Monday, December 1, 2014


I have not abandoned this blog.  We were on vacation (yeah, I know, again!). We decided to take another cruise but to make it easier and cheaper we sailed from New Orleans since that is only a one day drive.  We also wanted to try out Carnival cruise lines and see how we liked it.  We were also limited in our travel dates so with all those criteria we didn't get much choice in our destinations, but we just wanted something warm.  It was a good trip, but I can't really say awesome, but some things were our of our control.

Anyway, we got up early and drove to New Orleans on a Saturday so we would have a little time to see the city.  We stayed overnight near the French Quarter and walked down to Bourbon street to have dinner and do the whole tourist thing.  This place is crazy.  I couldn't believe how busy it was on just a random Saturday in November.  I can't imagine what it's like at Mardi Gras.  And I knew it was a historic area, but I just expected it to be bigger, but mostly it's like a dirty alley full of drunk people.  But we did finally find a not too loud place to enjoy dinner, which was actually the best food we had the whole trip.  Sunday morning we explored more of the French Quarter, which is a lot of the same kind of stores and restaurants all over and then headed to the cruise terminal.

I didn't take any pictures of the ship but if you are interested we sailed the Carnival Dream. We liked the decor of the Carnival ship more than Princess, and we really liked that it had a comedy club with multiple shows almost every night.  They also had a greater variety of lunch options (except that at lunch you are usually off the ship or too full from breakfast to eat much).  Overall though, we did like the food better on Princess.  That said, I would not describe either as excellent, just good.  The crowds on Carnival were younger and livelier, but that also means a certain number of them were somewhat "trashier."  Also, lots of kids, partly because this is evidently a popular time to take a family vacation and partly just a difference in cruise line.  Other than that, the experience was pretty much the same.  I would not choose a future trip based on cruise line, but on price and destination.  Also I liked the Princess website better when shopping and planning our trips.

The first two days were at sea and were warm, sunny and windy so no real issue there.  The next day was our stop at Roatan, an island off the coast of Honduras.  We chose to take an excursion to a highly recommended snorkeling beach.  But it was a little cool, rainy, and very windy that day and so snorkeling was pretty much out.  We relaxed on the beach, enjoyed the music and some reading and then headed back to the ship. I was also coming down with a cold by this point.

Thursday we were supposed to stop in Belize, but there is a coral reef in Belize that prevents cruise ships from docking so they send smaller tender ships out to get you.  But the winds were too high for these ships so they had to cancel this day.  No big deal to us because we didn't have anything planned but it was a cool, windy day on the boat too so we spent it inside-which we can do anywhere.  Friday was a really nice day for Cozumel.  Which was perfect because we had splurged on a dolphin encounter excursion with an all you can eat and drink buffet and included snorkeling.  First stop off the boat though was to get some cough drops!

The dolphin swim was really fun.  We all got to touch and interact with them, get kisses and do a belly ride.  We enjoyed watching the performances and other interaction groups while eating and Jerry did some snorkeling, but I didn't really feel like it.  By the time we got back to the ship I was beat and needed a nap before enjoying evening activities.

Saturday was also a  nice day, not really hot enough to swim but warm and sunny enough to enjoy the day outside before heading home to winter.

We got more pictures this year too.  We liked the ones we got last year but I think Carnival did an even better job.  If you are ever on a cruise take advantage of this.  They will do pictures several nights, maybe all and have multiple backgrounds.  You can go to them all at no cost and only buy pictures if you like them.  Here are a few of the ones we got.

Our drive home Sunday took 13 hours with road construction and stops for food, gas, and kleenex.  I was really glad I didn't have to work today and with the freezing drizzle on the roads Jerry decided to stay home too.  Back to the real world tomorrow.

And, I almost forgot-the towel animals made by our cabin steward!


Karissa said...

Dolphins! That's on my bucket list to swim with dolphins one day. Awesome pictures, it looks like a great time! Who looks after the critters when you travel? I don't even think of planning trips without the dogs because I have no idea what I would do with them...

Greg S said...

We took nearly the exact same cruise earlier this year on Carnival (different ship though). We stopped in Cozumel first, then Belize, Roatan and finally Grand Cayman.
We also took advantage of all the picture taking on the ship and bought a ton of nice pictures of us that we would never get otherwise.
We did an excursion in Belize that was fun, but the main city was a run down dump. On Cozumel we did a speed-boat trip to an island and relaxed for the day, and did ziplining in Roatan. We were beat and just stayed on the ship at Grand Cayman.

Nicki said...

Karissa-I have a couple of great house-sitters thanks to all the vet clinics I have worked in. It's still a little nerve wracking to leave them, but sometimes you gotta get away!

Greg-that's cool! We have heard good things about Grand Cayman, hope to get there some day.