If you've missed my other honeymoon posts, you can catch up here (a tour of the ship, and our stay in Miami before we embarked).
Today I'm going to be talking about the excursions we went on whilst on the cruise. Being able to go and actually do things was one of the reasons why we chose a cruise for our honeymoon - as much as we enjoy lounging around, we'd be bored after a week of nothing but that!
Okay, so there are no photos from the first port we stopped in - we had originally opted to go on a food experience; going to a Mexican market with the ships chef, then cook up a meal with him in the ships kitchen. Sounds awesome, right?
Unfortunately though the excursion got cancelled the night before as there wasn't enough people booked onto it. Major sad-face. So a (rather tipsy) Rich and I started trying to choose another excursion, as luckily there were about 10 things which sounded awesome on the excursion list for Mexico (in every port there must have been easily over 30 options of things to do - so there's always at least one activity which would be your cup of tea!).
We chose to go to the Amazing Secret Underground River - but we were told that we weren't to take any phones, money or valuables with us, so that's why there are no photos at all from it.
It was incredible, we got suited up in wet suits, water shoes and hard-hats with life jackets and headed into the caves. They were only recently discovered, and the water was deliciously cool. We walked and waded through the cave system, and at parts we couldn't touch the floor so had to float through. When the guide turned off his torch it was pitch black, and there were native fish we could see in the water with us.
Once we'd had our adventure through the caves we got showered and dried off and then were treated to a delicious Mexican feast before heading back to the ship. I loved it, and definitely want to return to Mexico one day!
Puerto Limon, Costa Rica
The excursion we chose for Costa Rica was a nature walk through the rainforest and learning how sugar is made. One of my favourite parts of most of the excursions was the coach travel through the country to get to the sites - it was a fantastic way to get a glimpse of the country and how people live there.
It was interesting seeing all of the plantain plantations, and the animals, and helping to make sugar from sugar cane was fascinating. I never knew that they got sugar from the liquid of sugar cane!
This day was quite chilled and definitely educational, and finished up with a costa rican feast for lunch. We ate a lot of rice and beans and plantain - which were yummy!
Panama was one of the scariest places that we visited, once we left the cruise port you drove alongside an area of high rise flats, where everyone seemed to be packed into living really close together, with strings of washing hanging between buildings. It was like something out of a film. But after only about 5 minutes or so of this we were out in the regular town area heading to the zoo!
We went to the viewing platform - touristy place, and in my honest opinion it was a bit boring. It's all very industrial, as it is a working locks, with lots of machinery and stuff around, and waiting for the locks to fill and empty takes forever. At least we went though, and I've now seen it. They're building a new set of locks to allow larger ships to pass through the canal, and that bit was quite interesting to see from the coach.
We had two days in Colombia, which meant we had the chance for two activities! If it was up to me I'd have preferred two days in Mexico, as that was where we struggled to choose an activity as there were so many, but hey, we found two things we wanted to do, so all was well.
On the first day we chose to head to a private island, where we would have the whole island to ourselves (the group of us from the ship) to relax and use the water sport activities provided. We took the speed boat to the island and spent a really pleasant day in the hammocks, eating an epic lunch, playing in the water, and having a massage.
The massage was interesting... The ladies spoke barely a word of English, but we negotiated a price and Rich and I hopped on a bed each. Now, usually when you have a full body massage it just includes the head, neck, shoulders, arms, legs and feet. This lady also massaged my bum, stomach and boobs, including my nipples, under my bikini! I was very shocked, but she moved away so quickly that I didn't get chance to say anything, but her hands kept going under my top! Definitely an experience!
It was a very windy day on the island, so the operators decided we should head back a little early to the ship, as the water was going to be choppy on the speed boat.
Choppy was an understatement. Rich and I were sat near the back of the boat in the shade, and as the boat was hitting the waves, sheets of water were coming over the boat and over our heads. I'm quite scared of water, and never put my full head under water, so having what felt like buckets of water poured over my head constantly for around 30 minutes was terrifying. Rich was hugging me, and we had a towel to put over my head, but it made no difference as there was just so much water and it was so constant. Eventually we came to a halt, and I burst into tears as I was so scared and so relieved that it was over. Dramatic much! Luckily the other people were really lovely, they let me go to the front of the boat and gave me a dry towel to sort myself out with.
You'd think our ordeal was over, right? Nope. The boat had broken down in the mouth of the river we were going to take as a shortcut back to the ship. The three guys immediately set to work, as sunset was coming, and they were getting pretty scared, as Colombia isn't always the safest of places. To be honest though, I was perfectly happy as I wasn't getting soaked anymore! We watched the vultures (literally) circle overhead, I helped a 5 year old girl to have a wee off the side of the boat, and got to know the fellow passengers whilst we watched the sun set over the rice fields.
Eventually they got the boat started again and we headed back to the ship, dripping wet. I was so thankful to be back on the ship again, and to get showered and dried off.
The next day we had booked a boat tour of Cartagena, with a visit to a fort with great views. As we disembarked from the ship and headed to the boat, it was only the same boat as we'd been on the day before. I was so scared! It was interesting to see the coast though and to learn the history of Colombia. The fort was also pretty great, but it was so hot. One of the hottest days of the cruise so far!
Right next to the cruise port, there was a little grassed area with flamingos, so on our way back to the ship on the second day we went to go and have a look at them. As we were looking, we saw this iguana just stroll over, on the footpath and find some shade to chill out in. They're often found in the wild in Caribbean countries, a bit like squirrels in the UK. So weird! They even eat them sometimes.
George Town, Grand Cayman
George Town was our last stop on the cruise, and it was a gorgeous place. We booked onto a excursion to a town called Hell, and a Turtle Sanctuary. If we were to ever visit George Town again, we wouldn't bother pre-booking we don't think, as it was by far the nicest and safest place that we visited, with loads of people offering excursions in the cruise port, for a lot cheaper than we paid!
Hell was a super quick stop, but my only chance to send a postcard during the holiday, so I had to speedily buy, write and post 6 postcards in the space of 10 minutes. I did it, but what I wrote wasn't particularly good or legible! The rock formations were brilliant though, it used to be underwater, so when it wasn't anymore this is what was left, and it really does look like Hell.
The turtle sanctuary was one of our highlights of the honeymoon. Unfortunately they eat turtles in Grand Cayman, so the sanctuary aims to breed the turtles in order to repopulate the wild, as well as being a tourist attraction. We got to see turtles at different ages, and the old girls were absolutely huge! I got to hold a turtle, as seen in the picture above, and best of all, we got to swim with them. There was like a lazy river area where some of the turtles lived, and we could wear snorkles and swim around with them. It was a once in a lifetime experience and utterly incredible!
So that's a round up of all of the excursions we did whilst on our honeymoon! They did cost a fair bit of money, but they were (almost) all worth it, and we definitely got a good taste of each of the countries we visited.
Next week I'll be uploading my post about all the food we ate on the cruise, and you'll finally get to see why I managed to put on so much weight!