Saturday, June 27, 2015

Do You Believe in Magic... Montego Bay, Jamaica

Horsing Around in the Ocean 
Wednesday, June 17, 2015 

This day started like many others on the trip with a morning sunrise watch from the balcony followed by morning prayer and meditation time also on the balcony. Despite our later arrival into Montego Bay of 10AM I decided not to jog on this day. Chris still pushed through with his daily 4 miles and then we met up for breakfast in the Main Dining Room. Even at 7:30AM we were able to see the mountains of Jamaica in the distance as we approached.

Morning sunrise at 5:47AM... Yep, I love watching the sun come up! No matter what time!
If you are new to cruising... DO THIS, at least once! It is worth it! 

Selfie-Stick pose from the Balcony!

This one was an accident but turned out OK! 

After we finished breakfast we went up to deck 11 to watch us port in Jamaica. We came in from the northwest and were able to see most of the northwest coast of Jamaica and towns such as Lucea and Hopewell as we pulled into Montego Bay.

A look at Lucea Jamaica as we sailed in! 

This was taken about 1 hour before we got into our final parking space! 

Hello Jamaica is has been too long... well just 10 months but it seems like FOREVER! 
I don't like the lengthy days that come along with Jamaica but the island itself if ABSOLUTELY GORGEOUS and one of my favorites in the Caribbean.

Watching the Pilot Boat and the Pilot get on board outside of Montego Bay!

Hello Montego Bay!

I usually take this traditional picture on embarkation day but the Magic had so much to offer I forgot about it so had to take it in Montego Bay! 

Once we began to back into our "parking spot" Chris and I decided we would do the SkyCourse, ropes course once again since it was not as busy as other guests were preparing to disembark in Jamaica. We were the first ones there as they opened at 9:30AM and were able to go through all 10 traverses 4-5 times each. In fact, it is here where I conquered ALL of the "HARD" difficulty levels on the traverses. This puts a whole new meaning on "American Ninja Warrior"... those people are crazy. I was freaking out with a harness and a parked ship. The contestants on the hit TV show do it all alone and without any protection. Nevertheless, I still consider myself a "Carnival Magic Ninja Warrior" because I conquered all the traverses on ALL the difficulty levels! Oh yeah... GO ME!  This attraction on the Carnival Magic is AMAZING and I highly recommend it! Simple enough for a 5-6 year old to do and challenging enough for even a very dedicated and trained athlete. The minimum height requirement in 42" and only "GoPro" style camera helmets are allowed! 

Time to conquer all of the HARD traverses! Kellie Davis- "Carnival Magic Ninja Warrior" 

Chris LOVED the SkyCourse... Be sure to check it out but remember it is a LOT less busy on port days! 

We knew we had a long day ahead of us as anytime one visits Jamaica, especially Montego Bay, you have to travel to your destination and our excursion was 3-4 hours long so we decided to eat an early lunch at the 24 hour Pizza Pirate! This pizza was pretty good and made fresh just for us! A very easy and hassle-free lunch as we prepared to disembark. Be sure to grab something to eat before disembarking in Jamaica as, like I said before, the travel time makes for a VERY long day! 

Once on land we found the Montego Bay cruise terminal to be exactly the same as it was in 2006, 9 years ago, when we went on our very 1st cruise. Lots and lots of memories began to occur as we relived that cruise with my in-laws! What a GREAT time we had and we were ready for the good time we were about to have! We ran into "Cowboy Comedian" within the terminal as he was about to fly home and then change ships! He was very nice and friendly and even posed for a picture!

Chris and I on our way to our Horse-Back riding excursion!

Another view of our MASSIVE and beautiful ship!

Somethings NEVER change! Same wall and mural as 2006!

He was on "America's Got Talent" in 2013 and while I didn't know of him before the cruise, I felt like I was taking a picture with a celebrity! 

We got in our line for leave for the Horseback Riding Excursion and left for the bus without Chris. Luckily he made it back from the bathroom in time to find our bus because with over 30 buses waiting to take quests around the island it could have gotten confusing. We traveled by bus from Montego Bay to Sandy Shore Bay for our Horseback Riding Adventure. This was a 45 minute trail horseback ride followed by a ride on the horses in the ocean. I have never rode a horse and told that to the guides and was lucky enough to acquire my own personal guide to help me along the 8-10 mile mountainous path. Carlos was incredibly helpful and allowed me to stay next to him for nearly the whole ride. I was able to figure it out and ride by myself for the last 2 miles but I know I would have flipped out had it not been for our guide Carlos! We made it back to the shoreline where we rode the horses on the shore back to the stables before changing and getting on them in the ocean.

A view of Chukka Sandy Beach as we approached from the bus!
The lush mountains and beautiful countryside made for an AMAZING day in Jamaica!

Chris all saddled up on his horse, who turned out to be VERY stubborn! 

A view of Sandy Beach from the tour camp site! It was a gorgeous shore line! 
As we changed and got ready the rain began to fall and the thunder and lightning started to appear. I am not afraid of storms or lightning or thunder but a crazy non-stable horse bucking in 3 feet of ocean water due to the thunder and see lightning touch the ocean on the horizon will make anyone's heart skip a few multiple beats. Despite the rain and my nervousness, this was a very memorable experience and Chris and I LOVED it! We have now been to Jamaica 3 times and to nearly all of the cruise ship passenger tourist areas so while we had a great time, we have agreed that the next time we cruise to Jamaica we will just stay on the ship and enjoy an additional sea day and the ship all to ourselves. The distance of travel in Jamaica always makes for a LONG LONG day so be forewarned if you are planning on doing practically any excursions on this island. 

We are ready to get on our horses and in the water... It's poring down rain! 

We are mounted and ready to go! Let's do this! 
This was bareback so there was no saddle and I felt VERY unstable! It was pretty frightening actually, with the lightning striking on the horizon and thunder! Haha... looking back it is kinda funny but in the moment I was freaking out! 

A video Chris took while riding his horse in the ocean!

Me and my personal guide, Carlos! I will never forget him! 

A view from our bus ride back! There she is... our home away from home! 

Even in Jamaica there is a KFC... Although I did see live chickens running around outside so... Your call! 

A traditional Jamaican marching band playing as we arrived back at the boat!
In my humble but "professionally" accurate opinion... they were "brassy"! 

We made it back to the ship around 4PM, about 1.5-2 hours later than we expected, so we were not able to do the WaterWorks water-slides like we planned. We showered and then went to dinner expected a bad menu and it proved to be one of our favorites. There were so many things on the menu which sparked interest with us and we thoroughly enjoyed all of our selections. Be sure to check out our upcoming food blog for more info and best of all... the food pictures! We watched the sail away from our balcony which started at 6:38PM. We were not sure why we left so late as we were supposed to leave by 6PM and we could tell we had to go faster that evening to make up for lost time.

I am such a NERD... I think this was so cool! While we were in Montego Bay Carnival said they would need to clean and wash our balcony and when we got back we saw the crew members cleaning them... from the top of the lifeboats! It was AWESOME! Check out the video below! 
Balcony washing in Montego Bay- Carnival Magic

Dinner Time... A picture from our Cove Balcony!

Pre-Dinner Picture in the Ocean Plaza!
This is ALWAYS a great pre-dinner spot... They have the Taste Bar, the Ocean Bar and so much more! Go and check it out! 

A Panoramic shot of us leaving Jamaica!
It is a beautiful island! 

Goodbye Jamaica! I am sure I will see you again! 

The last activity of the evening was the Illusionist Show in the Spotlight Lounge. Carnival really hit a home-run with this show as they had a real magician and illusionist flown in from Las Vegas and he and his team were incredible.  They effectively used lasers and sound to augment the show. The 1st scene alone was a him magically appearing from a live helicopter in the center of the stage (on the cruise ship... CRAZY). There were massive scorpions, bodies being cut in half and so much more. They really achieve the WOW factor with this and it is quite possibly the best show we have seen on a cruise ship! 

We then immediately went into the Atrium Lobby for the Madri Gras party. This was a great time of singing and live music and all you had to do to get beads was flash your smile! It was so much fun and for the 1st time in my life I caught some Madri Gras beads! Then we watched the largest obstacle course ever. Over 200 people participated in a Hula-Hoop musical chair style game and it was a great people watching adventure.

Madri Gras on the high-seas!

The Mardi Gras party on board. 

We went back to the room to get our FunTimes (daily schedule) and ended up laying down and then not getting back up! Sometimes we vacation pretty hard and we were tired... who are we kidding ALL THE TIME we vacation hard! We still had fun and it was a GREAT day! 

Up next... Grand Cayman and Ocean Kayaking! 

God is good... All the time

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