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Trip Report 3-7-09 Western Carribean on Carnival Glory

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DW and I just returned from a seven day cruise on Carnival Glory from Port Canaveral to Cozumel, Belize, Costa Maya and Bahamas.

The night before the cruise there was a rocket launch at Cape Canaveral. We watched from a place at the pier on Cocoa beach. It was amazing to watch the huge fireball going up and the glowing debris from the rocket-stages drifting like fireworks slowly back down to the ocean.

The ship was good. It's bigger than our previous cruise on Carnival Spirit (San Diego to Aculpulco, Ixtapa and Puerto Vallarta). It holds better than 3,000 passengers. Our room was what we expected. The steward did a great job. Last cruise was also outstanding. I would give a very slight nod to the service we received on Glory.

Food was better on the Spirit. I'm not a drastically committed Atkins dieter but I do try to eat vegetables that are lower in carbs (green beans, broccoli, cauliflower) and avoid veges that are high (potatoes, rice, carrots, peas). Most dishes at dinner were served with the latter. Although I was able to special order broccoli with my dinners, lunches were hard to find choices that weren't high in carbs. Breaded meats (even fish) and high carb vegetables were often the only prepared choices. I ended up eating double cheeseburgers without the bun and a salad from the salad bar. Omelettes and sausages or bacon for breakfast were great on both ships. Both DW and I ate very well and came home weighing within a pound or two of our pre-cruise weight.

The nod for entertainment goes to Glory. They were able to change up comedians at each port to add variety.

We Scuba dove with Dive With Martin on our Cozumel day ($75 per person for a two-tank dive plus $10 for wetsuits). The boats were good and seemed to be ably manned. The dive master, Tony, was fine. The service at the shop was helpful and friendly. The equipment was a little ratty. We rented shorty wetsuits (that only cost $60 new) for $10 each and they were pretty worn-out. DW's BC had to be replaced because it leaked badly. Mine leaked a little, I didn't notice until post-dive while waiting for the boat to pick us up.

We dove on the Palancar reef first. It was really nice. Tony said it's most clear June to September but the visibility was fine in March. The reef is like layers of giant chimneys that are crowded together forming almost a wall. As you swim by you can see holes with large and small fish. In some areas the holes are big enough to swim through. Tony led the way through a maze of swim-throughs. The second dive was close to the piers. Lots of fish and relatively shallow. Overall it was a great day that I hope to repeat someday.

At Belize we booked a tour of the Lamanai Mayan ruins through Belize Cruise Excursions ($75 each including lunch). We made sure to get on the first tender because it's a long tour and we didn't want to take a bus to the next port. DW and I arrived first thing and had to wait nearly an hour for the other six people to show up (they were on about tender number 8). The tour includes an hour van ride to the boat launch, another hour by boat to the ruins, an hour or so tour of the ruins plus lunch and some time to look at the museum at the ruins. The highlights were the real world jungle boat ride, the howler monkeys we saw at the ruins and climbing on and around some beautiful ruins.

The tour went like clockwork and we were back 30 minutes before the last tender left Belize City. If you make sure you get off the ship quickly and don't dawdle, there is plenty of time to get there and back without missing the boat. The best advice I saw on this sight was go to the location for meeting up for tenders AT LEAST 30 minutes before the time the ship says. Our tour-mates arrived at 8:13 for the 8:30 meeting time and found a crowd was already gathered. I arrived an hour early and no one was there but they showed up about 10 minutes later.

At Costa Maya, we took a taxi to the nearby town of Mahahual ($2 per person each way if you pass the line for the in-zone bus vendors) and relaxed on the beach at one of the many restaurants on their malecon. We had decent food and beer for about $25 for the two of us. The food choices at the different restaurants ranged from basic bar food to Mexican to seafood. Prices were from cheap to expensive depending on what you order. We had Mexican food that was about midrange. We left a little early to look around the tourist zone at Costa Maya. We jumped in the pool briefly and shopped a little. It's really the standard tourist fare with a little nicer facility than at most ports. Tip for Mexico, if you want the perfect mixer for Tequila, try Squirt. Mexican friends told us about it and you literally can't taste the Tequila (which could be a dangerous thing).

At Nassau, we took the ferry to Paradise Island ($3 per person one-way) and wandered through the casino at Atlantis to the lobby and the free views of the aquarium. The ferry ride includes an impromptu tour of the harbor (That's Mick Jaggers place, that's Nicholas Cage's boat, that's where Anna Nicole Smith's son died, that place was built to house the cast and crew of Dr. No, that used to be the nude Club Med). The aquarium was really nice but I can only speculate how the uber expensive main aquarium would be. The casino reminded me of the one at New Orleans. Nicely laid out with dim lighting and the constant drone of bells and whistles from the slot machines. I worked at a casino in college for a summer, so I've been there and done that and they hold little allure for me.

After our brief walk through the free parts of Atlantis, we went to Cabbage beach. It's a public beach with no services. Locals sell rum drinks and there was one beach bar. The bar prices were more than the cruise ship but we negotiated 4 drinks for $10 from the young drink vendors. They offer $20 for all you can drink but that was too much for us (both price and quantity) for a day at the beach. The waves were great. If they weren't breaking right on the sand, they would have been perfect body-surfing waves. If you don't want waves (small children), this probably isn't the beach for you. Snorkeling would have been off the point at the far end of the beach. We saw organized catamaran tours out there but didn't bring our snorkeling gear and didn't walk that far. We took a taxi back to the boats ($4 per person each way) and were back in Port Canaveral the next day.

We stopped at Savannah for St. Patrick's day festivities on Saturday the 14th. It reminded me of a smaller version of New Orleans (without the live music choices). We were too tired after the cruise to fully enjoy the party so made an early night of it.

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