In December, 2014, we decided to do a family cruise. We had everyone from grandma to godchild and everything in between. There were 10 of us total. We chose the Carnival Glory for the price really. Some of the younger ones were on a tighter budget and this was a great fit. Our cruise would feature an area known as the Western Caribbean and is visited by several different cruise lines.
If you have never been on a Carnival Ship they are known for being fun. They are called the fun ship and everything is geared towards that aspect. The Glory is no expection. You will walk in and the first thing that greats you are the colors. They are always bright and you will notice that they use a lot of purples, reds, greens and blues, the colors of Carnival. It was the first week of December and so the ship was decked out in it’s Christmas splendor.
Cruising for someone like me where you are able to see and visit lots of different places for one price is great. When you cruise you are presented with lots of options to do as much or as little as you want. You don’t even have to get off this ship if you choose not too. For this trip our Islands of choice were Cozumel in Mexico, Rotan in Honduras, and Caye Caulker in Belize. Caye Caulker is only available once you get to Belize City at the port.
One of the things you can do if you want to experience the local areas and the various ports are excursions We opted for the non ship excursion ran by Belize Express Tours. There are various options here when doing excursions. You can reserve them from the ship, with your travel agent, and you can use the ships website, and of course you can call the line itself. You can even wait to the last minute and reserve on ship. The only issue in waiting until the last minute is if your ship is booked the excursion you want might not be available. An important feature of booking with the cruise line is you are covered in case something happens which causes you to be late. They will even fly you to the next port (no charge) if you are really late. You also can go out into the port and find tours. You have to be careful in choosing and if you are new to cruising your best bet might be to go with what he ship offers. They usually have a great selection to choose from.
Belize is an english speaking country with a diverse population. It’s a small country with only a little over 300,000 people. It’s a prime choice for Americans, Europeans, and Canadians to retire due to its lower cost of living. The city itself has no natural beaches so if you are expecting to see a tropical beach paradise you might be in for a shock. This is definitely not your Virgin Islands although it has it’s own charm and beauty. The port is designed for cruise ships and it has all your standard little shops and venues. If you want to experience Belize culture and life take a little tour of the city. The picturesque beauty of Belize can be found in the surrounding areas within its jungles and especially some of the Islands off the coast.
Our choice for this trip was snorkeling off of Caye Caulker, a mangrove covered Island and we could not have made a better choice. Our excursion was right from the dock in Belize City and roughly 50 dollars per person. Our tour guide was great and the trip to Caye Caulker is about 45 minutes from the mainland on open water. The area we chose was Shark and Stingray Alley. While on the boat you are able to see various smaller Islands and even some of the local aquatic wild life like Tarpon. We arrived on a small dock on the little Island that is not bigger than 5-7 miles at is longest. You can actually see from one side of the Island to another from the dock. WE LOVED IT!!!! The Island is home to a variety of Islanders and a well loved place for the budget traveler. Backpackers flock here for the laid back atmosphere and the price. They have quite a number of hostels that offer sun, fun, beach, and a VERY relaxed Island life style. There are no cars on the Island, lots of bikes and of course walking is the mode of travel.
Belize is home to one of the longest reef’s in the Western Hemisphere with 290 km in length of unspoiled beauty. Your snorkeling is right off the reef and we got to swim with nurse sharks and sting rays. It’s an easy snorkel and although one area has a little bit of a current over all it’s a great area. Perfect for families and teens too. You will be able to see, touch, and swim with these magnificent creatures. They will swim below and around you and you will have to take care not to step on some of the rays as the area is pretty shallow. Having snorkeled in the Caribbean I was used to seeing various rays, sharks, and other aquatic life so it was not as unnerving to me as it was to some of the others on our trip. They seemed to find it a little weird to be swimming next to a nurse shark and above a group of sting rays.
After snorkeling you again board the boat back to the mainland where you are treated to fresh fruit and rum punch. Overall a great trip to Belize, a country with a laid back life style, and beautiful people. Belize a place to visit that an be great for a budget travel while visiting some of fantastic Islands and barrier reef’s there are.
If you happen to find your self in Belize make sure to visit this enchanting, little Island If you have a chance “you betta Belize it”!