Tuesday, January 10, 2012

New Year's Cruise - Western Caribbean

Approaching the port at Cozumel
  This is the first of a number of posts about our recent Friends and Family New Year's Cruise. 

To start with, we had a wonderful time on the Carnival Magic.  This is a very new and very large Carnival ship.  All our staterooms were very nice and a bit larger than on other ships we have traveled on.  I mean "on which we have travelled" - sorry Mom!

We left from Galveston and spent two days at sea, arriving in Montego Bay, Jamaica.  Here we chose to hire a van driver to show us the area and tell us about current conditions and  events, history, and politics.   The farmers market was very interesting, but I don't think I would walk through it.  It is very crowded and some people objected to us taking pictures through the windows of the van.

Sunset at Sea

We saw homes from shambles to estates.  I was frustrated as a  photographer of rustic structures that I didn't feel comfortable/safe strolling to catch images.  If, or when I return, I will hire a guide to walk me through the market and surrounding neighborhoods.  I really like the look of history and time in structures and tools.

Next we visited Grand Cayman, the largest of the Cayman Islands.  This port city is cleaner and more developed than Montego Bay.  The Cayman Islands chose to remain the the British Empire; Jamaica did not;  and it shows.

Here 17 of us sailed on a catamaran to  Stingray City to snorkel with sting rays.  They are wild in habitat, but tame in behavior.  The captain and crew of the catamaran feed them regularly and helped us feed and hold them.  They don't bite, but they do suck, literally.  See photo below.  I was feeding one and a wave pushed us together, moving my hand.  The ray thought I was a squid...  Yes, it hurt.

Sting Ray "suck"
 Our last stop was Cozumel.  Here, of course is civilization almost as we know it.  There is lots of shopping, all new and clean.  We are very experienced here and we strolled to stores, restaurants, and snorkeling.  We took a van and taxi to Chakanaab Park where there are many activities including snorkeling, food and drink, sea lion show, dolphin encounters, botancal garden, and a pretty lagoon.  There is beach access and seating along the shore and a small cove safe for small children.

Our return was marred by dense and long lasting fog.  Carnival did a very good job of keeping us entertained, fed, and apprised of the weather and departure progress.  We were about 5 hours late.

Postings to come:  Accessible Cruising, Spa Cruising, Food on the Magic, and who knows?  We had a great time!

1 comment:

  1. My sting ray injury is healing well, though still sore. When the guide tells you they don't bite, remember me!