Although there were plenty of families on our April 6th HOLIDAY cruise, there were plenty of party-animals.
I thought I'd start a thread geared towards those of you who like to get a little wild.
I'll add to this as the days go by....days at seas, meals, room service, etc. Wanted to get this up quickly:
Carnival Holiday, April 6th, 2002
We had a blast!
Firstly- here are some tips for bringing booze/beer on the ship:
If you’re going to “smuggle” drinks on, make certain that you pack it in CHECKED luggage. We brought 4 cases of beer inside of hard-sided Samsonite luggage. Also poured Vodka into water bottles.
Wine and champagne can be brought in your carry-on. They WILL check to make certain that it’s wine or champagne, though. No limit. We had about a dozen bottles.
A couple that we ran around with would take water bottles, both clear and colored, with them to each port. During the course of the day, they’d buy Tequila and flavored Rums. Prior to boarding the ship, they’d pour the booze into the water bottles.
If you’re a vodka drinker, consider bringing celery salt, a plastic lime juice and tobasco for bloody marys. You can get glasses of tomato juice, orange juice (think MIMOSAS!!!), and grapefruit juice delivered to your room 24 hours a day. You can get a pretty tasty fruit punch on the lido deck, as well.
Consider bringing a collapsible cooler. We used ours to carry-on our champagne. Then tipped our steward well to keep it loaded with ice throughout the trip. It was great to take to several ports, as well.
On our cruise, we visited the following ports: Playa Del Carmen, Belize City, Cozumel, Costa Maya, Grand Cayman, Ochos Rios. Here are the highlights:
PLAYA DEL CARMEN:
The water was rough, so the tender process was a pain in the neck. Tendering was to begin at 9:30, but they had to keep repositioning the boat. We didn’t get going until 11am.
The water knocked us out! Gorgeous! Dom and I strolled the beach a short distance and stopped for 2 beers at La Runia (The Room). It costed us $5 per round.
When we were there, the exchange rate was 8.5 pesos=1 dollar.
We were ticked to be paying $2.50 per beer UNTIL we walked next door to the Blue Haus. Two-for-one Margaritas. (worked out to 2 bucks each….on the rocks, salt, and as strong as you’d like them!) Beers by the bucket were only $1.25 each.
Much to our delight, along came our internet buddies/shipmates, Lovely Lori and Richard. (think Jean Claude Van Damme). The four of us rocked-out all day. Big, big fun. We ventured further down the beach, all the way to the Blue Parrot, turned around and went back to our Blue House.
Water was fab, but a zillion TINY (dime sized and smaller) jellyfish…..they didn’t sting. A lot of BIG unexpected rocks in the water. Rough surf. Fun, but had to be very cautious.
The guys took turns buying rounds, then as we were close to tendering, we checked out t-shirts at Senior Frogs. Really STUPID t-shirts. Had one round, then hopped on our tender. Ended up back on the Holiday for around 5pm.
Wowie Zowie! What great fun we had! CAVE TUBING WAS THE ULTIMATE! T'was the highlight of
the 11 day cruise.
I kept a travel journal, so let me just type out some
stuff verbatim: (There were 6 of us, who were all
partiers....met on the internet prior to the cruise,
and became inseperable)
What fun we had! Met the gang outside
of the Bus Stop in the morning. Took a really NEAT
little Tender/Speed Boat to Belize City. Asked around
for Reggie. People tried to "steal us away", but
finally somebody got him on the phone for us.
The 6 of us went to a really neat open-air bar, run by
an Atlanta gal, Laura. As you're getting off of the
tender, look to the LEFT. Beyond a wall, you'll see a
small balcony with tables and chairs...that's the
Drank Belekin Beer...good local stuff. Depending on
size and style, anywhere from 1 to 2 bucks a bottle.
We sat on the balcony in the sun/breeze, watching
families of Pelicans.
Eventually, Reggie (GREAT GUY!) showed up. We piled
into his van and hit the road. Stopped at a gas
station-- bought 3 beers each...plus ice for Reggie's
cooler, pop and bread pudding for Reggie.
Stopped later to take a tinkle-break at a bar called
"CHEERS". Bought cute 10 dollar tshirts with the
"CHEERS" familiar logo, but with a twist...a monkey
hanging from the sign.
Eventually, hit our dirt road. About a 20 minute rough
ride...(about 1 hour TOTAL driving time).
Grabbed our tubes and started walking. Semi-rough
overland trek through the jungle. It was beautiful.
HUGE palms, caves, newly planted red-bean plantation.
Up and down and around. Steps carved into stone.
Definitely not for the physically UNfit. Although
Reggie had said it was a 30 minute walk, it was quite a bit
longer. He made it a point to show us where he
"normally" drops people off, and took us further,
leaving the $$$$ decision to us. (The guys ended up
giving him $65 per person, rather than the 60 bucks
We dropped into a spectacular deep turquoise river
with miner's lights on our heads. Began our float
through a series of caves. BATS GALORE. TOO KEWL!!!!
Stalagtites everywhere. (Forgot to mention, plenty
of bats during the walk, too!!!)
We floated through a series of probably 3 caves. It
was a one-mile float. The river was low, so it took
about an hour and a half. Really....the ULTIMATE.
BUG SPRAY wasn't needed. He told us not to bother, and he was correct.
Don't hesitate to book with Reggie. He's a doll-
On the way back, Reggie stopped at a little road-side beer stand for us. We also had him stop at a “liquor store” downtown for us. He walked us in and made certain that we got a good price on some local rum.
As we said goodbye to Reggie, we found ourselves with time for another Belekin Beer at our fun bar! What fun!
Lovely Lori and Rich rented a jeep and dropped us off at PLAYA SOL. (Saved us a $12 cab ride). Booked this through Carnival. $20 per person. Open bar. Had a blast.
I had my FIRST massage. Twenty minutes for twenty bucks. Liked it so much (OOOOOOHED and AAAAAAAAHED) that I dragged my husband over for the same. (He wasn’t nearly as impressed, but nevermind).
Anyway, we whooped it up, big time. Ran into internet buddies who shall remain nameless. Have great pics of tequila shots being downed and coming right back up……..ooooooh, to be 18 again!
Took off with the buddies in a cab/van to Carlos & Charlies.
The place was an absolute MADHOUSE. Dom and I spotted some Holiday folks dancing on the stage. The music was LOUD. It was CROWDED. We whispered that perhaps we’d blow out of there….too much.
I turned my back for a moment. When I looked again, my Dominic was up on stage dancing with our buddies. Before I knew it, I was up on stage. Then, I was dancing with a cruise buddy. (BTW: My husband and I DON’T DANCE!!!).
Drank a “yard of margaritas”. Danced with a handsome 18 year old fella who was on our ship. (You guys remember, that I’m not a dancer, HUH?) Dom and I helped each other back on board. Our dear Canadian friends became our babysitters for the rest of the evening.
Hit the gang plank at 8am. The water was beautiful. Quite an impressive port! They had “Mayan Warriors” blowing conch shells, beating drums, etc. A huge swimming pool with live music, food, a lot of shops.
We hopped on the Uvero Beach “Jungle Beach Break” bus for our 20” ride. Neat place. $30 per person with an open bar. Coconut trees galore, a little window to order food, 2 bars and a gift shop. Kayaks, paddle boats and volleyball.
We laid around on the beach, drinking beer. Eventually, we hopped in a kayak and Dom paddled us to the end of the pier where there was a ladder leading into the water. The water out there was spectacular. We paddled back, got our cameras and beer and walked down to the end of the pier. Fed the fish, took a dip and a lot of pictures. THAT was the place to be.
We had a lot of fun in the gift shop. Ended up spending about $100. Wall hangings, shotglass candles, a Mayan Calendar, jewelry, Cuban cigarettes, etc.
We each had a yummy $6 cheese quesadias with guacamole. Went inside around 12:30 for some shade. The bus left at 1:40. T’was a fun, fun day.
Shortly before 7 am, we ventured our way on to a tender. As 4 of us dummies were sitting there, we noticed that the tender at the front of the ship was filling up rapidly. Eventually, we argued our way off and hassled with security to walk to the front of the ship.
Got up there and zipped right off. Our first stop was a Tortuga Rum outlet. Bought 2 bottles of rum. A coconut and a banana. (Delicious with Diet Coke…had one of each last night!) Then decided on a bottle of Coffee Rum Crème and an Orange Rum.
Hint: Do this FIRST thing. We were the only people in the shop. They had all of the samples of the rum cakes out. We bought 15 of ‘em. After spending $100, I didn’t feel guilty about “having breakfast” there. The cakes are out of the world. Original, chocolate, banana, Blue Mountain coffee, coconut. Wow!
The gal told us to pick up the cakes on the way back to the ship. They delivered the booze.
We then took a short stroll to Eden Rock and set towels on the little bit of sand. Wowie Zowie! Such fish! Such snorkeling! Fed the zillions of fish breakfast cereal and croissants from the ship. We’d brought our collapsible cooler with ice, beer, and sandwiches.
I snorkeled WAY OUT to where there was a 40 or 50 foot drop. At one point out there, I had hundreds of fish surrounding me. Suddenly, I felt and heard a “swoosh”, as they all disappeared. I thought, “Oh, Oh….baracuda”. Didn’t see anything, but it creeped me out, being all alone out there. Something sure scared them away!
At Eden Rock, there was a fun little bar called “Paradise”. We hooked up with our buddies and drank “Stingray Beer”. About $5 each. We ended up really rocking-out at that place, with the guys taking turns buying rounds.
Eden Rock is a MUST for snorkeling. Probably the best I’ve seen in the Carribean. Almost rivals Bora Bora in the South Pacific.
Dom and I left there and went back to our Rum place to pick up our cakes. I ended up buying a bottle of Ponche’. (An eggnog-type liqueur we’d had in Aruba years ago). We went to a Cuban Cigar store. Bought Dom a couple of $18 cigars and a $20 leather cigar case. He bought some less expensive smokes for the guys at home.
Grand Cayman Trivia: Think of “Triple B”. Beach, Black Coral and Banks….620 of ‘em within 4 blocks!
Awoke before 6 am. Looked out the window, and there was Jamaica. Green and mountainous. As the sun rose, the hills became defined. Such beauty!
We loaded up our beach bag and packed ice in our cooler. Walked down the multi-colored Ochos Rios pier. There was security all over the place. And a lot of smiling faces. Our first impression of the place was positive. (As opposed to the horror stories we had read on the internet).
As we ventured out, there were plenty of guys wanting to be our drivers/tour guides, but it wasn’t the least bit uncomfortable or intimidating. As we approached the main drag, via the huge parking lot, we went left to the Taj Mahal shopping center. Upstairs, at a place called “Everything Jamaica”, Dom bought about 40 Jamaican cigars for $60. (25 of ‘em were tiny- cigarette size). The guy gave us shots of rum. I WISH that I’d picked up a bottle of the Coconut Cream Rum. (Think Bailey’s Irish Crème with a coconut twist). Yummy!
I went to the Royal Shop downstairs and looked at Tanzanite. Too expensive, but really pretty. I ended up buying my nieces 2 sets of earrings for only $5 per pair. Tiny little tanzanite stones.
With shopping finished, it was time to start having fun. And fun is what we had! We walked to the Island Village complex. Little bars, restaurants, gift shops, a huge ampitheatre. Brand new…just a couple of months old.
We stopped for a $3 Red Stripe at a little joint, then went to Margaritaville. We went directly to the beach and put down our towels. A waiter came over. He said that Red Stripes were $3.25 each. When he brought them to us, they tacked another dollar on. $7.50 total.
OK, gang. Here comes the fun part. As you’re on the beach, looking out at the water, you’ll see a corrugated green wall with a security guard to your LEFT. (The pier will be towards your right). To the left is where all of the fun locals hang out. There were about 100 guys cooking fish, playing soccer, drinking beer and smoking dope. Dom found a guy (gold teeth) who was selling bottles of beer for only 2 bucks a bottle…Red Stripes, Guiness, Dragon’s Stout, neat stuff.
Buy your beer over there, then put it in your cooler of ice on the beach! You’ll need a bottle opener. The guys were just opening them up on the edge of a picnic table.
I kind of figured this out. The government must have told Jimmy Buffet that he could build a Margaritaville on the beach, but that it would remain public. There were A LOT of locals swimming.
We noticed a really pretty tree with some type of “fruit” . Clusters of green… the guys asked the security guard, and didn’t he crack one open for us… and ALMOND! How neat. Almond trees! Our security guard opened a bunch for us.
The water was very pretty. An ice-cold (spring fed?) river flowed into it, creating icy-cold spots. Ochos Rios is a neat place.
Eventually, our gang showed up. Diane and I went to the swim-up bar. We had 3 rounds of yummy Margaritas. About 6 bucks each. Wycliff, our bartender, was balancing them on his head. Neat guy.
Lori and I played on the water slide. Big fun!
Suddenly, one of the guys in our group announced that we had 20 minutes to pack up and get back on the boat.
See some pics here. If you've been to my page, make certain to "refresh" the page to see new shots: