Tuesday, 21 March 2017
I have never been to so many places in such a short amount of time. My spring break started with me flying from Indianapolis to Detroit. Then from Detroit to Miami, where my cruise was leaving from. Before leaving Indianapolis my friends’ flights were canceled and they had to call to get on the next available flight. I would be lying if I said I didn’t make me nervous. But they got everything sorted and we made it to Miami! I’m glad we were able to check in for our cruise at the airport before we got to the cruise port because that cut back on time. Although, my friend, Michelle’s flight was delayed and she could not check in at the airport. Once, she arrived we quickly requested a Lyft and rushed to the cruise port. We barely made it. But she checked in and we boarded the ship.
After we found our room and got settled, we explored the ship. This was my first time on a cruise ship and I loved it! The food was amazing and the service was remarkable. Everyone was very friendly. Our first stop was Key West, Florida. We spent our first evening on the ship balcony watching the waves. My friends randomly started singing gospel songs, while I secretly recorded them. Eventually, I caved and joined them in their impromptu praise and worship session. Then we turned in to get ready for a busy day in Key West.
📍Key West, Florida
Key West surprised me. In my opinion, a lot of places in the U.S. are very similar. The big cities, I’ve visited all have common traits. Same goes for the suburbs. Nothing really stands out but Key West did. Even though we stayed close the cruise port, which means we were near the touristy spots it was still amazing. I loved all the colorful buildings. The colors varied from blue to pink to orange, it all seemed to work well together. I love being prepared when visiting somewhere new and even with all the research I did, I was glad to discover Key West in a way no book or website could have prepared me for. One tip, I’m glad I followed from all my research was to rent a bike. We covered a lot more ground by biking. We only had about 4 hours in Key West and exploring by foot would have slowed us down. We paid $13 plus tax to rent our bikes for 1-12 hours. Even though, we did not need our bikes for the full 12 hours it was still a great deal.
24.5551° N, 81.7800° W
When in Key West rent bikes for the day. It’s cheap, less tiring than walking and gives you more time to explore.
The main thing I hated about going on a cruise was the limited time we had to explore the port destinations. Mexico is one country I have always wanted to visit. Ideally, I want to visit the major cities and towns not only the “stereotypical tourist destinations”. Cozumel is one of those “stereotypical tourist destinations”. Don’t get me wrong. I loved Cozumel. The rich blue waters, the smell of sea salt in the air and the amazing weather. When I dreamed of visiting Mexico for the first time, I hoped I would go with my bestie, Andrea. She is from Mexico City. We would visit spots only locals know about then maybe hit up the tourist spots. On this trip, I got to see a glimpse of Mexico’s tourism and it was incredible. We had more time to spend in Cozumel compared to Key West. We booked an excursion through Carnival (which I do not recommend). Our excursion was a boat ride that had an open bar. We got to go snorkeling and we had access to a private beach with water games. I felt it was too short especially for the $75 we paid. I enjoyed the excursion but I couldn't stop thinking of the money we paid. Also, when we got back to the ship, we spoke to other vacationers and some of them bought their excursions from local tourist services for much cheaper prices. They said it was not the same quality as going through the cruise services but it was easier on their pockets.
After snorkeling, we sailed to the private beach. My friends came up with a dance routine, which we did on the beach. We recorded it and it turned out pretty good. Maybe I’ll share it on here later on. The private beach was gorgeous. We spend half of our time taking pictures. Which tells you how beautiful it was. After our excursion, we were dropped off near the cruise port. We had dinner and watched the sunset. Then we spent the rest the evening buying souvenirs.
20.4230° N, 86.9223° W
When booking a cruise excursion do your research and avoid booking your activities through the cruise. There may be excursions through other companies for a cheaper price. To avoid getting scammed and for a safer option, you can book your excursion through the cruise. Although, if you are willing to take a risk to save some money, try local tourist services.
Before arriving in Miami, we had a day at sea. Which was on the cruise ship and very laid-back . We ate, danced and chilled by the pool. We got to Miami in the morning. When we were getting off they scanned our cruise cards and I was pulled aside and taken immigration and customs office. I was very scared because I was the only one from my group taken there. I was told to sit down then they took my passport. Then the security officer explained that my passport was reported stolen/lost. Then I remembered, I reported my passport stolen/lost, the end of last year. But it was found by Atlanta Airport's lost and found services. After, I got that sorted I was released but they could not give my passport back. I was told I have to apply for a new one. That was a scary experience but I’m glad it all worked out. Once, I left customs I met up with my friends outside, explained what happened then we got an Uber. We had some time to kill before our flight. We dropped our luggage at a mutual friend's hotel before we went to the beach. What better way to wait for your flight than lying on the beach?
25.7617° N, 80.1918° W