Thursday, January 17, 2013

A Carribean Cruise For GonSS and WH

Hello!  I am back on land.  My wonderful husband and I had an opportunity to take a cruise recently.  Leaving the country and being at sea were firsts for us.  With passports in hand, we boarded the Carnival Magic Cruise Ship on Sunday, January 6, 2013 in Galveston, TX.

Everyone keeps asking us about our stateroom, so here are photos.  We had a standard interior room.  No window, no balcony.  We were on deck 1.  The fun stuff at the top of the ship was on decks 10-15 (with dining and shopping and shows in between).  We took the stairs almost always to burn off the calories from all the delicious food and 24 hour ice cream availability!  WH thinks we got in the elevators 4 or 5 times total.


There was a water park, pool and outdoor theatre on top.


Every night, we would get a newsletter of the activities available the next day, with chocolates and a towel animal on our turned down bed.

While we enjoyed the music, shows, dining, food, hot tubs, etc., one of our favorite things to do was walk around the ship on deck especially at sunset and at night.  Occasionally, we would see the lights of another ship or an oil drilling rig while we were in the Gulf of Mexico.

We ported three times.

First stop:  Montego Bay, Jamaica.


The water and beaches of Jamaica are beautiful.
We purchased a shuttle pass and rode it to the designated stops for shopping and a public beach.
Much of the Jamaica coastline seems to be owned by resorts.  Across the road from the resorts are shanty towns where the citizens build shelter out of whatever they can acquire.  It was quite a contrast.  We were constantly approached to purchase something.  WH was even asked to purchase something that is illegal.  A lot of 'no thank yous' left our lips.  At the port, there is a fenced off area and a lot of check points to get back  to the ship.  There are items you can purchase in Jamaica which are not allowed on the ship; but since we passed through with barely a glance, my guess is the security is more to make sure no person gets on the ship who isn't suppose to.  Quite different from the other two ports we visited.  If we ever return to Jamaica, I think one of the ship's tours to something out of the city would be interesting.  The Jamaicans who we talked to were friendly and really seem to have the "no problem" attitude for life.  I just felt bad that they are so reliant on the tourists for income.

Not to miss an opportunity to photograph flowers, I got these photos of what I think is bougainvillea near port.

Second stop:  The Caymen Islands.

We started by just walking along the road along the coast to see what there was to see, and check out some snorkeling sites I had researched.  
Found this interesting driveway.  Would love to have this in our garden.


I think the small 'stones' are man made.

After exploring as far as we wanted, we had a little snack on a dock and chose to try snorkeling where we could see a ship wreck:  The Callie.  We rented snorkeling gear from a little shop on the shoreline.  They had bins to leave our towels, etc.  I had purchased water proof pouches ahead of time to carry our passports, etc. while in the water.

Our little water proof sport camera did OK.  I really couldn't see the screen very well with my goggles and the water/sun on the camera.  I just pointed and pushed the button.


Once we got out to the site of the ship wreck, which was close to shore, we did fine; but trying to get the hang of breathing through the mouth tube was interesting.  Every time I put my face in the water, I wanted to hold my breath.  We also had trouble getting into the water as the waves were pretty good and kept tossing us back to shore.  It was challenging, but we did it.  Our first snorkeling experience!  I would do it again just maybe somewhere with calmer water.  I am not a strong swimmer.  I had a little inflatable vest on which was plenty to keep me afloat.

Third stop:  Cozumel, Mexico

We really didn't spent much time in Cozumel (which is an island off the Yucatan Peninsula).  We got off the ship seen in the background and onto a yellow ferry seen at the dock.  We took a very rough ride to the mainland.  I was so glad when that ride was over.  Coming back was much smoother, thank goodness.


After reaching the main land, we walked to a tour bus seeing this iguana along the way.  He was just sunning himself on a wall by the sidewalk.

The bus drove inland through communities with these colorful roadside shops.

Our destination was the Mayan Ruins of Coba.

Tourists are still allowed to climb the pyramid at Coba.  All 120 uneven steps.

WH lead the way up.

I lead the way down.  Yes, it is that steep.


After the bus returned us to the port with the ferry, we saw a few creatures unfamiliar to us.  

These are agouti.  Our tour guide says they taste like roast beef.  I'll take his word for it.  They are large rodents.

These aren't creatures.  Ha.  I think they're glass bouys hanging in the tree.  They were very pretty.

This is a macaw outside a restaurant.  I don't know if it's tame or just decided to pose on this nice branch.

The Mayan Ruins tour was something we scheduled through Carnival.  We were told if you're on a ship excursion, you won't be left behind if something delays the tour.  We thought that sounded safest for exploring beyond the port.  We checked out a few shops in Cozumel before boarding the ship for our return to Galveston, TX.

We had some rough water a couple of times.  It is odd to be on something constantly moving.  There was always a little sway, but we did fine without needing any motion sickness medication. 

The garden got a little rain while we were gone.  Our one fish survived and I had watered all the houseplants well before we left and they look good.

It was a fabulous vacation.  Now, we're trying to return to normal life without 24 hour ice cream.  :-)

I haven't been by to visit blogs since we left.  I'll come see what you've been doing soon!


  1. Sounds like you had a great time. My husband and I have only been on one such cruise. He had a hard time getting me to go and then a harder time getting me to get off the ship. We both loved it. I want to go on an Alaskan cruise next.

  2. OH...It sounds like you had a wonderful trip. Thanks for sharing it with us.

  3. Hi there and welcome home. It looks like your vacation was absolutely fabulous!! The "towel animals" really made me smile...what an art to make them! Was the ship crowded? I would have liked the ruins...that is so interesting to me. Glad you had a great time!

    1. We looked forward to seeing what animal we would have each night. They're pretty amazing.
      There were times when the main pool area was really crowded; and when everyone was trying to get to an event, it could be a little crowded in the halls but there were always places to "get away" to read and sun in peace.

  4. Welcome home.... Wow--what a fabulous cruise you seemed to have. Nice to get away from winter and the snow I'll bet.... We took a cruise in 2001 similar --but went to the South Caribbean. The cruise you took sounds really nice. Would you recommend it?????


    1. Yes. We would go again as there is so much more to do at each port and on ship. We had to sleep some--a little happened while lounging by the pool. :-)

  5. Sounds like a nice time. We adore cruising.

  6. Welcome back. What a fabulous trip. Thank you for sharing the photos. I've never been on a cruise. I would be having ice cream withdrawal too!

  7. Welcome back Sherlock,
    Acclimatising to normal life after a holiday is always a toughie isn't it? And what a fabulous holiday it looks like you two had, and very romantic with such beautiful places such as those. I laughed to myself when you described trying to breathe through a snorkel, as it reminded me of my few painful attempts many years ago. The Mayan ruins would have been my highlight, and the walking around the deck like you.

  8. This sounds like a wonderful vacation. We took a cruise to the eastern Caribbean for our honeymoon, so I know what you mean about 24-hour ice cream and the need to walk instead of taking the elevator. Your underwater photos were fascinating. That's something I've never tried.

  9. Dear Gardener, Welcome home from your lovely cruise. It's good to look at your sunny photos and share your travels as the icicles hang outside my window! And those are the most inventive towel sculptures I've ever seen!
    We have been on only one cruise, in the autumn of 2011, and it was quite an adventure. Our ship seemed to be full of people who were absolutely hooked and had been cruising many times. I liked the dry land bits best!

  10. Years ago,my husband and I went on several cruises. We never did take one on this line tho. Back then, to us, it was a great way to travel. We enjoyed each one and loved seeing so many different places. However, I am a little leery of them now with all the problems. Glad yous turned out nicely.

  11. What a fun trip! I think I would have passed on the steps thing, though, as I don't like heights or edges.

    As I was looking at the photos of the towel animals, I was thinking of the person who has that job. I wonder what his or her other duties are, or if that takes up their day. What a fun job that would be! LOL

  12. Wonderful views! that sounded like a fabulous holiday! I loved the sight of the ruins and the roadside shops. Those towel animals are adorable!

  13. How totally cool! I have to ask what made you go with this ship and what did you look for in a cruise? Hubby and I are contemplating one this year for our 20th and don't know where to start! The accommodations look great and what fun to go snorkeling. I am glad you told us what a challenge it is. I think it helps to know not everything is so easy as it is sometimes depicted. Welcome back! Hopefully Kansas is not freezing too awfully much after a Caribbean cruise!

    1. We're in a warm spell right now. While the change back to coats was a bit to adjust to, it's not as bad as we feared. We put our coats in the closet of our stateroom the first night and didn't take them out until we left the ship. We had no expectations for the cruise as far as activities ahead of time other than wanting to see the Mayan Ruins. We now know more of what we enjoyed on ship and in ports. That could affect future choices. It is truly a way to disconnect and relax. Cell and internet service from a ship is expensive so we went without. Highly recommend everyone do that once in a while. A local tour company offered a package that included motor coach transportation from our city to Galveston. No airport hassles and having someone available to tell us what to expect was great.

  14. It looks like cruise ships have changed a lot since the 80s - the water park looks amazing. Sounds like a fabulous trip - your photos are amazing. I'm so glad you had the opportunity to go :)

  15. WOW!! Looks like a great time!! I would have loved the ruins in Mexico. Very cool!! My folks went on an Alaskan cruise to celebrate their 40th anniversary the summer before last. .mom's post card talked about Papa loving the dessert bar and ice cream machine. .As the kids were listening to me read the card, Grant says. .Uh, isn't Papa diabetic. .Yup. Oh. .I think it would be totally hard to refrain from that!! A cruise is on my proverbial bucket list someday!! Glad you had a good time. .and hope you made your transition back to real life without any hitches!

  16. Oh what a fabulous treat of a vacation! Sunshine ahhh
    and what sites you saw, how wonderful is that.

  17. Looks like a marvelous time! I would have especially loved the tropics. Such beautiful areas. Glad you were able to get out and explore. Aren't the plants so lovely in those areas?? I don't get jealous of what they can grow but I do admire the beauty and wish I could capture it every now and again in my own garden.

  18. Loved this. My brother lived in Jamaica for two years building an aluminum plant. It blew up and he was in the hospital for a while. I loved the towel animals. I have 24 hbr ice cream. Try not to eat it. Thanks for all the pictures.


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