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Western Caribbean Cruise - Day Five

Day One - Cocoa Beach Day Six - Costa Maya
Day Two - Port Canaveral Day Seven - At Sea
Day Three - At Sea Day Eight - Bahamas
Day Four - Cozumel Day Nine - Port Canaveral
Day Five - Belize

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

This was the only port where we left the ship. We had planned a nice relaxing trip to the beach for the day with Lori’s mother. There were some storms in the morning and it delayed our departure from the ship, as they had to wait until the water calmed down. Belize did not have a port for the ship, so guests could only leave the ship via tender. Finally our group was called and we walked down the gangway to the tender. We’d like to stress that getting on and off the tenders is very easy – even Lori’s mother, who is quite a bit older, had no problem as the ship crew helped everyone board safely. They really packed people onto the tender, and once it was full, we headed for land.

It was about a 15-minute trip and we pulled up at a dock. After instructions on when to return to this location (4 hours later) we headed for the beach. This was a little spit of land called Bannister Caye that appeared to have been created for cruise ships, but it was nice and laid-back.
The beach was huge and there were plenty of lounge chairs (hundreds, it seemed) and little thatched cabanas for those seeking shade. There was a nice gentle slope into the water, although it wasn’t as warm as we’d hoped (perhaps due to the morning’s storms). Our plan was simply to relax on the beach, talk, and read, and that’s what we did. We did use our tickets for our free drinks (rum punch or fruit punch) right away. There were waitresses walking around the beach offering to serve food and drinks – after one initially came up to us and we said perhaps later, she did not return.
There was a large thatched high-roofed hut which housed the bar (and was open on the sides). There were also restrooms and a shop. The restaurant was really a place where you walked up to the counter and placed your order and they called you when it was ready. You could eat wherever you chose – we got a table under the thatched roof by the bar. Lori and Keith had cheeseburgers – they were fine but not really burger, seemed more like some sort of veggie burger with Mexican spices. They were accompanied by fries. Lori’s mother had a chicken breast sandwich. It wasn’t gourmet but it was fine and casual.
A couple hours after lunch we headed back to the tender for our trip back to the ship. Lori’s mother sometimes gets seasick but even she did not have trouble on the tender – it was a fairly smooth ride. This is a no-frills side trip and one of the less expensive the cruise ship offers, but perfect if all you want to do is hang out on the beach for the day.

We got back to the ship mid-afternoon and soaked in the pool for a bit, then got changed and went to dinner. After dinner, we went to the show. It was an illusionist who billed himself as Justin Illusion. We were not impressed – we could actually tell some of the things he was doing. The curtains would move, clearly showing how his assistants “disappeared”. Even our 12 year old nephew thought it was pretty lame. We stayed until the end and then we decided to check out the piano bar. A woman named Kayla was playing and singing and she was fabulous – she was talkative and smiled and played whatever people asked for. The piano actually turned slowly in circles while she played. Unfortunately the piano bar was a smoking area of the ship and after awhile we’d had enough secondhand smoke and decided to head back to our room.

The towel animal of the day.

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