Last week, my beautiful husband and I had the pleasure of accompanying my inlaws on a fabulous, week long cruise in the Caribbean! I had never been before (neither had Daniel) so this was a real treat. Not only was it a blessing to have so much quality time with family we don't get to see often enough (because they still live in Louisiana) but getting the see those "I can't believe the water is really THIS blue" ocean waters in the Caribbean was truly miraculous. God is such a vivid artist, and there really are no words to describe the colors (and unfortunately, no photos because I apparently forgot to take them).
My MIL booked our vacay through Carnival, and we were onboard the Carnival Breeze. It's a newly renovated ship that ports out of Galveston, and it was beautiful and fun. Probably our favorite part about the ship was our cruise director, Schwartz (visit his page here) who was SOOO hilarious and entertaining that Daniel and I pretty much went to whatever events onboard that he was going to be leading/opening for.
So the cruise was 7 days long, and we ported in three different locations:
1. Montego Bay, Jamaica (link)
2. Grand Cayman Islands (link)
3. Cozumel, Mexico (link)
That number list is the order that we visited the ports, and probably my personal list of least favorites to favorites (I'll get to that more, below).
So our first stop is pictured above - Montego Bay, Jamaica. From the boat, this port seemed like a beautiful place! I had heard that Jamaica was kind of a sketchy, and not really worth getting off the boat... But with these views, I couldn't believe it! Little did I know, that the water and beautiful buildings along the coastline are totally deceiving.
It's possible that it's just where we were in Montego Bay (it's the only place I've ever been, so it's all I know of the country) but it was actually a really scary place to walk around. Normally when I'm visiting other countries - I love to walk around (in a group, so don't worry - I'm safe) and just observe the local flavor and culture. In Jamaica, we didn't really get the chance to do that... Because even in the "tourist" areas, and in a large group altogether, I didn't ever feel safe. I was mostly worried about my younger brother and his friend (their 15 and only about my height, a generous 5'4"). As my mother-in-law said well, "I don't think I've ever been offered drugs so many times in my life." So all-in-all, that's a pretty good summary of our experience there, and a good few reasons why we made it back on the ship earlier than normal.
On a side note - I have heard if you go to an all-inclusive resort, that it's very safe and beautiful! But I have no personal experience or close friends that can testify to this, so take it however you would like.
Day Two, we visited Grand Cayman Islands. This place was absolutely beautiful! I didn't take hardly any photos (I was too busy soaking up all the views) but the 7 mile beach is definitely stunning! I did get into a bit of a fight with the coral (aka, I was swimming and scraped my leg against some that I didn't see the crystal blue waters) but it was still such a wonderful experience and I am so glad that I got to see "live" coral. It was my first time scuba diving EVER, and even though I didn't have a great experience because the waves tossed us about a little too much - I would definitely do it again (just in a spot where I could go further out, for whatever reason we couldn't where we were due to dangers).
Anyways - the sands were white, the water was the prettiest shade of crystal clear turquoise blue, and I told Daniel I totally wouldn't mind living there. The island really wasn't that big (in comparison to like, the state of Texas - HA) but it seemed to have a lovely community of locals and vacationers. It was clean (especially in contrast to Jamaica) and everyone we met was really friendly. Plus the views... I just can't get enough. Definitely regretting not taking photos (I seriously took only like, two? Maybe 5 total including my iphone).
Day Three we went to one of my favorite locations: Cozumel, Mexico. My husband and I came here on our honeymoon (5 years prior) and I fell in love with the for two reasons. The biggest one, is this is where I checked off a bucket list item and I swam with dolphins. It was an AMAZING experience, and I am so thankful that I did it, but I would never do it again because $$$$$. However, it's still a really fun excursion!
The second reason I love Cozumel is because I have this weird love of checking out grocery stores in other countries... I think it's because I'm a generally very curious person, so I like seeing the locals in their element, and seeing what food are their everyday things. Plus, that's where I like to buy food and treasures (aka, coffee) home with me, instead of encouraging terrible tourist items that are all made in sweatshops in China. ANYWAYS, they are generally a lot of fun and I highly recommend checking out grocery stores when you travel!
So this visit, we didn't do an excursion, and instead I asked my husband if he would be willing to find a local grocery store so I could buy some coffee. He said, "Sure!" Then we walked, and walked, and walked. We tried to ask locals where one was, but without knowing the name of "grocery store" in spanish ( it's "tienda de comestibles" in case you're wondering) or how to describe it in our limited spanish, we just kept walking. Right about when my husband was getting ready to pass out (not really, but kind of) we found the Dolphinaris - the place we swam with dolphins five years ago, and knew a grocery store was just around the corner! HAHA.
The rest of the cruise was lovely! If you've never been on a cruise, it's basically a moving island of fun, music and a LOT of food. There's also a beautiful gym that you can workout in (which I managed to do a grand total of... once) so that you can feel better about eating the molten lava cake, or as they call it, "The Carnival Chocolate Melting Cake." I'm pretty sure that's half the reason you should go on a carnival cruise (I'm not a big chocolate/cake/dessert person, and yet I think this is what dreams are made of). haha.
Well that's all for now! Until next time....
P.S. Daniel and I are normally super against these tacky photos and especially purchasing them, but Daniel (who never likes photos) totally loved this one, and so we splurged and went for it and bought a cheesy photography studio photo for too much money to celebrate what we look like 5 years of marriage in and pre-children. It will be fun to compare later on in different stages of life, and I figured this would be a good photo for our great grandchildren to look at and freak out saying, "THAT'S what great grandma and grandpa used to look like." Anyways, ciao darlings!
P.S.S. Video recap below!