The definition* of the word vacation is as follows:
1: a respite or a time of respite from something.
2: a) a scheduled period during which activity (as of a court or school) is suspended. b) a period of exemption from work granted to an employee.
3: a period spent away from home or business in travel or recreation <had a restful vacation at the beach>
Want to know something sort of sad? I haven’t had a vacation in over 10 years. (I’m not counting visits to family and such things.)
That changed last week when Matt and I carpooled down to Galveston with some friends to board the Carnival Magic to take a 7 day cruise. The short and sweet of the trip is this: It was amazing, and I want to do it again.
The 7 day cruise had 3 Ports-of-Call: Roatan, Belize, and Cozumel.
On the Isle of Roatan (Mahogany Bay) we decided to make it our beach day. We traveled to Maya Key. There we swam in the ocean, stood on a sandbar, fed a Howler Monkey, and held a blind crocodile. We also had the some mighty tasty fish. (For the life of me I can’t recall what it was at the moment, just that it was really really tasty.)
For our stop in Belize we decide to horseback riding at BACAB Eco Park. Because Belize is very protective of their coral reefs (and likely a host of other things as well) the cruise ship was not allowed to dock. This necessitated a tender process. That was a unique experience. From the dock it took a bus ride, with our lovely guide Lourdes and excellent bus driver Ernesto, 30-40 minutes to get to the park. As we rode along in the bus we were able to see Belize City and learn a little about the country and the locals.
At the park the group split into two sections to make things go smoothly. Carly, both Matt’s and I decided to take the guided horseback riding tour first so we could enjoy the rest of the park and cool down at the pool before heading back to the cruise ship. Best idea ever.
This was my first time horseback riding. My horse’s name was El Paso. We rode through the Bush (the Belizian term for jungle) and were told about all the different palm trees, insects (Banana Spiders are huge!), and various other things. We even saw some Howler monkey’s chilling out in the canopy.
For our last Port-of-Call in Cozumel it was unanimously decided that we should go snorkeling. This was an absolute first for me. And let me tell you, snorkeling is a lot harder than it looks. It was however, a ton of fun.
Aside from the copious amounts of seawater that I swallowed while at the two reef sites we visited it was an amazing experience. I don’t have any pictures of the underwater sights as I didn’t have a waterproof camera with me and quite frankly I wouldn’t have been able to take pictures. Carly took some but they have to be developed first.
I saw a tiny jelly fish up close and personal. I might have even been stung by one or two. Not enough to really hurt. It felt just like being pinched. depending on the light refraction in the water it was actually quite difficult to see them. (Plus my mask was fogged for about 40% of the time.) The coral was really pretty, and the fish even more so. Given the opportunity to go snorkeling again, I think I would take it.
The Carnival Magic:
The cruise ship was amazing. It’s huge! We did splurge a little and booked balcony rooms. Best thing ever. One of the first things I noticed when we boarded the ship was that the crew and staff we very diverse. Our Room Steward was from Belarus. His name was Ihar. He was fantastic. One evening when Carly wasn’t feeling well and decided to skip dinner, Ihar was immediately there to make sure she was alright and had everything she needed.
Our waiter in the Southern Lights Dining Room was also amazing. His name was Jamie – pronounced Haime – and he was from the Philippines. Jamie had an easy going smile and an infectious laugh. And he could dance! (There were several times the waitstaff preformed little numbers…)
I was pampered in the Cloud9 Spa on the first full day at sea. If I could have afforded it I would have gone back every single day for a massage. Arissa, was lovely to work with. (I didn’t so much work as turn into a puddle of goo.)
There was quite a bit to do on the ship. There were shows every night, but I only attended two of them. I spent quite a bit of time out on our balcony staring at the water. We had drinks in the RedFrog Pub. I discovered a new favorite drink – a Pineapple Malibu. Matt did eventually have his mojito. On more than one occasion people asked if Matt and Matt W. were brothers. We found that rather amusing.
I didn’t get a chance to play mini-golf but I suppose that isn’t such a great loss. I did get some knitting in and I read two books. I was completely disconnected from the net for the entire cruise – Matt couldn’t resist getting wi-fi for his tablet. I was content not to know what was going on in the world for a few days even if I did miss my kitties.
Even as I was leaving the ship I wanted to go and do it all over again.