Southern Caribbean Cruise – Part 2

Today I am sharing part 2 of our trip review from our cruise we recently took to the Southern Caribbean. You can read part 1 of our first sea day, Grand Turk, and the Dominican here. Also, at the bottom of the post I am sharing our tips for cruising on Carnival.


Day 6 – Aruba

In Aruba, we rented ATV’s through Justin’s. Neither of us had ever been on an ATV and we decided this was a great way to see Aruba since it’s only 20 miles long and 6 miles across. We wanted an option to go and do our own thing, so were glad we found out how to rent an ATV without being part of a tour. Thankfully Colby downloaded to his phone the map of the country ahead of time, because even though it’s so small it was still easy to get lost. The office staff gave us maps and a route to take, but we ended up getting a little off track and making our own path. Eventually, we made the very bumpy ride to the natural pools and then made it just in time to see the sunset at the beach. After, we cruised around town a little bit (you can drive on the main streets with the ATV). Aruba was a lot cleaner and more Americanized than I would have guessed and we really enjoyed our time there.

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Day 7 – Curacao

When we got off the ship we made a spontaneous decision to rent a car and found a rental car company close to port. We made the 45 – 60 minute drive over to the National Park where we hiked Christoff mountain. If you are a hiker, this is a great hike and the best (and only) way to get a view of the whole island. It took us about 45 minutes to hike up and as a warning the last half is all boulders so you will be using your hands to climb as well. After, we went to Kenepa beach where I felt like we were on a vacation from our vacation. Since we weren’t surrounded by other cruisers and most people were speaking Dutch, I felt like we were definitely in a different country. We left in plenty of time to head back to port where we drove around for a few minutes before returning the car.

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Day 8 + 9 – Sea Days

Back to the sea days! As mentioned before we usually spend these by working out, playing dodgeball, and enjoying the adults only deck on the ship. We had a little bit of rain on both days, but other than that we just lounged on the chairs! There is nothing like being in the middle of the ocean and having no responsibilities.

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Day 10 – Ft. Lauderdale

We had a full day ahead of us before we had to catch our flight out of Ft. Lauderdale. We made another spontaneous decision to rent a car in Miami ($15/day, yes please) and drove around Miami and then to Ft. Lauderdale. I was pretty sick so there wasn’t much we could do, but we did get to enjoy some time walking along the beach. It was super cold hence why we are in long sleeves!

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Our tips:

  • Bring your own water bottle/cups. This way you will avoid having to refill their small ones.
  • Pre-order water to your room. It’s $2.99/12 pack and so handy to have.
  • Keep bathing suit + sunscreen in your carry on. The first day the lounge chairs and pools are empty, so you will have the area to yourself.
  • Bring a plug extender for your room. Something like this (the one we brought didn’t work, but this will).
  • If you go out of Miami, use Uber (much cheaper than taxi) to get to port. Use carolineh2699ue for $15 off your ride. Make sure to download app and setup your account with credit card and enter info ahead of time so you can request a car right away.
  • Find the facebook group for your specific cruise. It’s a great way to meet people and get ideas for excursions.
  • Bring an underwater camera.
  • Bring some towel clips. We didn’t have them, but were jealous of those who did because it gets sooooo windy!
  • Bring googles. You will want these to see all the beautiful fish in the clear waters.
  • Book your cruise using ebates. We booked through priceline and got $91 cash back.
  • Make sure to do the activities (slides, ropes course, games, etc) during the start of the cruise. If it is too windy (or there is other bad weather) they will shut those things down and if you save them for last you won’t be able to do them at all.
  • Download the Carnival app. It is very helpful to have for the ships time (will need that since port times will vary) as well as the schedules.
  • I don’t remember this in the past, but Carnival offered social media and internet packages for very cheap.
  • Bring a jacket because sections of the ship are cold!
  • Book excursions through 3rd parties. You will save a lot of money by doing this.
  • Have questions? Leave a comment and I will answer!

I didn’t start sharing our traveling adventures on the blog until the end of 2013, but you can see some of our vacations below as well as how to travel on a budget here.

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  • Nina @ Flowers in my Hair
    Posted at 06:55h, 05 February Reply

    I love Aruba!! If I ever get the chance to go again, I want to do more adventurous things!

  • elleseesyou
    Posted at 07:59h, 05 February Reply

    love the tips! and renting the atvs was a great idea!! y’all look like you had so much fun!!

  • chels819
    Posted at 08:48h, 05 February Reply

    YAY! We loved all the tips and will putting them to action in a few months! Thanks girl! he Uber one is awesome and I will make sure Josh has it all loaded on his phone using your code. You rock! We honeymooned in Aruba and just loved it there. And also, didn’t know about the bottled water option!? Where do you do that through, the Carnival trip account website? Thanks for sharing all these fun adventures! Love you!

  • Karin Rambo
    Posted at 09:51h, 05 February Reply

    This looks like a seriously good time! I’m glad you guys were able to get away and have some fun!

  • Rebecca Jo
    Posted at 10:49h, 05 February Reply

    I would love to rent the ATV & venture out on my own too…
    It looks like you guys were literally on top of the world 🙂
    I give you a score of 10 for those perfectly pointed toes on the slide 🙂 haha

  • Lori Ferguson (@Ready2Encourage)
    Posted at 12:38h, 05 February Reply

    Your tips are so helpful! I’m not an experienced Cruise person, so everything would be new for me. Thanks so much for the details – and your practical advice.

  • tiffanyatouchofgrace
    Posted at 16:00h, 05 February Reply

    I love that you guys take full advantage of your trips. You always look like you’re having the best time.

  • Annette
    Posted at 19:20h, 05 February Reply

    Wow! That looks like so much fun! It does my heart good to see people glow because of love. Just beautiful!

  • The Southern Thing
    Posted at 22:24h, 05 February Reply

    This looks so fun! I’ve never been on a cruise before! I’m thinking of going for my bachelorette party!

  • thewordhermit
    Posted at 10:55h, 06 February Reply

    I have never enjoyed cruises, but you make a good case for them! Sounds like you had an awesome time. I’d really like to visit Aruba.

  • diadarling3
    Posted at 12:36h, 06 February Reply

    Thanks for the tips! It looks like you had a great time. It’s so crazy I would stumble on this today because last night I had beautiful dream I was at the ocean.

  • tinajohnson2
    Posted at 15:53h, 06 February Reply

    I’m so intrigued by cruises. I’ve never been on one because I have so many “What ifs.” Looks like you had an amazing time!

  • Stephanie
    Posted at 16:07h, 19 February Reply

    I am usually pretty weary about cruises because I like to make my own vacation itineraries but this one looks great for island hopping. You got to see so much in a short period of time!

  • Kerry
    Posted at 22:20h, 19 February Reply

    This looks amazing! I’ve never been on a cruise but now I really want too. I can see how having towel clips and googles would be a necessity. Thanks for the amazing tips. I’m off to talk the fiancé into a cruise for our wedding instead of Mexico 😉

  • Tara Crowther
    Posted at 12:29h, 28 April Reply

    Could I ask where you rented the car from on your return to Miami? We are looking to do the same thing (rent in Miami & drive to FLL so we can see Miami before we have to head out to FLL) and I’m having trouble figuring out how to accomplish that since there doesn’t seem to be a car rental company right at the port. Thanks!

  • Lucy
    Posted at 11:16h, 13 May Reply

    Great blog and very helpful advice thanks! We are going on the same cruise in July. We have two young children and so our experience will be quite different to yours! Could you tell me a little about when you arrive at each port? Basically we just want to go to a beach with the kids, no expensive or time consuming excursions, we’ll save that for when they are older. I am concerned that at some ports we will need to take a taxi to the beach. (I understand that Grand Turk is the only one which is walkable). Is that the case? If so – any recommendations? I want to ensure we get to the best beaches and wonder how close they are. Thanks for any advice! Glad you enjoyed your cruise. Great photos! 🙂

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