We spent the weekend before Christmas in Spring Hill, FL visiting with Rob’s Gramma, Grampa, Mom, and others. We celebrated Gramma McMahon’s birthday that Sunday. Then, on Monday we loaded up and headed down to the Tampa Cruise port. We always arrive at the port around 11am. Even though the cruise documents say you start checking in at 1pm that’s not true.
After boarding we went straight to the bar to get our Bottomless Bubbles stickers, which you can purchase that allows you to order as much Coke, Diet Coke, Dr. Pepper, Sprite, and a few other soft drinks as you want during your cruise. Read more about that by clicking the following link: Cruise Eating and Drinking
We enjoyed our first coke on board. While waiting for our cabin to open up, we played shuffleboard and corn hole and just enjoyed getting used to the ship. Later that afternoon we were able to go to our cabin and unpack and then went to the welcome aboard party after enduring the mandatory Safety Briefing and- Muster Station Drill. Rob shared the drink of the day with me.
See more pics of Day 1.
Our day at Sea consisted of getting our excursion booked for Grand Cayman, played bingo, listened to the Excursion talk by the cruise director, Brandon. We watched the Hairy Chest contest. The kids and Rob swam and did the water slide. That afternoon was a special Christmas event in the atrium lounge. We sang carrols and it snowed in the lobby! Rob and I enjoyed some quiet time on deck later that evening listening to the Caribbean Boyz.
See more pics of Day 2.
Wednesday we arrived at our anchoring location, where we would tender in to Grand Cayman. We ate breakfast and went to our meeting location, where we waited to be called for our excursion. In Grand Cayman due to the coral reefs, cruise ships are not able to dock at the island. Cruise ships dock a ways out and smaller boats bring passengers to the island.
We were registered to do the Stingray Sandbar, Hell, & Turtle Farm Experience. When we got to Grand Cayman and gathered around with our tour group we found out that we would not be able to do the part we were looking forward to the most, which was the Stingray part due to high winds and the fact there were kids on our excursion. We were given the opportunity to back out or stay with the tour and just get $25 per person refunded. We were only given about 5 minutes to think about it. I was not excited about having to figure it all out with the limited amount of time there, so we opted to stick with the excursion.
First stop was at the Tortuga Rum Store. Drinking age is 18, so Drew and Caitlyn go to have their 1st shot of rum. Drew tried not to choke it back up and Caitlyn gave a face. I adore the picture below.
Then, we stopped at Hell, which was named that due to the limestone formations.
See more pics of Day 3.
Thursday was our day in Cozumel. We got off the ship and hailed a taxi to take us to Mr. Sancho’s beach for the day. We paid for the all-inclusive section and the water park for the kids. We enjoyed relaxing, eating, drinking, swimming, snorkeling, and playing on the water blowups.
Mr. Sancho’s closes at 5:00 and around 4:00 there was a quick downpour which cleared the place out. We hung out a little longer. In fact, I got in the water while it rained and took pictures of fish. After we got cleaned up, we took a taxi into San Miguel, so that Caitlyn could see it and so we could do a little shopping.
See more pics of Day 4.
Fun Day at Sea<
The last day on board was another day at sea to make our way back to Tampa. The last day always seems to fly by. We enjoyed making towel animals, eating, a Christmas show, and taking some pictures that evening.
See more pics of Day 5.
Disembarkation day is never fun. We’ve learned to get up on deck early and find a table to plant yourself at until you are called. The kids kept themselves occupied with ice cream and playing a game. Rob and I caught up on catching up with the world through email and social media. Once we were off the ship we raced back home to get ready for Santa to come that evening!
See more pics of Day 6.
Here’s a video of a few of the highlights from our cruise:
If you’re interested in seeing the Carnival Fun Times (daily schedules and more), I’ll be scanning those in over the next few weeks, so check back.