western caribbean cruise recap in due time blog

Western Caribbean Cruise

western caribbean cruise recap in due time blog

Last week Colby and I were cruising in the Caribbean with some of our best friends. This was our first time to ever travel with friends and we had an absolute blast!

We set sail out of Miami on the Carnival Horizon and went to Jamaica, Grand Cayman and Cozumel. This was our 2nd time on this ship and we love it! The first time we were on it we went to the Southern Caribbean which you can read about here and here.

This was also my 2nd time to go on this same itinerary, but the last time was already 14 years ago so I was excited to go back!

Day 1 – Fly to Ft. Lauderdale, Beach Day

We flew out early in the morning on Saturday. Once we landed in Fort Lauderdale, we rented a car, ate lunch and headed straight for the beach. We spent a few hours there before driving south to Miami and checking into our hotel. After hanging out for a little bit we went to dinner and then went to the airport to pick up our friends, Jessica and Brandon! We were so excited to see them! We ended up stopping for dessert at HolySmokes before heading back to the hotel and calling it a night.

beach day in fort lauderdale floridaJPG

holy smokes shake miami florida

Day 2 – Board Ship and Sail Away

On Sunday morning we took it easy at the hotel, packed up our stuff, dropped off our car rental and ubered to the cruise port. Getting on the ship was so fast and so easy. It took no time at all which was so nice! We spent the afternoon eating, exploring the ship, watching it set sail and eating some more. The food the whole week was just so good!

carnival horizon view of miami from ship
Carnival Horizon Western Caribbean Cruise Recap caroline harries jessica satterfield cruise in miami trip

Day 3 – Day at Sea

We spent our first day doing the only thing I would recommend, lounging on the lido deck!

carnival horizon 1st day at sea on the lido deck

carnival horizon day at sea lido deck
carnival horizon day at seaCarnival Horizon water slides3

Carnival Horizon water slides2Carnival Horizon water slides1
formal dinner carnival cruise ship

Day 4 – Jamaica

We rented a car when we arrived in Jamaica. We had planned to go to the Blue Hole pools, which we did, but when we got there the pools were closed because it had rained the previous night. It would have been good to know before hand but we didn’t even think to look into it. After we left the area we drove around until we found James Bond Beach! It was a very small beach but with just a $5 entrance fee we decided to stay there. There was less than 10 people there, so it was quiet and turned out to be a wonderful and peaceful afternoon. We loved Jamaica but the amount of hassling was exhausting. I wasn’t expecting it and it wouldn’t have been much more enjoyable if people weren’t in our face.

James Bond beach, jamaica carnival horizon james bond beach carnival horizon beach in grand cayman.JPG4 jamaica james bond beach

carnival cruise stop in jamaica jamaica beach carnival cruise trip pictures in front of the carnival horizon jamaica carnival horizon cruise

Day 5 – Grand Cayman

This was my first time to Grand Cayman because on my prior cruise we couldn’t stop due to bad weather. This time we also experienced a cold front and the ship couldn’t port where they were supposed to due to waves. Thankfully they were still able to get us off at the other side of the island. They used tenders to do so which wasn’t the quickest or easiest process but it was better than not being able to stop at all.

When we got to land we took a taxi to 7 mile beach and found a resort to stay at for the day. When we originally got off the ship, it was quite cold, but by the time we got to the resort, the sun came out and the weather was perfect.

carnival horizon tender boat grand cayman grand cayman 7 mile beach6 grand cayman 7 mile beach2 grand cayman 7 mile beach7 grand cayman 7 mile beach5 grand cayman 7 mile beach3 grand cayman 7 mile beach4 grand cayman 7 mile beach8

Day 6 – Cozumel

In Cozumel we took a taxi to Playa Mia Beach where we spent the day. We had such a fun day here! We took a lot of pictures with their marketing team, went sailing as well as played out on the floating water park. I highly recommend this all-inclusive resort when you are in Cozumel for the day!

playa mia couzmel all inclusive beach resort mexico1

playa mia couzmel all inclusive beach resort mexico1 playa mia couzmel all inclusive beach resort mexico1 playa mia couzmel all inclusive beach resort mexico1 playa mia couzmel all inclusive beach resort mexico1
playa mia couzmel all inclusive beach resort mexico1 playa mia couzmel all inclusive beach resort mexico1 playa mia couzmel all inclusive beach resort mexico1 playa mia couzmel all inclusive beach resort mexico1

playa mia beach in cozume playa mia beach mexico playa mia cozumel all inclusive playa mia cozumel water park playa mia cruise all inclusive playa mia sailing water park in cozumel playa mia water park

Day 7 – Day at Sea

The last sea day was just like any other sea day, spent sitting out on the deck! Colby and I also got to do the ropes course which was fun but windy.

carnival horizon cruise ship day at sea 7

Day 8 – Arrive in Miami, Resort Day, Fly Home

Once we got off the ship, we said goodbye to our friends, Jessica and Brandon, and then went to rent a car. We found a day pass to use at a hotel, which worked out perfectly. Our flight wasn’t until 7pm that evening so it was the perfect way to spend the day. And that was that!!! It was such a fun week and we had a blast traveling with friends. We plan on doing it again in the future!

miami florida carnival cruise ship

carnival horizon cruise ship day at sea 2

Our tips:

If you need transportation from the airport to port, use Uber (much cheaper than taxi) or use a rental car. Use carolineh2699ue for $15 off your ride when booking with Uber. 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.

Book excursions through 3rd parties. You will save a lot of money by doing this.

Bring your own water bottle/cups. This way you will avoid having to refill their small ones. We brought two water bottles and two coffee cups and were so glad we had them.

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 some towel clips. We were so glad we had these because it gets sooooo windy!

Bring googles. You will want these to see all the beautiful fish in the clear waters.

Make sure to do the ship 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. Thankfully this cruise we didn’t run into this problem, but we have in the past.

Download the Carnival app. This was so helpful, even more so than prior cruises. We could see the full schedule, weather, reserve our dinner table, etc.

Bring a jacket. I rarely used it on the ship, because thankfully the temperatures were perfect, but if you are on a ship that is cold, you will want it.

Bring a lanyard. This was helpful to have for our room keys.

Bring a beach blanket. The cruise give you beach towels, but it is nice to have this depending on the ports you visit and if you have days at the beach before or after your cruise.

Bring some cards or games. The library had a ton of games too, but it was nice to have our own.

On the last day, if able, carry off your own luggage. We walked right off the ship at 8:30 am and it was so simple.

Have questions? Leave a comment and I will answer!

Our Prior Vacations:

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. You can also see our best tips for traveling on a budget here!

Pacific Northwest
Western Caribbean Cruise
Hilton Head
South America: Argentina
South America: Torres Del Paine
South America: Lake Region
South America: Santiago + Coast
Costa Rica: Manuel Antonio
Costa Rica: Santa Teresa
Costa Rica: La Fortuna
Las Vegas
Caribbean Cruise – Grand Turk + Dominican Republic
Caribbean Cruise – Aruba + Curacao
Colorado Ski Date #2
North Carolina
Palm Springs
Colorado #3
Anniversary Staycation
Europe: The Netherlands
Europe: Montenegro + Greece
Europe: Croatia
Branson, Missouri
Cancun, Mexico
Colorado Ski Trip #4
Northern California + Lake Tahoe
Yosemite + Napa
Ft. Worth
Phoenix, Arizona
Eastern Caribbean Cruise: Grand Turk + San Juan
Eastern Caribbean Cruise: St. Kitts + St. Maarten
South Carolina
Colorado Skip Trip #5
Utah: Zion and Bryce National Parks
Utah: Arches National Park
Washington D.C
Florida Trip Recap

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