"What was your favorite part of the trip?", I asked my wife over a cup of coffee on deck 11 on Sunday morning before we departed the ship. She tried to answer but as she began to describe a scene from our horse back ride in Belize tears of joy halted her speech. Really...nothing more needed to be said!
We booked this, our third trip with Royal Caribbean, last year while cruising on the Voyager. Our previous two cruises had been such great experiences we honestly were just hoping this cruise would be their equal. Seems we set our expectations a little low!
The entire boarding process was exceptionally smooth. We left our house at noon on departure day, drove the 30 minutes to Galveston, parked across the street from the terminal (Galveston Park and Cruise, covered parking $65), and were eating lunch in the Windjammer by 2pm. Perfect!
One can't really "review" the weather but somewhere in this I need to say it was awesome! Warm days and relatively calm seas More
make for great sea days. Our room attendant, Johnson, was respectably attentive and made sure we had all we needed but was careful to adapt his schedule to ours. We really appreciate an attentive room attendant but we do wish he'd left us a few more towel animals! It's hard to single Johnson out, however. We found the overall service on this trip to be fantastic. Andres and Mohinder "Ben" in the MDR were more than happy to accommodate our multiple appetizer, entrees and dessert orders. The waiters we met on on the first day remembered our names and typical drink orders for the rest of the week which made us feel special. Our cruise director, Mitch, even found the time to have a nice conversation with me. The service was outstanding.
The ship was crowded and made seating in the theater for our group of eight a little difficult. The entertainment was great. We attended every show, including the ice show, and loved them all with the exception of the "Platters." The talent on the stage that night was not consistent with the level of talent the other nights. Our opinion, I am quite sure, puts us in the minority on this. The predominately older crowd (and we're mid to late 40's) LOVED the "Platters."
If you're considering booking a cruise during this time of year, the age of the crowd really needs to be considered. The number of elderly folks, complete with walkers, scooters and the other accouterments the come with the blessing of a long life, certainly affect the elevators lines, theater lines and Windjammer buffet lines.
Roatan, Belize and Cozumel is the perfect itinerary. Beautiful and friendly, more beautiful and friendly and then friendly and fun. Our choice of excursions are on the more active side of things. We Zip Lined in Roatan (Wow!), rode horses in Belize (Awesome!) and did a Jungle Buggy ATV for the third time in Cozumel (Fun and Awesome!).
We so enjoyed this trip we booked our next cruise while aboard...a 16 night Trans-Atlantic trip. We can hardly wait! Less
Mariner of the Seas Cruises to the Western Caribbean
Belize was our favorite port on this itinerary. Though the need to tender to port delayed our departure for our excursion the whole process is done well. Don't let Belize City fool you. An hour drive puts one in perhaps the most beautiful terrain on earth.
We booked a private horse back tour with Santiago Juan of Hannas Stables. This was the absolute perfect excursion. Santiago met us at the port as planned. He and his driver took our group on the 1 1/2 hour drive to the stable at San Lorenzo farms. During the drive Santiago was the epitome of a tour guide and never tired of our questions. Upon arrival at the stable we were greeted with 8 well cared for and well mannered horses saddled and ready for departure. Santiago led us through a few nice pastures and pointed out the Mayan ruins on the ridge of the mountain near us. The defining moment was when we rode the horse down a short but steep incline to be greeted by the Mopan River. The first sight of the river is that breath-taking moment for which we go on cruises!
The ride lasted about an hour and a half. After the ride we ate a wonderful local lunch prepared at Clarissa Falls restaurant (again...beautiful) served family style. This was our favorite meal of the entire trip.
The cost for our group was $600 which included lunch. You simply must do this tour. Santiago can be booked at www.hannastables.com
This was our third time on this excursion. It's great! They meet us at the port terminal, transport us to the Los Palomos ranch where we get on our 4wd Polaris ATVs. A quick drive down the road and you're on the Jungle Trail. The trip runs you down a jungle trail, the beach, and a small Mayan ruin. We love this tour! Lunch is included at a great restaurant near the pier. After lunch you're given access to the hotel beach or, as some of us chose to do, our guide, Jose, drove us downtown to shop. Our contact at allprotours.com was Moses.
This was our second trip to Roatan. We've been discussing how to retire there since our first visit two years ago! We love Roatan. It is instantly beautiful. I went fly-fishing for Bonefish on our last trip and this trip we went on a Zip Line. Both of these excursions were booked privately.
I booked Alfonso of Christopher tours this year for our zip-line trip/ beach / shopping trip. He met us as planned at the cruise terminal, put our group of 8 in his nice air-conditioned van and took us to the zip-line location. This was a safe and professional operation and we were all thrilled with the excursion. A little rain made our next step a little difficult. Alfonso had an idea. He drove us around the West End and then to West Bay where we tromped through the muddy streets shopping for awhile. When the clouds cleared and the sun came out we went to a nice little restaurant on Half-Moon Bay, ate a wonderful lunch and either snorkeled or relaxed in lounge chairs at the waters edge. What could be better than that?
We had Alfonso and his van and expertise our entire time on the Island. We were charged $520 for eight of us which included the zip-line. This price did not include lunch nor snorkel equipment rental.
Roatan is an exceptional destination and we could stay there for weeks!