Cruise Report! Part 1

I should realize I'm too old to wait very long before writing things down -- with my memory, two weeks is just asking for trouble!

The Setup
RDub and I settled on a cruise after weeks (months?) of discussing what we wanted to do for our 25th anniversary. We looked into all-inclusive resorts, travel to Europe, and any number of other options. We didn't have an unlimited budget, but we knew this would be a splurge and didn't want to worry too much about it once we decided what to do. We've cruised before (twice together, and another time for me) and have had good experiences -- nothing like what just happened to the Carnival cruise ship!

While we were considering, RDub was talking to a friend who had sailed on this cruise line when he and his wife got married. Their tenth anniversary was 3 days before ours, and just like that, this became a party! The splurge was to make it a full week, and to get a balcony room. Now we're a party of four.

But wait, there's more. Exactly one month after our wedding, my sister got married, so that means this is their 25th year, too. Yep, they signed on, too, and it was their first cruise!

Left to right: Me, Kelly, Marshall, Doug (bro-in-law), Brenda (sister),
and RDub is taking the picture.
We'd been on the boat about an hour.
The Details
This was a Saturday-to-Saturday cruise, leaving from Galveston on the Crown Princess. On Tuesday morning we'd be in Roatan, Honduras for the day. Wednesday was Belize, and Thursday was Cozumel. A day at sea Friday for the return trip, then back to the real world.

If you've cruised before, you know that a big part of it is the excursions you can choose to take when in port. We had booked excursions in Roatan and Belize, mostly because I love snorkeling above all things. We were all doing the same excursion in Roatan -- clear-bottom kayaking and snorkeling. We split up in Belize, with Brenda and Doug doing a cave-tubing trip, and the rest of us snorkeling the coral reef. Cozumel was reserved for shopping and just hanging around the pier.

The rest of the trip? Sitting on deck, drinking whatever was handy, and eating. Lots and lots of eating. Planning your whole day around which buffet to hit...

I'm exaggerating, but only a tiny bit. The food is ridiculous, and should probably get its own post. But then I'd have a record of how ridiculous it really was, and I'm not sure I want that!

Life on a Ship
Question: What are you supposed to do on a big ol' boat in the middle of the Gulf?
Answer: Anything you want! [mostly]
In this group, the main choice was lazing around on a deck chair, watching a movie/listening to a band, and talking smack about the other people on the ship. People will wear ANYTHING, I'm just sayin'.
Day 1: RDub was taking the picture. Doug was probably getting beer.
I have no idea what Kelly is doing to her face. The movie wasn't THAT dramatic.
The Gulf of Mexico is pretty big, did you know? As in, it's the largest gulf in the world. How do I know this, you ask? Because we came in 2nd in the team trivia contest and that was one of the questions. Here's another: What's a group of monkeys called? Where is Table Mountain?

Enough of that, I can't remember the others. But we tied with two other groups who got 18 out of 20 questions right and went to the tiebreaker: How many pounds of coffee beans does one tree produce?

Note from the guest writer: If we'd listened to RDub, we'd have won!

We tied with the other team by choosing the same answer. So tiebreaker #2: For how many days in a month is a cat in heat? I'll give you a moment.

We said 10 days. The other team said 7 days.

Neither team got it exactly right, but the other team was closer -- the answer is FIVE in case you've always wondered. RDub is still bitter that we didn't win the lovely pen.

In a nutshell, we didn't do much but eat, drink, and lay around for the two days it took us to get to Roatan. And then we got to do it again after Cozumel.

And remember that balcony? Here's a glimpse...
This was the last day. I was supposed to be packing.
Let's Go to Roatan!
The lazing stopped abruptly when we got to our first excursion. All six of us opted to do the kayaking and snorkeling at the coral reef. We had about a 30-minute bus ride to the other side of the island. We started at a sort of nature preserve that had beautiful trees and flowers, and a little wildlife.

We got suited up for the kayaking first.
Not sure what we were saying, but apparently it was in unison.
Then off we went like we knew what we were doing.

No one flipped a kayak, although a power boat tried to capsize Brenda and Doug.

After about 45 minutes paddling around, it was time for the main event (for me) -- snorkeling! I've heard about the reefs in Roatan and couldn't wait to get down there. The water was a max of probably 8 feet, maybe 10 in spots, and perfectly clear.

Lionfish - RDub was excited to get this -- we had a saltwater tank years ago,
and our lionfish was a major attraction. Until it stung him. 

Parrot fish were everywhere.

And then, there was this guy:

Biggest.Lobster.Ever. Dude was at least 3 feet long. I swear he was sizing us up for a little drawn butter dipping sauce. And there were TWO of them. I backpaddled pretty fast.

We were out for around 45 minutes, ending with this lovely thing:

I could feel his little sucker thingies on my hands, and he was moving all around. So very cool!

The bus took us back to the ship after an informal tour of the other side of the island.

It was truly a beautiful place, both above and below the water.

This is the longest post ever! I'll have to pick up in Belize in the next installment. But before I go, here are the answers to the trivia questions!

1. A group of monkeys is called a troop.
2. Table Mountain is in Africa (although one of the teams insisted there's one in Washington!)
3. A coffee bean tree can produce one pound of coffee beans.

Stay tuned for the trip to Belize and Cozumel, coming as soon as I can get the pictures edited and sit down to write!


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