Posted May 17th, 2004, 03:18 PM
Hey everyone! Thanks for loading me up with the questions today...hopefully I can give some good answers.
Here we go...
imatarb - I've cruised both Carnival and RCCL. In my opinion, I would have to say RCCL is superior to Carnival in the service that is provided and the overall ammenities aboard the ship. I've cruised a Voyager class ship for the past four years and have yet to get bored with them. As far as the kids program goes, I've always heard good things about the Adventure Ocean program, it really seems the staff onboard do a good job keeping the kids busy and having fun from morning until night.
secrui - While I was standing at the pursur's desk, I noticed them handing out Bonine for motion sickness. My brother swears by this stuff! It's available at your local drug store. Just be sure to start taking it a day prior to sailing so that it gets into your system. After that, you shouldn't feel any effects of motion sickness.
Ollie_WA - Yes, robes were delivered to our suite the first evening. The bathroom also was stocked with large bottles of complimentary lotions, soaps and conditioners as well. The formal nights were Monday (first day at sea) and Friday (Grand Cayman). Unfortunately I did not eat at Portofino's. However, I've heard only good things about dining there...a shirt and tie should be just fine. You will notice a wide variety of dress even during the formal nights. We arrived at the pier at about 10:30 and were onboard just after noon. The sailing prior to the one I was on cleared customs late, so they were running behind boarding us, otherwise I would imagine we would have been onboard around 11:00 - 11:30.
gkrebs - Great question...I'd love to talk about those two ports, they've turned into my favorites!
Tendering into Belize wasn't as bad as I thought it might be. For this port, you do have to have a tender ticket. One of the people in my group got up early to insure we had a ticket for one of the first boats to leave. He simply went down to the 3rd floor dining room at 7am and came back with tickets for the second tender. The first tenders were called for around 9am ship time (7am Belize time). The second tender departed at appx. 9:30 and we were standing in Belize City at about 9:45. This was a tricky part for our group since the first water taxis to leave Belize City for Caulker Caye were at 10am ship time (8am Belize time), we only had 15 minutes to find the terminal and buy a ticket. We didn't have any excursions planned, our goal was to get to Caulker Caye and find a local guide to take us out to the reef, but on our time table. The water taxi schedule makes planning excursions ahead of time difficult. Needless to say, we made the first water taxi ($40 U.S. roundtrip to Caye Caulker). Oh yeah, by the way...we had researched prices ahead of time for the water taxi...turns out the price went up on May 9th, so we had quite a surprise we when went to pay. Anyway, it was well worth it. The ride over to the Caye was amazing...the barrier islands and water around Belize is awesome! After a 45 minute ride, we arrived at Caye Caulker. We came across a local on the pier who asked what we would like to do? After we explained our time table and what we were interested in, we felt confident he would find a guide that was to our liking. We all boarded his golf cart (there are no cars on this island) and he took us about 100 yds. to business called Mario's Tours. Mario agreed to take us out to three stops on the reef (Shark/Ray Alley, and two stops along the reef) for $17 US!! What a deal when you compare prices on the ship huh? We then walked down to the beach to wait for him to bring the boat around, all the while drinking some of the local beer called Belikin. We then headed out on the boat for about a 15 minute ride to the reef. We had about 45 minutes to swim at each stop with Mario providing the bait/chum to attract the rays, nurse sharks and fish. We practically had the entire reef to ourselves the whole time and I would highly recommend Mario as a guide, he is a very knowledgeable local. Once the tour was over, he dropped us off at "The Split". For those of you who aren't familiar with what that is, it is a channel that was dredged out right through the island when a hurricane hit about 40 years ago. Anyway, there is a great little shack of a beach bar at the point there called the Lazy Lizard...all kinds of beer and frozen drinks...not to mention an amazing view! You can even swim across "The Split" to the other part of the island. A word of caution though, my brother and I swam across with the current in about a minute, however swimming back against the current took a little longer, probably closer to five minutes...lol. The freestyle swimming, turned into floating on my back and kicking to save energy...it was an experience to say the least though. Our group then walked the island back to the point where we would meet out water taxi back to Belize City. Let me just say, this is one of the coolest little islands I've ever been on. It is very unspoiled or untouched...no sign off being commercialized at all. Rooms range from $12 a night with no A/C to the nicer one's going for about $65. Words really can't described this place at all, it's just a "vibe" you've got to experience. The six of us only ran into two other people from our ship the entire day! I'm sure there are plenty of people who went to Belize and don't have good things to say about it, but I'm glad I was able to find one of those places off the beaten path that was a gem...I just hope it continues to stay relatively unknown. Ok, sorry if I got a little side-tracked. We met our water taxi at 3:30 ship time (1:30 Belize time) and headed back to Belize City to catch the tender to the ship. Another word of warning. If you go to Caye Caulker, don't miss the 1:30 water taxi!! If you do, the next one won't get you back to Belize City in time to catch the last tender back to the ship. The last one is 5:15 ship time.
Costa Maya was another gem in my opinion! We docked early, and were off the boat and on the beach by 9:30. We took a taxi from the shopping area to Majahual ($5 US). We then walked to the end of the tiny little fishing village to a little beach bar called Pez Quadro. Basically we just used this as a beach day and enjoyed the water. The reef is located about 500 yds offshore and the water is so shallow, you can practically walk all the way out to it! The first time we tried, it was low tide, but eventually we got to a point where it was too rocky to walk without aqua shoes, so we waited until later in the day when the tide was coming in and just swam over that portion. My brother and I took a mask out there and were easily the only two people out there checking out the coral...all the while, the water was only a foot to two feet deep! We pretty much spent the day wandering from beach bar to beach bar sampling the local beers and stopping for lunch along the way. We also decided to stop for a massage along the way too. A 30 minute massage was only $20 US and what an experience that was...as if the beach wasn't relaxing enough, we sat underneath a palm tree just feet from the surf and let the masseuse do her thing! All in all this is a great little beach stop with plenty of shopping, food and drink and water sports to take in! Hopefully my review helped you out for the most part, if you have any other questions, please feel free to ask!
sunnyerbunns - Hey there, welcome back to you as well! Too bad it had to come to an end huh? Yes, we did manage to put quite a dent into the shot glass supply at Carlos-n-Charlies!! LOL Our shot glass tower started off slowly, but eventually it hit the ceiling! Ok, you've got me...I don't remember saying "hello"
I'm sorry!! That day has some blurry spots...lol.
Well, let me wrap this up for now! I've got to run out really quick, but I promise to answer you KurtMo! In the meantime, please keep all the questions coming! Talk to you all again soon!