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Old August 2nd, 2004, 10:09 AM
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Default Cruise Report !!!

Unfortunately, when my wife and I arrived home from our Cruise yesterday, our neighbor who was taking care of our pets informed us that our 14˝ year old kitty had passed away a few days prior to our arriving home ; ((. Sans that, we had a great vacation!

Ok, with that off my chest, let me tell you all about the fabulous cruise we've just completed.

NOTE: The Bryans refers to our 18˝ year old son Bryan and his best friend Bryan.

The first day of our cruise was at sea. Our suite was enormous and we were very fortunate to have been upgraded for free by Carnival. Hats off to them! Jean and I shared one Suite and the Bryans shared the Suite next door. Each suite had three beds!!, a wet bar, a walk-in closet a sofa with love seat, a private balcony and a whirlpool bath! There was plenty of room for all our 'stuff' and even for my wheelchair and scooter once we figured out how to turn the scooter on it's side and wedge it through the door.

The next four days were a blast. We spent a day in Belize snorkeling with some beautiful fish, stingrays and Nurse Sharks! The only catastrophe was with our son Bryan as he climbed back onto the boat (via a hanging ladder) he cut his finger pretty badly. The infirmiry on the ship was able to fix him up and it didn't seem to bother him too much for the rest of the cruise.

We spent the next day at Anthony's Key Resort in Isla Roatan, Honduras where we had our very first ever (for all 4 of us) Dolphin Encounter. We've got some great pictures to share with you all and I'll have them up on our website just as soon as I can.

Our third straight day in the water was in Grand Cayman. For those that do not know, Grand Cayman is a British owned/operated Island in the Caribbean. They drive on the 'wrong' side of the road and most of their cars have the steering wheel on the wrong side as well. We took a tour of the Island and visited a Turtle Farm, the town of Hell and then spent about an hour in the water playing with and feeding Stingrays! For those who have never fed a stingray, it was great fun! However, this great fun comes with one caveat. DON'T HOLD THE SQUID TOO TIGHTLY IN YOUR HAND! I did this by mistake and had my entire hand sucked into the big ray's mouth. Panicing, I tried to yank it out quickly and cut my hand on it's tiny teeth. Again, more pictures to share and they'll be on our website soon.

Our final port was Cozumel, Mexico. Boy does this place ROCK! We spent the day on a giant catamaran. Our first stop was at a wonderful dive/snorkel spot where, you guessed it, we got more pictures to share! After snorkeling for about an hour we were off to a private beach where we played Volleyball (well, at least the Bryans did), free kayaking and lot's of shade and friendly people. All of the drinks were free so you can only imagine how many margaritas the four of us consumed : ) This excursion was by far the best one I've ever had on any cruise I've been on. Ocho Rios, Jamaica (four years ago) comes in at a close second ..... : )

We've got lots of video and photos to share so I'll try and get some of it together on the website soon.

http://sarfaty.us

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Old August 2nd, 2004, 10:38 AM
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Wow sounds like a great trip, thanks for sharing.

sls
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Old August 2nd, 2004, 12:44 PM
Brenda in Canada Brenda in Canada is offline
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Welcome back Jean, Saw the link at the end of your post and realized it was you! Great time you had, eh?!! Can you post/email me and let me know which tour:ship/private you did in Belize and Roatan?? And the cost of those 2 if you don't mind!! Sounds like your son&his friend had a great time too!! I would like to see your photos when they are up. Welcome back to the 'real' world!! Bye for now. Take care. Brenda
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Old August 2nd, 2004, 07:34 PM
dmdiver dmdiver is offline
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so the belize strike is over?
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Old August 2nd, 2004, 08:42 PM
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Default Re: Cruise Report !!!

Hi Brenda & everyone,

Actually that was my husband Ron posting about our cruise. We truly did have a wonderful time. Not so good that it had a sad ending when we arrived home, but we were lucky to have our sweet kitty for many years....always hard to lose them, tho....

Ron will post again when the pictures are up....we took a LOT of pictures! Ron & our son Bryan had fun participating in the Hairy Man's contest, although we just had a video of that, it was pretty darned funny!

In Belize, we did the Angel Shark & Sting Ray snorkel, which was fun! The water everywhere was very warm, clear and beautiful! I don't have the prices in front of me, but I'll send them to you, Brenda, and anyone else who is interested....

In Roatan, we did the Dolphin Encounter, which was a lot of fun! We got to play with Mika, a 2-1/2 year old dolphin for about 30 minutes! We got to pet her and she did some tricks in the water for us (more photos!) and ended up with her giving each of us a kiss (oh yes, more photos!). When she was kissing my teenaged son, she stuck her tongue out.. not sure what she had in mind, but it was very cute!

Thanks again for the good wishes,...Ron did quite well in getting around, everyone was very friendly and helpful, and he's a tough one to keep down!

Happy Cruising, all!

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Old August 2nd, 2004, 11:30 PM
hazelson hazelson is offline
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Sorry to hear about your kitty - we lost one a few months ago and it is hard - guess you had better book another cruise to help get over the trauma :o) Sounds like you had a great time though. TTFN Jennifer
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Old August 3rd, 2004, 07:04 AM
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Hi, sorry to hear about your beloved kitty. I know what it feels like to come home and get sad news like that. Lost a beloved 15 yr old Afghan Hound the same way years ago. At least we had our pets for a long time to love!
I was wondering if you could post some more on Cozumel such as details of the excusion you did and where you booked it. Kenny and I are 1st time cruisers going to Cozumel, our only stop on a four night cruise out of Tampa. Booked it this way to get our feet wet so to speak. I hope he enjoys it so I am trying to get as much details as possible from people who have been there done it and seen it. Did you book it with Carnival or yourselfs and was it expensive? Thanks Ro
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Old August 3rd, 2004, 07:04 AM
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Default Re: Cruise Report !!!

Hi, sorry to hear about your beloved kitty. I know what it feels like to come home and get sad news like that. Lost a beloved 15 yr old Afghan Hound the same way years ago. At least we had our pets for a long time to love!
I was wondering if you could post some more on Cozumel such as details of the excusion you did and where you booked it. Kenny and I are 1st time cruisers going to Cozumel, our only stop on a four night cruise out of Tampa. Booked it this way to get our feet wet so to speak. I hope he enjoys it so I am trying to get as much details as possible from people who have been there done it and seen it. Did you book it with Carnival or yourselfs and was it expensive? Thanks Ro
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Old August 3rd, 2004, 07:05 AM
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sorry must have hit the post button twice. sorryyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy Ro
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Old August 3rd, 2004, 07:10 AM
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WeLove2Cruise WeLove2Cruise is offline
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Brenda, et al.

The Angel Shark and Snorkel in Belize was $79 per person and worth every penny. It was a 7 Hour day! Just remember to bring lots of good sunscreen and make sure it's the waterproof type. We used Banana Boat spf30 creme and Banana Boat spf15 tanning oil and none of us got burned. We all ended up with a nice even tan which is more than I can say for some of the folks we saw using inferior brands that ended the day looking like lobsters. The temps in July where we were nearly hit the century mark at about 40% hunidity.

The Dolphin Encounter we experienced was at Anthony's Key Resort and the cost was $109 per person. Again, worth every penny. The amount of time we spent in the water with Mika was incredible. I spoke with some of the other guests onboard that had gone with a different Dolphin Encounter group and was told they barely spent any time actually touching the Dolphin. The only thing I didn't care for was that they wouldn't let us bring our cameras into the water until after we had already spent most of our encounter time with Mika. I thought it was for the safety of the Dolphin at first but it had nothing to do with that. They have their OWN photographer in the water taking the best pictures of you and the Dolphins and then of course they want to sell you THEIR pictures. They did allow us to get our cameras at the very end of the time with Mika and we were 'allowed' to take pictures of each other while Mika kissed each one of us, once. They offer THEIR pictures (excellent quality 3000ish x 2000ish pixel digital prints) at $10 for each 5 x 7 and $20 for each 8 x 10 or you can buy a nice CD with ALL of their images on it for $40 and print them yourself at home or at your local SavOn, Kinko's or other digital print center. The cost to print 5x7's is about $2.50 and 8x10's will run you about $4 each. Jean and I opted for the $40 CD as I have a 4800dpi color printer/plotter here at the house. We ended up with about 30 pictures on the CD so it turned ot to be worth the $40.

Ron

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Old August 3rd, 2004, 07:54 AM
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Ro,

We never, ever book any shore excursion ourselves, We ALWAYS book through the ship for the simple reason that we are not locals to any of the ports we stop at. We don't speak many languages and unfortunately hand signals don't work well when dealing with foreigners. "Grabbing a taxi" can turn into a nightmare as we've heard from other travellers who tried to save money by avoiding the 'expensive' ship's excursions. I can't stress this enough and I believe even the most seasoned traveller will agree that there are just no guarantees if you stray. The ship arranged excursions come with a guarantee you just can't find anywhere else ............ they WILL wait for you if your tour is delayed!!! They will NOT wait for you if you are not scheduled on one of their excursions. End of discussion.

That being drummed into your heads : ), the title of the excursion we took in Cozumel is "Catamaran Sail and Snorkel". I believe the cost was $79 per person but I can tell you from our many past experiences this was by far the best value we've found. It was a 6-7 hour day and the crew we were with were by far the friendliest and most knowledgeable we've come across. The excursion started on the Pier where we boarded the Catamaran and sailed away into the beautiful azure blue sea. We travelled at a pretty good clip for about 25 minutes and came to rest where the water was about 40 feet deep. From the surface, you could see every moving/living/swimming thing right to the bottom of the ocean floor with the clarity of the drain in a clean swimming pool . It was truly amazing. We snorkeled there for about 45 minutes with the crew in the water assisting anyone that needed help. They stayed with two or three guests that had never been in the ocean before with special water-wings and vests. They had enough vests, masks, fins and snorkels for everyone on board and let me add that this equipment was in "new" condition, not scratched up and falling apart like many of the tours we've been on.

We reboarded the vessel using a steel staricase emersed in the ocean (not a drop ladder like most boats have) we sailed for another 20 minutes to a private beach where they had 30 thatched umbrellas covering 30 tables and chairs. It was the most shade we'd seen in days and very comfortable to sit outdoors. They offered free Kayaking, vests and instructions for anyone wishing to venture into the ocean on their own. Since my stroke, I have no use of the left side of my body but Jean and I decided to give it a go anyway. Jean was the left side oar and I was the right side oar. After about 15 minutes in the water we got out and made a pact that we would never, ever try that again : ) The Bryans played Volleyball and Jean and I ate hamburgers and drank beer (me) and margaritas (jean). The drinks were free and all-you-can-drink. We reboarded the vessel for our 1hour ride back to the ship and danced (well, they did), drank and talked and sang songs all the way back while I videotaped with one hand and interspersed the videotaping with an occasional drink. It was by far the most fun I've had on any excursion in all of the cruising I've done. I was so impressed with the crew I left a $20 tip that even now seems too little.

Ron



Post Edited (08-03-04 07:02)
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Old August 3rd, 2004, 09:59 AM
Brenda in Canada Brenda in Canada is offline
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Ron and Jean-thanks for the info. Looking forward to seeing some photos posted!!

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Old August 3rd, 2004, 11:30 AM
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what some great info! Hey Ro, I am sorry to hear about about your Afghan Hound. They are my most favorite dog in the world!!!!!
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Old August 3rd, 2004, 07:45 PM
Denise H
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i'm sorry to hear about the lost of your kitty i naver had kitty before last year but now i have a gray tabey and she is my beast friend so i know how attaments can be i hope your days get better
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Old August 3rd, 2004, 07:49 PM
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I too am sorry about kitty. I lost my 18 (almost 19) ear old kitty in Jan. He was older than daughter who just turned 18. Pets that are around for so long are just part of the family. Glad you had a good trip though.

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