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Carnival Paradise – Tampa Bay to Cozumel Cruise

Iguana

This year over the holidays we had the distinct honor and pleasure of joining our friends for their destination wedding in Cozumel Mexico and as if that wasn’t enough we were to get there via cruise.

Shopping in Cozumel

As we were cruising from through Tampa Bay toward the Gulf we sailed under the spectacular Sunshine Skyway Bridge, one of the few suspension bridges in America.

Mr. Sancho’s

Ceviche

Our friends had their wedding on the beach at Mr. Sancho’s, a great little day resort. They have a wonderful restaurant that serves some of the best Ceviche we’ve ever eaten and being from Florida that’s saying something. Of course there are plenty of vendors selling all sorts of souvenirs from ponchos and serapes to frig magnets.

Mr. Sanchos

The water in Cozumel is breath taking and Mr. Sanchos takes full advantage of this by offering guests the chance to snorkel, rent jet ski’s, or kayaks and enjoy a day on the water. If you prefer to stay on land they have a magnificent infinity pool and a small beach area.

Mr. Sanchos

San Gervasio – Mayan Ruins

Mayan Ruins in Cozumel

While in Cozumel we, of course, had to see the ruins so we went to San Gervasio, which are the largest and most visited Mayan ruins on the island. There are three groups of shrines centered on the Goddess of Fertility, Ix Chel; and they each have plaques in English, Spanish and Mayan. The ruins are just seven miles east of San Miguel, and were a religious center for the Mayas until the 16th Century. The Mayan technology was way ahead of it’s time, an example of this is that they used white rocks to build their roads; this helped them see where they were going at night – brilliant.

While at the ruins we saw an amazing giant iguana, he was watching me because I had on an orange, green and red dress which were the same colors he was, so we think he may have thought I was an even larger iguana. There are, of course, shops and souvenir stands at the ruins, cold drinks and small snacks are available.

Cozumel Mayan Ruins

Back on the ship there was plenty to keep us occupied. There were shows, games, a pool with this great slide, tons of shops selling everything from perfume to liquor, a casino and several bars. One of the highlights of the cruise was the Captain Dinner where we all dressed up to meet the Captain and of course there were pictures taken, many, many pictures.

Carnival Paradise

We sailed with our friends and their families on the beautiful Carnival Paradise. The Paradise is the eighth and final ship Carnival built in their Fantasy class of cruise ships. She was built in 1998 is 859 feet long, has a top speed of 22 knots, a crew of approximately 920 and a passenger capacity of 2594.

Port of Tampa

Tampa Skyline

We’ve been on cruises before but always from Port Canaveral on the east coast; this cruise was leaving from the Port of Tampa on the west coast. If you leave from this port be sure to make time to explore Channelside. Channelside is an entertainment complex at the port that includes the Florida Aquarium, American Victory Museum, an IMAX Theater and many shops and restaurants. There is also a spectacular view of the Tampa skyline.

The irony of it all was that we were headed to Cozumel the day the Mayan calendar came to an end and I can assure you all is still there and fine. If you’re thinking about booking a cruise to Cozumel Royal Caribbean and Carnival both have 4 or 5 day cruises to choose from.



Originally Published on January 11th, 2013




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