The Caribbean cruise was my first and only (so far) cruise. The cruise is a very special vacation, it is not for everyone, but above all, it is not suitable for all destinations. For example, I would never recommend you to do a cruise to visit various cities, because in a city you have to dive in, a daily stop is not enough. For the Caribbean, I considered it perfect, because it allowed me to visit many places to which a day to devote was sufficient, although not for everyone, in fact in some I will definitely come back! My stops were: departure from Miami, Cancun, Roatan, Grand Turks, Grand Cayman, Ocho Rios, Princess cays and Nassau.
Now I will talk a bit about "ship" life and then I will talk about each stage more in details.
On a cruise, you feel like a king. Given the high price, fortunately you are pampered in every way possible, and you have a thousand services at your disposal. I traveled on the Costa Luminosa, what I will describe applies to this ship. You can eat at any time of the day, as long as you like, from the morning until 5 pm you have all the water and soft drinks you want, but be careful, because after 5 pm you pay them, and you pay for them too much (a bottle of water 9 euros!). You can relax in the pool, which is done on the whole day of navigation, which is the most boring day, although there are still plenty of activities to do. You can go to the gym, which I did several mornings due to the huge amount of food I ate. In the evening you can choose whether to go to the theater or to the cinema, I always chose the first one, because the second is a mini cinema with few seats and offers short films, while the theater offered very beautiful shows. There is also the casino, if you want to spend more, hoping to win. At breakfast and at lunch you literally take in all the foods that come to mind, in a self-service buffet mode. Pasta, meat, fish, desserts, etc. Also including drinking, water and soft drinks. You always pay for espresso coffee. You will find food and drink even after noon, at least until 5pm. At dinner instead, choose your time, which can be around 19 or 20.30, and go to eat in the grand salon, so you have to dress well, and it's not a buffet dinner, but orders a la carte, but you can order as much as you like and even more times. But you pay for each drink, and as I said, you pay a lot. Alcoholic drinks are always paid, every hour, and expensive, very expensive. You are perpetually surrounded by luxury, every wall, room, looks like the palace of a king. Everything seems perfect, but pay attention, there is another thing very expensive: price of excursions when you get off the ship! I have always took ship excursions, except in Princess Cays, a small island in the Bahamas, which I explored alone (impossible to get lost, it is as big as a village!), Grand Turks and Nassau, also seen independently. I explored the other places with excursions and paid them pretty much, but I can tell you that it was worth it, because everything I saw brought it deeply into my heart. But let's go with order.
The first stop was Cancun, Mexico, on the Yucatan peninsula. Mexico is one of those countries that deserves more than just a cruise, in fact I can't wait to go back there to explore it properly, but for the moment, I can tell the beauty of what I saw. I decided to buy the excursion to the ruins of Tulum, so the stage is composed as follows: free time to explore the town, lunch, super fast if the ship is late, as in my case, trip to the ruins of Tulum, swim in the beach under the ruins, return by ship. In the village you can definitely breathe the Mexican air I imagined. Everyone is relaxed, cheerful, they greet us, they smile at us, they try to sell us some small objects, and I am pleased to purchase numerous pairs of beautiful earrings. With pockets filled, we go quickly to eat a huge and quite spicy burrito, in a place that cannot even be defined a bar, but rather a spartan banquet with chairs and tables. After this quick delicious lunch, we move to the ruins. To get there, you have to take a nice uphill path. It is tiring, because of the great heat, and the sun that shines strongly. At the top there is a gazebone to rest in the shade for a while. And then the park of the ruins begins. The Tulum ruins are nothing special, in Mexico there is much better, but it was the only sold excursion that involved Mayan ruins, and they are the first Mayan ruins that I visit in my life, so I am happy. Then, the most relaxing and long-awaited moment to refresh comes: the swim in the sea on the beach under the ruins. At the top of the ruins there is a wonderful view, overlooking the sea, and all you think while watching it is that you can't wait to dive. We go down a steep staircase and we jump into the beach. Let's talk about the sea. Everyone today claims that the sea of the Mayan Riviera sucks, is full of seaweeds.. I speak for what I saw that day. There were very big waves, , a condition that should make the sea not very clear. It was not so. The sea I saw was a blue sea, inviting you to enter. I have not seen any seaweed. Surely it is not the most beautiful sea I saw in the Caribbean, it is not the crystal clear sea I saw in the Bahamas, but it was a beautiful sea. I can't talk badly about it. And anyway, I repeat, you don't go to Mexico only for the sea.
The second stop of the cruise is in Honduras, in Roatán. Honduras is a country that I had never considered, but, although I saw only a small part of it, I really liked what I saw. They say it is a pretty dangerous country, but we decide not to book excursions and try to move by ourselves anyway. The town seems very quiet, not particularly interesting. We want to reach some beautiful beaches but we do not know how to do it alone, then we notice that there are a lot of "beach Boys" around, who propose themselves as drivers to take tourists to the most beautiful places. We are approached by one of these, who describes us and shows us photos of the place where he will take us. I admit that it is not cheap, but we do not want to look around too much due to the short time, so we accept. He takes us on a minivan and we leave. We pass through a very beautiful landscape, with characteristic houses that are still well impressed in my mind. Too cute. I was a bit scared though, because the car trip was very long, I began to fear that he would take us somewhere to hurt us, given the fame of the country, but then ... Here we are at our destination. He took us to a real oasis. A wonderful place, it looked like a VIP resort, full of vegetation, comfortable sofas, palm trees, and in front of it, a beautiful beach and a wonderful sea, definitely better than that of the Riviera Maya. We rented comfortable veach chairs for $ 20 and relaxed as much as possible, and of course we explored the entire beach from top to bottom. We spent the whole day like this. It was the hottest day of the whole cruise, the sun was really strong and I got very hot. Due to that heat, I wasn’t very hungry and the only thing I ate was a delicious coconut juice with who knows what other fruits inside.
Here we are in Grand Cayman. The island with more banks than inhabitants! Really. It has 12 thousand banks. Here we book a very expensive but wonderful excursion. Start with a minibus tour of the island, which has a typical colonial style in the buildings. The houses are beautiful, we can see that people are rich in this area. We arrive at a rhum distillery where they let us taste various rhums and even a slice of rhum cake, a typical dish they say! Then we admire the characteristic rocks of the island, very sharp, the rocks of the devil. We visit the reserve of turtles, where I fall in love about a thousand times with all the tender animals I see, and finally, we make the boat trip to a shoal in the middle of the sea, where we swim with mantas. A unique, wonderful experience! This was perhaps the most complete excursion. Obviously, crystal clear sea.
Here is the Jamaican stop of the holiday, in the town of Ocho Rios. Jamaica is a beautiful island, where I will return, because it deserves a complete visit. Ocho Rios is considered a dangerous town, full of criminals, but we didn't have many risks, as soon as we got off the ship we already had our bus waiting for us for our booked excursion. As first stop, we visited plantations, Sun Valley, and a botanical garden. Jamaica is a super green island, has nature everywhere, lots of beautiful plants and flowers, and even some beautiful giant spiders, be careful where you put your feet or hands. In Jamaica we took the coldest day of the holiday, the sky was very cloudy and there were 25 degrees, compared to 30 of all the other places. The visit to the plantations was fun, we boarded a sort of cattle car that carried us around the gardens, and we witnessed the harvest of the fruit from the palms, those boys climbed and descended to the light at high speed! Right next to the botanical garden, there is the house of Winston Churchill..very good as a location choice! We also visited it. The excursion continues to the Dunn's River falls, located in this little park, at the end of a small river. The park is surrounded by Jamaican markets, full of really nice artisan stuff, and they are exactly as I imagined them. The atmosphere is relaxed, and everyone greets and smiles, yellinq "Ya man!" The Jamaican motto. We climbed the falls, together with a Jamaican "guide" who urges us at every step to scream their motto. The water was cold, and clouds did not help. Finally we took a tour in the market and we got lost among the thousand
Jamaican colors, before leaving this wonderful island.
Cruise is almost finished! We arrived at the penultimate stage, the small island of Princess Cays, Bahamas. Here I saw the most beautiful beach of the whole vacation. Exactly the Caribbean paradise that you imagine or see on the brochures. On this island there is nothing, just a few markets, two or three cafés to eat or buy souvenirs, and a wonderful beach with gazebos for eating in the shade. We take a wonderful sunny day and spend the whole day swimming in reallyhot water, sunbathing and enjoying a delicious lunch of hot dogs and fruit as a dessert, buying some cute souvenirs and telling the locals some funny stories about Europe, so far for them.
Last stop of the cruise. I took too much sun, I need a break, and I make a drastic decision but I won't regret it: I will skip the last day of the beach, to visit the town of Nassau, which makes me very curious. And I did well, first because according to those who chose the beach, it was not beautiful in that area, second because Nassau is really pretty and fun. The city is quite civilized and modern, but the buildings are funny, all colorful, and the atmosphere is still typically Caribbean, despite the large chain stores and fast food restaurants. People are very friendly, there are a lot of shops and clubs that refer to pirates. Unfortunately time is running out and I don't have time to look for a typical restaurant, I give up and eat a sandwich from Subway, one of the thousand chains present in Nassau. In this city there is no special attraction to visit, it is simply nice to get lost among its buildings and its streets, and observe the lifestyle of the locals. I finish my tour, and melancholy as never before, in tears (no joke) I get on the ship knowing that I am leaving that heaven which are the Caribbean.
Do I recommend the cruise? Of course I do, or at least, to see the Caribbean definitely yes! I consider it a very expensive type of holiday, and sometimes it makes you miss some important parts of the trip because you find yourself running and you can't do everything. But I'm so happy I chose this way to see the Caribbean, because in 13 days I had a taste and overview of so many islands and I swam in so many different beaches, all wonderful. A cruise, at least once in your life, you have to do it.
Hidden in the tropical rainforests, Crystal Cascades is a natural series of waterfalls that flow into large pools. Our canyoning course has been designed to have no environmental impact, and includes : - 5 Abseils up to 32 metres (104 ft) - Rockslides and swimming - 4 Rock Jumps if you are feeling brave - 30m ZipLine into water