Back in December, my husband and I took a cruise out of New Orleans in the Western Caribbean (Montego Bay, Jamaica…Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands…Cozumel, Mexico) through Carnival Cruise Lines. While we took this same cruise last year, we were excited to go on the Carnival Sunshine, since the ship was recently renovated. We were much more excited, especially, after spending a few hours aboard the Sunshine for the naming ceremony.
We went the week before Christmas, and while many people think that’s a tad bit crazy, I absolutely loved it! It was awesome to come home a couple of days before Christmas absolutely refreshed and stress free, especially since we were hosting my husband’s family for Christmas. There’s nothing to worry about when you don’t have a house to clean or any food to prep!
We booked an aft balcony room, which is quickly becoming a favorite room type of ours. Aft balcony rooms are in the back of the boat, and it’s usually super quiet/serene, since it’s far from the parties/restaurants on the boat. We loved sitting out on our balcony every afternoon (or almost every afternoon, since I nap like a champ) and just snapping pictures. Sunsets are SO fun to photograph.
Also, the night sky. When you’re in the middle of nowhere, the moon looks especially amazing. This was as we were leaving Jamaica. The water absolutely sparkled under the moonlight…it was so serene and lovely. I stink at photographing it, though…none of my photos did this view any justice.
Also, when I cruise, I eat. I’m sorry, but I threw calorie counting out the window. Warm chocolate melting cake was a must…a MUST. I also loved the dinner-time entertainment, as silly as it was. I’m a sucker for that stuff.
As far as workouts go, I will admit that I did still train for my half on the cruise ship. Thankfully, the gym wasn’t crowded at all for my long run, so I had no worries about being asked to leave the treadmill for the 30 minute limit that is set for peak times. I ran 5.5 miles, which for me, on a treadmill, was a feat in itself. Sadly, no other runs happened on the cruise, but I was happy that I got the long run in!
We also regularly enjoyed the Punchliner Comedy shows every evening after dinner. We loved the adult comedy shows, and some of the comedians on the ship had me laughing so hard that it felt like I had an ab workout that night. Hilarious!
And, after everything was over, it was always nice to come back to our room at night to see our towel animal of the evening. Our room stewards absolutely rocked, and they had such a funny sense of humor…I mean, how cute is a towel monkey hanging from the ceiling?
Also, this guy. He looks like he’s saying, “How YOU doin’?”
I could go on and on about things on the ship, but I definitely want to talk about what we did while the ship was in port. In Jamaica, we didn’t book an excursion, because we just wanted to shop (hi, cheap rum!) and have a relaxing day in the port. We had a busy day ahead of us in Cayman anyway….or so we thought.
We were super excited about our day in Cayman, because we booked an excursion with the stingrays. We packed our day bag (which we got at the naming ceremony…thanks Carnival!), and went out to the tender boat. We booked something called “Faster to the Fun” through Carnival, which was especially awesome for tender days. Not only do you get VIP check-in, you also automatically get on the next tender boat, no matter when you go downstairs. We felt pretty fancy getting escorted to the tender boat, and not having to wait at all.
Here was the view of the Sunshine as the tender boat was pulling in to the island. Isn’t the water just gorgeous?
Now, here’s where the bummer came in. That day when we got off the ship, we were told that all stingray excursions were cancelled, due to high winds on that side of the island. Huge bummer. We were really looking forward to the excursion, but we understood that safety was a priority, and even if we did go, we were told that the stingrays don’t go in shallow water when the tides are like that. So, it would have been a waste of money. Ah well…
So, when life throws you coconuts, drink coconut water? Ok, maybe that saying goes a little differently, but this cart kind of made my day. How much more island-y can you get?
Even though our excursion was cancelled, we didn’t want to waste our day on the island, so we ended up taking a driving tour of the island, and learned some interesting facts about Grand Cayman. Did you know that they don’t elect their governor? Great Britain just sends one every 4 years. They also only pay property taxes ONCE. We joked about moving here once we win the lottery. Hey, they have a Popeye’s…I could survive.
The next day, we were in Cozumel. Our excursion in Cozumel was a Mexican Cooking Class at a resort. OMG…this beach…
My husband and I walked away from the beach for a while to take the cooking class, and it involved making an appetizer, an entree and dessert. What I enjoyed about this class is that these were dishes that I’ve never made before, like caramelized plantains with chocolate tequila sauce (OMG) and seared grouper with vegetables and tamarind sauce. It was insanely good, and the coconut rum/pineapple drinks that the bartender would bring made the class even sweeter. My only issue is that the room was a tad stuffy with 20 burners going on, but they finally let us open the windows to let the breeze through the room. Whew!
While we didn’t get to do everything we wanted, I have to say that we had a great time, and we’ll definitely cruise again. We’re already looking into another Carnival cruise, but this time, I definitely want to check out different locations in the Caribbean.
Disclosure: We paid for our cruise, “Faster to the Fun” and our excursions, but Carnival did provide me with some complimentary WiFi time on the ship in exchange for a blog post. All opinions are 100% my own.