My husband and I and 4 friends just got back from a 7-day cruise to the Western Caribbean and already, I want to go back. The clear waters, warm weather, and overflowing buffet could make a girl quit her job and live on the seas for the rest of her life. Nedless to say, it was just what I needed. the perfect escape from everyday life, no cell phone signal for miles around.
This being the first time my husband and I have been away from our 1-year-old daughter, we were a little nervous about how she was going to handle being away from us. Ok, we were also a little nervous about WE were going to be being away from her. We reluctantly left her in good hands with her Yaya and Papa Bear, and made the 17 hour drive to Miami with our essentials (clothes and a bag of Cadbury chocolate eggs - Easter candy only comes once a year you know). As we boarded the Carnival Valor, we waved goodbye to Miami and said hello to a week full of beautiful Caribbean weather and no set plans but to get lots of sun and sleep (which is hard to come by due to the aforementioned 1-year-old).
We had 4 ports that we visited: Grand Cayman Islands, Cozumel, Roatan Islands, and Belize. These ports were actually the same ones Pat and I visited on our honeymoon 2 years ago, so we were excited to go back with friends this time. In our group, we also had 2 first time cruisers with us. We had a great time exploring the islands and doing some shopping. The scenery was amazing, I've never seen such clear waters and beautiful trees and flowers. We could tell that Carnival has poured a lot of money into making the ports look "appropriate" for the tourists - many of the areas we visited are steeped in poverty and rely on tourism for a major source of income. There were what I call "tourist approved" areas which generally consisted of areas gated off for the tourists where they can shop, visit the beach, and drink all they could hold (and many did).
One of my favorite parts about the cruise was the food. As with any other cruise, there is always the buffet that is available for breakfast and lunch, but the truly good stuff is at dinner. Each night, they would have a few featured entrees like steak, lobster, lamb, and salmon and they were all amazing, but the best part was Carnival's warm chocolate melting cake.
This cake was like every good memory you ever had condensed into one little chocolate souffle. When you cut into this cake, it has a warm, chocolate-frosting-meets-cake batter center. Words can't describe how good that cake is. That's probably where the 4 pounds I gained came from, but I'm ok with that.
All in all it was a great cruise. We ate some amazing food, hung out with great people, had so many laughs, and none of us ended up in the brig (no matter how much some of them tried). And when I got home, my little girl gave me a big grin and a hug and had a great time with Yaya and Papa Bear while we were away.
So when are we going back???