After a non-stop 2 days (Previous Post) in Orlando, it was time to board the Carnival Dream cruise ship. I made an effort to run 3 miles on the treadmill every day during this cruise (and I hate treadmills). But this was actually the best way to adapt to running with the minimalist sneakers, I may not be ready for the roads yet. I’ll run longer and farther when I get home, but for now, its vacation. A trip to celebrate 3 years of marriage and to get away from the city life.
Day 3: Launch Day
This was a big boat. You end up walking a mile just trying to find your stateroom. The first day starts off with the buffet lunch madness; the first meal of the cruise. All the kids were hogging up the ice cream machines. Finding a seat in the eating area is like finding parking in NYC. After the chaos, the best thing to do is to tour the ship and find out where everything is. And forget about swimming in the pools, they’re always full beyond capacity. And of course, the welcome aboard show is not to be missed. Claim your seats 30 minutes early or watch the entire show standing. This ship had a break-dancing crew performing, which was cool.
Day 4: Day at Sea
A lazy relax day. On day-at-sea days, the best thing to do is relax and eat cruise food all day. This is where you gain that extra pound or 2. Sorry Carnival, but other than the fruit and French toast, your breakfasts were weak. There’s usually fun things to do and funny shows to watch to keep you occupied. You know I had to get my ping-pong and mini-golf on. Every night there was adult comedy, parties, and 24-hour pizza. It’s good to end your nights with laughter, fun-times, and food.
Day 5: Cozumel, Mexico
Instead of heading to the island of Cozumel, me and my wife decided to spend our day in the mother land by taking a ferry with several others. Once we arrived in Mexico, we headed to Rio Secreto where we would be cave spelunking. The cave was awesome and I recommend this tour. You’ll learn a lot from the tour guides as you walk/swim/duck/squeeze your way through it. Without our helmet lights on, the cave is pitch black, (we all turned off the lights once). They didn’t allow cameras but there was a photographer with us the entire time to sell us pictures at the end. This photo was our favorite.
After we dried off, a mexican buffet awaited the cave spelunkers and we were hungry. Nom nom. Now it was time to head back to the ship for a double entre dinner.
Day 6: Belize
How can you go to Belize without swimming at the great barrier reef? It’s snorkeling time! The waters were clear and the corral was colorful. Sadly, many of the big fish weren’t around due to a huge storm a few days prior. But still, it was the great barrier reef and was quite impressive. In my opinion, the snorkel sight which was chosen didn’t top snorkeling in Hanauma bay in Hawaii or shipwreck sights in the Eastern Caribbean. I’d try a different area within the great barrier reef next time.
After swimming in the endless aquarium, our catamaran sailed to Bannister Island for a beach break; it was a nice little island. I made sure to trade a dollar for some Belizean coins at the beach bar (a weird collector hobby of mine).
Day 7: Isla Roatan, Honduras
Great island. After a 30 minute drive from the port, we arrived at Gumbalimba park (another recommendation if you visit this island). Once you see the insectarium (creepy), get an island history lesson on pirates in a bat cave, walk through hummingbird garden, and cross the shaky pirate bridge, you arrive at the animal preserve (the real reason for going). There are macaws and parrots everywhere (can’t leave without a parrot on the shoulder picture).
And then, there was Monkey Town. These Capuchin monkeys just jumped on us like we were tree branches. They wrap their tails around your neck for balance. Since they’re monkeys, you can’t wear or carry anything because they’ll just think it’s theirs and snatch it away, except for your camera for some reason.
After a difficult goodbye to Monkey Town, we headed to Tabyana beach; the best beach on the island (so they say). The beach was quite impressive. On the way back and before getting back on the ship, there was time to shop in the local marketplace. Once again, I had to get Honduras coins.
Day 8: Costa Maya (Mahahual), Mexico
A small Mexican town. Just a 10 minute drive away from the port was this small strip of hotels by the beach. We decided to try out this Mexican salsa cooking class (Mayan style) and learn how to make 3 different types of salsa. We got to eat our creations at the end but I forgot the secret recipes. And then again, one last swim at the beach. This would be the last outdoor activity of the trip, it wasn’t easy to get out of the water and leave it behind.
Day 9: Day at Sea
This was very similar to Day 4 except that eating all day isn’t as fun as it used to be. You can’t leave a cruise without heading to the front/back of the ship for one last sunset over the endless sea. But this time, there was a lightning storm in the distance. I could watch the lighting from a distance for hours. A photo could not capture the epicness of the storm cloud and the light show.
Day 10: Time to go Home
Vacation comes and goes but the memories and experiences travel back home with you. Back to New York, back to work, and back to marathon training. I’m out of ideas for the next trip. I’ve had enough beaches for a while, perhaps a Europe cruise/tour or something next time. But a Mount Rainier summit is on the top of my bucket list, maybe next year…