A Month of Fridays 13

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And that 240 square feet INCLUDES the balcony, by the way. Although it’s really not cramped at all, not with just two people, at least. You can read the vacation strips starting here, if you missed them.

While you’re clicking around, there’s a new episode of Random Acts Radio available. This month’s songs are all about love and other related emotions. Check ‘em out!

Banditos Lobster Shack, Costa Maya

While on our cruise in January we didn’t eat in port very often–why when, after all, the meals on the ship are already covered and many of the ports featured less than authentic cuisine or bar atmospheres that we weren’t very interested in. Still, while wandering the port in Costa Maya we got a bit peckish and decided to grab a bite in port instead of waiting until we walked back to and up that loooooong pier.

The port’s not that big, mind you, but there were two restaurants right next to each other: Mamasitas and Banditos, the latter looking busier even though they seemed like they shared quite a bit of menu items from the ones we glanced at on a table. Well, no wonder: now I find they are all part of the Coast Maya Food Service, which seems to have locations stretching from Costa Maya to Roatan to Belize. Good to know, as it means the food will be reliable if our experience is any indication.

We started with chips and salsa and a Pai Ai each: a very pink frozen drink of pineapple, orange, strawberry and tangerine with peach schnapps and rum. It was a nice thing to sip as we took in the view from the open-air restaurant. Todd ordered the Shrimp Burrito and it was good, but not quite as good as my Lobster Taquitos Banditos: they were light and flaky, well seasoned, freshly and evenly fried and just down-right tasty. Definitely worth the tourist prices you’re bound to pay in port but something I’d go back for if I ever find my way down that way again.

You know, for those who’ve been thinking about getting away, cruising in the Fall, when school’s in and before the holidays, is actually a prime time for good rates and calm cruises. Too late this season? We had a fabulous time cruising while it was chilly elsewhere (it gets cold, even in Florida) though the sunburn was not the best idea of a souvenir ;-)

Cruise Holiday 12

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It isn’t a road trip with me if we don’t at least get a LITTLE lost. On the upside? We ended up saving something like $7 in tolls because we accidentally bypassed the lower section of the Turnpike without much transit time difference.

Cruise Holiday 11

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We were both rather Crispy Critters, and getting crispier as the evening progressed. And after the show that night we had to wade through the last-night sale crowds in the gift shop for some after-sun spray that only slightly dulled the pain. Talk about a souvenir: those “tan” lines lasted for MONTHS!

Cruise Holiday 10

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Sure, I’ve learned hot to do and seen a lot of the higher end table service habits (new silverware for each course, actually using a crumber, etc.) but to have my napkin refolded when I got back from the ladies’ room was a step up from even the most exemplary service.

The Supper Clubs on select Carnival ships are located IN the funnel and almost all tables are window-seats, the windows being tinted red and with a view of the deck and the sea below. It’s very nice and cozy and worth the extra fee per person (this is one meal option not covered in the “all inclusive” package costs of a cruise).

Cruise Holiday 9

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MONKEY!

This was, like, the one thing that I was really looking forward to on this cruise (that, and the Caesar salads, lol). Originally, our ports were Belize, Porta Limon and Panama but due to propulsion problems they exchanged the two southern-most ports for 3 others higher up (Cozumel, Costa Maya and Roatan). It was a little disappointing until I did some research on the cruise boards and found out you could actually play with monkeys in Roatan. Happy Scraps!

This little guy (named Peter, if I remember correctly) must have been a budding filmmaker as he found my videocamera absolutely entralling.

Cruise Holiday 8

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This trip so easily could have been called ‘Shopping My Way Through Central America.’ Seriously, the only way I was under the customs allowances is because Todd took responsibility for some of my booze (well, you’re only allowed 2L per person… not exactly a lot to work with!). But, it was fun and I love  everything I brought home, including that t-shirt with it little dancing lizards (which is still in the plastic blag it was packaged in).

Cruise Holiday 7

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Our first port of the cruise and things got off to a rocky start. Thankfully, Todd is so easy-going that nothing really gets to him unless its REALLY bad so it was more of an adventure, really, though it was a confusing one. We finally realized that on the BACK of the map he’d shown us the ‘one road’ on, there was a map of Downtown and it actually had some street names on it. Granted, that didn’t solve every issue since the ‘one road’ we needed to take was actually a pedestrian-only zone at the prime intersection, we did make it to San Gervasio, eventually, and spent an hour or more touring the ruins there at our own pace. Then made it back to the rental place with time to spare (which meant shopping happened–after I went back to the ship for my credit card, of course: I actually managed to leave the ship with on a few twenties and my ID… I told you, rocky start).

Cruise Holiday 6

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The auctioneer for this cruise was a trip! That suit was black with hot pink pinstripes, his hair was spiked and he was not what you think of when you think art auctioneer but he made things fun. Truth was, the lounge we were in was very low and the ship was experiencing a lot of motion so Todd was getting a little queasy and I needed to use the restroom. So, yeah, I was a little miffed, but I love my Erte medallion and I plan to order the other 3 in the series before too long.

Cruise Holiday 5

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With a thousand apologies to P!NK… I was atrocious.

And the worst part? I’ve sung in public before, by request, and was pretty good. But, well, there’s a lot to be said for rehearsal time and song choice, lol. Still, I did it and can cross it off the list (which I still need to do… most of that list is completely unimportant now; just goes to show how priorities can change).

And the cruiseline LOVES that saying: you’ll never see these people again.