March 8, 2015
All I can say, is that those last few days of our Carnival Cruise, I was so thankful I don’t get seasick easily. It wasn’t the smoothest ride ever, that’s for sure. Not as bad as the boat ride to Tobago by any means, but not a cakewalk either. You’ll see…
Back on the open sea once again, we began making the turn up towards home. Our last port of call on our trip was Mexico once more: only this time it was Cozumel (a little ways south of Costa Maya).
If you recall from my previous blog, the seas had been a little rough during our snorkeling adventure and they stayed that way when we came in to port at Cozumel. When Sean and I walked off the boat, we were surprised by the strength of the wind and the salt spray from the ocean as we walked down the pier towards the little village set up for the tourists. Later, we could see the other ships docked near us bobbing up and down right in front our eyes (and I’m sure our ship was doing the same, though I couldn’t feel it then).
Costa Maya had a fairly impressive little tourist village set up for tourists: there were loads of people selling jewelry, hair braiding, sombreros, cheap clothes, hats, and all manner of random Mexican tchotchky, but what we were after was a mask. Sean’s been collecting them from his travels and then putting them on the living room wall at home to display and since we hadn’t found anything yet, this was the last day before returning empty-handed.
About the third store we walked into we struck gold. It was filled with Mayan-looking masks made of volcanic stone along with the carved turtles, stones and other stuff they were selling. I pointed out a few to Sean that I liked and immediately a salesman descended on us. With barely a glance at a mask, he was clamoring to get it down off the wall for me to look at. Then he was bargaining. The mask started at $45. Sean and I just looked at him and considered the mask silently. Then the mask was $35. Again, we barely had time to open our mouths before the price dropped. When I said we’d look around and come back, he asked what we’d pay for it. Sean said $25 and a deal was struck. Magical! I so wish the US would start bargaining regularly again – it really reminded me of my days in Hong Kong, where it was almost a game to see how low we could go with the street sellers.
Once we’d succeeded in getting the mask, we walked in to Cozumel a little further, went to see a Mayan ruin conveniently located nearby, and then got back on the ship as the sun got much stronger than it seemed before.
That evening, as we were preparing for dinner, our second elegant cruise evening, the water started to really get rough. The boat was rocking and for us to feel our cruise ship rocking, it really had to be strong. Lucky for me, neither Sean nor I experienced any seasickness, but I noticed that there were fewer people at dinner than normal. I don’t know how well the seasickness patches or bracelets or pills really work, but they weren’t doing so hot that night.
Our final day of the cruise, we were at sea all day, but due to the continually heavy waves buffeting the ship, people were unable to enjoy it as much as they might have. The ship was rocking so much, the pools on board had to be closed because the water was sloshing around so much. I went to the gym in the morning (first and only time, of course) and I was afraid to run on the treadmill for fear of losing my balance, so a brisk walk sufficed instead.
It continued this way most of the day, but seasickness didn’t seem to dissuade many from partaking of the afternoon chocolate buffet on the Lido deck or the dining that evening (the sea had calmed down a tad by nightfall). Much to my dismay, the weather continued to get cooler and cooler (man, those warm days in Roatan and Belize had been awesome!).
After our final dinner, we went back to our room to repack and prepare for debarking the next day – our flight out of Ft. Lauderdale airport was at 10:45 AM, so we’d be making an express exit when the ship docked. That turned out to be the biggest headache of the whole cruise…
Our ship arrived in port on Saturday morning right around 8 AM, and we were all confined to our rooms, the dining areas or a couple of specific floors. Like cattle everyone milled around anxious to be cleared to leave by Customs and Border Patrol – people would try to sneak down to lower levels closer to the gangplank only to be turned around by employees and sent back up the elevators to another floor.
Finally, finally we got the all clear on the loud-speaker and the lowest level was told to exit. Oh no, this was going to take an eternity. After a few more minutes of anxiously looking at the clock, Sean told me to just head down the staircase and elbow my way in line. I did, and miraculously, it worked! In no time after that we were exiting the boat and back on US soil.
Then it was merely a job of finding ourUber driver, Jesus (no joke), and him doing his best to avoid the Miami traffic and get us to the Ft. Lauderdale Airport. We hit some horrendous traffic, almost comparable to Atlanta, but in spite of that, we got to the airport right when we needed to, checked our bags, made it through security and got to the gate just as they started boarding the first passengers. Whew…
As you can probably imagine, the rude awakening that came stepping foot into the cold winter of Atlanta was horrible, but in spite of that, I wouldn’t have changed this for anything. It was such a fantastic cruise, such a great break and I got engaged! Not much better than that!