Carnival Valor Grab Bag O’ Thoughts

I sailed aboard the gorgeous Carnival Valor during the recent Labour Day holiday week of Sunday September 05TH 2010 through Sunday September 12TH 2010. It was my 10TH Carnival cruise, and my 1ST of many more to come as a V.I.P. Platinum cruiser.

We sailed out of the Port Of Miami on a sunny Sunday afternoon, and we headed southbound into the pristine Caribbean Sea. Our 4 exotic ports-of-call were George Town, Mahogany Bay, Belize City, and San Miguel.

George Town, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands, British West Indies:
This was my 3RD visit to the rich U.K. island of banks. My last visit there was 4 years ago in October 2006 via the Carnival Miracle. The island has taken a beating from a series of major hurricanes over the past decade, but she still looks beautiful. I took a 3-hour coach tour along the far northwestern end of the island. We visited a turtle farm and a rum cake outlet before we all went to Hell !

Mahogany Bay, Isla Roatán, Bay Islands, Honduras:
This was my very 1ST visit ever to Honduras. Of course this was actually one of the many outlying islands north of the mainland, but it still qualifies as my 21ST unique country, republic, nation, or territory that I’ve visited in my lifetime. It’s a relatively new cruise ship port, and the island itself is rather quaint and primitive. On a 4-hour shore excursion we visited the Carambola Botanical Gardens, the Roatán Tropical Butterfly Garden, and then a seaside shopping and dining village. It was a fun visit to a new Caribbean island discovery.

Belize City, Belize:
This was my 2ND visit to Belize. My 1ST was 4 years ago in October 2006. Belize is the only 1 of the 4 ports that you can actually drive to from anywhere in the U.S. It’s part of mainland Central America – south of Mexico and east of Guatemala. It’s the only English speaking nation south of the U.S. in the entire western hemisphere. Although it’s geographically located in Central America it’s culturally Caribbean. We visited the Belize Zoo – about 30 miles southwest of Belize City. I dig zoos, so it was real exciting to visit this zoo in a foreign country and see the animals of the jungle. It was also a real thrill to return to my cabin back on the cruise ship after Dinner each night to see which new towel animal was hangin’ out with me. Here’s a sample of 4 of those cotton creatures:

San Miguel, Cozumel, Quintana Roo, Mexico:
And there I was again – the Caribbean port-of-call that I’ve been to more than any other – by far. 7 out of 10 of my Carnival cruises over the past 11 years have sailed there, and it always feels like my home away from home whenever I return. Hurricane Wilma devastated Cozumel back in October 2005, but it was quick to recover with all of those American dollars constantly pouring in to the island. The last time I visited earlier this year in February it was a bit chilly and dreary during a major cold snap. This time around it was hot and sunny – just like it should be on the island. I’ll be back again.

Miami, Florida, U.S.A.:
It was back home stateside this past Sunday morning after a week at sea and 4 exotic countries. This was perhaps the smoothest ride at sea of any Carnival cruise that I can remember. I barely felt the waves of the sea on the ship. Ironically that’s one of the advantages of sailing during the peak of the Atlantic hurricane season. If there’s no organized tropical systems around then the seas can be as smooth as glass during this time of the year. While I was at sea the only organized tropical system was making landfall near the south of Texas.

Until I cruise again with Carnival in less than 18 weeks – I’ll remember this: