Here is our last year's Christmas cruise trip in the Caribbean. I had never been to the Caribbean before so was excited for this new experience. A cruise wouldn't have been my first choice as a starting point for this exploration, but in memory of Jerry it was perfect. It was exactly the experience he wanted to share with us.
Our ship was the Freedom of the Seas, and Jerry left us with pretty good digs. It was a five day trip out of Port Canaveral, Florida. Our first stop was a pseudo-village on Haiti called Labadee, was ended up being a private port owned by the cruise ship company with an area containing outdoor market stalls where Haitians sold mass-produced tchotchkes that were supposed to look hand-made. The beach was absolutely gorgeous, but the "real" Haiti lay beyond ten foot chain link fence topped with razor wire.
After our pseudo-visit to Haiti we landed in Jamaica, on the north coast in a town called Falmouth. Unlike Haiti this ended up being more along the lines of what I expected, we got to enter the "real" town and interact with "real" inhabitants. And Jamaica was probably our best experience on the trip. We went on a walking food tasting tour of the city put on by the local tourist board (and was in no way connected to the cruise line company). I am convinced we saw corners of Falmouth, and got a great taste of the town, we wouldn't have seen otherwise.
Our next destination was the Cayman Islands. Despite being such a picturesque destination, the Cayman Islands weren't really an interesting place to find ourselves. Sure, there was lots of shore excursions to deport ourselves upon, and really what we chose – swimming with dolphins – is an experience that I will take with me to my grave. But visiting the Cayman Islands was more like taking a bus ride through the richest suburb of a typical American city, only with more banks. I could go on about the Caymans, but I think I've said enough.
Our last stop was in Cozumel, Mexico. Our shore excursion here was to go see the ruins of the Mayan city of Tulum. This was another personal favorite, no matter how arduous the journey ended up being. The ruins themselves were an experience of a lifetime for me (though I am sure you will not get the same answer from Alex or Tilia about this), but in order to experience it we had to take a 45 minute boat ride from Cozumel to the mainland at Playa del Carmen, then an hour bus ride to the ruins.
The bus ride, however long, was time easily passed. The tour guides gave us tons of interesting information about the Yucatan peninsula, and the ruins themselves as we made out way down the highway. But the boat rides were something different. It just happened that they cut across the currents, and while the sea was calm, this left the boat as a plaything that was tossed about on the uneven swells, and led to sea sickness for probably 90% of the people on board. I thought it was ultimately worth it, but perhaps Alex would give you a different opinion on this!
After Cozumel and Tulum we journeyed back to Port Canaveral. Thank you, Jerry, for an experience that I never would've had otherwise. May you rest in peace.
oroboros on 9/5/2016 11:58:21 AM