Wonderful Honeymoon Cruise
This was my first Carnival cruise and I will definitely be coming back again and again! We booked the pre- and post-cruise transfers through Carnival and we will never do that again! It took us 2 hours to get to the ship once we had our bags. Lesson learned... We decided to upgrade our balcony stateroom to a Junior Suite when a Carnival representative called about a week before the cruise. I had no idea, but Carnival has an office in Colorado Springs. The upgrade was worth it's weight in gold for the VIP priority embarkation. It only took us 10 minutes to get onto the ship. We had a nice lunch on the Lido deck and enjoyed a few drinks before the Sail Away party. We ended up skipping the Sail Away party and nearly missed late dinner seating because we decided to lay down for a nap. :)
We spent plenty of time in the casino during the cruise because we love to play Blackjack. Don't forget to get your $5 match play cards every time you order a drink from the Shogun Casino Bar. I More
played in one of the Blackjack Tournaments, but just didn't get the cards. Oh well, we just about broke even for the week.
We thought that the entertainment on the ship was great! Far From Over was a fantastic production! Our Cruise Director, Big Tex, tried very hard, but I think that the rest of the entertainment staff was more enthusiastic overall. The deck and pool games were lots of fun. I helped the male team win the deck games on the last day at sea (I was the splits guy).
We went to Scarletts Steakhouse on Wednesday night. It was the dining highlight on the cruise. $30 per person for a 5-course meal...GREAT DEAL! Next time we will do the Chef's Table. We went to all of the buffets and made extensive use of Room Service (it was our honeymoon).
I even played Carnival Laser Tag in the Ivanhoe Lounge one night. It was a blast! Less
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Cabin review: Carnival Valor Suite Lido 9205
Nicely laid out, quiet location, loved the double sinks, plenty of room, would prefer an actual king bed instead of two twins pushed together, small balcony, would prefer if ocean view window wasn't facing a public area.
Port and Shore Excursions
We decided to book our trip to Altun Ha with Island Marketing to save money. The 45-minute van ride to the site was heart-pumping. Our driver/tour guide was a very aggressive driver and the roads were extremely small! Once we made it safely to the ruins, it was great! The ruins were majestic and serene. I climbed to the top of the Temple of the Sun God (great views). We ate lunch at a small restaurant on-site (not included in the Carnival excursion) and it was fabulous! We topped off with some fresh coconut water and headed back to the port. Belize was not my favorite port; it was a little dirty and there wasn't much to see outside of the immediate area of the port.
After a little shopping downtown, we took a taxi to the all-inclusive Nachi Cocum Beach Club. It wasn't much to look at from the road, but once we got through the gates and took the obligatory sombrero photo, the place was immaculate! The club was far from crowded, the food was excellent, the activities were cheap and the beach was a paradise! We decided to spoil ourselves (it was out honeymoon) with 60-minute massages. This was by far the BEST massage I have ever had... Ingrid was amazing! We both thought that we had died and went to heaven. I went snorkeling while my wife was getting her massage and saw stingrays, barracuda, and huge starfish (we took one starfish home). We can't wait to come back to Cozumel!
We were a little worried about the weather when we arrived at this port. We traveled right through the remnants of Tropical Storm Gaston getting here and it was very overcast when we arrived in Grand Cayman. We went across the street from the tender pier and got Dunkin Donuts. We had a full day of activities planned with Carnival Shore Excursions and needed the extra caffeine. We decided on the Discover Cayman: Hell, Turtle Farm and Stingray City Tour. It was fantastic! Hell was wonderfully cheesy and we only spent 20 minutes there (which was plenty of time). Next, we boarded the bus and headed to the Turtle Farm. I was very impressed with the quality of this tour. We played with baby turtles and I tried to pick up a 400lb turtle (didn't get it too far out of the water). Next stop: Stingray City! We boarded another boat and headed out to sea towards the large sandbar known as Stingray City. We donned our snorkeling equipment and I started blindly chasing every stingray that I saw. I finally calmed down long enough to let one swim right into my arms. Very cool! We still had a little bit of time when we made it back to the port, so we went shopping for souvenirs.
This was my favorite port! We decided it was a bit like Ultimate Parallel Parking getting into this port. The views from the ship were amazing! We saw coral reefs, shipwrecks and beautiful landscape. Mahogany Bay was nicely put together and the chair lift to Mahogany Beach was a nice touch. After getting a large frozen cocktail from Fat Tuesday, we followed our tour guide to the Graciefelice, a large catamaran docked next to the cruise ships. We were headed out to snorkel at a large coral reef! On our way out to the reef, we got to watch three dolphins play off the bow for about 5 minutes. It was magical!
The reef was pristine and the sea life was abundant. We took a whole roll of pictures with our underwater camera. After about an hour of snorkeling, we boarded the catamaran for a nice lunch before our cruise back to the ship.