Well, I just got back from a Carnival cruise to the northwestern Caribbean. For seven days and seven nights we called the Conquest our home as it carried us to Montego Bay, Jamaica, Grand Cayman and Cozumel, Mexico. Tianna and I were there with her family, including her grandparents, mother, brother, his significant other, and sister. And, while my phone decided to take an extended break over there, I felt like a week was just enough to break free of the routine for a bit.
We arrived at the cruise terminal in Galveston on Sunday morning. All told, it probably took about three hours to get on board and settled. All of the normal holdups you get for flying are magnified significantly, since it equates to 3000 people checking in for and boarding the same vehicle. The nice part was not having to handle our big bags. The porters take care of all that for you. Nice.
So after the many, many lines we waited in, we got the chance to explore our ship as it started its journey south. We found the gym, the restaurants, the three pools, the various places to go on deck, the casino (awesome), video arcade, etc. Quite possibly the best of all, we found Alfred's Bar, a jazz cigar bar. Tianna and I felt right at home :)
In the evenings, we had dinner all together in one of the two main dining rooms. The service was really good, and I thought the food was great. Best of all, you can order anything you want and not have to pay extra :) I think one night I had two starters and two main courses. And dessert.
Dieting, it was decreed, was to be suspended while on vacation. A good decision, I think.
I did a fair amount of reading up on deck in the sun and played a lot of blackjack. I even went to the gym a few times. Tianna and her sister had fun going to the spa for nice massages. Everyone had a good time on the ship, I think, save for some inevitable boredom when stuck on a boat for extended periods of time.
When we got off the boat, however, the fun really began.
Wednesday was our first port of call; Jamaica. Jamaica is a very tropical island with a lot of steep elevation. The mountains seemed only a few miles from shore, and there was a lot of vegetation. Tianna and I booked an excursion to go to a place called Dolphin Cove to, you guessed it, check out some dolphins. We splurged though, and decided to do the dolphin swim. It. Was. Awesome. We got in the cove with about eight other people while the trainer directed the dolphin. We got to touch it, be pulled through the water by it, and just have general good times. It's an amazing creature up close. We're so glad we did it.
On Thursday, our ship pulled into Grand Cayman. We debarked and headed to the beach. It was gorgeous. The water was a little cool at first, but it was easy to get used to. It was so clear. We stayed for about an hour or so, then headed to our next excursion; parasailing. I'd never gone parasailing before, but it sounded like such a good time. Tianna and I went up together. We could see forever. Gentlemen, if you ever try it I have one piece of advice. Before they send you up, ask them to double check your harness. Your second brain will thank you.
So, all in all, a great Thanksgiving :)
Friday came, and we docked at Cozumel, an island off the coast of Mexico. We took a ferry to the mainland and headed over to Tulum, the ruins of a Mayan city. We both really enjoyed it. The city itself is breathtaking. It's the only Mayan city built on the coast, and there's a public beach just off the cliff. Our guide was the real gem, though. He was extremely knowledgeable and funny. We were sure to tip him before we left.
After that it was back to Galveston and back to life as usual. This was definitely not my last cruise, though. However, Tianna and I both agree that next time we'd want to find one for couples only. Screaming kids and big annoying redneck families get old fast in enclosed spaces. Something to check out.
Anyway, good to be home!