Sombreros atop our gringo heads we look like the quintessential tourist as we stroll around Ocho Rios craft market. We are on a Caribbean cruise, it’s midday on Cozumel Island in Mexico and the hats keep the sun from beating off our heads. The big cheesy grin that greets us from every market place cubbyhole as the occupants entice us to buy their wares. It’s colourful tat, or handcrafted artisan artefacts depending on who you listen to. But it’s all in good spirit and the biggest smile wins the day and beckons us over for a closer inspection. A violin and a barking dog were just what we were looking for.
We embarked on our caribbean cruise from Miami. What an amazing city. It was tough to leave. But it’s been an absolute ball ever since. We are on board the all-action Carnival Liberty taking in the Grand Cayman, Jamaica and Mexico. We arrived in Miami a day early and booked into the Kingsway hotel near Miami beach. We headed straight for the rooftop bar and drank chilled cocktails while soaking up the view with a soft gentle breeze keeping us cool in the evening heat.
The following morning we met up with the 3,500 others jostling to get on-board and were met by a gang of burly baggage handlers. How they managed to clear the luggage, tag it and ensure it found it’s way to each and everybodys cabin is beyond me. And in next to no time at all. They did themselves proud.
Then it was negotiating customs. This was a doddle. Which given the times that we live in where security is paramount, was no mean feat. Again, what could have been a chore was made ever so easy by the efficient and professional staff.
We bid our farewells to Miami and eased our floating hotel into the Biscayne Bay where private islands and forty foot launches spread out before us.
The tag line for Carnival cruise line is “fun”. It’s simple. Yet effective. It’s where you go when you want to have fun. It’s for honeymooners, high school kids, families, kids, retirees, college buddies. Or in a nutshell, anybody looking for “fun”.
There is literally no end to the “fun” on board. But i will try to do it justice. There is an all night dance club, a cinema on a giant screen hanging over the main pool so you can watch a movie under the stars. A piano with furniture made from black and white keys. A gym. A spa. A couple of theatres. Numerous dining halls. A buffet hall which is probably bigger than Wembley stadium. A sports bar. And an endless supply of food for breakfast which soon becomes lunch which soon become dinner and then supper and on and on and on.
There are a number of swimming pools both indoor and outdoor. There is ice cream parlours and pizzerias surrounding each pool on the ninth floor just in case you didn’t have enough food in the enormous buffet room. And if pizza doesn’t fit the bill perhaps a sandwich, nachos and some crab claws all washed down by a cold beer. Ah… heaven….