Going back to the Carnival Legend. We are now an hour or so away from Half Moon Cay, the resort island owned by Carnival Corporation. It is 6:15 in the morning and we are on time thanks to our superb captain. The Carnival Legend, welllll…..
We hurried north from Costa Maya all day long, doing 20-22 knots. The whole ship was vibrating as the engines pushed abnormally hard. I say abnormally, but it’s not a concern. There are a couple of reasons for a cruise ship to travel at a lower-than-top speed. Vibration is one, but the other is fuel consumption. We probably used 10-20 thousand dollars more in fuel by doing this. But we reached the entrance to Tampa bay shortly after midnight, picked up our pilot, and were docked sometime around 3:00am. About 4 hours early.
I woke up next morning and looked around the port through the dense fog. The Norwegian cruise ship was there, but no Carnival ship. Hmmm. Maybe I couldn’t see it in the fog. Nope, no ship. We got off and visited the Tampa aquarium (coming later). No ship. Hoards of people sitting around their building with suitcases. Busses pulling up and letting off more passengers. They sat around, too. No ship. We reboarded and went about our day. No ship. Finally, about 4pm, here she came. 12 hours late. She had to sit at anchor outside the bay waiting for the fog to lift. We had a glorious sunny day, but the fog had drifted west and settled over the ship channel. It is FAR to narrow to negotiate in dense fog even in the daylight.
By the time the ship was unloaded and reloaded, I’m sure they were at least 8 hours late out of Tampa. We were about 1 1/2 hours late out as we had to wait for inbound ship traffic to arrive.
That error by their captain or Carnival (either forced or unforced) caused a lot of people to miss flights, the next cruise passengers a day of sitting in Tampa and a missed port stop, and a lot of bad feelings. There will probably be no financial compensation as fog is an act of god or nature. Not a good way to start or end your cruise.
I made it a point to ask our cruise director to thank the captain for his foresight.
Another warm and sunny morning greeted us in Mexico.
The Costa Maya facility is another place built by and for the Carnival Corporation. It is clean, colorful, and cheery. We got off board and I spent some time looking for an internet café. We had to step outside the Carnival boundaries to find one. This area was boring and run down. Someone from Mexico built up expecting a lot of extra business from the ships. It didn’t happen, there were only about 5 shops spread out between two malls. We were disappointed and we left after we were done with the internet, about 20 minutes.
Back inside was the usual Mexican tourist shops selling the typical Mexican trinkets. Tshirts, cups, dishes, pottery, booze; it was all there. A couple of very nice jewelry stores selling Taxco silver, but we have done that before. The highlight…
And one other thing…
The central fountain.
A let down after the wonderful market in Guatemala. After walking around for a few minutes, we were ready to return to the ship. We decided, fortunately, to take a rest in some beach chairs for a few minutes.
Relaxing in the warm sun cheered us up, quite a bit. We sat and chatted as vendors came by one after the other. Finally one came by and asked “You like to kiss a dolphin for $30?” !!!!! (Yes, I sure would. Touching a dolphin is on my bucket list.) Casually I replied, keeping my excitement inside. “$10?” We negotiated and settled on $20. I would have paid the $30, HA!
Back to the ship to get my swim suit and flip flops. And then, into the water.
And finally, the moment I’ve wanted since a kid watching the television show “Flipper”
Dolphins are smooth to the touch and not slimy. They are also big and strong. I was a little nervous, but you have to conquer things like nervousness. This was “Eddie”. The female dolphin wasn’t cooperative at the moment. I didn’t care, I met my dolphin.
We lounged in the nearby pool for a few hours and chatted with some of the other guests from the ship. I met up with a deaf girl, her sign interpreter, and three other people that worked as speech and hearing therapists. They were having a great day, drinking tequila and swapping jokes. Fun people.
Back to the ship with a great memory for me as well. A lousyish day turned into a great day.
That evening was the last formal night of the cruise. We all dressed up for dinner. Leslie had a stunningly beautiful dress she had purchased in Morocco.
Leslie and her mom on the stairs outside the dining room.
Praxy and I at our table.
One last surprise for the day, a monkey stowed away in our room. We are now at Half Moon Cay. Time for me to get my duds on for a day of swimming and snorkeling in the Bahamas!