Thursday, October 10, 2013

Disney Cruise: Part V: The Excursions

Four different ports made for four extra busy days. As birthday and Christmas gifts, we were given two excursions of our choice. There were so many options, it was really hard for the family to narrow it down to two! But we did it, and we were eager with anticipation. Our first stop was Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands. I was probably most excited for this port because of my mom’s love for the beach there. She got us really excited by telling us about the beauty of the white sand, Seven-Mile Beach.


Jason, Camry, and Kimberly actually split away from us for the day. They went on a scuba diving adventure (an adventure they paid for themselves). Camry and Kimberly actually got scuba certified just in time for the cruise. They got a killer deal, thanks to a work friend. I would have loved to join them, but I didn’t have the time to certify with them the month before. And the truth is, scuba diving kind of freaks me out...I'm terrified of big sea creatures! While at Grand Cayman, they dived at Eagle Ray Rock and then at Devil’s Grotto. They had a great time. Jason made it down to 106 feet! The highlight for Jason was swimming into a big opening of the coral and seeing several large tarpon! These things were huge. Another cool sight was seeing a huge school of fish, swimming and swirling together. It was really nice knowing that Jason was there with the girls, looking out for them.







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Gotta love the GoPro!


While they were scuba diving, Mom, Dad, Bryan, Tyson, and I headed to Hell. There is a puny town on the island called Hell that is essentially a field of dark lava rock, two gift shops, and a post office. The only reason we went there is because Bryan was dying to go! He was probably more excited about that than any other excursion. It was mostly just a good excuse to say "hell". So we took the tour van to Hell and back. On the way back, we were dropped off along the Seven-Mile Beach. My mom was right, the beach was gorgeous! There was no body surfing or wave jumping at this beach. The water was barely rolling to the shore. It was a clear turquoise color and a perfect temperature. While we walked along the beach to get to our spot, it was a little cloudy but still hot. But once we got into the water, the clouds parted and we had a beautiful sunny afternoon in the water. We spent a lot more time there than originally planned. The boys didn’t even know if they wanted to get in the water, but once they were in, they didn’t want to get out. By the time we realized what time it was, we were rushing along the beach...I’m talking serious speed-walking (well, my parents were speed-walking while the kids lagged behind). They were nervous that we weren’t going to make it back in time. Thankfully, we did! And just in time to wash up and get ready for another delicious dinner.



Welcome to Hell!

  



About to make the trek back

Surprise refreshment before entering the ship



 
The view of the beautiful coastline

The next port was Costa Maya, Mexico. This is where we went on our mini-jeep excursion (one of our gift excursions). This turned out to be my favorite excursion of the trip! When we got off the ship, I was surprised to see how desolate the island seemed. It wasn’t a lush rainforest like I was expecting. I guess the big hurricane a little while ago really did a number on the vegetation. There was short, thick brush everywhere, but that was pretty much it.


The mini-jeeps were awesome! They were new models, and you could tell that they were heavy-duty, expensive pieces of machinery! Each jeep held four passengers, so we had Camry and Kimberly in the jeep with me and Jason. Anyone over the age of 18 (I think it was) could drive the jeeps. Jason and I took turns driving the jeeps over gravel roads, sandy beaches, and thick brush. At first, when we were driving down the gravel road, we were a little disappointed thinking, “Ah, is this it?” But then, suddenly, we took a sharp turn into the forest brush and that is when the real excitement began. I’m telling you, we were taking some gnarly paths! It looked like someone had just gone through and hacked their way through the forest and started using that as a jeeping path. I’m surprised they would allow us to drive their jeeps on such sharp corners and cuts. And not only that, but they were going pretty fast! At times, we were having a hard time keeping up with the line. One minute you would be driving in the forest, and the next minute the path would open up onto the beach and we were driving along the coast. It was beautiful! After the mini-jeeping, we got to enjoy their resort, including free fresh chips and salsa. We got to relax in the ocean, which was hotter than bath water! And we also got to go around on their kayaks. It was a nice way to unwind from all of the jeeping excitement, that is until it started down-pouring! That’s what you get when you go on a cruise during the rainy season. It was such an exciting excursion! One that I would definitely want to do again!


A break at the beach


An amazing shell Jason found









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Kayaking at the resort




The next port was Cozumel, Mexico. The city of Cozumel was a lot more like what I expected from a Mexican city. Very touristy! We found a cool Mexican blanket and a little maraca to bring back for Charlie. We even found a Starbucks with WiFi, so we could see some pictures of Charlie’s week with the Grubers. We sure missed that little guy. At Cozumel, we had another fun gift excursion awaiting us. This time we were driving speed boats. Driving up to our destination, I was a little nervous. The roads we were going on and neighborhoods we were passing made me feel a little unsure about the whole thing. It didn’t seem like we were going anywhere that could possibly lead to a beach area. It felt like we were heading for a dead end, and that we were surely going to be shot and left to rot somewhere. But, eventually we made it. The facility was actually really nice! It was funny to hear Imagine Dragons playing in the background. I was expecting Mexican music, so it really surprised me. It included a pool, volleyball net, and hammocks. But that was for our pleasure after the speed boats. The boats held two passengers, Jason and I took one, Mom and Bryan took one, Dad and Kimberly took one, and Tyson and Camry took one. Each of us got to take turns driving, even Bryan (thanks to lax Mexican laws). It was really fun, and actually kind of crazy to be driving out in the open ocean. They had us put the boat on full throttle, and not adjust it. We were going full speed over small waves, zig-zags, and U-Turns. We just followed the chain of boats and it was a blast. We drove passed an abandoned ship/boat that had been beached (if you call it that...the water got so shallow at one point that it had to be left out there). We also stopped at a small strip of sand and got to wade in the water before making the drive back. Once we got back, we were treated to a “real Mexican” lunch. “Real Mexican” because it was made by a real mexican. That was the running joke down there. We had beef fajitas, cheese quesadillas, and nachos. It was pretty darn tasty after an afternoon of speed boating. After lunch, we planned to hammock it up, but it started raining pretty heavy. Once the rain subsided, it was still pretty cloudy. But it was perfect weather for a good game of volleyball. We played with two of the guides there, and they were actually pretty dang good. They made us look terrible! I’m sure they thought we were pathetic idiots! But we had a ball! That volleyball game was one of the many favorite memories for all of us! We were so lucky that we had the early tour group. While we were boating it was all sunshine! The later tour had nothing but clouds and rain. We were so blessed!

Signing our lives away...I mean signing the waivers



The stop at the little beach

Dad bought the professional pics...so glad he did:



It looks like we are riding the kiddie tug-boats at Lagoon! We are all going the same speed, so not sure why ours looks so lame!

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Enjoying our "real Mexican" food



The downpour

The beautiful Cozumel coastline

The last port was Disney’s private island: Castaway Cay, Bahamas. That was quite a fun little spot. Again, they had family areas and adult-only areas of the beach. Our family got a triple package, meaning we got snorkel gear, inner tubes, and bicycles. We took turns snorkeling out to the many fun spots out in the cove, riding our bikes around the island and to the look-out point, and relaxing in the ocean on the inner tubes. My favorite was riding the bikes around. They had an amazing BBQ lunch buffet there. It really hit the spot, after a morning outside. Especially for Dad, Kimberly, Camry! They did a 5K with other Disney cruisers early that morning. There were also some big sand fields for volleyball, soccer, and tetherball. Camry and I had a good laugh playing tetherball. It was one of those times where you can hardly hit the ball or catch your breath because you are laughing so hard. Then we found a spot next to the teen area with some comfy hammocks. What started out as a quick relaxing session turned into a full-on nap. It felt great! We did get kind of a bummer day for weather, though. All of the parasailing excursions were canceled for that day. Luckily, that was not one of our planned excursions! We had tried to sign up before the cruise, but they were all full. I’m glad we didn’t end up using one of our gift excursions for that...we would have been so bummed! It started getting really windy while we were napping on the hammocks so we got up to find the family. It’s cool because those cell phones that they give each stateroom on the ship also worked on the island. So we could call each other and meet up. Soon after finding the rest of the family, it was getting so windy and so stormy that they were actually evacuating people out of the water, off of the beach, and back on the ship. Then the torrential rains started up. We were drenched and shivering by the time we made it to the ship. As soon as we got on board, we headed straight for the adult hot tubs. Ah, it felt so nice!


Just finished the 5K




Disney's island wouldn't be complete without "Captain" Jack Sparrow

There's a storm a brewin'







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Oh man, I am salivating just looking at it! 


Bring on the rain!


Farewell, Castaway Cay!

I feel so blessed with all of the fun excursions we got to do! Each excursion was different and perfect. There wasn’t a time where we were left wishing we had done something else. It was all just great!

3 comments:

  1. These excursions look like so much fun! where did you get your orange swim suit? it is so cute!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! Surprisingly I got it online from JCPenney

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    2. Thanks! Surprisingly I got it online from JCPenney

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