Tuesday, March 29, 2016

This isn't your Grandaddy's Cruise... Oh wait, IT IS- Roatan

Anniversary Cruise 2016- Caribbean Princess

Feel the Burn… of the Sun That Is 
Mahogany Bay, Isla de Roatan- Honduras
Wednesday, March 16, 2016

It seems that no matter how hard I try to NOT get a sunburn and no matter how much or how often I apply sunscreen, sometimes I still get sun kissed. The powerful rays of the sun in Roatan left my face bright red and I could definitely “Feel the Burn” (This is NOT a political plug for Sanders... just a play on words)

Morning
We woke up earlier this morning at 6:30AM by the time on our clocks. Chris went jogging but due to high winds he was not allowed to run on the promenade and had to stay in the fitness center. The treadmills were not open yet since it was not 8AM so he spent 45 minutes on the eliptical while I did my quiet time on the aft deck of the ship. I met up with him at 8AM, or what I thought was 8AM, and he was about to get onto the treadmill. However, an attendant in the fitness center came and explained that it was actually only 7AM ship time since we changed time zones and we didn’t move our clocks back. So in other words Chris had to wait another hour to get on the treadmills. He ended up just going to shower and planned on running in the afternoon. Be advised that some Caribbean islands are now using Eastern Standard time and you could have to change time zones which can be not only confusing but frustrating. 

While Chris showered I went up to the highest forward part of the ship in The Sanctuary to watch our approach to Mahogany Bay. The wind was once again very strong and so powerful that it began to hurt my ears. We noticed as we got closer that it seemed the Captain missed his turn and now had to back into this port. We laughed about this for a bit then high-tailed it to the aft of the ship so we could watch the actual pulling into the dock.

The less inhibited part of the island as we approached.


The Liberty of the Seas and the NCL Jade in port at Harvest Caye. 


The NCL Jade out of Houston, TX. 


The Royal Caribbean Liberty of the Seas out of Galveston. 


We were able to watch the crew member raise the Princess flag as we approached Mahogany Bay.
 

Mahogany Bay is a part of the Isla de Roatan, Carnival Corporation has purchased Mahogany Bay and set aside for only its fleet and ships. This includes Carnival Cruise Lines, Princes Cruise Lines, Aida Cruise Lines, Holland America Lines, P&O Cruises and Costa. The Caribbean Princess was the only ship in port this day which made it a perfect getaway.

This port has a small dock that can accommodate up to 2 ships and has a Duty Tax and Duty Free shopping store attached to it. Once beyond this particular store guests will find 10-20 shops as well as a few restaurants like Fat Tuesday. In addition to these shops and restaurants this port has it’s own private beach Tabyana Beach as well as a chair lift aerial ride over the lagoon to the private beach. It also has a small nature trail that goes through the jungle area around the pier. This island offers all kinds of activities like kayaking, snorkeling, paddle boats and so much more. This trip sealed the deal for Chris and I that we like this port the most and this itinerary (Route B) the most. This island is a perfect stop for families and has so much to offer and it is within a 10 minute walk to and from the ship. Be sure to be on the lookout for a cruise sailing to Mahogany Bay as it is a Western Caribbean favorite.  


Tabayana Beach and the gorgeous coral surrounding it. 


The actual beach area... notice the cabanas on the right and restaurant on the left. 


A shipwreck  towards the end of the island. 


Some of the AMAZING coral for snorkeling. 


The Ariel Chair lift from the terminal to the beach. 


This is the "reserved" area of the beach that will be included if you purchase the "BEACH BREAK" excursion through the ship. 


The actual snorkeling pier we jumped off of. 


The Mahogany Bay Cruise Terminal... a little city in itself. 


Welcome to Mahogany Bay!


The entrance to the path to the beach. 


Even Roatan has a Fat Tuesday!

Selfie with Tabayana Beach in the background!

The ship backed in and parked around 8:40AM so we went back to the room to get ready to get off the ship. We were in port from 9:00AM to 6:00PM so we knew there would be a morning rush so we decided to nap instead of leave this early. We slept for 30 minutes or so before the alarm of a crew drill woke us up at 9:45AM. We decided to get off and later wished we would have waited another hour or so as there was still a morning rush at this time. We got off and took a few touristy photos, put on sunscreen and then made our way down to the beach. This walk is absolutely gorgeous and everything we remember from our trip on the Carnival Conquest in 2013.

Our Beautiful ship docked at Mahogany Bay!


Our traditional Ship picture! 


Spring Break 2016!


Selfie with the ship!

Once we got down to the beach we rented a locker and found a random chair directly at the front of the beach under a shade tree (totally a God thing) and got ready to go and explore the beach and snorkeling area. I went to get the underwater camera and we realized we left it in the room. I was a little annoyed to say the least...


Information about the island! 


Hated having to go back but I DO love this walk! Beautiful scenery and landscaping. 

I told Chris to go and explore and I would make the trek back to the ship to get the camera. I was gone for less than 20 minutes and it was a beautiful walk. Once I got back to the beach I had a hard time finding Chris at first but once I found him we decided to sit and rest for a while and then re-apply the sunscreen before we went back out to the ocean and did some snorkeling. Chris and I have snorkeled on every cruise we have ever been on and we have talked about purchasing our own snorkel set but just never have. We realized this mistake once we arrived and the cost to rent was $20 and they were running low on sets. Be sure to get there early if you want to rent any gear. Chris brought his own swimming goggles but I had nothing. I went into a local shop and purchased some goggles for $13 but we will not be making this mistake again. One of the first things we are going to do once things settle down after we get home is going to Academy to buy our own snorkeling gear.

Selfie time in Roatan! 

This has now become our favorite Western Caribbean port!
The beach and area is PERFECT!
We made our way to the snorkeling pier and jumped in the gorgeous turquoise waters and began snorkeling as best we could with the supplies we had. In 2013 when we came here on the Conquest we always said it was the best snorkeling we had ever seen with the best reefs and fish. This day affirmed that as we saw some beautiful fish and coral. Unfortunately, there was not a SD card in the underwater camera so we were only able to capture 10-12 pictures/ videos before its internal memory became full. Lesson learned… always check for a SD card.


Chris was headed out to explore these gorgeous waters.





This reef is absolutely STUNNING and once again we left Roatan flabbergasted at the beautiful coral and snorkeling experience. We LOVE it here!

Snorkeling Selfie! 

video
This reef is gorgeous! Be sure to check it out if you cruise to Mahogany Bay! 

We "snorkeled" for over an hour before I got a cramp in my leg and had to come in. Unlike our 2013 snorkeling adventure, we did not see any jellyfish but we did see wonderful coral and a lot of fish. I had put on sunscreen twice but I felt like I was burnt, especially on my face. Looking back I know I put on sunscreen on my body 2 times but I am not sure if I re-applied to my face that second time. We came back in and relaxed a little and got some water before Chris went back out to snorkel some more. I knew my burn was bad so I opted to go to the pier and stay wrapped up in my towel.

On the snorkeling pier and we are ready to go!

The beautiful Caribbean Princess docked at Mahogany Bay, Roatan. 

Waiting for Chris to finish his reef exploring... I LOVE this port! 


That random dark dot in the center is Chris's head! 

Once Chris got finished exploring we dried off and then returned our locker key before heading back towards the ship. We really liked the Nature Trail in 2013 so we decided to give it another try this year too. It was just as gorgeous and lush as we remember it but they extended it with a trail that ended at the Duty-Free shop at the ship terminal. This was really neat because it was a trail we had not done before. I think our kids would have LOVED this and we hope to be able to bring them back soon! Be sure to leave a few extra minutes at the end of your day in Roatan to walk through this trail. It does not disappoint! 


At the beginning of the Nature Trail by the lagoon. Gorgeous waters!


Celebrating 10 years of marriage on a cruise to Honduras!


I love you Chris Davis!


The Nature Trail!


Be sure to check this out and save time for this while in Mahogany Bay!

Afternoon
We got back on the ship around 1:45PM and went to the lido for the Horizon Court buffet which was still good even on a port day. We decided that Princess has the best buffets BY FAR compared to Carnival or Royal Caribbean. After lunch we went and showered and took a near hour nap before heading to Tea Time. Once again, this afternoon treat did not disappoint and we found the best Strawberry Shortcake EVER! Do yourself a favor and go to Tea Time at least once while on board Princess ships. It is incredible and I cannot speak highly enough of it. 

We wanted to lay out but we made a pit-stop at the “Future Cruise” desk to get brochures and ideas for our next Bucket List cruise as we hope to be able to cruise to the Mediterranean or the Baltic Sea for our 15th wedding anniversary in 2021. We sat at the Spa Pool in the shade discussing options and ideas for well over 2 hours before coming back in to get ready for the Italian Night dinner in the Island Dining Room

Evening
Italian Night was awesome and we loved everything about it. The theme and the decorations were superb and the service was once again outstanding. We did notice on this night that the time management from the waitstaff was not as proficient as it could be. The waiters would take your entree dishes and then clean up the table and then come back with the dessert menu. After that there was the 5-10 minutes of wait time before they took your order and then of course the wait time to get the actual desserts. Chris and I both feel like time would be managed better if they took your entree and then promptly brought you the dessert menu and took your order THEN cleaned the table. Of course, I have never waited tables on a cruise ship but it just seems like it would flow better if they did it this way. We were still in and out of dinner within 1 hour and 25 minutes so that is a pretty good time.

We were a little late to the evening show but we were able to catch the same comedian from the Welcome Aboard show. He was funnier this night but wasn’t offensive like the comedians on Carnival ships that only talked about the “birds and the bees” or say curse words every other line. I appreciated this type of humor and enjoyed the show.

As we were leaving the theater I noticed an on board sale happening in the Piazza so I grabbed our usual souvenirs. Of course, I look back and cannot find Chris and then I noticed in the Princess Ap that he messaged me that he was in the casino. This Ap (Free to all passengers) was a great tool that we used throughout the cruise. In this area Princess is light years ahead of other cruise lines. I found him winning at the roulette table. He had a pretty good night at black jack and he ended up winning $68. We walked out right then and there while we were ahead.

Princess seems to only offer morning and evening trivia and this one of our favorite things to do while on a cruise so we tried to make as many as possible. This night it was called “Where in the world?” and it was a geography challenge. We figured Chris would do really well… as he did, but not as good as the high schooler taking the upcoming STAAR Geography test (Texas State Standardized Test) and his partner a Political Science major in college. They scored a perfect 20/20 while we only scored 14/20. The countries were unrecognizable and often turned upside down to fool you. It was still a fun trivia!  

Princess was having a deck “Love Boat” party later that night so we changed into comfortable clothes and headed to the Lido Deck. This was an awesome disco party where the Princess singers and dancers and even the Cruise Director Lee (of whom we barely saw the entire cruise) came and performed. In fact, our Cruise Director did a better job of singing lead as a performer than he did of being the actual cruise director. We had a great time and even got on the Kiss Cam. We also tried to loosen up and dance with the performers hoping more people would come out onto the dance floor but it never happened. As I have mentioned in previous posts, this was a MUCH OLDER crowd and they just didn’t participate as much. We kinda felt bad for the cruise director’s staff so we tried to be the life of the party but let me tell you… when 2 white Baptists and an older Chinese couple are the life of the party THAT IS SAD! When we sailed on the Serenade of the Seas last March our Cruise Director, Carly B., was incredible and did a great job of getting the crowd involved so this was a major letdown for us. We still did have a lot of fun and I would recommend guests check it out and plan to have fun and DANCE! You’re on vacation… loosen up!


This was the other couple with us trying to "liven" the party!
So sad... It just didn't happen!



video
Not only did we get on the Kiss Cam but Chris was able to get it on video!
WooHoo! 


We were tired and ended the night earlier than expected at 10:45PM but thanks to the weird time changes we were up before 5:30AM so we were overdue for some rest plus I was in pain with my sunburn so I needed to go and put on some Aloe Vera… My poor face was SO RED!

OUCH! 

Tomorrow we are in Belize and we are planning on doing some investigating for our upcoming cruise with the kids on the Carnival Liberty in December 2016. Last time we were in port in Belize we did a snorkeling tour and went to a remote island and never came into the actual city of Belize City so this time we are taking the tender into the city and will check it out.

Next up… Belize City!
Thanks for following along… I hope these tips help!


God is good… All the time!  

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