by Amanda Lanum
Boy did I pick a good week to get out of the states or what?! Last week's frigid temperatures across the country were on my mind... while I sat in 70-degree weather :). My mom, her bestfriend Laura, my brother Cole and sister Kim all took a Carnival cruise for one week. This was my first cruise and it was a great experience :).
We sailed from Galveston, Texas on Sunday, boarding the Carnival Conquest. The size of the ship was amazing, and all of the things it offered on board were even more mind-blowing! There was a casino, pools, a huge outdoor television, gym, outdoor track, basketball and tennis court, mini-golf course... the list goes on!
(This is Cole and Kim before our "elegant" dinner.)
Monday and Tuesday were spent at sea. We used our time exploring the ship, playing in the casino (I came out 15 cents on top -- woohoo), and learning about shopping on the islands so we'd be prepared to catch the deals.
(Our steward, Iketut, made us great towel animals every night! This is a monkey hanging from our light fixture. :) )
(View of the sea from Margaritaville at Negril beach)
Wednesday we stopped at Montego Bay, Jamaica. From there, we took a one-hour bus ride, learning about Jamaica from our tour guide while riding to Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville at Negril beach! This is where I got a little bit of a tan. We relaxed on the beach, enjoyed a bbq lunch Jamaican-style, and played in the Carribean sea. This is where I bought the Pineapple Rum Cake that I brought back for Dave, Drew and the crew to try. They thought it was so strong it was like taking a shot of rum!
(Stingray City was full of small boats carrying tourists!)
Thursday we woke up at Grand Cayman. The island is surrounded by reef, so we took a ferry from our ship to land. It was beautiful. This is the wealthiest of the three islands. It's also pretty Americanized. In Grand Cayman we took another little boat out to Stingray City Sandbar and swam with the stingrays. It was awesome to be in the water with them and they weren't afraid of people! Our guides told us it's 7 years good luck to kiss a stingray on the nose, so I did! Will see how that works out :)...
(This one gave me a back massage! It was a little slimy feeling, but still pretty cool.)
It was so neat to touch the stingrays and to hold them; they are heavier than they look!
(The water is so clear you can see straight to the bottom. It helps keep the stingrays from sneaking up on you, too ;). )
(Kim and I in front of part of the Mayan city.)
Then Friday we made port at Cozumel, Mexico. Here, we didn't actually stay in Cozumel. We took a boat over to the mainland and then took a guided tour by bus to Tulum. There we were able to walk through the ruins of the last known Mayan city. It was amazing to hear the history and then see it in person.
(A view of the sea and beach from the ruins. It's easy to see why the Mayans chose this spot. It had more than easy trade access; it's a gorgeous view!)
Then Saturday was our last day at sea before we reached Galveston again Sunday morning.
(Deck party; doing the YMCA)
That's the abbreviated version of my cruise! We took so many pictures and saw so many amazing things; it was a great break from work, stress, and not to mention, the cold!
Another amazing thing about the trip is that my mom and brother both marked things off their bucket lists. My mom went on a zip line adventure through the trees of Cozumel (which is a big deal for her because she's afraid of heights!) and my brother had Stingray City on his bucket list.
I want to know which places and adventures are on your bucket list and what you've accomplished. Anyone out there been on this cruise before? I want to hear your travel experiences!