Passport Holder: TJ Maxx
Hey Guys! So sorry it’s taken me sooo long to post again. I really wanted to keep my blog consistent so I’ve been waiting to post about my cruise before I blogged about anything else. Finally all the pictures were edited and sent so here we are, YAY! As you know from my last post, my family and extended family went on a 7 day cruise to the Caribbean. If you haven’t been to the Caribbean I HIGHLY suggest putting it on your bucket list because it is beautiful! For whatever reason whenever we have sea days I never seem to take pictures (probably because there is so much to do) so the majority of these pictures are from our port stops: Florida Keys, Costa Maya, Cozumel and the Grand Cayman (my favorite).
We took a red eye out of Sacramento and with a few bumps in the road (layovers and motion sickness) we arrived in Fort Lauderdale around 11:30 and was “sailing away” at 4:00 pm on the Celebrity Silhouette. Sail away is one of my favorites because there is always high energy a band playing you grab yourself a drink (or 3) and wave to everyone on land as you embark on your cruise. For me it get’s me so excited for our trip.
The next morning we awoke to the sound of the captain saying that we have arrived in the Florida Keys (Key West)! The weather forecast was supposed to be super cloudy and rainy but to our surprise we woke up to blue sky’s and sunshine! We went down to have breakfast with the rest of the family and then all headed out to check out the island.
Key Facts about Key West:
1.Ernest Hemingway lived here
2.Key is a corruption of the Spanish word Kayo meaning small island
3. There are 800 keys all connected by the Seven Mile Bridge
We ended up finding The Key West Butterfly and Nature Sanctuary something my dad really wanted to see and it was so cool! Voted the top attraction this glass enclosed sanctuary holds 50-60 different species of butterflies all around the world as well as exotic birds, flamingos and turtles.
Had to stop for ice cream, DUH!
After one day at sea we arrived at our second port, Costa Maya
Fun Facts about the island:
- Located on the Yucatan peninsula near the Belize border
- Costa Maya, Manauhaul was recently built specifically for tourists and to this day is only offered to cruise ships
- Known for the Mayan ruins built in 2,000 B.C
We ended up taking a shuttle to the nearest Manauhaul beach. We tried going to Maya Chan beach (one that someone had recommended to us) but every bus took all of the tourists to this beach because their was so many shops and people trying to sell us things. Since we had a large group we had to find a part of the beach that could accommodate all of us and after 10 minutes of walking around we found the perfect spot. It was a part of this restaurant with lounge beds, a more secluded part of the beach and not as many people selling you things. All they asked is that we each spend 10 dollars on food or drinks, DONE!
Several hours of sunshine and too many Modelo’s later and we were ready to head back to the ship for some fro yo!
We arrived at our third port, Cozumel at 6 am. My immediate family and i planned an excursion that started at 7 am so we were up bright and early as soon as we docked. My mom wanted to go snorkeling and my sister wanted to see the island so compromise, we picked one that we could do both.
oldest caribbean island and largest mexican island
National Marine Park and part of the Mesoamerican Coral Reef the second largest in the world stretching 700 miles. because of this you can’t apply sunscreen 1 hour prior to getting in the water
Came from the Mayan word Ah Cuzamil Peten meaning “island of swallows” in English. The swallows symbol is everywhere around the island whether it is on buildings, carved in trees or on the sidewalk
first settled by the Mayans. Island was thought to be sacred by the Maya Moon Godess of fertility until the Spanish took over bringing smallpox with them
Gum brought the island back to civilization because of the huge supply of sapodilla trees which became a huge trading and shipping island
We arrived at our last port The Cayman Islands around 10 am and holy crap you guys it seriously took my breathe away
- Half of the people that live there are from the Camanian descent providing a really authentic experience
- You see iguanas like you see squirrels; they are EVERYWHERE! In some parts of the island it’s considered sacred to eat them, Yuck!
- Christopher Columbus (explorer who discovered the island) named it the “Tortuga of the Seas” which is where the mythical Tortuga in Pirates of the Caribbean came from. Scenes were shot on Cayman Island.
- The most popular and beautiful seven mile beach is actually 5.5 miles long
- They drive on the other side of the street as well as have the steering wheel on that side, so Beware! lol
We decided to take an excursion to Stingray City, a series of shallow sandbars in the middle of the ocean in which 5 different types of stingrays live. We got to pet them, hold them, feed them and learn everything about them up close and personal. You guys i seriously fell in love with them! I even named one Rae (haha get it?) who ended up falling asleep when i was holding her, how cool is that?!
At first i was a little nervous and didn’t really know what to expect but the stingrays were not held captive nor were they harmed in any way. They were free to roam around and swim wherever they pleased. Fisherman used to clean their fish in these sandbars and throw the remaining guts and squid overboard and the stingrays eventually moved there to eat. They soon associated the sound of the boat engines with food and soon divers realized that they could be fed by hand. We arrived at the perfect time, when not only several boats were leaving, but when a research team was arriving. This gave us the opportunity to learn so much more about these creatures and the knowledge they are continuing to discover by tracking them.
Overall it was such a fun trip and one that i am very fortunate to experience with so many loved one’s.