In April of 2006, Julie and I went on a cruise . We left from Galveston and went all the way down to the Panama Canal, halfway through the canal, back out again, and then all the way back to Galveston. We stopped in Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama, Jamaica, and the Cayman Islands. Overall it was a great trip. We sailed on Celebrity Cruise Lines, which we both agreed was not exactly catering to our demographic. The entertainment was definitely skewed a little older than what we would have liked, but we had fun nonetheless. Luckily, we were paired at dinner with a honeymooning couple – Theron and Ann Marie. They were both extremely nice, and Theron was a bit of a computer geek – he worked as a computer programmer for a nuclear facility – so we definitely had plenty in common.
We flew into Houston the day before and then took a cruise line bus from the hotel to Galveston, where we made it onto the ship. This was our second cruise, so we knew a lot more what to expect for things like embarkation and the muster drill.
The first stop was in Cozumel. It had recently been hit by a hurricane, so the port itself was in disrepair. There were large, damaged piers that used to be for getting on and off the ship, but we had to tender since they were in such bad shape. We didn’t really have anything booked for excursions, but Julie had researched this port a bit before we left, so we got off the boat, into a cab (thankful for Julie’s 6 years of Spanish classes) and made it to a beach where we rented some snorkel equipment and got into the water. This was our first vacation with our waterproof case for our point and shoot digital camera, and it has been great. If you go on a lot of vacations to beaches, it’s worth the $100 – $150 investment to be able to take pictures in and out of the water without worrying about the camera.
The snorkeling was great, the water was warm, and there were fish everywhere. Definitely one of our best snorkeling experiences.
After snorkeling, we just got right out of the water at a restaurant and ate lunch. Definitely the way to do lunch.
The next stop was in Costa Maya, where we didn’t really do anything – it was a pretty short stop. After that, we sailed down to Costa Rica, where we went on a riverboat tour.
The riverboat cruise was definitely entertaining. There was wildlife everywhere and we learned a lot about the area.
After Costa Rica, we made it to Panama. The whole process of going through the canal was definitely interesting. There were trains on either side of the canal that pulled the boats through. There was only about 2 feet of clearance on either side of the boat to the canal walls. When we stopped in Panama, there was a guy painting the boat where it had scraped against the walls. We went through at about 7 in the morning, but even then it was extremely hot. I think it was literally like 500 degrees out.
After the canal, it was time to start heading back to Galveston. Our next stop was in Jamaica where we did a waterfall climb. They warned everyone pretty strongly that this was fairly physically demanding and that you definitely wanted to dress for getting wet, with good shoes. It was amazing to see how many people showed up in dress clothes, with dress shoes, khaki pants, etc… Needless to say, they didn’t really get the full experience.
The last stop was in the Cayman Islands where we just took a short ride to the 7 mile beach and hung out in the water all day. It was a somewhat cloudy day, but still very warm, and the water was perfect.
Overall, it was a great trip, and cemented cruising as one of our preferred vacations.