Friday, April 22, 2011

Best tips for Cruising

Hello all my travelers, I just wanted to give you all some helpful hints for when you go on your next vacation that involves cruising.
1.  Alway be on time.  The boat is going to leave with or without you.
2.  Its not always mandatory to have a pass port when cruising.  But when you are far from home, always have it with you.
3.  When your cruise is over you are told to disembark the ship, the staff will take your luggage away and you will find it later in a ware house.  All the luggage is color coded by decks.  You will NOT physically carry your luggage off the ship.
4.  When you are going through customs, DO NOT have any electronic devices out.  The staff will threaten you to put it away or they may even impound the device.
5.  Always remember to have the time of your life.

I know I had to cut it short today readers.  Stay tuned for more exciting destinations and helpful tips for traveling.

Africa in Florida--Busch Gardens Tampa

Hello travelers, today is part 3 of my Carnival cruise vacation.  The third stop on our cruise was back to the home port of Florida.  My family and I spent 2 extra days in Tampa to soak up more sun.  One day was spent recovering at the hotel from our long journey cruising.  The next day was spent at Busch Gardens in Tampa.  The park is themed as Africa.  There are many animals and plant exhibits to interact with.  It is a really great place for kids of all ages, because it also very educational and fun at the same time.  Above are zebras from a safari ride we took.  The weather for march was very hot, it was in the 80s the entire time.  
The picture below is of flamingos on the safari we took.  The set up made me feel like George Erwin recording for National Geographic.  The birds are actually very tall when they are standing, (this picture makes them look small).  The park is broken up into different countries in Africa, and all the shops, rides and food are mimicked after the country.   

The day in Busch Gardens went very fast.  The day was hot, but we managed to make our way through the park and got to see all the sights.  The clip below is more educational about the park and it will help you get a better idea of the park layout.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Los turistas hola prójimos, asen su sombreros, estuvo en Cozumel

Today I am posting part 2 of my Carnival cruise vacation.  The second location on our cruise was to Cozumel Mexico.   Our ship docked in the port island of Cozumel. The port has many restaurants, shops and of course, bars.  We decided to take a ship offered excursion to the main land of Mexico to visit the Tulum ruins.  To do this we had to exit the cruise ship and board a small speed boat to take us across the ocean to the Mexican mainland.

The boat docked in Playa Del Carmen, which is a small resort town south of Cancun close to Rivera Maya.  The town of Playa Del Carmen had beautiful hotels that were true to the Mexican style, the buildings are white adobe with tropical vines growing up the sides.  The picture above is of Playa Del Carmen.  From there we boarded a bus for a one hour ride to the Tulum Ruins.

 The ruins are located on the shore of the caribbean sea.  The ruins were amazing, the entire time we were there all I thought of was the movie Apocolipto.  It is a wonder how massive buildings such as these ever came to exist, because they seem impossible for someone to create by hand. The temple of the winds is the building all the way to the left of the picture, with the main temple located in the middle of the picture.  The main temple was used as a meeting spot for announcements as well as sacrifices.

Tips of the day when visiting Cozumel and Mexico:
1. The island of Cozumel has many souvenir shops.  Better souvenir shops are found on the main land of Mexico.  The souvenirs from the main land are more authentic than from Cozumel island.  So if you have the opportunity, it is better on the main land.
2. Cozumel has a bar there called Three Amigos.  The bar is a lot of fun, and they sell souvenir shirts.
3.  Locations in Mexico can go from being the highest of the high, in the resort areas.  To the lowest of the low.  You could round the corner of a five star hotel and immediately enter a slum.
4.  Many people will try to do anything for a dollar.  Some may even force you to buy something from them.  They many even follow you around begging you to buy from them.  The best thing that works for me is to just ignore them, tell them your not interested.  They will eventually stop and leave.
5.***If you ever become low on cash and need to go to an ATM.  When you with draw the cash.  Remember you are with drawing the amount in Mexican Pesos.  So if you with draw 200 Mexican Pesos, you are only with drawing 20.00 in American money.
6.  We already know not to drink the water in Mexico, there is plenty of bottled water around and it is safe to drink.

One day for a couple of hours is never enough to visit and see all the sights.  Stay tuned for part 3 of my journey.  Click on the link below to view a video clip of the Tulum ruins.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Ahoy fellow travelers--Were Cruising to the Cayman Islands

AAAAAAAHHHHH. The tired traveler takes a snooze.  This trip was a cruise, I am breaking the trip down into three separate blogs that are all linked together into one trip.  My family and I went on this Carnival cruise in march of 2009 during the Penn State spring break.  We sailed to the city of George Town on Grand Island in the Cayman Islands B.W.I..  The island was amazing, our excursion was to sail on a boat to the sting ray sand bar to swim with the sting rays.  (These sting rays were not dangerous)  we got to pet them and have them do different tricks for us.  I took this picture below before I took the plunge into the blue glassy water.  

After our friendly visit with the sting rays we boated back to the main land and toured the Cayman Turtle Farm.  The turtle farm houses over 15,000 turtles, it is the only facility of it's kind in the world.  There was also involvement with the smaller turtles, we got to hold them and we had a tour guide as we toured the facility.  The next location on our days journey was to the small town of Hell. "Yes , I said HELL."  The town of hell was created because of a jagged rock formation that developed over time.  Many people thought that is what hell looked like, and that is how the name of the town originated.  Today it is a tourist attraction and many novelties from hell are sold to tourists to take back home for a good laugh.  The currency of the island is called Caymanian Dollars.  The photos below is of a small souvenir show that sells gifts from hell.  I did buy a shirt from the store.  

Tips for visiting the Cayman Islands:
1: Shopping is very slim in Grand Cayman, the stores in Georgetown tend to cater to people of a higher class.  So chances of buying small souvenirs are few and far between.  So when you see any, snatch them up.
2: Be careful buying cuban cigars and jewelry made of black coral.  These items are illegal in the United States.
3: Always remember that you are a visitor in a foreign country.  You should always be aware of your surroundings, but have fun while you are doing it cause after all you are on vacation.

The cabins on our ship were very comfortable, our house keeper was the greatest.  When we entered our room every night, we were greeted by the famous Carnival towel animals.  It was the greatest because it was actually like on the commercials, it felt like we were on the commercials.  Below are few snaps of the Cayman Turtle Farm.  

Tell me where you like to travel.  Where are your favorite places to go?  Send me a comment and tell me.  Click on the link below to view Cayman's Seven Mile Beach