After Dubai trip and getting back to the work life, I was hung over on vacation time and was really looking forward to planning another one (#myformofmeditation). So here I was all jet lagged at 3:00 am CST thinking of where to travel next and the best thing that I could think of was cruise since March is a good time for that. I immediately booked my tickets and got my travel buddy Marcus on board. We decided to take Royal Caribbean’s cruise to Caribbean Islands (Cozumel, Grand Cayman, and Jamaica).
Booking the cruise was easy, depends on which places excite you the most and these ports caught my attention. We booked a week long cruise. The cruise cost around 887$ per person which is inclusive of food on the cruise and room. After booking cruise, the most difficult part was waiting for it. Thanks to Amazon, work kept me busy and motivated to look forward to the awesome trip. It’s all about finding your motivation and not forgetting to live. Work can consume you but finding your peace and happy place to power through everything is the key to sanity.
Travel essentials on a cruise:
1) Your own toiletries: Body wash, face wash and other bathroom essentials (like toothpaste, toothbrush etc) as rooms on the cruise only come with a tiny bathroom, bed, tv, study table.
2)Sun block, sun tan, umbrella, swim suit, lots of water.
Things to do before boarding the cruise:
- Book your excursion in advance.
- Print your travel tags from cruise login portal
- You usually find parking near port
- I would recommend not boarding early just to avoid a long line.
- Get yourself a wi-fi package on the cruise if necessary. Otherwise, this is the best time to disconnect from the everything.
First things first after boarding cruise:
- I would suggest getting a drink package instead of paying for drinks every single time you buy them. It’s much cheaper than buying individual drinks (unless you are not an alcoholic :p), trust me, drinks on the cruise are super super super pricey and the whole trip gets expensive. We bought a drink package of 65$ which had unlimited drinks. However, the package is per day and not throughout the cruise. So you would need to buy it every day ( Trust me when I say this it’s still cheaper than buying drinks individually)
- Book your excursion a month before the cruise because the good ones will all be booked. We booked our excursion two days before the cruise and we were out of all the good ones. So we booked one excursion through Viator instead.
- Royal Caribbean has amazing food options. They have a buffet restaurant which has a lot of food options and varieties that you can pick from, including starters, main course, desserts, drinks etc. Apart from Windjammer they also have a fine dine 3-course meal restaurant which was inclusive in our cruise tickets (The best part is it’s unlimited and you can order as many main courses or appetizers or desserts from the menu)
- You should also try the other restaurants on the cruise if you want a break from the buffet and fine dining.
Sailing Royal Carribeans
On March 26th we were all geared up for our cruise. It was leaving from Galveston, Houston. So we drove from Dallas to Houston (if staying in Dallas drive is just about 4hrs, if not you can fly directly to Houston. Drive from Houston to Galveston is about 1.5 hrs) and stayed at an Airbnb in Galveston for one night on 25th and shopped for the travel essentials I mentioned above. Our cruise was leaving at 4 PM and check-in starts at 10:00 am So we decided to get there around 3 and it was perfect as we skipped the long line and wait time. After boarding began the experience to explore pure magic. The Cruise was super lavish and beautiful and my mind was just going crazy looking at the interiors. On our first day, we pretty much spent time exploring the cruise, got ourselves some drinks , played some slot machines in casino, grabbed a bit on delicious buffet on board, got sun tan, played in the pool, enjoyed some great dinner and got us some sleep so we were all fresh for our first port next day.
After boarding began the experience to explore pure magic. The Cruise was super lavish and beautiful and my mind was just going crazy looking at the interiors. On our first day, we pretty much spent time exploring the cruise, got ourselves some drinks , played some slot machines in casino, hogged a bit on delicious buffet on board, got sun tan, played in the pool, enjoyed some great dinner and got us some sleep so we were all fresh for our first port next day.
Day 1: Port of Cozumel.
Our first destination was the port of Cozumel, Mexico. As soon as we docked, we were surrounded by clear blue water and many other cruise ships in the port. I got some really good clicks of our cruise and its sister cruise.
We had a shore excursion planned in Playa del Carmen where we were going to explore and swim in a cave in Mayan Riviera. So we took a ferry to Playa del Carman and our tour guides were waiting for us who then took us to the excursion. The excursion was inclusive of snorkel equipment and torch since it’s pretty dark in the cave. You can also rent scuba suits for 15$ as the water is pretty chill.
We were on our way to the caves after gearing up. It was a beautiful view as we walked. When we made our way to the caves we could see the reflection of the caverns on mirror looking still water. The water was crystal clean and freezing cold. We jumped into the water and started snorkeling underwater in the caverns. It was a magical experience to be in water under caves, like you are in mother’s womb and hence its called worlds safest place (according to our tour guide). After our underwater experience, we were served with traditional Mayan lunch which comprised of authentic chicken tacos, rice, beans, tamale and some juice. It was a perfect experience sitting under a beautifully carved hut. Lunch was followed by tequila tasting. After two Mexican minutes, we finally started with our tasting and tried around 6 different tequila’s which definitely got us buzzing. Tequila tasting is one of the must do things if you are in Mexico and you find it almost everywhere in stores. Soon we were done with our excursion and were supposed to head back to our cruise We had around half an hour to shop and look around. We decided to go to playa del carmen beach and shopping around the beach area which was simply amazing and cheap. I found people in Mexico extremely welcoming, fun and entertaining. They sure know how to live life to the fullest, drink till they drop and eat like no one’s judging.
Day 2: Port grand cayman.
Grand Cayman is a very busy port and a very popular destination for cruises.The port is small so we couldn’t dock there and had to take a tender to the port from the cruise.
At Grand Cayman, we pretty much planned to chill and enjoy the beach and take it easy so we didn’t plan any activities.There are lots of guided tours, buses and cabs right outside the port. After we got to the port we took a cab that drove us to the public beach. It was super crowded and has a lot of water activities and chairs with umbrellas for free. However, we kept walking to find a secluded area to peacefully enjoy the blue paradise. Finally, after walking for almost a mile we got to a point that wasn’t restricted area or private property and secluded enough so we decided to take a dip into the water and just enjoy the time.
Soon we started walking again to explore more and stopped at Westin hotel on our walk at the beach. The hotel offers chairs and umbrellas, cabanas to just rest and chill. It was a perfect spot to drink and enjoy the view. Grand Cayman is beautiful and offers a lot of water activities like snorkeling, paddle boarding, jet skiing etc. I just wanted to enjoy the water and Marcus wanted to get sun kissed. We got us chairs and umbrella’s and some drinks from the hotel and continued enjoying our time while there.
Soon we started to head back after spending few hours on the beach. We love to walk and see things on our way however, it’s an hour walk and I would definitely recommend that as you see many parts of the beach on your way where there’s something or the other going on be it crazy party (royal palms), or hang out points, water activities, shopping (seven mile shops) etc. We didn’t walk the whole seven-mile beach but we still managed to cover some parts of the seven-mile stretch and it was gorgeous.
If you wish to book an excursion in Grand Cayman, I would definitely recommend stingray city, snorkel or scuba and the fascinating turtle farm.
JAmAICA was my favorite among all the three places:. amazingly friendly people, with warm and welcoming heart. We had two excursions booked in Jamaica. We docked at Falmouth; however, we decided to explore Ocho Rios which is an hour and a half away from Falmouth. Falmouth is a historic small town and you can find shopping areas and restaurants near the port. We chose Ocho Rios blue hole as our first excursion. Jamaica is known for its blue holes. And our guide made sure it was the best experience ever. At this site, a guide is designated to you and they show you every part of the blue hole and jump from different points into the blue hole. It was a refreshing experience to dip into such a natural form of water body in the middle of the forest.
We were then headed to our tubing through white river excursion. The river was in the middle of a very quaint meadow. It was like floating in the middle of nature surrounded by water and just trust our guide and go with the flow of the calm water. We took a break while tubing in a small rest area which had diving ladders, swings, food, brownies, drinks, and handicrafts to shop from. After tubing excursion; was the time for some jerk chicken. Scotchies is one of the most famous places that serves one of the best jerk chicken and that’s where we had one too. Soon after lunch, it was time for us to drive back to Falmouth.
Among all the three ports, Jamaica was my favorite and I would love to go back there for a good long vacation to experience it in a local style.
Day 4 and 5
After we got back to our cruise, it was time to sail for two days before we reached Galveston. Two days of sailing was our time to just relax and decompress. I would suggest booking a nice massage or dinner on the cruise. Try to catch a show or two. Karaoke night and dancing in one of the lounge till we dropped were one of few things that we indulged ourselves in for two days till it was time to say goodbye to the cruise. Well our adventure didn’t just end there, check out my next article to see what we did after we got off the cruise
Well, our adventure didn’t just end there, We had a whole different adventure after our cruise trip, you can check it out in my blog “Yes, you can enjoy Texas in a day!!”
After Cruise trip, I was more productive than ever and charged up to get some work done!!