I would not call myself a cruise person. It’s just not really my style.
But I took a cruise a few weeks ago, and I had such a good time. Maybe it was the company. Maybe it was the lack of parenting responsibilities. Maybe it was the sunshine. Maybe it was the afternoon naps.
Maybe it was all those things combined. Either way, I took a 7-day West Caribbean cruise with my friend Christine, and we had the best time.
I still don’t think I’m a cruise person, but I’m sure I’ll take another one at some point. It can be an efficient, less expensive way to travel to some locations and, once you’re on board, it’s low key and low stress if you want it to be.
Here’s what we did: 7-day Royal Caribbean cruise on the Allure of the Seas. We left out of Port Everglades, and stopped in Roatan, Honduras, Costa Maya, Mexico, and Cozumel, Mexico. We flew into Fort Lauderdale, which is a less-than-ten-minute Uber ride from the port.
Our first port was Roatan, Honduras. We did an excursion to Big French Key and spent the day on the beach. We got to paddle board and kayak there, as well as have a catered lunch. There was a bar, a few shops, and a snorkeling boat trip you could take if you wanted to pay extra. We just stuck to the beach for the day. We booked this excursion through Royal Caribbean. If I could do it over again, I think we’d have booked an excursion for Little French Key instead. That side of the key had a few more things to do and you could swim with pigs. Pigs! We didn’t learn about that until we got back on the boat that night and were talking with our dinner companions. I don’t know if you could book Little French Key through Royal Caribbean or you have to do it separately. (I know the benefit of booking excursions through the cruise line is they’re verified and the boat won’t leave you behind if something happens, but thanks to Youtube and travel bloggers, there are a lot of legit excursions you can book for better prices with a little research.)
Our next port was Costa Maya. We didn’t have any excursions planned for this stop. We got off the boat and walked around the large shopping center right on the coast. There were two pools to swim in there, so technically we could have just stayed all day and been happy. But we ended up wandering outside of the shopping center and finding a place to rent taxis and golf carts. We shared a golf cart with a couple from the ship ($60 for 3 hours) and rode into town. It was about a 10-minute golf cart ride, and then you’re on the white sand beaches with much better shopping and food choices. We shopped, got the most delicious fresh-cut mango, got massages on the beach ($20 for an hour), and explored. There were lots of good excursion choices at this port, but I’m really glad we didn’t plan ahead to do anything. We had the most fun deciding what to do at the last minute.
Our final port was Cozumel. We made reservations through Tortugas Cozumel for a snorkeling by boat and an ATV tour through the jungle trip. It included Jade Caverns, exploring a Mayan cenote, Jeep rides around the island, tequila tasting event, a delicious lunch, open bar, and private beach. I did not want this day to end, it was perfect. I ended the excursion by sitting on a swing at the bar, eating warm tortillas, reading a book, and drinking a margarita. The ship could’ve left me there, and I would not have worried about it.
When we were at sea, the ship was packed with stuff to do: ice skate, see a show, go to a club, watch a movie, shop, zipline, rock climb, visit the spa, and so much more. We saw Mama Mia, listened to a Whitney Houston tribute show, played bingo like little old ladies, had 90 minute massages at the spa, stayed up late at for 80s and 90s night at the club, and ate pizza at 1 AM. I had Starbucks coffee every morning and a three-course dinner every night. I didn’t have to take care of anyone but myself, and I barely did that. I read two books, took some naps which never happens at home, and had someone else make my bed every morning and turn it down every night.
I know I said I’m not a cruise person. I still don’t feel like I’m a cruise person, even as a rave about how great this trip was. It was a fun experience, and I had a great time. It’s not the way I want to spend all my vacations, but taking a cruise once in a while to mix things up isn’t a bad way to see the world.