12.01.2020 - 18.01.2020
Today we awoke back in the port in Miami. As we are on another Royal Caribbean cruise, we were transferred back to Fort Lauderdale and Port Everglades where we boarded the Allure of the Seas. It is almost as big our previous ship. It is older and is due to go into dry dock soon for some upgrades. There were a few things that were different from what we had shown you on the last ship.
Central Park was slightly different.
This was the kids pool area. Still colourful.
The wipe out café had a good use for old surf boards.
This is the Royal Promenade, once again with a Starbucks.
This ship has an English Pub called the Bow and Stern.
There was also another fancy car on the Royal Promenade.
The boardwalk had a few different shops than the Oasis.
There wasn’t a donut shop on the last ship.
The lolly shop.
Johnny Rockets was slightly different.
A colourful tequila bar.
This time we had a gorilla waiting for us on the bed.
In the evening we went and saw the stage show of Mama Mia. It was just like the original stage show and was excellent. No photography allowed.
Our first destination was CocoCay in the Bahamas. Little Stirrup Cay or CocoCay is one of the Berry Islands, a collection of cays and small islands, and is located approximately 55 miles north of Nassau. It is used for tourism by Royal Caribbean.
They certainly know how to design their exclusive islands. This was another destination full of things to do.
For the thrill seekers there was a water park that you could pay to go in to.
Chill Island was beaches and cabanas.
This is Harbour Beach. It was a nice sheltered area for kids to swim at the beach.
They had a big games area.
This was the Up, Up and Away, which is a helium balloon experience that takes you 450 feet into the sky. Unfortunately, it was a bit windy so that wasn’t working.
The Wacky Seagull was a bar.
We liked the Oasis Lagoon. It has the Caribbean’s largest freshwater pool with various coves, three swim up islands with in-water seating and a swim up bar.
This was one of the eateries. There was certainly a variety of food to enjoy.
Everything was well sign posted.
After a few hours of swimming and relaxing we headed back to the ship.
This evening we went to the Aqua Theatre to see another show. We really enjoyed the one on the last ship. This one had more acrobatics in it but was just as good.
Today we spent the day in Nassau. The town that would be called Nassau was founded in 1670 by British noblemen who brought British settlers with them to New Providence. Today Nassau is the capital of the Bahamas.
This is Prince George Wharf where the cruise ships dock.
We only had 5 hours here so decided to take a bus that would show us as much of the town as possible.
We went over the Sidney Poitier bridge. The newest constructed bridge is named after him as he was born here. This is the bridge from the ship.
It took us over to Paradise Island where the Bahamian Atlantis Hotel has been built. This is resort from the ship.
We had time to have a wander around The Royal Tower which is the icon of Atlantis featuring the awe-inspiring mythology of the Lost City of Atlantis risen from the sea. It is spectacular.
Inside they even have a big aquarium.
This is Government House.
They have a museum on slavery.
We went to Fort Charlotte which is a British-colonial era fort built on a hill over-looking the harbour of Nassau.
There were 4 ships docked today, you could see them from the fort.
This is the St Agnes Cemetery.
It is famous as the former prime minister who led the Bahamas to independence from Britain - Lynden Pindling is buried here. He has a standout grave with the flag flying.
Our last stop was of course a rum stop. Located on the famed and hallowed grounds of the 1789 Buena Vista Estate is John Watling’s Distillery which is the home to John Watling’s Rum, the “Spirit of The Bahamas”. They use local materials and employ traditional English rum-making methods.
We had a 2pm departure as we had a day and half sailing to get to Mexico for our next stop.
One thing I forgot to tell you was that the ship even has an ice-skating rink. So, this evening we went and saw a show called Ice Games. It was based around the game of Monopoly. It was really colourful, and the calibre of skating was excellent. No photography allowed though.
Today we enjoyed our relaxing day at sea as we cruised towards Mexico. We decided to head to the Solarium today and relaxed there.
In the evening we went and saw the headliner show. It was Jeff Tracta. He is a singer, comedian and impersonator. He was very good. He played Thorn Forrester on Bold and the Beautiful from 1989 to 1996.
We had a stranger on the bed when we got back to the room. He was guarding the remote.
As we have been wandering around the ship, we have noticed fun little pieces of art.
This little boy has the car that is on display behind his back.
How about the dog?
Between the lifts is this art of dresses made with beads. They are really effective.
Today we arrived in Cozumel.
View from the ship.
It is a mostly undeveloped Mexican island that docks a lot of cruise ships. We had a long day planned today as we wanted to see some more Mayan ruins. We have been to Cozumel before but last time we went and visited the famous ruins at Chichen Itza. Today we headed to the Tulum Ruins on the Yucatán Peninsula, they were at their height between the 13th and 15th centuries and managed to survive about 70 years after the Spanish began occupying Mexico. We first took a 45-minute ferry across to the mainland. It was rough and they handed out a lot of sick bags and you could hear lots of heaving. We were smart and took sea-sick tablets before we left.
It took around an hour to get to Tulum.
The walk to the ruins is about 500 metres. We saw this pretty bird.
Perched high atop cliffs above the Caribbean Sea, this Pre-Columbian walled city stands as one of the last settlements built and inhabited by the Mayan Indians. This shows it was a walled city, this is where we entered.
Looking back at part of the wall and a Watch Tower Temple.
Some of the ruins.
Among the more spectacular buildings here is the Temple of the Frescoes that included a lower gallery and a smaller second story gallery. The Temple of the Frescoes was used as an observatory for tracking the movements of the sun. Niched figurines of the Maya “diving god” or Venus deity decorate the facade of the temple. Above the entrance in the western wall a stucco figure of the “diving god” is still preserved, giving the temple its name. You are no longer permitted to go inside.
The Temple of the Descending God consists of a single room with a door to the west and a narrow staircase that was built on top of another temple that served as its base. In the niche located at the top of the door stands a sculpture that’s found throughout Tulum. He has wings, a headdress and holds an object in his hands.
The House of the Cenote. An important characteristic of the Mayan villages of the East Coast was the construction of temples near water sources such as wells and cisterns. This building was built on limestone with a room placed directly over the hole that forms the cenote (freshwater hole).
The most prominent building, El Castillo (The Castle) offers panoramic views of the sea below. It was used as an ancient lighthouse. Two small windows at the top allowed sailors to navigate the bay at dusk. If they could see daylight through both windows as they sailed in, they wouldn’t crash into the reef.
This temple is right on the cliff overlooking the sea.
I made a promise to myself to not photograph any more iguanas. However, this one was quite different with its spiny tail.
Before heading back to the ship, we spent some time in Playa del Carmen. The famous street is called 5th Avenue. It had a lot of up market shops that we weren’t interested in, so we went to Starbucks and sat and had a coffee.
Today we had another day in Mexico. Our next stop was Puerto Costa Maya. This is another famous cruise ship destination. The view from the ship.
The peninsula is so flat.
It was really windy, and the ship had trouble docking, however we eventually made it off the ship and had a long walk down the jetty. The entrance was nice and colourful.
We once again decided to visit more Mayan ruins. This time we were heading for Kohunlich and Dzibanche Ruins. To show you how keen we were to see these ruins we are having to travel 2 and a half hours each way on a bus. We had to travel deep into the jungle to visit these two most heralded archaeological finds of the Mayan empire and there was hardly anyone there seeing they are so remote. Along the way we saw lots of sugar cane and corn fields. These farmers were picking and packing their corn.
Dzibanche is so remote, that until recently, its pyramids, grand temples and ancient relics were left solely to those willing to brave the rugged trek. The name Dzibanche means "writing on wood" in the Mayan language; taking its name from the sculpted wooden lintels of the Temple of the Lintels.
This is one of the only places where tourists are still allowed to climb to the top of the pyramids, so we felt quite privileged to be able to do this. This is the Temple of the Lintels.
This is the Temple of the Captives. This is where they held prisoners and used them for sacrifices.
They have been able to establish this from the carvings that are still there. They now put straw hatches over them to protect them.
This is the altar where they were sacrificed.
Some of the other ruins.
This is the Temple of the Owl.
This is the Temple of the Cormorant.
On the side of the temple they have located some of the original carvings and coloured stucco.
At Kohunlich, the site covers about 21 acres, surrounded by dense sub-tropical rainforest, and it contains almost 200 mounds, that remain largely unexcavated. The city was elaborately planned and engineered, with raised platforms and pyramids, citadels, courtyards and plazas surrounded with palace platforms, all laid out to channel drainage into a system of cisterns and an enormous reservoir to collect rainwater.
The site was settled by 200 BC, but most of the structures were built in the Early Classic period from about 250 to 600 AD. Many of them are still covered with thick vegetation and overgrown by trees. The original name of the site is unknown. The Spanish name does not actually derive from Mayan but from the English Cohune Ridge where cohune palm grew. This is the little coconut that grows on these palms. These palms were everywhere.
The site is best known for its Temple of the Masks, an Early Classic pyramid whose central stairway is flanked by huge humanized stucco masks. The Temple was built around 500 A.D. and is one of the oldest structures at Kohunlich. After 700 A.D., this temple was covered over with a Terminal Classic construction, which protected the masks and accounts for the marvellous state of their preservation today. The figureheads that serve as ornaments look toward the setting sun, and show the members of the ruling lineage, represented in the form of Kinich Ahau, the sun face, one of the most important deities of the Mayan world. There were originally 8 faces but 3 were looted. It has been covered in thatch for protection and there is also a thin vale of see through fabric over them to look after them. You can still see all the detail on their faces.
The Plaza of the Stelae.
A time-filling activity was the ball game that Mayans called pitz, the oldest team sport in the world. The object of the game was to put a heavy rubber ball through a hoop on the other side of the field. Players could only use their hips, elbows, and knees.
Well, the game often finished with the decapitation of the captain as this game was also a cosmology ritual. This is the altar where this occurred.
By the Acropolis was a residential complex.
Temple of the King.
The Palace of the Stelae.
After a lovely day with very few tourists around we travelled another 2 and a half hours back to this ship, making it back just before the final call for boarding.
As we had had a long day we headed up to the buffet for dinner. Lucky, we did, it was chocolate night. The presentation was terrific. I didn't have my camera with me, by the time I had come back people had already starting attacking it all, but you will get the idea.
This was the one I chose.
We had a walk-through Central Park tonight; the lights were pretty.
Later in the evening we went and saw a stage show called Blue Planet. It was very good, the music and dance were based around music to do with the earth.
Today we had our last relaxing day at sea heading back to Fort Lauderdale so just relaxed in Central Park for the day reading, writing the blog and playing suduko.