Cruisin the Caribbean
Sorry for the delay in updates. Life gets in the way sometimes and with moving to a new park, starting a new online job and back issues, we are starting to get back on track. More on all that later.
Back in December we started researching things to do in the Galveston area while we were in the area in January. Looking around on Trip Advisor, one thing that caught my eye was taking a cruise out of Galveston. I completely forgot that Galveston is a cruise ship port. It was an ad for last minute, cheap cruises, so I looked a bit further and found that there were some serious deals happening in January. It looked like mid-January was a slow time and they were looking to fill cabins. Both Carnival and Royal Caribbean have cruises out of Galveston and since we knew Carnival was more of a party type atmosphere, we looked further into Royal Caribbean.
A couple years ago we went on a Disney cruise out of FL and knew that it would be hard to beat that level of service and amazement but for a deep discount price of $188pp for a 5 day/4 night Royal Caribbean cruise, we couldn't go wrong! Merry Christmas to us!!!
We set sail on Jan 20th and were amazed by the smooth process getting to the ship and boarding! We started with an informal Uber ride from the Bolivar Peninsula, where we were dropped at the terminal front door. Steps from drop off, we left our bags with the porter and proceeded to check-in. I had already completed the online check-in, complete with pictures of our passports, so checkin was a quick verification and we were sent to the priority boarding line. From door to being onboard the ship was about 45 minutes...and that included stopping for the goofy boarding photo. We were on the Enchantment of the Seas, which is a smaller ship with 1,142 staterooms compared to some of the monsters out there today with almost triple. This ship was just the right size for us and we never waited in line for anything, except maybe a time or two at the buffet. We enjoyed our time onboard and took in a couple shows, late night adult comedy shows, bingo, trivia and lots of food and drink.
We even booked a behind the scenes tour. It was really interesting and we got to see the engine control room, staff quarters, laundry, the busy I-95 corridor, which is the main corridor front to back or bow to stern...ahoy matey! :-) We also got to tour the main kitchen and the bridge. So very cool. We were able to take pictures as we went along the tour so enjoy. No pictures of the kitchen though. I think Rick was so intrigued he forgot to take pictures.
Of course, being out on the water brought plenty of beautiful sunrise and sunset pictures!
Our port of call was Cozumel, which turned out to be a beautiful day on a beautiful island. We booked a dune buggy excursion through Shore Trips on the recommendation of our travel agent Tom Golden. If you ever need a travel agent, Tom is the guy! He and his wife Melanie are also full time RV'ers that run a travel agency from the road. They have been on numerous cruises and are very knowledgeable on not only cruise choices but excursions outside of what the cruise ship offers. Most of the times, they are less expensive and it is a smaller group. They can also help with any other travel needs you may have. We highly recommend them!
Our dune buggy tour included us and 2 girls from Paris. They had a dune buggy with one of the guides, we had a dune buggy to ourselves and the other guide led in his dune buggy. They were cool, open air VW bugs with big tires. This tour had several stops around the islands, which is why it appealed to us. We started off with a drive to the other, quiet side of the island, where we stopped at a small beach bar and cabanas where we took a dip in the water.
We then were off to a little "locals" vacation area to see some island history and Mayan ruins. Our guides took us through what an original islander hut would have been like, talked to us about some cultural history and then guided us into the cooking area where a lady was making tortillas, which we were able to try with some delicious salsas and pickled red onions. YUMMM!
Next door was a beautiful, little historic church dating back to the colonization of the island and an even older Mayan ruins next to that.
We then walked across the courtyard to the local, family run tequila facilities to sample some of their finest. They walked us through the process of making tequila, why the locally grown Mexican blue agave tequila is soo much better than the store bought popular brands and then we sampled some of the various aged tequilas. Yes, that's right, aged. They purchase used whiskey barrels from Kentucky to age their tequila for multiple years and as it ages, it gets darker because of the barrels. The 12 year tequila that we tasted was sooo smooth with no after kick. Wow!! They also had tequila and fruit mixtures and a tequila coffee liqueur, which we purchased, which is delicious in the morning coffee!
From there we boogied over to a small resort closer to the cruise ship area where we had lunch and tried snorkeling. Let's just say that it was a windy day, which made the water a bit rough. My claustrophobia kicked in and it took me a bit of time to feel comfortable to swim along with my head under the water and breath through the snorkel in the rough water. Our guide was very accomodating and had me hold onto a boogie board while he pulled me around. He pointed out lots of different fish and coral and it was amazing! I would love to try it again in calmer waters. We then changed and had lunch with the girls from Paris.
Our time on board Royal Caribbean Enchantment of the Seas went by quickly and we really did enjoy ourselves. I would say our only complaint was that the windows were not clean and it took away from viewing the beautiful ocean, sunrises, etc. Other than that, we did not have any complaints. Our trip back home went smoothly and the RV and truck were still where we parked them. Success!
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