It was my first time ever. I left the kids and the husband at home, and went on a cruise with my girlfriends. And it was AWESOME.
WARNING: I am going to post a bunch of images. We had a balcony off of the back of the boat, so there will be A LOT of back-of-the-boat sky pics. I mean, of course there are a bunch of those, right? Don’t worry, our boat made several stops, so there will be more than just sky. But still, lots of sky. (Sorry, not sorry.)
Our trip was a 7-day, Western Caribbean on the Carnival Splendor, out of Miami, Florida. We had 4 ports; 3 of which we stopped at (more on that later.) My girlfriends and I flew from Cincinnati, down to Miami on Saturday, February 20th. Our ship embarked at 4:00pm the following day.
February 21, 2016 Embarkation: Port of Miami
*We spammed the heck out of social media, so if you want to see more of the “selfie” shots, you’ll want to go to my Instagram. From here on out, it’s my DSLR that will be doing the shooting.
After boarding the ship and grabbing our FunShip drinks, we set off from Miami, en route to Cozumel.
February 22, 2016 Day 1: Fun Day at Sea
February 23, 2016 Port of Call: Cozumel, Mexico
We spent a beautiful day in Cozumel. Our excursion was the All-Inclusive Isla Pasion by Twister Boat. <- So fun!!!! And Passion Island was GORGEOUS! Apparently, the location is so beautiful that it is where the Corona ads are shot.
February 24, 2016 Port of Call: Belize City, Belize
This port was the location that “chose” the cruise itinerary (at least for me.) It was uncomfortable, hot and humid, but was still an amazing place to see. Because of a barrier reef surrounding the shores, we were transported by tender from ship to shore. It wasn’t as bad as I imagined it might be, but it was a lengthier ride and the boat was rather cramped.
Our excursion for the day was the Altun Ha Mayan Site and River Wallace. The river tour was awesome. We saw all kinds of critters, including: manatee, bats, iguanas (they are eaten like chicken in Belize,) crocodiles, howler monkeys, etc.
We were lead by our tour guide, Maude, along with the boat captain and river spotter.
At the end of our river trip, we stopped off at the Black Orchid Resort for lunch, which consisted of the national food, rice and beans, as well as some jerk chicken and fried plantains.
The Altun Ha Mayan site was incredible to see, but it was incredibly warm; especially after climbing to the top of the sun temple. Our Chukka tour guides (Maude and Marvin) told us of the site’s history and walked us up and down those steep stones.
February 25, 2016 Port of Call: Mahogany Bay, Honduras
Today was the day I dieted for. (No joke.) We had planned our Canopy and Gumbalimba Park excursion, which featured zip-lining and spider monkeys, to include a GoPro and all necessary accessories to capture all of the fun. And then we got rained out of port. No docking possible.
February 26, 2016 Port of Call: Grand Cayman Island
Today we were going to play with stingrays! Our excursion was the Deluxe Stingray City Sandbar. And then it rained again. And all water-involved activities were canceled.
Unfortunately, this stop was more of a let down for me, than being completely rained out of port the previous day. I’d heard so many beautiful things about this location. My experience was on a “chillier” day, with choppy water, decent island food, and the usual port shopping.
February 27, 2016 Fun Day at Sea
And now, as we cruised passed Cuba, the sun came out and the rain stayed away for our final full day aboard the Carnival Splendor.
February 28, 2016 Debarkation: Port of Miami
We docked in port around 7am on Sunday morning. It was a balmy 61 degrees when the sun came up.
Debarkation wasn’t terrible. A little sad to say “Good-bye,” but that’s to be expected, right?
After exiting the boat, we hopped into our Uber and traveled to Surfside, Miami Beach. We were fortunate to have a wonderful Airbnb host, which happily stored our belongings prior to check-in so that we were able to explore the community of Surfside and experience one heck of a beautiful beach. (Watch out for those Man-O-Wars though.)
That night, the three of us ate, drank, and experienced some of what South Beach had to offer.
February 29, 2016 Home
The next morning, the 3 of us boarded a teeny tiny plane and journeyed back to Cincinnati. I was hugging my toddler by 2pm.
I loved it! I had a blast! And I cannot wait to do it again!
I know Carnival Cruise Lines has made headlines in previous years; fortunately, we had no direct issues aboard the Splendor and have nothing but praise for the staff.
Special shout-outs to:
- Jose, Daniel, Juan and several additional members of the waitstaff in the Black Pearl Dining Room. Our dining experiences were highlighted by the staff and their wonderful personalities, singing voices, and stellar dance moves. 😉
- Fadil, the man that cleaned up after 3 messy women and still greeted us with a smile whenever/wherever we found him on the ship.
- Hery, the king of selfies, and the friendly bartender that had the amazing super power of remembering our names and our drinks.
By the way, I drank a lot of fruity drinks while on board. For those that wish to join me in a fruity toast, you can get the drink recipes here.
Here’s to future cruises!
To view/purchase images from my trip, please visit: www.eclecticallyforyou.com/prints/caribbean