Our port days this cruise included stops at Cozumel, Belize and Isla Roatan. You can pretty much count on stopping in Cozumel on any of the Western Caribbean Itineraries through Carnival Cruise Lines, but it is a fantastic port with a lot of great things to do and try! Belize has a lot of Eco-tourism and history, but most of the excursions involve lengthy bus rides, so be prepared. And Roatan has a private area for the cruise guests, as well as the rest of the Island for those that want adventure. Zip lines dot the mountain side and there are also sloth exhibits that are very popular there in Honduras. I would highly suggest this itinerary to anyone looking for adventure or historical tours. There are plenty of both to be found as well as the laid back beach action that Dawn and I seek most of the time.
The Puerta Maya Port area at Cozumel has a wide array of fun and entertainment as well as shopping at both the usual suspects (Ron Jon’s and Diamonds International of course) and some “local” shops. You can save a little by shopping outside the port area, but the prices are always negotiable and you generally don’t have to look too hard or far to find what you want in souvenirs. Three Amigos and Fat Tuesdays are there to fill you up with frozen concoctions while you wait for your excursions and both offer WiFi to guests who need to catch up on social media. T-Mobile has service here so we were able to catch up with friends and family back home without paying for roaming or cellular at sea. BIG BONUS!
For our day in Mexico, we booked the All Inclusive Isla Pasion by Twister through Carnival Excursions. The ride to the private island is an absolute blast. They buckle you into a open bow boat that has a shallow draft then proceed to throw you into a series of “twists and turns” at high speed that leave you soaking wet and wondering how you stayed afloat. The Captain and 1st mate are funny and engaging, and it felt safe enough. However, I am pretty sure if one of my friends back home tried this, that I would choke them out and toss them overboard. Strangely, when on vacation you tend to throw caution to the wind, or seas in this case, and go along for the ride and I am glad we did. Dawn thoroughly enjoyed the short trip over and the way back is just as fun! I tried to get video, but it was rough going to say the least.
Passion Island is an absolutely beautiful paradise with clear turquoise waves rolling onto the white sandy beaches you dream of. There are hammocks in and out of the water, beach chairs galore, and plenty of tables with shade from Palapas and palm trees. A Mexican-style buffet is served for lunch and the open bar serves both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks for you to kick back with. There is also a “top shelf” bar for an up-charge if you choose to go big-time. There are activities for all ages including volleyball, a limbo contest and other games between guests with a DJ playing along to keep the energy high. Dawn tried her skill at the limbo and did pretty well, but she ended up catching her sunhat on the bar and was kicked to the curb. Some folks nearby turned us onto the Blue Special drink, and Dawn and I found a queen sized bed on ropes to relax the rest of the day away.
We also spent some time wondering around the shops on the island where they gifted us some trinkets while we shopped. You can find it all there, including the painted porcelain sinks so popular in the resort areas. While I was looking, I found a small Iguana catching some sun. It is fun to find the different fauna indigenous to Mexico hanging out where you least expect them. I would think they would be harder to spot, but lizards are everywhere and are fairly used to human interaction.
Eventually, our guides rounded us up for our return to the ship. The ride back to the port area is full of 360 degree turns at high speed and you are eventually let off back on the pier with plenty of time to go shopping, get a massage, grab drinks & lunch or just take advantage of the many photo opportunities to be found. Cozumel never disappoints!
As I mentioned, Belize is a great stop for Eco-tours and Mayan Ruins, but most of the excursions take a lot of time to reach and you end up spending the day on a bus or in a van listening to a guide give you the history of Belize and Belize City. I had some past experience and thought Dawn and I would enjoy just a bit of hanging out and not filling our days full of excursions that left us feeling like we had never relaxed. Belize is a tender port, so we just took the shuttle over and spent the day roaming the small port area. FTTF ruled again as we weren’t planning on hurrying off the ship, but when we strolled aimlessly to the tender waiting area, they gave us our numbers (#4) and asked us to join the others by taking a seat on one of the couches. Just as our butts hit the seat, they called numbers one through four and we were the immediately boarded and off to shore.
We hit up the daiquiri bar and took our time among the little shops. Who doesn’t love getting souvenirs for the little ones back home, or that festive shot glass for a friend back home? I know we do and watching Dawn shop is always a treat for me. We didn’t really spend much time hanging out here and eventually caught a private tender back to the boat to enjoy a day aboard without the crowds.
Back on board it was time to hit the Serenity Deck again. We gathered some drinks and found a clam shell bed to hang out on. Too cool off we both checked out the water slides and listening to Dawn go down was like a cartoon soundtrack. The lifeguard and I were laughing as hard as Dawn was screaming. Carnival Waterworks is a lot of fun when the lines are short and they usually are on port days while folks are off the ship and checking out the port. We had a great day with the ship pretty much to ourselves. Again, it is nice to not always have the day filled with planned activities and our day in Belize was perfect for it.
Isla Roatan, Honduras
Mahogany Bay is one of the most beautiful places you are ever likely to see. The landscape is full of color and occasionally some topiary fun, like a dinosaur you find below you on the chair ride that takes you from the port to the beach. We had booked a cabana for our day here and it included the chair lift as part of the excursion. After a short walk over from the pier to the information booth, we checked in and were given wristbands for the day. I told Dawn it only got to about 10 feet off the ground and for some reason she believed me. I would say the max height is closer to 40, but she did okay for someone as scared of heights as she is. The lift carries you over the scenic walkway, across the water and over to Carnival’s Private Beach Area. There is plenty to do here with an abundance of beach chairs, bars and restaurants and activities for the whole family. The cabana area is reserved and so you have the beach mostly to yourself as well as the cabana and amenities.
Air conditioning, refrigeration, a safe, WiFi, satellite television, a large couch and a coffee table are all included inside of the cabana. Outside included loungers, snorkeling equipment, a shower, dedicated hammock for two and a queen size lounger on the beach. Once the server started bringing food and drinks, our perfect beach day was complete. We spent the morning relaxing and finding seashells in the surf. Rain decided to invade the day, but we were ensconced in our cabana by then and we just relaxed and had our lunch while the rest of the ship fought their way to dry land or back on board.
After a fresh rinse, the shopping area was fairly empty, so we browsed the shops between rain showers and enjoyed the freedom to roam the nearly empty beach. We took the scenic route through the landscaped gardens and the bridge back across to the beach area and eventually made our way back to the cabana for the remainder of the day. We would definitely recommend the cabana for those who want a little privacy at the beach, but it is not at all necessary if you just want some fun in the sun.
We had a blast on this trip and will do it all again someday! Hope you enjoy the video. Join us next for our Halloween Cruise on the Carnival Triumph.