tour will not drop you off in town when itâs over, though.
Cozumel â Passion Island â Beautiful. Not nearly long enough. DH got a 30 minute massage for $35, which he said was worth every penny, and I did the water-balloon toss. Food wasnât what I was expecting, good but not great, and the drinks were watered down â I kept having to ask for double rum punches because I didnât taste anything. They used real liquor, though, as it was Bacardi he was adding to my drinks. You can do this activity elsewhere for much cheaper (Iâm not sure we ate and drank our $75 worth), but we knew this up front. We booked it for being quieter than a public beach, which it was, and to make sure we got some time at Carlos ânâ Charlieâs, which we did. We were happy with it, and might book it again given the opportunity.
Belize â Cave Tubing with X-Stream â The purserâs desk recommendation was to meet the tour groups down at the tender, and theyâd let us on. Well, they almost didnât let us on, the guy down there was not too happy. He did let us through, but if you need to sneak off for a private excursion, join the tour group meeting in the Mikado. They donât check tickets until you actually get on the bus.
Thomas was okay. Compared to ship guides, he was great. Compared to the things Iâve heard about Richard, he was below par. The hike itself wasnât that bad (then again, I run 2-4 miles 3-4 times a week), but my back was very sore from carrying the tube. The water was *freezing*. I was expecting cold, but not this. It took a lot out of the trip for me, as Iâm pretty cold-natured. He seemed to be in a grumpy mood â I asked him a couple of questions that he had apparently already mentioned and made a comment about having to answer them again, but having been in the rear of the group (the hike doesnât allow for two people to walk side-by-side very often), I couldnât always hear him. All in all, still way better than the shipâs tour, though I was disappointed to not be given the option to jump off the cliff into the water â I really wanted to do that.
Pool Band was HORRIBLE! They played their music okay enough, but as soon as they opened their mouths, it nearly drove me away.
I entered the first blackjack tournament, and actually made the finals. Didnât win, but I did get a cool tote bag oâ Oceanâs Playerâs Club goodies â t-shirt, playing cards, koozie, and a keychain.
CD Larry Garlutzo (sp?) mentioned Cruise Critic quite a few times, mainly when referencing the Dirt Poets, âvoted the number one cruise ship band by AOL and Cruise Criticâ, but he did say hello a couple of times to those of us âhe knew were out there somewhereâ. Speaking of Dirt Poets, they are very good; make sure you check them out, also.
The ship was COLD! I caught my teeth chattering in some places.
To those that were wondering if it was only their ship rocking in the Gulf â it wasnât! The jogging track and some other outside areas were closed on Friday due to high winds. I managed to make it up to the jogging track before they closed it and only lasted one lap; you couldnât walk against the wind, it was so strong. There was a lot of rocking heading south, but coming back was fairly calm, save for Friday.
Do try the pay massage chairs near the Super Shopper Desk on Promenade Deck! A $5 bill gets you 10 minutes of great relaxation. Word of caution, though â the chair closest to the Mikado is not as hard as the one closer to the Super Shopper Desk.
Immigration was a joke. We were given âpriorityâ debarkation luggage tags (the orange Verandah tags). We got in the immigration line around 8:05, and didnât come out until about 9:00. Since immigration was completed for the whole ship by 9:35 or so, Iâm not sure how that came out to be a priority. What I didnât know at the time was that family members could change out their tags so everyone could get off at the same time, and I guess half the ship was related to the 250 or so people max that legitimately could have had the tags. We were off the ship by 9:45, and at our car by 10:10.
If youâre a wine drinker, thereâs two wine and cheese happy hours â the buy 2, get 1 free special makes them only about $2 a glass.
Captainâs Cocktail Party â not good for much else other than the free drinks. It was just dancing and an introduction of the officers.
Past Guest Party â not good for much else other than the free drinks. It was just a social gathering with a short clip of Carnivalâs beginnings and all the ships today.
Iâm sorry I keep making these so long! As always, happy to answer any questions! I still have all my Capers, the excursion list, and a few other odds and ends.
Holiday 12/00 - Baja
Elation 05/02 - Mexican Riviera
Elation 05/04 - W. Carribbean
Ecstasy 12/04 - W. Carribbean
See my pictures!