Arrival: We arrived in Tampa in the morning. We usually like to take the early flights so we can get on the ship early. Everything was very easy and smooth flowing. We took a cab which cost about $20 in the end, wasn't bad compared to the shuttles the cruise lines try to have you take. We went in through security and sat waiting for us to get on the ship. Everything was great, we got on, walked around got our luggage at a reasonable time, had the traditional bon voyage drink, went to dinner and went to sleep haha. (We were tired from the traveling)
Cozumel: We decided to take a cab to Chankanaab Park. The cab ride was $10 there. We got there before the cruise ship people did. Luckily I made it just in time to do the royal swim with the dolphins. There were about 8 people in my group total. We first went into a room to watch a video to show us the signals we were going to have to do. From there we went out and met with our guide and dolphins (Titan and Amaya). We hugged, pet, kissed, rode, superman everything with them. It was incredible. We were in the water for about 1 hour and 30 mins with them. We also had some free time where we were having them do tricks with us in the middle of the pool. From there they show you the video they make and pictures and you have the option of buying them. The good news about this place as well is that you are allowed to bring a camera in the water with you if you want. So if you have an underwater bring it. I have amazing shots from mine. After this we then relaxed on the beach. The whole park itself is gorgeous. If you do not feel the need to swim with the dolphins, then you can always relax on the beach they have a lagoon, and the whole area is just beautiful. A lot of photo ops. They also have incredible snorkeling spots with fun things to find in the ocean. Admission to the park is about $16 per person without the swim, and the dolphin programs are each at different prices. The royal swim going directly through the park and not the cruise was $149 and that included free snorkeling equipment. From there we took a cab back downtown and shopped and went to the traditional pot of Senor Frogs. If you have never been there I highly suggest it. There is no place like it in the states, and I can assure you and your family will have a great time.
Grand Cayman: We decided to go with a tour group we found online. Grand Cayman Cruise Excursions was the name of the website. They have a catamaran and take you out to sting ray island and other snorkeling spots. These are the same spots the cruise takes you too. So compared to the 30-40 people on the cruise tours, and the 10 people that were on ours I say this is your better bet. After walking around and shopping in Grand Cayman we went to the area where we take a van ride to the boat. They provide drinks, and also take pictures for you, you also can bring your own camera. Sting Ray City is amazing. We have been to Grand Cayman before and never got a chance to do it and it was so worth the wait. With our group because we were so small our guide would pick up the sting rays for us and let us hold them and take photos for you. They were very easy going, they also provided food for you if you wanted to feed them. The experience is just incredible. The sting rays were very gentle and just swam around you. I highly suggest anyone doing this. We then went to two snorkeling spots that were gorgeous. We got there each time as the cruise ship's tour was leaving. The guides would then go and find animals and bring them up to people to take pictures. Both spots were gorgeous and are very good to take photos. If you are not the adventurous type you can always stay on the catamaran and relax. The pictures that they take were at a great price. They usually sell them for $10 a piece but I ended up getting the cd of pics from my whole group and extra ones they have take of animals for $20. The pictures were very good. We then went back and had plenty of time to get back on the boat. The cost of the excursion was $39 per person.
Island Roatan Honduras: This place I was a little scared to go to because of the different reviews I read. However, I read one about Victor Bodden and his tours and we decided to do that. This is by far the best excursion I have ever been on. You basically get a guide who speaks english, and you design your own excursion. You tell them where you want to go, what you want to see, what you want to do and they make it happen. For 4 of us in our own air conditioned car (we had a van) it was $40 total. Our tour guides name was Hanno A great price! We went to both sides of the islands looked at sunken ships, different photo ops, shopped in the local markets and went to the beach. We also stopped by Victor's house where we were able to play with spider monkeys and a lemur for $2 more. This was an amazing experience. I know on the cruise people had to share the time with everyone to hold a monkey so it was a matter of holding it taking a picture and you were done. With Victor Bodden's tour we spent as much time as we wanted there, and took as many pictures as we could. This I highly suggest for anyone who is afraid to go to the island. Our tour guide also kept the little kids away that everyone talks about. They will come up to you and ask you to buy things, and do not leave you alone. Our tour guide made sure they stayed away. I felt bad for the people next to us because their guide did not do this and they were hounded for money and as soon as they gave $1 they were surrounded. This place was also very gorgeous. We also got back to the ship in plenty of time.
Belize: We decided to go on a tour outside of the cruise ship again. We went with Coral Breeze Tours. This also was an amazing experience. We decided to to cave tubing. Our tour guides name was Ixvar and he was great. On the drive to the place, (which is about a 45 min drive) he was telling us about Belize and answered any question we had. On the way there we actually ended up getting a flat tire. Needless to say we were all scared because we wanted to make sure we got back to the boat in time (there were 10 people on this tour with us) The flat was fixed in about 15 minutes and we were back on our way. We still ended up getting there and having plenty of time and the cruise ships tours were there. While we were there, Ixvar made sure we got in the water first because he knew the walk would get people hot. So we all jumped in into the "refreshing" water, and started out walk. On our way he would stop and explain different plants, and rock formations, and animals. It was very interesting. I felt bad for the people on the cruise tour because their guide did not seem friendly, did not explain anything, and would bypass everything. Once we were there we all jumped in the water again so we would get used to it since we were going to be in it for a while. While tubing he would stop us in the caves, and asked us to turn off our lights. He then had his flashlight on, and told us to imagine how the ancient mayans would come in there and only have a fire for their light. He showed us what they would see, and explained how certain rocks looked like different animals, and what the ancient mayans would do because of this. It was a really great and interesting experience. We then made our way out and back to the van where we were a little nervous on time because the cruise ship cut our time back by an hour. We then on the way stopped at a local restaurant that had a lot of character and because of time had our lunch to go. Ixvar had called it in ahead of time. The food was fantastic! It was stewed chicken with great spices, rice, beans, and cole slaw with soda. For not being very hungry it was a fantastic meal. We then ended up passing the cruise ships tour bus so we were able to breathe. We got back with 30 mins to spare only to wait in a lonnnnnggg line of people waiting to get back on the ship. Needless to say we had a lot of time and everything worked out. This was also an amazing experience and our tour guide was amazing!
The rest of the cruise was fantastic, the food was great, entertainment, and just the relaxing. There wasn't too many kids on it which was nice because I have been on cruises where it seemed 5-10 year olds ran the ship because their parents were not paying attention. Out of the cruises I have taken on this was one of the best because of all the great things we did. I highly suggest anyone taking this cruise to please check out the places I discussed, they had great prices, and everyone was so nice. It was a lot better then the usual cruise excursions which is what we usually go on.