A stop over in Tampa

We got back to the Port of Tampa this morning bright and early at 8am. It was about 9:30 by the time we disembarked and got to our hotel. We are spending one more day in the sunny (warm) South before heading NORTH to snow country again lol

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Of course, being early morning we couldn’t check in to our hotel, so we just left our bags at the front desk and grabbed a cup of coffee, found a cozy spot and caught up on news, emails and blogging while we waited for Dad Goode to drive up from Cortez. Unfortunately  Mom has not been feeling so great this past week  so she stayed home. 

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Off we went to explore…

A Sunny Sunday. What to do?

A drive down the bay along the coast to Clearwater, Ste Petersburg…to Madeira Beach. Wow the homes and boats…$$$$$ We had lunch at a great spot on the water at John’s Pass Village and Boardwalk where we could see dolphins  and watch the boats come and go.

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Then back to the hotel to check in. This is a happening spot on a Sunday. We could stay right here. Oceanview balcony on the 6th floor.

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Then Dad suggested Ybor City. Florida’s Historic Latin Quarter. Red brick buildings, wrought iron balconies and gates along Palm lined streets. Exotic Aromas, sights and sounds. What a fabulous spot. It’s also the place to see hand rolled cigars made. Ybor city was founded by Vicente Martinez Ybor as a cigar manufacturing Center. Old world charm, enjoyed with a cup of cafe con leche…if only we had more time…

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We said goodbye to Dad, we are so thankful he was our tour guide. We saw lots of neat places that we wouldn’t have been able to see by ourselves. Then we hopped on the trolley and headed towards the water again.

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I have been reading about the development of the Tampa Riverwalk, so a stroll along the river. I love waterfronts and this one actually starts right down by Channelside where the cruise ships leave. Somebody else will be sleeping in my bed tonight. Lol

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After we were finished at the River Walk we grabbed a cab, went back to our hotel, watched the sea doo races from our balcony, enjoyed a delicious dinner and…one more night…

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IMG_1830 IMG_1819a BEAUTIFUL sunset!!!

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Sunrise, Sunset

Sunrise, sunset
Sunrise, sunset
Swiftly flow the days…

Why do vacations go sooooooooooo quickly?!!

It’s our last day of cruising and it’s a sea day. A little chilly and overcast today. A bit rougher seas than we’ve at all cruise. I guess it’s not hard to tell we’re heading north. I actually wore my hoodie with shorts most of the day BUT I refuse to put on long pants. That will come tomorrowTomorrow morning when we wake bright and early we will be back at the Port of Tampa.

David & I both agree that cruising is one of our most relaxing forms of vacationing.

It has been so wonderful. Wonderful especially this time to enjoy a balcony room and the amazing sunrises and sunsets in the Caribbean. Our favourite time of day has been as we pull out of each port of call, sitting with coffee in hand discussing our day enjoying the warm Caribbean breeze and watching the wake of the ship.

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Ahhh…do you suppose when we retire we could cruise all Winter? I know, I know… ” dreamer, nothin’ but a dreamer…”

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Cozumel, Mexico ~ Land of the Swallows

Cozumel is Mexico’s largest Caribbean island, located just off the Yucatan Peninsula. This once sleepy fishing village has become a MAJOR tourist attraction with over a million cruise passengers visiting each year. It has quite the WOW factor when you see 4 or 5 ships and today 6…docked at one time. It’s amazing to watch them come in and ‘slide’ right up to the pier. TODAY… 2 Carnival, 2 Royal Caribbean and 2 Norwegian ( ours and the Epic) Starbucks in cruise village is busy today!!

Cozumel has large stretches of jungle and pristine sandy beach area still untouched. The island derives its name from the Mayan civilization that settled there approximately 2,000 years…

 “Legend has it that Cozumel was the home of Ixchel, the goddess of love and fertility. When religious temples were dedicated to her, she sent her favorite bird – the swallow – as a sign of her gratitude. For this reason, the people called the island “Cuzamil”, which is Mayan for “Land of the Swallows”.  (I searched EVERYWHERE for a swallow pendant. A dear sweet lady who asked us to look at the things in her shop went searching for one for me when she didn’t have one.)

What to do in Cozumel? Once you’ve seen one Mayan Ruins, you’ve seen them all, right? That’s what David thought. And besides when you’ve been to Ankor Wat in Cambodia, nothing compares! Well, Ok there’s Machu Picchu in Peru, but that will be another “Bucket List Trip” So…no beach, no ruins. We decided to explore Cozumel.

It was a fun day and a Starbucks coffee in Mexico, a bonus before we headed back to the ship.

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Enjoyed a Starbucks in Mexico

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And…I got a swallow pendant 🙂IMG_1245

Belize

Belize City does not exactly top the list of tourist destinations in Belize. Many tourists choose to bypass the country’s only major urban area. The city has a bad reputation for poverty and crime. I remember driving through it briefly last time we were in Belize, on our way to the jungle for an all day Cave Tubing Adventure. I remember thinking how dirty and what terrible living conditions, lots of wild dogs roaming around… I remember, and I would have been nervous to stop.

Since that time in 2009, we have been to many places like this. In South America and Asia. Many places, too numerous to mention. I am more aware, I wouldn’t say I am not as nervous about stopping and looking. Belize city is known for not being great, BUT this time I didn’t want to do an excursion, I wanted to SEE Belize city. I wanted that experience!

Belize City is the historical capital of the country, making it an interesting place to explore. Its ramshackle streets are alive with colorful characters representing every facet of Belize’s. The scenery is not just  canals and grungy slums, but also beautiful colonial houses, seaside parks, bustling shopping areas and sailboats that bob at the mouth of Haulover Creek. We took a tender from the ship to Belize City and enjoyed our day in the port and outside the cruise village exploring!

PS~ On an interesting note though… There was a city government election today. Schools and some businesses were closed and a little “extra” security around…just in case riots broke out! Not something I wanted to get caught in the middle of. ( I’ve seen riots in Rio)

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Back to the Beach, Tabayana Honduras

We have been to a lot of beaches in our travels and one of the nicest ones is on a piece of ocean in Honduras! We first explored this beach in 2009 and now 6 years later…we’re going back!

Tabyana Beach on West Bay Beach, Roatan, is rated #3 in the West Caribbean. There are certainly other beaches in Roatan but if you’re looking for fine baby powder sand, clear turquoise water, and facilities and amenities to enjoy… Tabyana is THE BEACH!

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Ahhh…We had an amazing day but man…that Caribbean sun is hot and so golden and the water like bath water…I got just a wee bit sunburnt today! 

 

Sea Legs

Some people say they will NEVER cruise because they couldn’t handle the idea of being on the sea all the time. On your typical 7 day Caribbean cruise, there are usually 2 sea days and the rest through the night sailing and waking up in a new port the next morning. This is why David & I love cruising. It’s the adventure and excitement of a new port every day! And we don’t even mind the two days at sea, especially if the waters are calm and once you get your sea legs!

So…This Western Cruise is as follows:

Mar 1 Embark Tampa, Mar 2- Day at Sea, Mar 3- Honduras, Mar 4- Belize, Mar 5- Costa Maya, Mexico, Mar 6- Cozumel, Mexico, Mar 7- At Sea, Mar 8 Disembark Tampa

So what do we do on sea days? Well… we wake up and step out on our balcony and breathe in the fresh sea air and enjoy a coffee. And then we make our way to Deck 11 for a Buffet breakfast and eat it outside on the back of the ship getting some morning sun. And then after breakfast we go for a stroll around the ship to check out all the fun places. On a new ship it’s easy to get lost when you’re finding your way around. There is so much to do. Morning yoga and Zumba and dance classes and language lessons. Art auctions and card games, the Casino if you’re in to that… There’s shopping and eating and information sessions and port information seminars…and eating… And then there ‘s swimming and tanning and hot tub sitting and eating and nap time because you’re sooooo exhausted and then eating. Haha lots of eating!!! Then there’s afternoon coffee and back to the room to sit on the balcony and shower time and dress for dinner. Dinner can be casual or fancy. Gotta get some pics of us and the sun setting. Then it’s game time…lets’s make a deal or jeopardy, and then…it’s Showtime!!! Music and dance, jugglers, comedians..you name it, they’ve got it. After the show a stroll up to the out door Cafe for some snackies. ( pizza and wings, a tea and something sweet)  If you aren’t too tired there’s discos and pool parties or just quiet chill in’ a nice little corner. I didn’t even get in to the gym or spa or library or … Well you get the picture. There’s just SO much to do!!!

Here are some pics…in no certain order…

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And at the end of the day… which is fairly early for us because of all the sun, food and fresh air ( we are exhausted) we snuggle in our lovely queen bed, get rocked to sleep by the ocean waves and have lovely dreams of waking up in an exotic location in the Caribbean because that was the day at sea and tomorrow is a Port day!! Ahhh….

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A Room With A View…an AMAZING view!

Good Morning! Today is cruise day and we left Cortez and headed back to Tampa to the cruise terminal to board our ship. The Norwegian Sun.

 ALWAYS NORWEGIAN!!  BUT A new ship for us this time. THE SUN!!

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And…this time…first time for us…we got a balcony room!!! ( Bigger room, more storage and a view) It’s so wonderful.

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IMG_9590IMG_9591We are doing a Western Caribbean Cruise. Back to the same countries, same ports(mostly) we did on our very first cruise in 2009. That’s ok because we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and know we will again!

Love our view…

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