Caribbean cruise

We have been to the Caribbean before but we saw that this cruise was going to a few places that we haven't visited.
Plus it looked like a good one for us to introduce some long time friends (I know better than to call them "old friends") to cruising.
Here is our ship for the journey. 
We have traveled with several lines but we prefer Royal Caribbean as the best trade off between amities and price.                         

I used our GPS to check on the captain's navigation out the channel from New Orleans.

Our traveling companions Mary and Tim dressed for dinner and we did as well.

There was an open area above a lobby used for shows where we all gathered to see the Parade of Nations one evening.
A crew member from each country had been selected to carry their flag.
It gave us a real appreciation for the folks who were required to make the cruise possible.

When we got to Cozumel we were docked next to another of Royal Caribbean's ships.
The Oasis of the Seas

It was somewhat larger, 5400 passengers compared to our ship's 2490.
With nearly 4 times the displacement.  .

We would rather not travel on a ship that big.

We didn't stay long on the island of Cozumel.
We boarded a ferry and then a bus to take us to:

On the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico

As we walked to the wall that marks the boundary of the ancient city we saw several iguanas.

And some interesting flowers and birds.

The city was also known as Zama, which means dawn, because this is the first place that dawn breaks in the country.
It was a commercial port with goods from central America and central Mexico were traded.
Politics, religion, astronomy, and everyday life have been reveled in the artifacts found here.
Venus, alternately the morning and evening star, was especially important to them.
The cliffs along the sea and the wall on the land approach protected the elite who lived inside.
It also served to separate them from the commoners who lived outside.
Tulum was contemporary with Chichen-Itza and other Mayans.
When they fell it consolidated its position leading to its greatest period of expansion.
Its decline began with the arrival of Spanish explorers but the old culture still ties the people of the area together.
This picture shows what it may have looked like at the height of its development.       

Here we are at a gate in the wall.

Inside we saw the city.

The Great Palace

Pyramid El Castillo

Some more views around the city.

Parts of the wall were overgrown.
A puzzle:  Do their roots hold the stones together ... or apart.

The fortress overlooking the sea from the highest point in the city.
To the left is the Castillo to the right the Descending God Temple.              

And an outpost further along the coast. 
A temple to the god of the wind.

And more iguanas.

On the way back to the ship we got to compare our ship to the Oasis of the Sea  again.  

A modern development.
More comfortable but also a lot more crowded.

Grand Cayman
A view of Grand Cayman from the ship.

A bus ride and a short walk and we were at Dolphin Cove.

At least they were friendly.

A row boat was converted to a lagoon aquarium.

Finally dolphins.

A small group of us got into the cove and were in for a treat as they performed.

If you put your hands in the air and turn around they will spin as well.

One came close enough for us to touch it.

Then we were offered a ride.

We each got a kiss.
I didn't kiss back. 
If you ate only raw fish do you think you would have fresh smelling breath?

A view of Dolphin Cove as we set out to see the stingrays.

A chance to touch a stingray

Then even closer.


We were off for a raft trip.
Bamboo and the African tulip tree which we were to learn more about on our excursion.

Our first view of the river.

As we began our raft trip we found that our captain was a very informative naturalist.

He gave a near continuous narration about the plants and animals that could be seen along the banks.

We have a new captain.
A little unsteady but he didn't fall overboard or sink the raft.

Mary and Tim were along for the ride.

For pictures from our prior Caribbean trip click on any of these Aruba, Curacao, Saint Martin, Saint Thomas, Puerto Rico, Plants and wildlife, the ship, and Dining room art.

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