I Belize in MAGIC! MITSUGIRLY revisits the Western Route. My Novel.
Day 1: Flying to Orlando, Florida for the night
It had been awhile since we had done the Western Caribbean route of Cozumel, Belize, Roatan and Costa Maya. We found a great deal and booked. Even though we have done this route many times, I can always find something new for our family to experience.
Plans for this cruise involved:
Cozumel: THE MONEY BAR for some snorkeling then on to PARADISE BEACH.
Belize: RENDEZVOUS CAYE
Roatan: WEST BAY and scuba diving
Costa Maya: BLUE KAY
Oh course, plans do not always work out and weather does not always cooperate. We have been fortunate enough to experience perfect weather with sunny skies on about 99% of our cruises. However, this would be a rainy and windy cruise with a little bit of sunshine thrown in at times.
This cruise was myself, my husband and Sakari (pronounced just like it's spelled Sa-Kar-ee, our now 9 year old daughter).
Kendra, my 29 year old daughter, and her fiance and son (Brayden, also 9 years old) would book this cruise....basically last minute (or a little over a month before)...as she always likes to do...BUT WE HAD A CHANGE!!! A few weeks before, she decided it was time to add this little munchkin to the cruising family...
Everyone, introducing Kambriah. Kendra's daughter.
She is 3 years old and Kendra has been taking her to the beach for a couple of years now, to get her used to it, and "Kam" or "Beana" as everyone calls her...refuses to put her feet in the sand and the family caters to her by laying beach towels down for her to walk on, carrying her and so on. She also does not like water to get in her face and you would think she is dying when it happens.
Yep, what better time to throw her into the mixture than now...on a cruise...with port days planned at the beach every day...and not only with water, but SALT water! :D Oh, and don't forget there's a water park on this ship too.
We'll also add a reminder of...Kendra's punctuality with 3 people and we're now adding a 4th person. Oh joy.
This will be our 6th Carnival Cruise and not our last for sure! This would be my 20th cruise, my husband's 18th cruise and Sakari's 17th cruise...I think? After awhile, things are starting to run together.
So, we will start this review out a week before the cruise.
It was a HECTIC week! Anyone who follows my reviews knows that my daughter, Sakari, LOVES to draw. It's her life. She's very good at it. She has been tested the last 2 years and determined to be "gifted" in arts. I'm so proud of her. However, this time around was a little different. I received notice that her name was submitted to the gifted program and they were requiring an art portfolio to be submitted for consideration to the arts school program. She doesn't have a portfolio and I keep a majority of her work in tote(S) that I would have to frantically run around trying to locate some of her best work to submit.
The other issue was, this portfolio was to be submitted on the day we leave for vacation AND she was supposed to have an interview on the day we return from vacation. Mom-panic-mode kicked in.
I still needed to pack and double up on seeing patients for the week and now this.
It was a very long week, but we managed to be able to submit prior to that friday and they agreed to forgive her for not being able to make it to the interview. I'm keeping my fingers crossed. If she's accepted, this means she will get to go to the arts school in 6th grade and automatically be enrolled in the arts high school.
Everyone keep your fingers crossed for us!
Ok, next deadline for that week....Friendship/kindness rock painting. What? Never heard of it. However, there were a few people on our roll call for this cruise that does this and posted their rocks. I instantly fell in love...and thought this was right up Sakari's alley! I showed her and she immediately wanted to do some for the cruise.
We headed out to buy the supplies and came home that night and started painting.
She was loving this new "artsy" thing to do.
We had so much fun that we think we are going to make this an event that we do for every cruise.
This was the first batch, but we did a second batch later in the week and for some reason I don't think I got a picture of them.
Even Kolin, my youngest son, joined in one night and had some fun coming up with ideas to paint.
I guess people have groups all over the place that paint rocks and they leave them in areas for others to find. They either keep them or move them somewhere else. I believe they are meant to brighten someone's day. So, hopefully we would be able to do that for several people on the cruise.
The night before the cruise and I'm still waiting on socks and undies from the hubby...as always. I promise you one of these days he'll leave and not have any because I'll get tired of reminding him to pack them. But, for the most part, I managed to get all of our packing done in about a day. I'm a planner...this never happens...wish me luck that I didn't forget anything.
We had picked a late day straight flight, since our family is really not a "morning" family, and this always works out nicely for us...especially when Kendra is involved.
We left the house around 9:45am so that we could get some breakfast prior to getting to the airport.
Sakari was so sad to leave her dog at home and hugged him forever. It was like he knew something was happening and kept sniffing the luggage.
We have been driving ourselves to the airport for the last few years (instead of having someone drop us off) and it works out better for us. I just hate depending on others to be punctual. Kendra...she still relies on others to drop her family off and as always, ran into some snags. The person who said they would take her wouldn't answer the phone that morning and left her struggling to find an alternative. Eventually she did, but I don't need that type of stress added to my life.
It was COLD outside. We live in Ohio and it's officially winter. We found it to be colder at the airport than at home...probably because it's out in the open.
We arrived at the parking lot, pulled our luggage out, then jumped back in the warm vehicle until we seen the shuttle coming, then sprinted to the bus stop.
But first some selfies with snapchat to entertain each other...
Then off we went to the airport on the shuttle.
Daddy and Sakari were continuing their fun on the shuttle over to the airport.
We pulled up to our drop off spot at the airport and I had to distract the hubby and munchkin from all their fun so that we could get checked in.
We checked our luggage in and patiently waited on Kendra and family to show up. They eventually arrived around 11:15am and we headed to check in with security. There was NO ONE...I mean NO ONE there! Not one person in the security check in. Weird. Are we the only one's flying today? Are we getting the VIP treatment? It was just weird.
We all waited until it was time to line up and of course Sakari was busy doing her thing...drawing and passing time.
Kendra was loading Kam and B up with sugar...notice the suckers. I'm not sure that's a good thing.
Time to board the plane and the pilot announced that we would be arriving 37 minutes earlier in Orlando than scheduled. I guess he would hit the turbo button along the way?
I settled in with my peanuts, pop and a show on home improvement-fixer uppers.
Before the flight started, I guess Kendra's fiance was seated in an evacuation row. This means they get special instructions if something was to happen to the plane and we needed to go out their door. But first, the flight attendant ask him "Do you speak English sir?" AHAHAHAHAHA...So, as I told you in the beginning of this review, Kambriah has 2 nicknames...either Kam or Beana. Well, the Beana came when she was first born because everyone always says that Billy (Kendra's fiance) looks Mexican. So they started calling Kam Beana. Well, the flight attendant asking him if he spoke English just confirms that he does indeed look Mexican I suppose. Now only if he could learn to translate some of that Spanish for us when we will be in Cozumel.
Sakari continued with her drawings of course.
And every so often she would remind me of her unique skills....twisting her tongue into a "triple tongue" as she calls it. She's very proud of the fact that she has yet to find anyone else that can do this.
Kam seemed to be doing good on her first flight.
We arrived at the airport and it was a successful flight for Kam.
Headed to the monorail to make it to the other side of the airport to pick up our luggage:
Up pulled the monorail and another first for Kam. We managed to get front row seats.
It's a short ride, but the kids get a kick out of it.
We had contracted with our hotel to have transportation from the airport to the hotel in Port Canaveral. We knew that everyone was a little hungry from the trip and decided to grab some Chipotle before heading out of the airport.
I'm here to tell you, if you are at the Orlando airport and expect to get pop, you will need to do it prior to going to the area you pick up your luggage. There is NOT ONE pop machine or vendor on that floor. Kendra and I would spend quite some time and leg work to head back up to the 3rd floor and walk all the way to the restaurants or store to find pop for everyone to have with their meal. What a pain!
We originally booked the Country Inn there on Astronaut Blvd. However, Irma had other plans for some of the hotels in that area.
Someone on our roll call said that they received notification that their reservations had been cancelled. Hmmm, I had not received anything either by phone, email or text. Weird. So, I decided to call them and yep, our reservation had been cancelled. Nice of them to tell me about this. I'm now wondering how many people they didn't inform of the closure and showed up to a closed hotel.
I would later learn that, even though the hotel we stayed at was only a few hotels over and had no damage, Country Inn received damage based on the way it was built and the height of the hotel. Country in has their a/c units on the roof and during the hurricane, the a/c units would malfunction or get destroyed and this would cause the water to leak down inside the buildings and destroy the rooms with water damage. Their hotel is 5 stories tall and the Radisson was only 2 stories. Maybe the other hotels around sheltered it? I'm not sure. Our driver gave us this information. I believe the Country Inn and Radisson are affiliated.
We immediately called Residence Inn down the street (relayed to us from our roll call that this is the place everyone was switching to and rooms were filling up very quickly) and were able to snag a suite that would fit all of us and had a bedroom off to the side with 2 beds and also a separate living room area. Perfect. It wasn't a bad price either ($156 plus tax), so we basically split that between our 2 families and made out well!
Radisson Resort at the Port also was known for their amazing pool with waterfalls. I had originally considered booking it, but Country Inn was a little cheaper (before Kendra decided to book).
Radisson will also arrange transportation from the airport in Orlando to the hotel. I checked other places and even checked using Lyft, but once Kendra and the family added this cruise, it was actually cheaper to just book with the hotel.
Transportation is $50 for the first 2 people, then $10 pp after that. So for 7 people, we paid a total of $100.
I did find out that the transportation company the hotel used is the Cocoa Beach Shuttle. For some reason I'm thinking I have used them once before, but I'm not sure. I did go onto their website to get a quote for our family and using the hotel was actually cheaper than booking directly with them.
Once we were done eating at the airport, we called the number listed on our reservation for pick up. As we walked out of the airport, we watched the van pull away. Oops, we had missed them...and several calls from them to let us know they were outside waiting. Well, no worries, another van came along within 10 minutes.
We piled in, I handed out the dirty grandma looks at B to behave himself and we were on the freeway by 4:05pm.
We arrived at the Radisson at 4:50pm.
As we got out of the shuttle, the driver mentioned our return trip back to the airport. Oops, remember how it was such a busy week prior to the cruise? I had completely forgot to book anything from the cruise port to the airport. He immediately did it on the spot and he even came equipped with a credit card machine. Imagine that.
At check in we were given the choice of a first or second floor room and of course I decided on the first floor. No elevators=no B playing on them. Wise choice.
However, our room said 2__ something. Um, ok. I would later find out that the first floor room numbers consisted of 1 and 2's. Weird.
Now here's our room...I really liked it!
See those stools? They are on wheels. Not a good combination with a child like B in the room. They would become race cars by that night. #facepalm.
There was a small kitchen table and area with a refrigerator as well.
Here's the bedroom with 2 queen beds. Very nice. (T.v.'s in both rooms). French doors led out to the living room area.
The bathroom was off to the side of the bedroom and nicely done.
My hubby said on our trip from Puerto Rico that he would NEVER, never, never, ever, like seriously never...get a room again with Kendra (or should I say B). I thought he would blow his stack when I told him it was happening again AND we were adding another child to the mixture. I told him it was only 1 night and he could put his big boy pants on and handle it...and handle it he did. I was shocked.
It didn't take long before the room looked like this (trust me, it got worse as the night went on). Kendra's room normally looks like a cyclone was in it by the end of her stay.
Here's a few pictures of the hotel. They were taken both that night and the following morning.
Pool area grill and eating tables.
Inside the lobby area:
This is a famous place to take pictures obviously. Everyone on our roll call was taking pictures of this in the lobby and I managed to not run into anyone once. There is obviously another one at one of the other hotels because they were also posting pictures of it.
Outside the lobby and toward the courtyard/pool area.
Entrance to hotel:
Inside the lobby is a restaurant. Notice it says full menu served outside at the Tiki Bar? That's where most were eating at and we would do the same that night.
Now let's get to the pool area and grounds. Very beautiful!
Here's the hot tub...complete with waterfall and yes, this waterfall is HOT! And a weird tree
Back side of the pool area had ponds with fish in it.
I'm not sure what these steps were for. I didn't see any type of pool slide. Maybe it was just a viewing type area. However, they had every steps blocked off with a chain to not enter. I can only imagine that some child like B stayed there once and decided to climb all over the rocks and possibly jump into the water or something.
There is a lower level of the pool directly surrounding it. Then there's a wall with the upper area, which includes the dining area and bar. There's a lot of space here.
There's also areas on the opposite side of this waterfall.
Landscaping in between the buildings
Since our bellies were full from eating at the airport, we immediately went into swim/water mode.
Of course this peacock mermaid showed up instantly.
The kids and us girls swam and the guys pretty much hung out at the tables and bar area.
Kam decided to go in with Sakari's old puddle jumper (some may remember this from back when Sakari was 3 years old up to about 6 or so on the cruises for safety even though she learned to swim when she was 3. It's in many reviews and I have definitely got my money's worth out of it). It's been around for quite some time now. Kam gets most of Sakari's hand-me-downs from bathing suits and clothes to the puddle jumper. LOL
Kam is sorta like B, if Kendra is around B acts up. If he's just with me, not so much. Kam is a crybaby/whinny girl when it comes to "momma", but not so much with me.
She wouldn't let Kendra let go of her in the pool. Mamaw took her and Kendra dipped out of her site super fast.
It wasn't too long before I had that girl in the water, letting go of me and kicking her feet to get somewhere. I worked with her a lot that night.
Kendra was super proud to get this picture of Kam not holding on...but you can tell she was a little scared.
I have to say it was a little chilly out. But the water felt warm and the hot tub really hot. If you got out of the water, you quickly wanted back in to keep warm.
So, we honestly spent 3 1/2 hours in the pool that night. I wasn't sure my fingers were ever going to go back to it's original form pre-pool experience.
The pool is heated for those wondering.
The guys decided they were hungry again and we ordered some wings and shrimp from the Tiki Bar.
It was pretty good and filling enough.
We had several drinks and several "sodas" as well.
They had a live musician playing in this courtyard and made it nice to sit back and relax and watch the kids swim half the night.
They do have a "kiddie" pool but it was ICE COLD!
We were finally able to drag the kids out of the pool and headed back to the room to get dressed and warm.
Meanwhile....Sakari decided to yank a tooth out that had been wiggly for awhile. Like can't you do that when you are home? I convinced her the tooth fairy doesn't travel well and she's stuck back in Ohio with her wings frozen.
We decided to walk over to the Raceway gas station for some pop and snacks. I was about 99.89% sure we needed to head out and down the street to the left. However, Kendra put it in her phones gps and had us going to the right...then circle around and....wait a minute, why am I listening to her?
We turned around and headed back in the direction I originally said it was in and soon came to the gas station. We grabbed our 3 cartons and some snacks for the night, paid for them and then put them in our rolling luggage just for this occasion and headed back.
Back at the hotel, we talked for a little bit, watched some t.v. and headed to bed around 11:30pm...where that would be all that I did that night (head to bed) because I didn't sleep a wink thanks to Billy snoring, being too hot or too cold at any given point, and an alarm on the nightstand that started going off over and over that Billys phone was sitting on to charge and I was just so uncomfortable in a strange bed. Then throw the excitement on top of that. I can never sleep the night before a cruise.
After about the 4th time of this loud beeping sound coming from the nightstand happened, I decided to get up at 6:30am and throw it out the window. Just kidding...I couldn't get the window open. I would later find out that B is the one who set the alarm by pushing the buttons the night before and said "I didn't know what it did so I put it on 6". Yea right B.