Vacation Sagas

2007 Caribbean Cruise Trip Report

Pre-Cruise At Sea Montego Bay, Jamaica Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands Cozumel, Mexico At Sea / Post-Cruise

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To you, I would give the world
To you, I'd never be cold
'Cause I feel that when I am with you
It's alright, I know it's right

Friday, September 21, 2007 Cozumel, Mexico

Caribbean Cruise

Our ship docked at Cozumel at 9:00 AM. Note that there often are several cruise ships in port at any given time.This time we were side-by-side with the Caribbean Princess. The early birds were up catching worms...I mean their ferry ride to the mainland and their trek to Tulum.

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Princess next to Carnival. Ferry from Cozumel to Playa del Carmen. Cozumel rebuilt after a hurricane a couple of years back.

The early birds included Patsy, Rich, Randy, and Olga who were anxious to "experience the ancient Mayan paradise kingdom rising high above the magnificent crystal blue Caribbean Sea". Once there, a guide escorted them through the walled Mayan city and they visited the castle situated on a 40-foot bluff, the Temple of the Frescos, known for its detailed carved figures of original paints and writings, the Temple of the Descending God, the House of the Chultun, and the House of the Columns.

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Tulum. Tulum. Tulum.

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Randy at Tulum. Tulum. Tulum.

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Tulum. Tulum. Tulum.

Up again before the crack of noon, Lesley and I slugged from the ship to wait for our tour, this time called "Mayan Frontier by Horseback". Participating in active shore tours three days in a row can take its toll. Too bad the three islands weren't arranged differently so we could have had some of our days at sea in between ports.

We arrived at Rancho Buenavista which was on the other side of Cozumel Island, about thirty minutes from the docks. Our bus deposited us with our guides at a pavillion that had restrooms, a bar, and two small souvenir shops. When I realized how hot it was and saw the stunted tree growth, I realized shade would be scarce, so I purchased a hat to help protect my previously burned face and neck. That was a fortunate decision.

For the whole trip, Lesley and I had been looking for exotic birds or even those not so fancy, but hardly saw any. We asked our guide, who told us most of them disappeared with the hurricanes that had passed through the month before.

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Bonney, waiting for tour participants
to gather.
We took a 30-minute bus ride to Rancho Buenavista to get to the horses. The bus driver Jose was with our guides Chico, and Poncho.

Every place you visit for activities also has time set aside for instructions. I didn't realize how many people don't know which side of a horse to mount (the left!). Unlike most horseback riding excursions, this time, they asked who wanted horses that would gallop and who wanted docile horses.

Never having been able to gallop on rented horses before (according to their rules), I was anxious to get a spirited horse. Lesley wanted a walker. Needless to say, we ended up at opposite ends of the trail, although I started at the rear with Lesley, behind about 20 others. The trail was combination of dirt and rock, some more than the other in various places.

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Bonney on Nemo and Lesley on Califa. Lesley and Califa.

Lesley and I were lucky again to have two more handsome guides. The first part of the trail took us past a statue of a leopard that had been discovered on the property in a cave. It had been crafted by the ancient Mayans and was allowed by the government to remain on display at the rancho. In addition to seeing the caves, we found large and small iguanas everywhere on the ground and in the trees.

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My advice is to always go where there are cute guides. Ancient Mayan leopard statue found in a cave on the ranch. Many iguanas were seen around Cozumel. This one must be thinking, "Oh, no. Not more tourists!"

At the mid-point of our ride, we found a large tree where we could rest in the shade for a few minutes. They checked everyone's saddle before those with the faster horses would get their first opportunity to gallop. At this point, the trail was mostly dirt rather than rocks. This was a relief because in the very rocky places it seemed like the horses were having to tiptoe through!

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Rest stops are good under a big shade tree.

My first gallop was great! I didn't loose my hat, thanks to the ties that held it around my neck as it blew off my head. My camera was secured in my zippered fanny pack. And best of all, this was one of the times my stirrups were short enough that I could stand above the saddle! About half the group galloped a good distance before resting and waited for the others to catch up.

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Let's get ready to gallop!

There was one man on a slow horse, like Lesley's, who literally acted like a zombie or as if he were in a coma while he was riding. I'm not sure he did any steering or geddy-uping or stopping on his own. Somehow, Lesley got stuck behind him. Our guide at the rear of the trail had to continuously encourage the guy's horse, as well as Lesley's.

We galloped two more times before we were back at our starting point, waiting for the slow pokes to catch up each time.

Back at the pavillion, we cooled off with a soda, purchased a photo of the two of us, and caught the bus back to the docks. A rather nice shopping center was just across the street, begging us to purchase souvenirs and T-shirts. While we were there some performers in elaborate costumes demonstrated a Mayan dance.

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Mayan performers at a shopping area.

I was dragging by the time we walked the docks back to the ship. It must have been a third of a mile after all that riding, walking, and shopping.

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Margaritaville, Cozumel. They're everywhere! Birds at the shopping center.

Lesley returned to the casino while I napped. She (aledgedly) won about $350 from the slots without donating much back this time. I guess a little (lot) of practice helps, but you couldn't tell that from Olga's record.

Our ship departed at 6:00 PM. Eat and sleep. Eat and sleep. A body could get used to this.

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Patsy. Olga. Tatyanna. Raymond.

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Tatyanna, Lesley, Silvia, and James. Debbie and Johnny. Svetlana and Tatyanna. Barbara and Bobby.

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Raymond, Tatyanna, Debbie, and Silvia.

By the end of dinner, Lesley's ankle had swolen to almost twice its normal size, along with the lower part of her leg that now resembled the red and white stripes on a candy cane. It was still not a deterrent to her trips to the casino.

If you have a good room steward, you will probably discover entertaining things when you return to your room. Among them are towel animals, a kind of origami in towel folding. Each day, there was a different critter.

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Bunny. Swan. Frog.

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Dog. Dog with Friend. Elephant.

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The menagerie. Please take me home!

Every good cruise ship presents its food in an artistic manner. Then, they schedule time to display it before serving as their midnight buffet. It seems they do a lot of art with watermelon!

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Welcome to the Midnight Buffet Sushi with watermelon carving at back.

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Hors d' oeuvres Cactus.

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Hors d' oeuvres Watermelon palm tree leaves.

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For chocolate lovers...and other dessert aficionados.

And there's usually an ice sculpture, although I've never seen one as ellaborate as this dragon.

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Ice sculpture dragon.
Pre-Cruise At Sea Montego Bay, Jamaica Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands Cozumel, Mexico Next -> At Sea / Post-Cruise

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