Back in February or so, I had a friend who started a travel agency and a daughter who was stressing about her 2nd semester in college, and a vacation just sounded like something we needed. I immediately thought of a cruise, and the family took about 3.4 seconds to get on board with that wild hair.
And finally it happened! We left early (EARLY!) Saturday morning--5am to be exact--in order to get to the ship as early as we could and beat some of the lines. Fact: 7-day cruises start on the day of departure, even when departure isn't until 4pm. So get there, get a deck chair and some food and drink, and start vacation!
|The deck would never be that empty again!|
|At first, we thought the last guests had the decorations and he just left them for us!|
We finally pulled away around 4:30 after being forced to join the muster station practice -- next time I'm hiding in the bathroom.
|I wanted to tell the dolphins that just a few miles away is much prettier water!|
|Photobombed by RDub's foot|
|Lots of reading, sitting...and some beveraging|
Tuesday was the stop in Mahogany Bay, Roatan, Honduras (one place, three names). We did the Tabyana Beach Break excursion -- highly recommend! It's about a 45-minute bus trip to the other side of the island, and we went through town. We saw all the kids getting to school in their uniforms, wash hanging on the line, just real life. Then, the beach.
The description said you could snorkel off the beach, and we didn't know how impressive that would be. When we got there, we rented our fins, and Johnathan said he'd be our guide if we wanted to go see the reef. He took just the three of us -- it was amazing! We went out about 30 yards from the beach, and this happened:
We paddled around for about 45 minutes - the water was perfectly calm and clear, and wasn't even very cold. It was just beautiful, and having our own guide meant no crowding -- no one else was even out there!
Back to the beach...we were sitting a little way back under the palm trees. Our ship was the only one in port that day, so the beach wasn't crowded at all. The one thing we had read about this excursion was about the vendors; the seating area as well as the shops, restaurant, and bathrooms was private, but the beach between the chairs and the water was fair game for vendors -- jewelry, carvings, conch shells were being hawked by various people. Every time you'd walk to the water, they'd ask if you wanted whatever, but they weren't rude. I just shook my head and kept walking. It was pretty hilarious that most of them would say, "Maybe later?" Obviously, they hear that a lot from people getting in the water! Who's carrying money at that point? Anyway, there were guards for the private area so our belongings were safe and we had no one coming over to the chairs and bugging us.
|It was raining back home...|
|I was mad when I passed it up the first time because I found it later for $20 more.|
Three acres of pristine coral sand and palapas. It was about a 45-minute boat ride from the ship, and our guide told us about the reef. It's the second largest coral reef in the world (behind Australia's) and they take great care to protect it. We got in the water with a group of about 40 snorkelers from the right end of the island above. The water was choppier here, but was so clear. At the deepest point, the water was about 40 feet and we could easily see all the way to the bottom.
Unfortunately, the camera battery died about 10 minutes into the swim. We did get one of these, though.
After about 45 minutes (which can feel like a really long time!), we got back to the beach for a bit of lazing around before heading back to the ship.
|The required "toes in the sand" shot|
Shopping in Cozumel is one of my favorite pastimes, if only because I have fond memories of this trip. Bug got gifts for her besties, RDub got a hat (finally), and I got glasses.
|This is after it got home with us and filled with a tasty beverage.|
|I swear she remembered me.|
|Our headwaiter, Catalin, aka "Bobby" for his resemblance to DeNiro|
...which reminds me why I love vacations. And the ocean. And sunsets.
But being home is pretty good, too.