Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Carnival Cruise: 7 Day Western Caribbean

I love to travel and I am a licensed Travel Consultant and Vacation Specialist with Expedia Cruise Ship Centers so I thought it would be fun to share some of my trips.
 7 day Western Caribbean:

Day 1 Departs Miami
Day 2: fun day at sea
Day 3: Georgetown, Grand Cayman Island
Day 4: Roatan Honduras
Day 5: Belize
Day 6: Cozumel Mexico
Day 7: fun day at sea
Day 8: return to Miami

The ship:
We sailed in September aboard the Carnival Valor which is one of Carnival Cruise Line's largest ships and can host up to 2,974 passengers. The theme and decor of this ship was very sophisticated with a lot of embellishments and rustic colors, the theme pays tribute to American and international heroes. The ship has 14 bars, five pools, spa, gym, lounges, night clubs, shops, a casino, library, theatre, an amazing dining room and much more. I liked the size of the ship, as well as the atrium with its glass roof and elevators that had a view into the spectacular lobby.
The entertainment on board was fabulous, the Broadway style musicals and comedians were very entertaining and the game shows were a joy to attend.
Atruim (from my camera)

The clubs were also very good with great music and a variety of clubs and lounges that have music for all tastes.
The food was good, there was a variety from day to day with some international cuisine and the dining room options as well as the pizzeria and soft ice cream stations were also enjoyable.
One thing I enjoyed the most on this ship which some other ships don't incorporate was movies under the stars; watching movies on the big screen while you are relaxing on the deck with a drink or in the hot tub was wonderful.

Docked in Roatan (from my camera)

The staff aboard the ship were exceptional, the best I have encountered thus far, the service was phenomenal and everyone was very helpful and went out of their way to please.
One of the best and most relaxing aspects I find with cruising is the amazing spa treatments and if you can afford to do so I would definitely recommend going to the spa for a treatment of your choice.

Georgetown, Grand Cayman:
Grand Cayman is a very small island and although many ships stop here there isn’t a lot to do. On the ship you can purchase a day excursion which are rather pricey, but you can also choose to walk off the ship and purchase a much cheaper excursion from a local tour guide like I did.
The tour guide takes you to the main tourist sites of the island such as:

Hell (from my camera)

- Hell: which is a rock formation that the locals believe looks like a representation of hell

-The Rum shop: Here you have the chance to sample different flavours of Cayman rum and cakes. If you decide to purchase the shop will have it delivered right to your ship and it will be delivered to you before you depart the ship at the end of your cruise. The cakes come in wonderful flavours as does the rum, they are tasty and make a great gift.
from my camera
-Swim with the dolphins: for this stop you can watch the dolphins play and frolic about with some of the tourists and if you have time on your tour you can pay to have your one on one encounter with a dolphin as well. (keep in mind this is rather pricey if you choose to partake but you can get some great photos)

-Seven Mile Beach: This beach is beautiful and great for wading around in the water. If you have been to Cayman before and have  already seen all the tourist sites you can opt to spend the day lounging around on this beach. Some areas have stalls where you can buy fresh coconuts and fruit juices.

-The shops: Right by the port there are many shops where you can get your souvenirs and there are a wide variety of jewellery stores. 

charm bracelet

Most ships give you a free charm bracelet and you can visit the specified stores to collect the charms at each island. It makes for a great keepsake.

There are other things you can do in Grand Cayman depending on what you like but these are the things I chose to do while there.

Roatan Honduras:

Like other stops you can also purchase a shore excursion for Roatan and in this case I would highly recommend it.

Roatan (from my camera)
Guided tour: The beginning of the tour started with a guided tour through the island and towards the Gumbalimba National Park where our tour guide gave us some history about Roatan
Gumbalimba park (from my camera)

Gumbalimba Park monkeys, jungle and beach excursion: For this excursion we had a guided tour through this beautiful wildlife park. You get the chance to take photos with the parrots and monkey. You also get some historical information, cross a suspension bridge and come face to face with animals in their natural habitat. At the end of the tour there is also some time to have a drink and spend some time at the beach.

The port shops: At this port they had beautifully dressed native dancers greet us as we combed the shops in search of souvenirs. You may also have a chance to sample some native beer.

Belize was a bit more run down than I expected. The tender boat had a long trek from ship to port and the guards standing by the road with machine guns was a bit daunting.
However I would recommend that you book an excursion on the ship before venturing out on your own. If you venture out you may come across some beautiful beaches, however we did not visit the beach on this stop and Belize City was rather dirty and run down with garbage strewn at the side of the roads. 
 Despite this we did make the most of this stop and had a lot of fun on our air boating excursion.
Air boat (from my camera)

Beach along the cozumel coast (from my camera)

Air boating tour: On this tour a bus takes you to an air boating tour out on the marshes where if you are lucky you can see the manatees and wild birds that dwell there.

Bars and shops: They do have some bars and shops by the port which I recommend browsing.

Cozumel may be small but it is very beautiful. We didn’t book a ship excursion for this stop, instead when we came off the port we rented a small car and drove around the island ourselves. We drove around the entire island in a few hours and had a chance to stop at various beaches and bars along the way as well as the Mayan ruins (which I forfeited due to an infestation of mosquitoes) and downtown. The views along the coast are breathtaking and the beaches are beautiful. There isn’t much to do on this small island but it is a nice place to spend the day

 Overall it was a wonderful trip and we will definitely be open to sailing on the valor again on another of her Caribbean destination cruises
**If you are interested in planning your next dream vacation you can visit my website at **

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