This time around we were going on a 5-day cruise to the Caribbean from Florida. At the time we were on the west coast and had a long trip ahead of us and it started a bit weird. We were flying out of LAX for the start of this trip and on the way to the airport we turned on the local news and all they were covering was a shooting at LAX in our terminal. We pulled over and tried to find out the status of our flights and if they were going to re-assign us. Short answer was that they cancelled the flight and we were on our own. We scrambled to find another flight and the only one we could find was tomorrow from San Diego. The alternative was to drive across the country because in my mind the only place that flies to Florida is California.
Caribbean | Itinerary
The following is our experience and may not be representative of your experience.
Hopefully you have a better one!
Turks and Caicos
We got a hotel for the night and extended our rental for a day. This was unfortunate because we had planned to visit Downtown Disney and we also had to cancel our hotel, which would really suck later on. So trying to make lemons out of lemonade we headed to San Diego relatively early and got on some airline I had never heard of. We first flew in to South Carolina while we connected to Florida. It had been 2 hours of driving, 1 hour of airport waiting, and a six-hour flight without food and a three-hour time change. I looked around the airport food court and ended up wanting some Bojangles chicken. I had never had any but hell there was a long line and didn’t look half bad. I ordered some family meal because I thought it came with a two drinks. Instead I got a gallon of pink lemonade and enough food to cater a high school graduation. I got the food just in time to make my flight and luckily we had an aisle to ourselves. We laid all the food out and feasted on some Bojangles chicken but obviously we couldn’t finish it all.
The plan was just to sleep at the airport and take the shuttle to the cruise in the morning. We were so tired, I tried to call some of the hotels near by but none of them had a room. So we stuck to our plan, luggage and all and slept it in the hotel. Being paranoid I tried not to sleep to watch over our stuff especially since this guy was sitting like two seats from us in a completely empty airport area. Eventually the sandman came for me and I dozed off. I woke up a couple hours later and looked at my phone and only two hours had passed. This nightmare night would never end. It wasn’t until the morning when we realized that the reason it seemed extra long was because it just happened to be daylight savings time switch so we did have to stay an extra hour in the airport. We awoke and got on the cruise ship with no additional problems.
We were cruising with Carnival on this trip usually people’s opinion of a ship depends on how they see the ship. We see the ship as our mobile hotel so which usually means we have a good time view of the ship, while other see the ship as the vacation and are sometimes disappointed. We were fortunate and got upgraded to a family room with two beds, two bathrooms, and a big porthole.
On the ship we had fixed timed dining so it meant we had the same waiters throughout the cruise. We were fortunate and did not have to share a table with anyone and our waiters were great. The food was delicious and not much disappointed. During one of the formal nights I forgot my tie and made one out of one of a napkin and not many noticed the difference. Our food choices each night ranged from steak, seafood, chicken, and Italian. Most of the time we ate the restaurant and rarely did we go to the lido deck.
For a special celebration we went to one of the paid restaurants on the ship. We had a lovely dinner at the Italian restaurant. The food wasn’t mind blowing but was a nice change of pace on a 5-day cruise.
The only negative on the food front was that the pizza was made to order so the wait and line was eternal. The best lido food option on the ship was the Guy Fieri hamburger and hot dog station. A freshly cooked patty with delicious toppings like bacon, grilled onions and mushrooms on fresh buns. This food was genuinely delicious and we ate it for lunch and snack time as often as we could.
I am a sucker for water slides and the ship had two of them so sometimes while in port we would spend a good amount of time sliding down the ship’s water slides. In addition, they had a suspended obstacle course, which served as an awesome way to embarrass myself in front of others passengers.
Turks and Caicos
Our first stop was at tourist beach and we had planned to go snorkeling but the water did not allow it due to the lack of visibility meant an increase chance of a shark attack. Instead we snorkeled on the beach and were still able to enjoy some fish. The water was as perfect as you would expect and after a couple hours of swimming and lounging we walked the beach. Lucy wanted a conch shell so I tried to help her by going into the ocean and searching for one. Everyone around me seemed to be finding one so I thought it would be easy. Instead, suddenly the waves starting picking up and I got hammered into the coastline. I thought if I laid down that would make it easier to get away but every time I tried to get up or move I would just get hammered by another wave. Eventually I was able to get away, conch-less. Later on the cruise we were talking to some people and they remarked “ Hey aren’t you the guy that got beat up by some waves. That was so funny, we’ve been laughing about it for days.” So instant cruise fame.
This was a great stop and I wish we had more time at this port. We had pre-booked a three-activity excursion, Dunn’s River Fall, Blue Hole, and tubing on a canal.Dunn’s River fall has this beautiful jungle area and is right next to the beach. The amazing thing about this waterfall is that it is the world’s largest waterfall because it falls at a slight slope but I guess at a high enough slope to count as a waterfall. The activity of choice is to climb the waterfall and it is a slow but fun process. Not often you can say that you climbed a waterfall.
The next stop was the blue hole, which as the name would suggest is very blue and beautiful. It too had a waterfall but the activity of choice here was to jump in the water. There were two tour guides and to impress the tourists the guides would jump from stupendous heights. We almost saw a person die though as he tripped before the jump and missed hitting the rocks by a small amount. At a much lower height, they had a spot for us to jump into the blue hole from. The height was still reasonably high but I thought, “ Hey just land in the same spot as them and you will be ok.” Me and Lucy both took the jump and it was amazing.
There was also a hole you crawl through to see the backside of the waterfall, that with my girth made it a challenge, but I barely made it. We then climbed to the top of the waterfall for some additional photo ops before heading to another jump spot. This spot was significantly higher and the only people to do it were the tour guide and I. This fall was one of those, “Wow I’m still falling jumps.” The guides had a swing rope at the bottom of the jump that they made look easy so I gave it a shot, but seeing as my strength to weight ratio is not what I wish it was, I ended up embarrassing myself again.
The last stop was a nice relaxing tube ride along a canal. Our guide even sang some Bob Marley as we gently floated along the canal. All and all, a nice relaxing way to end our stay in Jamaica. I just wish we had been able to spend more time here.
Our last stop on this cruise was the Bahamas, which is much wealthier nation compared to Jamaica. We had scheduled a snorkel tour of the area. Lucy booked me this activity because she knew I would enjoy driving my own little boat and she was right. In our own small boat we rode around the beautiful coast of the Bahamas from one snorkel spot to another and finally found a conch. The Bahamian coastline also featured really expensive homes to people such as Tiger Woods and Oprah Winfrey. We went souvenir shopping for the rest of the trip and headed back to the ship since we didn’t have much time at this port either.
A great trip that did not disappoint after the rough start at the airport. I just wish the ship was able to spend more time at each port but that just gives us an excuse to go back, maybe on a 7-day cruise.
~ Happy Travels! ~