Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Honeymooners!

Yes... This post is coming before the wedding post. Mainly because our wedding was in April and reception in May, and I have SOOOO much I want to say about the whole experience that I haven't been able to find the time to put it into words! (Not to mention the thousands of pictures to sift through!) But since we JUST returned from our honeymoon, I'm going to lay this out while it's fresh in my head ;-)

Originally, the plan was to honeymoon in November at the Hard Rock Resort in Punta Cana. However, after the excitement and emotional and physical exhaustion of the wedding trip and reception (and craziness that the end of the school year brings) we decided kind of last minute to cruise the Caribbean (yet again) and treat ourselves to some fun and relaxation. So we browsed some itineraries, found one we loved and contacted our TA, Jen Crivelli at Cruiseweb ( to book it. We were all set to hit the western caribbean from July 5th-12th!

This time, we embarked from Miami on the Carnival Glory and visited Cozumel, Belize, Isla Roatan (Mahogany Bay, Honduras), and Grand Cayman.

We were at sea Saturday evening and all day Sunday. The first thing we did when we boarded the ship was head to Guy's Burger Joint for lunch and then grabbed an ice-cream cone.

We filled up our cups and headed off to our room. If you've never cruised, this is what an ocean view room looks like on the Carnival Glory. (Ours was room 1301).

We also decided to try the ship's steakhouse the first night to get our free bottle of wine. I am now forever an advocate of the steakhouse experience! Yea, the food in the dining room is great, but where else are you ever going to spend $35 and get a 4-course 5 star meal that includes an 18oz beautifully cut and cooked steak?! The appetizers we each got were wonderful, the salad (spinach and mushroom) was delicious, the steaks were THICK and melted in your mouth! And the dessert... oh boy! A 14oz slice of AMAZING cheesecake! I was very uncomfortable that night, but it was well worth it!

Sunday's full day at sea started with breakfast in the dining room, where Brian got Fruit Loop crusted french toast! It sounds ridiculous, but is super yummy (and way sweet!) 

We hit the hot tub and instantly missed Sinbad Gump and the rest of the drunken pirates that previously accompanied us in the hot tub! Apparently, once you cruise with 20+ people, you'll never cruise the same again! So naturally, we took a selfie for our distant amigos! Then, we hung out at a shaded table behind the hot tub overlooking the water trail left behind by the ship.

The rest of our night consisted of tea time, (which was cute) dinner in the dining room for the first of two formal nights with the fabulous wait staff and new friends we had the pleasure of dining with every night (SHOUT OUT to Brittany, Wes, Davor, Kristy, and fellow honeymooners Ryan and Dan!). We capped the night off with a Dive-In Movie (which we found is now one of our favorite relaxing activities on cruises). That night's movie was Grown Ups 2. The movies are poolside, which is the perfect place for honeymooners to learn how NOT to parent. 

Day three (Monday) took us to our first port of call, Cozumel, Mexico. We planned the Turtle Cove and Cavern Snorkel in Playa Del Carmen, so we had to board a ferry to get there. We learned a lot about the Mexican Riviera. You won't see any rivers because they're underground (and referred to as Cenotes (suh-noh-tays). (From "a deep natural well or sinkhole, especially in Central America, formed bythe collapse of surface limestone that exposes ground water underneath,and sometimes used by the ancient Mayans for sacrificial offerings.") The Mayans believed these sinkholes were physically and spiritually cleansing. The fresh water was crystal clear and amazingly refreshing! On the way to the cenotes, we passed by a small school house where children were playing outside, holding a rope in a circle. It was a quant little school house back in the woods, and the sign for the school was informal, nailed to a tree, and simply said "escuela", spanish for "school". I wish I'd been quick enough to snap a picture... I can't even find anything comparable on Google!

After swimming through two caverns and caves (where there were bats who thankfully left us alone!) we hopped back in the van and headed to Turtle Beach (Akumal). We snorkeled shallow water and observed sting rays, sea turtles and coral directly beneath us (and undeterred by our presence).

After an amazing and exhausting afternoon, we were transported to another beach where these was a beachfront hut and buffet waiting for us. Everything tasted fresh, authentic and wonderful. With full bellies, we headed back to the ship.

I really wanted a nice bottle of tequila, but the shopping was ridiculously crowded and had no real structure, so we were herded back to the ship. We sailed off from Cozumel and enjoyed yet another delicious dinner in the dining room.

Day four found us in Belize. The coral reef is so high that the ships have to dock out in the ocean and we had to be tendered in. We were so excited to be here and see the tropical paradise where our friend Kim Ware got married. 

We were also excited for our excursion, The Belize Zoo and City Tour. Consisting of only animals native to the country, the Belize Zoo is actually more of a refuge, a shelter in the rainforest, and is one of the only places in the world to observe jaguars in their natural habitat. It was started by a woman in 1983 who was n Belize filming a documentary and found herself with 12 animals needing homes upon finishing. You can read more about the awesome destination and learn about ways to help and adopt native animals at 

We had a blast getting in touch with nature in Belize, but ships do sail... After another fabulous dinner and Dive-In Movie (Frozen - and the dad beside us sang EVERY song ;-) ) we retired for the night and awoke on day five in Isla Roatan, Mahogany Bay, Honduras. We decided to hang out at the beach and bought a package from Carnival for $49.95 for the two of us that included unlimited rides on the "Magic Flying Beach Chair" (a ski lift), two lounge chairs in a clam shell (we welcome the shade at this point in the cruise!), two floats, and snorkeling gear. 

We took in another Dive-In Movie that night (Noah) before heading to bed.

Day six brought us to our last port of call, Georgetown, Grand Cayman, another tender port. Our excursion wasn't until 12:30, so we got off the boat early and did a little site seeing. We found a KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken) where there were, ironically enough, live chickens roaming around the walkway out front.  

We made our way back to where we had to meet for our excursion, an adventure to the Stingray City Sandbar. And an awesome adventure it was! We held, fed, kissed and got back massages from sting rays! They enjoyed splashing us, too!

This poor little lady below must have had a rough life!

And an ode to my wedding cruise crew, although I must confess... It's only fruit punch!

We arrive back to the ship and prepare for our second formal night. We missed the dance show since dinner service seemed to be running a little slow, but still had a great time complete with a champagne toast with our new friends. And when we returned to our room, our room steward left us a monkey :-)

Ofcourse, we topped the night off with a movie (The Vow) and with about five minutes left in the movie, the skies opened up and it poured! Brian and I remained in our lounge chairs and laughed as everyone else retreated under the awnings of the poolside bars. Even the kids who were in the pool... Good times!

Day seven, our last day and we were at sea all day. It was a nice, relaxing day spent in the steam room, reading poolside, soaking in the hot tub, savoring our last burgers from Guy's and enjoying a few frosty Hurricanes (paying homage to the pup we missed so much!). We also enjoyed tea time , dining room dinner (where our wait staff had a honeymoon surprise for us), chocolate melting cake and Dine-In Movie (Gravity). Our room steward left us a stingray this time!

We took in an amazing sunset just before the movie started. 

We made it off the ship pretty effortlessly after enjoying our last breakfast on board and made our way through US Customs, found  taxi, and headed for Miami International Airport. Our plane ride home was relatively uneventful as we were serenaded by the harmonizing screams of babies. Hurricane was so excited to see us, he peed in the seat of his auntie Mantha's car (HAHA!) We had a wonderful time and can't wait until it's time to cruise again!