Part 4 of Norwegian Cruise Line’s Western Caribbean Review…

Thursday – Third port of call: Belize City, Belize

At Belize, the ship does not dock, but rather drops anchor in the ocean. We could take boats to Belize city, but we opted for excursions. Reid was going scuba diving, and the boys and I planned to go to an island so we could do some swimming.
The ship anchored in Belize
The whole process of getting off the ship, onto boats (tenders), is not very much fun. Those scheduled for excursions were to meet in one of the large restaurants while they organized you getting off the ship. Things were very loud with all the announcements, people were squeezing in and out of the restaurant, we had to wait about an hour before it was our turn.

Sounds like Reid had a wonderful time at the scuba lesson. He’s been wanting to try scuba diving for a while now, so it was great to have the opportunity.

The boat ride to the island with Michael, Ronnie and I took about 15 to 20 minutes. I liked the fellows operating the boat… a couple of young fellows from Belize. They were lively, and lots of fun. The island wasn’t very large, had lots of chairs available for our use. We arranged ourselves a nice spot under some trees and Ronnie and I ran off for a swim. Michael lay out in the shade and promptly fell asleep.

Reid on the way to scuba diving
Ronnie and I had some difficulty with the sand. We found it to be quite sharp, and had to wear our sandals while swimming. It was great to be in the ocean, though. After about an hour or so, Ronnie started to get anxious that the boat had gone back to the ship without us. Indeed, it was nowhere to be found, but I figured they were running folks back and forth from the ship to Belize city. They were there as promised, though, when it was time to leave. Michael woke up… the sun had moved, and his whole right side was very burned (right ear, right arm, right leg).

We were back on the ship by early afternoon. I would have liked to go to Belize City on a tender, but everyone was quite tired (I can’t blame Reid, after scuba diving), so we spent the rest of the day relaxing on the ship.

I only met a few locals from Belize. Those I did meet were great. I hadn’t realized Belize was an English speaking country… huh, an English speaking country in the middle of Central America. I think it might be fun to go back there one day. I’ll have to keep that in the back of my mind for a future vacation (sans children). Lots of scuba diving for Reid in Belize!

Friday – Last port of call: Cozumel, Mexico

We were docked at Cozumel (thank goodness, no tenders!!) Reid had another scuba lesson scheduled for the morning. Michael was supposed to go to, but found his burn hurt quite a lot so it was best he didn’t go. I decided to wander around the city. (The boys wanted to stay in their cabin.) I really enjoyed Cozumel. Unlike Costa Maya and Santo Tomas, there was a whole city to explore. I wandered around for a few hours and even bought dad more brandy.

Ronnie at the hot tub, overlooking the pool
Back on the ship, while waiting for Reid, I took Ronnie swimming. I really liked the hot tubs… but found the pools too cool for my taste (they were about 78 degrees F). But I couldn’t wimp out – Reid wasn’t around to play with Ronnie, so I had to tough it out. It’s funny… Ronnie spent 20 minutes trying to get used to the hot tub… first his toes, then his feet, then his ankles, and so on. I was the same way, but in the pool rather than the hot tub. Michael joined us as well, to soak his poor burned leg in the nice, cool pool.

Reid was back on the ship by early afternoon, after another successful scuba lesson. I think he enjoyed Belize a little more. But that may be due to the fact that they were all amateurs and couldn’t go out in very deep water.

I was anxious to go swimming in the ocean again, so Reid and I went out, hopped in a cab and went to a beach. It took about 20 minutes to get to the closest, large sized beach. And guess where the boys were? Yup, you guessed it. They didn’t want to come, so they stayed in the cabin. (Did I mention Reid bought the Power Book? Guess what the kids were doing?)

Ronnie really regretted not coming with us when he saw the pictures of the trampolines and “rock climbing” inflatable slide thing in the water. Reid and I didn’t try the slide (it looked impossible to climb!) but we bounced on the trampoline. He found that the water really dampened the bouncibality (is that a word?), but I found it more than adequate. I screamed every time I bounced. We only spent about an hour on the beach… it was late afternoon, we had both gotten tired, and we could see a storm rolling in. In fact, it was pouring by the time we got back to the dock. (The whole week was a little cold and rainy)

Beach near Cozumel, with trampoline and rock climbing slide

Saturday – Day at sea, back to New Orleans

We woke up Saturday to find the ship rocking quite a bit. We were back in open ocean. The waves were much higher going back to New Orleans. I think we actually enjoyed the ship rolling. A very unique experience. None of us were sick at all – although we brought gravol just in case.

We spent the day pretty quietly on the ship. Didn’t go swimming, but did enjoy just relaxing.

Sunday – New Orleans and home

The ship pulled in bright and early Sunday morning. We opted for the “leave early, carry your own bags out” departure. We had to really, our flight was at noon, and if we had NCL take our luggage for us, we would have missed our flight.

Despite being Canadian, we had to go through US customs. I hadn’t expected that (if we were in an airport just stopping in the US, I don’t think we would have had to go through customs). It was completely uneventful, despite honestly telling them that I was bringing food with me.

The flight back to Buffalo wasn’t uneventful. It involved the flight in New Orleans being late, Michael getting sick on the plane, running all out in Charlotte to make our connecting flight, and spending over an hour waiting for our luggage in Buffalo. (We KNEW the luggage made it on the plane in Charlotte this time. Michael and I saw all 4 of our bags being loaded on the plane out the window) But Buffalo had had more flight problems, and there was luggage piled up, from days before, everywhere. Tons of it.

Once we got our luggage in Buffalo, we drove to the border for an extremely easy border crossing (I don’t think he even asked us if we were carrying alcohol!). We stopped by my parents’ place on the way back to Toronto (they fed us!) and didn’t get home until 11pm. School and work the next day, ugh!

Monday – Toronto
OK – I know Monday is not part of our vacation, but I have to mention a very interesting thing that happened to Reid and I. While at work on Monday, the building swayed back and forth, back and forth, all day. It felt as though I were still on the ship. Reid had the same effect in the basement. I was fine by Tuesday, but the effect lasted until Wednesday for Reid. The boys didn’t notice a thing!!

4 thoughts on “Part 4 of Norwegian Cruise Line’s Western Caribbean Review…”

  1. Michael’s sickness on the plane was, I think, pressure sickness. So I think it was a good thing he didn’t go SCUBA diving, since that involves a lot of pressure-equalizing by plugging your nose and blowing to get air inside your ears.

    We had about 45 minutes to make our connecting flight in Charlotte, so we were pretty stressed when the plane left New Orleans 45 minutes late. We were not all sitting together. Ronnie and I were near the front. So we decided that when we got to Charlotte, I would sprint for the gate and make sure thy waited for the rest of the family.

    I thought I was making good time, but Luisa, Michael and Ronnie were only about 3 minutes behind me. They got us onto the plane, and said they would be closing the doors right after us. This concerned me because we had luggage coming!

    Well, we ended up sitting at Charlotte for about ½ hour as well. We were blissfully blasé, since we had no more connections. Luisa indicated that she and Michael had actually watched out the window as some of our luggage made it onto the plane, so that helped us relax as well.

    I have to mention that long-term parking at Buffalo airport is pretty good. It’s something like $8 per day for the slightly higher-priced lot that is within walking distance of the terminal. I had no problem walking back and forth to the car when we left, and it was pretty quick finding the car when we got back.

    The border crossing was funny. We were preparing all the way there in the less-than-10-minute lineup. The line was extremely long, but we picked the right-hand lane which moved much better than the left-hand one, and were through in really good time. We had memorized how much money we spent, on what, etc., but when we got there he just asked us where we had been and what citizenship we were and then waved us through. No wonder the lines were moving so quickly!

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