On April 30th, we set out for Austin, TX where we got to meet two-month-old Harvey James and see the Congdons (lots of pictures to come in the next post, so hold your horses). The very next morning, we drove down to Galveston where we embarked on our celebration cruise! (We were celebrating Valentine’s Day, our anniversary, Michael’s graduation, Matching, starting a new life chapter, and probably several birthdays and Christmases. 😉 )
We discovered that we like cruises, and they are great if you want a week of relaxation– but maybe not if your goal in traveling is to experience other places, cultures, and history. The ports are basically humongous souvenir shops; if you want to do more than buy trinkets you have to go on an excursion, and the quality of those can be hit or miss, plus they only last a few hours. BUT there is plenty to do on-board: enjoy the sunshine; eat good food; see great entertainment; and if you’re like us, whup some butts in trivia tournaments several times a day. 🙂 We loved Royal Caribbean and would recommend the line to anyone.
After a day by the pool, enjoying the equatorial sun a little too much (i.e. I got a really bad sunburn) we arrived at our first port: Cozumel, Mexico. It was my favorite. Not only did I get to break out my very rusty Spanish, but we also chose to do an excursion here– to some Mayan ruins and then to the beach. We had an excellent tour guide who didn’t mind my broken Spanish and loved talking with Michael about ancient Mayan medicine. The ruins we visited used to be a temple for the Mayan goddess of the moon and fertility, Ix Chel, and functioned as a fertility retreat center for Mayan women. Some would go there when they were having trouble conceiving; others would stay there for the duration of their pregnancy. The island is basically a jungle and yet it’s an ecological oddity: there are few bugs, dangerous snakes, or other threats that a pregnant woman on the mainland might want to avoid.
After the ruins, we headed to the beach.
The time not spent in ports went somewhat like this:
(We didn’t take as many pictures during trivia challenges because we were too busy dominating, but Michael was obviously the breadwinner in that category.)
Next up: Jamaica.
We ventured out past the port gates, where we were accosted (in the best and most fun way) by local merchants. We got some souvenirs and I had a single braid put in my hair, haggling over its cost the whole time.
I liked Jamaica. I think I’d like it better farther away from a port. 😛
With all the ports visited, we had stretches of unfilled time to explore the ship some more. Besides having excellent shows every night (we saw an Elvis impersonator, Saturday Night Fever, aerial acrobats, two comedians, and more), there was also rock climbing, soccer, movies on the deck at night, etc. Basically, if you’re bored on a cruise ship, you’re doing it wrong.
But our FAVORITE part was the food. Approximately 20 dates over delicious meals: Perfection.
Verdict: Cruising. We’d do it again.
P.S. Happy Independence Day!