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deladane

Detailed Photo Review of Carnival Dream 7 Night Western Caribbean Cruise 3/10/19

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Loved the review and pics of ChacchobenI'm considering it for an excursion when I'm there next year. I did the ruins at Uxmal a few years ago when we docked in Progresso and loved it. I'd rather do something like that over going to the beach any day. 

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9 hours ago, ajsdad said:

Where is FTTF located at on the website.  I dont see it under the manage tab, what am I missing.

 

9 hours ago, grandmarnnurse said:

You will find it in day one of your excursions—the port you board at. If it’s not there, they haven’t loaded any yet. But if it’s Sold Out, it will state that. Don’t give up if it says Sold Out, as more are loaded as time goes on. I check very frequently every day until I grab it.

 

I think your question has been answered already, but I can second this as that's the strategy that I used 🙂

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2 hours ago, Rudyard said:

Loved the review and pics of ChacchobenI'm considering it for an excursion when I'm there next year. I did the ruins at Uxmal a few years ago when we docked in Progresso and loved it. I'd rather do something like that over going to the beach any day. 

 

This was my first time seeing Mayan Ruins and I really enjoyed it!  As much as I love the beach and snorkeling, it's nice to change it up and have some variety once in a while 🙂  Obviously I can't comment about the other ruins accessible from Costa Maya, but Chacchoben made for a fun tour!

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At 8am, Gary announced that the ship was cleared so I went back to get DH so we could head out.  The morning sun would have put our faces in shadow, so I told DH we should skip this photo op and wait until later this afternoon, when hopefully the sun would be at a better spot in the sky for a souvenir photo.

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Mahogany Bay is another highly commercialized cruise port, which means lots of walking to get from the gangway out to where the private tours can pick you up.  Luckily, it was a little less confusing today compared to Costa Maya yesterday, and soon enough, we found our way up the hill, across a big parking lot, up and down another hill, and out to the sea of tour providers waiting to pick up their passengers.  Someone approached me to ask which company I was looking for, and when I said Rony’s Tours, he pointed me three people down from him.  When I got there, they greeted me by name and said they were my driver and guide.  How did they know it was me without me saying anything??  I wonder if that meant no one else from either ship booked with Rony’s Tours today?  Or maybe the group tour had a different meeting time/location?  Either way, it was nice to find our guides and not need to negotiate that mess of vendors any longer!

 

Our guide for our day in Roatan was named Windell, and our driver was Darson.  Windell explained that he would come inside all the stops with us while Darson stayed with the car all day.  It was now 8:30am, and we drove off towards our first stop as Windell explained some of the history and culture of Roatan.  He is a high school English teacher but in their schools, students don’t take every subject every day, so he doesn’t have to teach on Wednesdays and is free to guide cruise ship tours.  In addition to those two jobs, he also attends college for a degree in English, so he’s a busy guy!  With all of that English background, it was no surprise that his speech was easy for us to understand and he was completely fluent.  He joked that his English was better than his Spanish!

 

After about 20 minutes, we arrived at our first stop at a scenic overlook.  There were a few vendors selling crafts and souvenirs, and behind that was a view of Coxen Hole.  I found it a little strange that Windell took us here since our ship was docked at the other cruise port in Mahogany Bay.  It was a pretty view, but it would have been more fun to see our ship instead of the RCCL ship which happened to be docked over here today.  Maybe there is no equivalent view over Mahogany Bay?  I’m not sure, but this place seemed pretty popular with tour buses and there were probably 50 other tourists up here at the same time as us.

 

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We didn’t have any interest in the souvenirs for sale here so we enjoyed the view for a few minutes, then got back in the car to drive to our next stop: Manawakie Eco Park.  Rony’s Tours offers two places to play with the sloths and monkeys.  Daniel Johnson’s costs $10 per person and is a very popular choice among cruise ship passengers, whereas Manawakie costs $15 per person and has only been opened for a few months so it is not as well known just yet, and it is located closer to West Bay (Daniel Johnson’s was actually in the opposite direction and would have involved a much longer drive).  There were only a handful of reviews on Trip Advisor for Manawakie, and even fewer on Cruise Critic, but all of those reviews were excellent and said it was not crowded and they had lots of time to play with the sloths and monkeys.  I thought Manawakie sounded like a better option for our needs, and it was worth the extra $5 per person cost.

 

We arrived at Manawakie at 9:15am and we were the only ones there!  They have their own guides there so Windell did not go in with us, but he showed us where to pay our entrance fee and made sure we were set up with our guide, Hector.  Although we were eager to play with the sloth, Hector had a route planned out for us.  First, he walked us through their garden and explained how the locals use the various plants and herbs for home remedies and medicinal purposes. 

 

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We could tell that he really knew his information well, but honestly, his accent was so thick that we could barely understand him.  He spoke very fast and his speech sounded like he memorized a script so it didn’t hold our attention as much as it should have.  They have a display set up with around 10 different jars and containers, and he opened each one to tell us what was inside and how it was used.  Maybe we would have enjoyed it more had he taken us there at the end of the tour, instead of at the beginning when all we really wanted to do was play with the animals?   

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After about 20 minutes, we reached the area where they keep the capuchin monkeys. Hector explained that the monkeys are not shy and will jump all over us, climb inside our clothing, and try to take anything hiding in our pockets.  We purposely left everything in the car aside from our sunglasses and my camera, and DH made sure to empty his pockets except for the one with a zipper closure where he kept his wallet.  Within seconds of us entering the cage, this happened…

 

 

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This monkey was named Poncho and he was 3 years old.  He really loved climbing all over DH and he kept going up onto his shoulders, then down his shirt!  It was crazy but so funny at the same time!  Poncho was really a handful, but I was more drawn to the other 2 monkeys.  One was a tiny 6 month old baby, but he spent the whole time up in the rafters, too afraid of humans to come down and say hello.

 

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The third monkey was 1 year old and he was just perfect for me… too shy to jump all over me, but friendly enough to let me feed him and pet him. 

 

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Thank you for posting pictures of Costa Maya, I was on the same cruise!  Unfortunately, I got really sick the second day and didn't see any Costa Maya.  Let me just say this, I have never been so glad to have bought a bucket of beer in my life, it saved a big huge mess in our bathroom, if you know what I mean!  I didn't feel better till the 6th day!  Ya, it sucked.  Also, I'm glad we had two rooms as well, my wife slept with the kids in that room.

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Just now, bsfstire1 said:

Thank you for posting pictures of Costa Maya, I was on the same cruise!  Unfortunately, I got really sick the second day and didn't see any Costa Maya.  Let me just say this, I have never been so glad to have bought a bucket of beer in my life, it saved a big huge mess in our bathroom, if you know what I mean!  I didn't feel better till the 6th day!  Ya, it sucked.  Also, I'm glad we had two rooms as well, my wife slept with the kids in that room.

 

Oh no!!!  That's horrible!!!  Do you know what made you so sick?  Maybe sea sickness?  Or food poisoning?  I'm so sorry you missed out on the cruise and on Costa Maya!  Clever use of the beer bucket though 😉 

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Hector gave us sunflower seeds to feed the monkeys, and they would take it from our hands, split it open, and eat the seeds.

 

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I think Poncho saw me feeding the 1 year old (I wish I could remember his name!), so he came over to get some food too.

 

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It didn’t take long before this happened…

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He was a fast-moving critter!  We had a lot of fun playing with the monkeys, and it felt like we were in there a long time, but I just looked at the time stamp on my photos and we were only in there for about 10 minutes.  I guess it was such a frantic experience that it felt way longer than it actually was!  When we were ready to leave, Hector put Poncho up in his tire swing with some sunflower seeds to keep him distracted so we could open the gate and quickly jump out without Poncho escaping.

 

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On 4/2/2019 at 9:40 AM, deladane said:

Our muster station was on deck 3 of the mid-ship MDR.  It was really nice to sit inside at one of the dining room tables with plenty of space to spread out, and not being crammed onto the outside decks.  We sat down at one of the first tables near the door so we could make a quick escape when the drill ended.  The drill was scheduled to start at 3pm, but it did not end up starting until 4pm.  4pm was supposed to be our sail away time, so I guess things were a bit delayed.  I wonder if my suspicions were correct and setting the clocks ahead one hour gave the port workers one hour less to load supplies onto the ship so they ran a little late?  Anyway, muster was fairly quick and painless, and when it ended, we went right up to the Lido mid-ship pool area for the sail away party.  The entertainment team did a great job of getting the party started with the usual line dances, and our cruise director Gary was full of energy to get us all excited.

 

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They pulled this lady into the center of the circle and she started twerking… and then she got stuck and needed the crew to help her stand back up!  Oops!

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Our tradition of taking a sail away photo with the life ring continues!

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We’re growing quite the collection of these photos!

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Looks like the Breakaway also has not started to sail away

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Those aft lounge chairs will make for a pretty view back up the Mississippi River when we do start sailing away

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I knew I would find me in this review at some point! lol 2nd picture under Gary is me and my cousin holding up our phones in the bottom right. Great review!

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6 hours ago, Ericas85 said:

I knew I would find me in this review at some point! lol 2nd picture under Gary is me and my cousin holding up our phones in the bottom right. Great review!

 

haha finding yourself in that photo must have felt like Where's Waldo! lol

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The next two cages housed a rabbit and a few parrots, but we weren’t allowed to play with those animals for whatever reason.

 

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We knew all that was left was to play with the sloth, but Hector wanted to share more of the history of Roatan first.  He took us into this little hut with murals painted on all the walls.  Luckily it was air conditioned in there so at least it was comfortable, but the acoustics were not the best, and between the echoing, the noise of the air conditioner, and Hector’s thick accent, we only understood about 30% of what he was saying.  He gets credit for trying, at least!

 

This is Hector

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A nice map of the island

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At first we thought this said Prophet Joe Biden and we started to laugh.  We tried explaining what we thought was so funny, but Hector had never heard of Joe Biden.  He did know who Barak Obama was, so we were able to explain Biden’s role to him.  It’s always interesting to me to learn what people from other countries do and do not know about America and our politics.

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And with that, it was finally time for the grand finale… the sloths!  The problem was, there was another group already in there!  How did that happen??  We were the only ones here when we arrived, so how did they get ahead of us?  As we were waiting off to the side, this deer came up behind us on the other side of the fence.

 

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They have 4 sloths at Manawakie Eco Park… one male, one female who just had a baby, and one other female who is pregnant.  So maybe I should say they have 4.5 sloths? Hehe  The male sloth is the father of both babies, so they named him Real Deal, and he was the sloth we were allowed to play with.  No one will be allowed to hold the baby sloth until it is 1 year old, and the two female sloths were up in the trees while we were here so we couldn’t hold them.

 

If you look really closely, you can see one of the females with her baby up in this tree…

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Fernando is the sloth keeper and he introduced all the sloths and taught us how to safely hold Real Deal so we wouldn’t hurt him and so he wouldn’t hurt us.  His nails are very sharp, and if he doesn’t feel like we are holding him securely, then he will dig into us with his nails for a better grip.  To avoid that, we had to cup one hand under his bottom so he could sit on that hand and then he would just drape over our shoulders.

 

OMG! I am holding a sloth!!!

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Sloths can turn their heads around 180 degrees, perhaps because that requires less energy than turning their whole body?

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He was so cute and cuddly!

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DH’s turn to hold Real Deal.  BTW, only the males have that marking stripe on their backs (I had always wondered about that!)

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My bucket list officially has one more check mark!  In the end, we spent 45 minutes here and I think that was the perfect amount of time.  Had we come with a bigger group, we may have needed more time so everyone had a turn with each of the animals, but 45 minutes was perfect for just the two of us.  Windell and Darson were waiting for us at the front entrance, and as we drove away at 10am, a big 15 person van pulled up so I was glad we arrived so early. 

 

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Thankyou for all the effort you have put into this fabulous review - the best I have read in a long time.

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1 hour ago, emdia43 said:

Thankyou for all the effort you have put into this fabulous review - the best I have read in a long time.

 

Thank you so much!  So glad you are enjoying it 🤩

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My writing style is very similar to yours except I have a tendency to "tense shift" consistently. :)

Loving your review.  I am thinking about getting back into writing them for my next sailing.
LOVE the sloths!  I need to snuggle one!

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I think it was food poisoning, they said it was the flu but I only had a very slight fever (99.3).  I never get seasick, we boat at home all the time and this was our 7th cruise.

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5 hours ago, All4fun&fun4all said:

My writing style is very similar to yours except I have a tendency to "tense shift" consistently. 🙂

Loving your review.  I am thinking about getting back into writing them for my next sailing.
LOVE the sloths!  I need to snuggle one!

 

haha I tense shift too... it's hard to avoid when writing a review like this because sometimes it makes sense to tell the story in the present, but sometimes I'm stating my opinions looking back at something on the cruise so that needs to be the past tense.  I'm not sure if that is grammatically correct, but I'm also not sure I care! lol Definitely try to write your review if you have the time... it's a great way to relive the cruise long after it ends!

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4 hours ago, bsfstire1 said:

I think it was food poisoning, they said it was the flu but I only had a very slight fever (99.3).  I never get seasick, we boat at home all the time and this was our 7th cruise.

 

Ugh, that sounds miserable 😞  Not surprising that they wouldn't tell you it's food poisoning because if so, it probably came from something you ate on the ship.  

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We drove for about 20 minutes to our next stop at the Mayak Chocolate Factory.  I saw it listed as one of the free stops on the Rony Tours website and mentioned it Windell that we were interested in making a brief stop there if it was on our way.  Conveniently, it was about midway between Manawakie and West Bay so it made for a good place to stop.

 

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The store was quite small, so luckily we were the only people inside at that time.  Had we come with a bigger tour group, I imagine it would feel pretty crowded!  One of the employees came over to explain how to harvest the beans and make chocolate.

 

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The lady gave us samples of a few kinds of chocolate, including white chocolate, milk chocolate, 60% and 80% dark chocolate, and chili chocolate.  Luckily DH tried the chili chocolate first because he said it really had a strong kick to it, and there is no way I would have liked it so I skipped that one.  It was an interesting stop and the chocolate was tasty so I’m glad we took the time to visit their factory.  We stayed there for less than 10 minutes, then piled back in the car to go to the beach.  There was a lot of traffic backed up on the one lane road because there was construction going on to pave the road.  This is the main road that leads to West Bay and Darson said it used to be very bumpy before they repaved it, so luckily the construction was nearly done and the road was smooth for us.  The problem was that only one direction of traffic can pass at a time so we were backed up from letting traffic pass in the other direction.  Once it was our side’s turn to go, it only took a few more minutes to arrive at West Bay beach.  Rony’s lists all the options for the different beach clubs along West Bay, and we picked Bananarama. 

 

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Bananarama charges $10 per person for a day pass, which includes a lounge chair and bathroom access.  There was no need for an umbrella because the beach is lined with trees for natural shade, and we could rent a locker for $5 (plus a $5 refundable deposit).

 

Today’s menu

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Pizzarama, where we intended to order a pizza for lunch but then ended up not getting hungry so we skipped it

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Pizza menu

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Lots of picnic tables in the shade and a large bar area

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Some live music, but you could only hear it in the bar area

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We walked down to the beach to pick out our lounge chairs.  There were plenty available even though we didn’t arrive until 11am

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This beach was really beautiful

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We told Windell that we were going to go snorkeling, so he offered to walk us down to the far end of the beach to show us where there was a break in the reef that we could use as an entrance area.  I read a few posts online before the trip which explained where to go for the best snorkeling, but it’s so hard to find the right spot when you are standing on the beach.  We were glad that Windell knew where to go, and he walked us all the way down to the far left side of the beach to the Grand Roatan Resort to point out these rocks in the water, which is where he said we should enter for snorkeling.

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We didn’t realize he was taking us so far down the beach or we would have brought our snorkel gear with us!  Now we had to walk all the way back to Bananarama to get our snorkels, and then walk all the way back down here again to get in the water.  It would have made more sense if he told us to gear up first before we walked over there.  Oh well, it was a beautiful day for a long walk along the beach.

 

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How was the snorkeling? It seems like I read a lot of mixed reviews. I’m sure it depends on the day and location. 

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I am enjoying your review and photos.

I have read a number of reviews where people write about their  experience with holding monkeys and sloths in Roatan.

A quick question.... after you have handled the animals, are there hand washing facilities offered to you? I may be a bit of a germaphobe, but I know I would appreciate cleaning up after the animal encounter.

Looking forward to reading more of your review !

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Wow loving all your shore excursion photos.  I still haven't been to a Mayan ruin so that was really interesting to me.

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