The first two days were ship days. Since we’d already explored, we headed right up to the Serenity Spa for a day of relaxing in the shade. I knitted and Connie read. After awhile, we look some laps around the ship on the Promenade deck and hung out on some loungers with a cute couple from Tennessee who were on their honeymoon – Jaime and Josh. Dinner was back in the main dining room. Tuesday was pretty much more of the same except we ended with going to the comedy club with Connie’s niece and her fiancé. By this point I was ready to get off the ship and we’d booked some excursions for the 3 port days so had some fun stuff in store.
Wednesday was Jamaica and we’d booked an all inclusive beach day at a local resort called Secrets. It was only 5 minutes from the port and was absolutely lovely. After hearing the thrilling news that they had wifi, Connie and I found the perfect chairs under both a palm cabana and palm trees, thereby ensuring us shade all day. A lovely British couple sat next to us so it was fun chatting with them. Servers brought us drinks (free) so I had 3 – 2 Miami Vices (half pina colada and half strawberry daiquiri) and 1 mojita. Delicious! We had fish tacos in the restaurant but the best part of the day was getting online. I HATED not being connected so happily sent emails, updated facebook and checked in on Ravelry. Nirvana! I was determined to swim so dutifully walked over to the roped off area and swam. The only problem was the steep, rocky part you had to get over to get out. It was right were the waves broke and I just could not get my feet under me before the waves would knock me down. Connie, who hadn’t gotten in, tried to help me only to be pulled in too. Now that’s a good friend! We both floundered around for awhile before being rescued by two burley men who hauled us out. I can only hope no one had a camera because two middle aged woman laughing hysterically in a food of roiling water would have been a treat I’m sure. Regardless, I thoroughly enjoyed the day.
Wednesday was Grand Cayman. We’d booked a private excursion with the travel agent so most of the 50 people she’d booked were heading for Captain Bob’s boat for a Stingray City/snorkeling adventure. The stingrays were amazing! The boat takes you about 30 minutes from shore to a big sandbar where there water is not even waste high and the stingrays congregate there. Centuries ago, fisherman used to clean their catches there so the stingrays went for the food and are still going there. Now it’s tourists feeding them and they’re completely familiar with humans and swim right up to you, brushing along your legs as they go by. Captain Bob picked one up and you could touch it, kiss it and get a stingray massage. Definitely something new and exciting! From there the boat went to 2 snorkeling spots at reefs – one with just coral and the other with lots of gorgeous fish. I love snorkeling – seeing so clearly and being in a world of your own. Totally enjoyable. We got a restaurant recommendation from Captain Bob and enjoyed a delicious fish lunch when we were done. I finally got to taste Wahoo, which I’d known was a fish but had never seen on a menu. Yum. Connie shopped a bit while I sat on a bench. By the time we got back to the ship, I had the chills. Now I’d been out in the sun all day but with sunblock on and didn’t appear to have a burn so it could have been too much sun or the little cough I’d had for a couple of days (lots of people on the ship had a dry cough) was turning into something. No way to be sure but after failing to muster any appetite for dinner, I opted to go back to the room and had the light turned off by 8:20. I clearly needed some extra sleep.
Friday was Cozumel and we’d originally scheduled a 7 hour Mayan ruins tour on the mainland, which included a 45 minute ferry ride followed by a bus ride to get to the ruins. We’d wised up and exchanged our tickets (nice that the Guest Services people gave us no grief even though it was cheaper) for a shorter one on the island so left for that Friday morning. We had a wonderful tour guide and I thoroughly enjoyed the 3 hour tour, which included ruins of a Mayan fertility site and a bus ride around the island that stopped at a beautiful beach on undeveloped side where we had some fresh guacamole and chips and Connie got to buy her conch shell. I was dragging a bit on the 1 mile walk through the jungle to one of the ruins butit was all good. That night was another cruise elegant night so we headed back for showers and dressing. They didn’t have lobster but the pasta I ordered was yummy. The next day was our last day.
I don’t know if it was the direction change or the weather but Friday night was the roughest night we’d had. It wasn’t bad but I did wake up many times during the night noticing the rocking. Saturday was COLD. I had hoped for a relaxing day at the Serenity Spa but being at the top front of the boat, it was way too windy. Jaime, Josh and I found the warmest spot we could find in the sun on Deck 5 but when we lost the sun, it was too cold to stay. We went to the buffet for lunch (I had 3 bites of a hotdog and stopped but did enjoy some chocolate from the Valentine’s Day dessert spread) but then split up. Connie was back in the room because she was feeling crappy so I went to check on her and ended up spending the rest of the day there watching Seinfeld and Friends reruns, which was fine. I was over the cruise and counting the minutes until we could get off the ship. We packed our bags before dinner so we could put them out for the porters to take and enjoyed our last meal with our dinner mates. I was so ready to go!
After breakfast Sunday, we headed to a lounge to wait for our debarkation numbers to be called. It was as organized as the front end and we were on the bus to the airport. I was dismayed by the hundreds of people waiting in line to check bags at Southwest but was assured I’d make my flight, which I did with only minutes to spare. I felt pretty bad at this point and was congested despite being fully medicated with Claritin D and Mucinex. Then the wifi was down on the first flight so I had less to distract me. At least I was on the way home. The 2nd flight was delayed but flew by as I watched TV on my ipad. My left ear absolutely wouldn’t clear though and by the time I landed, I couldn’t hear much at all and my ear was killing me. Only when I got to my car and was sitting with it running, did blowing my nose work. There was pain and a screeching noise in my left ear that left my equilibrium out of whack but after clutching the steering wheel for a few minutes, it’s equalized. I headed towards home at 5:30, which was when I’d hoped to be in my house but still. After a stop at the market for fried chicken and cole slaw for dinner, I happily walked into my house. My cold was full blown by then but I unpacked like a zombie because I was determined to go to work on Monday. The cruise was over and it was time for a return to normal life, which I ridiculously happy about.
So cruising is clearly not my cup of tea. I’m glad I tried it but know that was both my first and last cruise. I guess I wouldn’t rule out something more refined like a Viking River Cruise or transatlantic on a kinder gentler cruise line but Carnival will ABSOLUTELY NEVER HAPPEN AGAIN. I’m ready for Scotland in 2016 now. It’s gonna be a long wait.