My first time on a cruise ship was about five years ago. We were living in San Diego and my mom booked a short Carnival cruise down to Ensenada, Mexico, for my grandparents, and Beth and I decided to join them. It was a fun experience and a good introduction to cruising, but, it really was just an introduction. So when we stepped onto the Carnival Dream last month, I was really excited and couldn’t wait to experience a bona fide cruise through the Caribbean, something I’ve dreamed about for a long time.
I had planned to fill this post with lots of colorful adjectives weaved into enough tantalizing sentences to fill a novel. But then I thought about the old saying, “a picture is worth a thousand words,” and decided to put together the photo essay to end all cruise photo essays instead.
We had a lot of fun on our 7-day cruise through the Western Caribbean. As we compiled the photos for this story all of the memories came back to us, and we both looked at one another and said, “We really miss being on the ship.” My hope is that these images will feed your own wanderlust, and, hopefully, inspire you to travel more in the New Year. Ladies and gentlemen, say hello to the Carnival Dream:
Montego Bay, Jamaica
Initially, we planned to explore Montego Bay on our own, but at the last minute decided to take the Chukka ATV Safari. It was a fun adventure through Jamaica’s rural countryside with a great set of guides. The only downside of the tour is that the optional drop off at Dr. Cave’s Beach mentioned in the excursion guide is only an option if they bus driver has time, and not a mandatory stop. Luckily, we had some extra time when we got back to the port, so we hired a taxi ($10 r/t per person) with a few other passengers and drove to Hip Street for jerk chicken…all was good!
George Town, Grand Cayman
Beth and I have wanted to learn to dive for sometime, and we finally got our first taste of it at Cheeseburger Reef in Grand Cayman with the Discover Scuba Diving excursion. Within 40 minutes of arriving at the Lobster Pot Dive Center, we were geared up and practicing several basic dive techniques in the warm lagoon next to the shop with our excellent instructor, Morgan. After we successfully passed the exercises and we all felt comfortable, Morgan led us out to the colorful and lively reef, where we hit depths of 45 feet. It was an amazing experience, and I can’t recommend this excursion (as well as the dive center) enough to anyone who’s interested in learning to dive. The best part is that our dive can be counted towards our PADI certification, so it really was a win, win. Following the dive, we had a few hours to kill, so on the advice of the good folks at the shop, we hopped a public shuttle ($10 r/t per person) to the public beach, which is lined with white sand and tiki bars–in other words, paradise.
Riviera Maya, Mexico
Ever since Beth visited Riviera Maya a few years ago, she’s raved about how incredible the water is there. And I’ve got to say, she’s right! The Grand Cayman has some pretty spectacular water, but Riviera Maya trumped it. Without a doubt the hypnotic turquoises blue water off of Mexico’s mainland is some of the prettiest I’ve ever seen; not to mention, it’s also incredibly warm. Because the port of call is actually in Cozumel, we had to take a ferry (approximately a 45-minute ride) to Riviera Maya, where we met up with our awesome guide, Lucy, who’s super passionate and knowledgeable about the region. The cool thing about the Turtle Cove and Cavern Snorkel Adventure is that the tour is broken up into three parts: swimming in a freshwater cenote (say-NOTE-ay), snorkeling in the bay of Akumal with sea turtles, and dining at a private beach resort with traditional Mexican food and bottomless margaritas. By the time you’re ready to head back to the ferry you’ve gotten to see enough of Riviera Maya to know that you’ll be back someday.
This story was created as part of our collaboration with Carnival. As always, all of the opinions, thoughts, and ideas in this post are our own.