{wanderlust} Caribbean Cruise » Joel and Amber Photography Blog

{wanderlust} Caribbean Cruise

J&A Wanderlust

Feb 6, 2020

Caribbean Cruise on Norwegian Breakaway // Huntsville Wedding Photographers Explore The World

I’ve been so excited to share this Wanderlust with you! In January, we joined Joel’s parents and his brother’s family for an 11 day Caribbean cruise! Dreamy? Yes!!

The Backstory

Joel’s family rents a house somewhere every fall for a weeklong get-together. Sometimes it’s the Smokey Mountains, sometimes the beach, and sometimes it’s just down the road at Lake Guntersville.

We’ve all cruised separately and really love it. A couple of years ago, the idea was tossed around to do a family cruise someday. This year, we made it happen!

The next step was to pick our cruise. A Caribbean cruise in the middle of winter had all the votes, hands down. After a lot of research, debating, a nice surprise from Joel’s parents, and a long conference call, we agreed on an amazing itinerary.

Joel’s parents and we usually cruise on Holland America. Joel’s brother and his wife typically do Carnival. We wanted something more family-friendly than Holland America and slightly more sophisticated than Carnival. After a little research, we chose Norwegian!

The Norwegian Breakaway

Our ship was the Norwegian Breakaway. At around 4,000 people, it was just the right size for what we were looking for. The waterslides, putt-putt golf course, kid zone, ropes course, and lots of restaurant options sealed the deal.

We met up with everyone in Orlando’s Port Canaveral and sailed away to adventure!!

Sea Day

Our first port was supposed to be Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas. But remember that crazy January storm with a threat of tornados? Yeah, we were feeling the effects of that in the Caribbean! They decided it wasn’t safe to tender to the island, so on we went. It gave us a relaxing day at sea for our first day, which was okay with us. Josiah and his 4-year-old cousin needed to settle in!

Josiah absolutely loves the water. His first experience in a kiddie pool was a smashing success! Sweet Josiah enjoyed it so much! There weren’t any organized childcare activities for babies as young as Josiah, but there was a little Guppies playroom filled with toys. It was a lifesaver on sea days!

Nassau, Bahamas

Our next stop was Nassau. We’ve been to a private island in the Bahamas once before, but this was our first time in Nassau. Our ship arrived in port at sunrise. The view was breath-taking! And since Josiah was awake suuuuper early every single morning, we saw all the sunrises…

After his morning nap, we packed Josiah up in the stroller and went exploring! The architecture was lively and colors bright and beachy.

We wandered through the Straw Market and smiled at all the vendors trying to get us to buy their wares. Its indoor space also provided a great shelter from the popup rain showers that came and went all afternoon.

One of our favorite memories was the pop jets! We stumbled onto these little pop jets just about the time Josiah decided he was finished being in the stroller. As soon as he saw the water pop up, his little arms and feet started kicking!

We caught a glimpse of Atlantis in the distance. Someday when Josiah is older, I think we might pay it a visit!

Ocho Rios, Jamaica

Our next stop was Jamaica. We planned a family outing to Konoko Falls and Park. It was part botanical garden and part mini zoo. A local cab driver took us up the mountain and through Jamaican countryside as we made our way to the garden. The views up there of Ocho Rios were beautiful!

We had our one and only Caribbean #jacoffeeadventures was in Jamaica. After browsing the shops for our token magnet, we all stopped in to cool off and find a refreshing drink. It was very far from making our coffee favorites list, but Josiah didn’t seem to mind! Ha!

The sunset as we sailed away from Jamaica!!

Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands

Grand Cayman became beach day! I wish I had taken more pictures of the scenery, but we had our hands full with the baby’s first beach experience. Josiah LOVED it! He loved the sand, the water, and his new little floaty raft.

Our family hired a local taxi driver to take us to a public beach area along 7 Mile Beach. Grand Cayman had a first-world vibe. The buildings were modern and streets clean and well kept. It felt a little bit like being back in the States. We almost did a bicycle excursion, but beach day won out to fit between the kids’ naptimes! Perfect beach day.

Our next stop was supposed to be Costa Maya, but the weather was so crazy that day. The wind was so strong that our ship broke two ropes trying to tie into port! The captain quickly sailed out to the safety of the open sea. The ship was in danger of being blown against the pier, making disembarking particularly unsafe. So on we sailed for another sea day on the ship.

Harvest Caye, Belize

Belize was our favorite port on this cruise! Joel and I LOVED it. Harvest Caye itself is a private island, and wow! Beach day luxury! The island is perfectly manicured and comfortably set up. It seriously felt like being on a private luxury island. Definitely a piece of paradise that I could have stayed on forever!

As tempting as the island was, Joel and I really wanted to see the real Belize. Joel’s parents and brother kindly offered to take care of Josiah for the day so we could go on a 6-hour excursion to the mainland.

We tendered over to Belize and took a bus ride to tour a spice farm/botanical garden and the Mayan ruins of Nim Li Punit. This excursion was amazing!! The spice farm tour was one of the highlights of our trip. We started our tour with glasses of chilled, freshly squeezed fruit juice. An open-air wagon pulled us through the farm. The tour guides showed us all kinds of spices – vanilla, nutmeg, cardamom, pepper, cacao, etc, etc. They pulled off samples for us to touch and smell.

After the spice farm, we toured a Mayan ruin and heard all about the history from a Mayan who descended from those who inhabited that area.

Vanilla bean

Black pepper

The views from Mayan ruin site were beautiful!

Our tour guide spent our 2 hour bus ride giving us all kinds of really interesting information about Belize. Besides just the history, we heard about their culture, economy, and native way of life. We loved having a chance to drive through a piece of the country. Our tour guide said Belize is a safe, clean, peaceful country.

Roatan, Honduras

Next up: Honduras! This port was another family day for us! We hopped in a taxi for a 2 hour tour with a local taxi driver. He brought us all over the island of Roatan, including a stop at a chocolate shop. The chocolate shop shared demonstrations of how chocolate is made and offered samples of a few of their chocolate types.

We love having the opportunity to really see a country we visit. Going with a local tour guide was a little bit of an adventure, but a great memory!

The port had a great collection of shops. It was probably my favorite little port shopping area of all the stops. The craftsmanship of the vendors was incredible. We collect a magnet during our travels, and this local teenager handpainted our Honduras one!

Grinding cacao beans!

Cozumel, Mexico

Our last stop! The rest of Joel’s family decided to go on an all-day excursion to a waterpark on the mainland. Josiah couldn’t have handled so much excitement, so we had a little family day of our own!

We chose an excursion that toured both a Mayan chocolate company and a bee sanctuary. The bean-to-bar chocolate company included other really cool cultural shows, like a native incense ceremony and a traditional Mayan house. They demonstrated how chocolate is made from bean to something way yummier. Lots of samples throughout the entire tour! We tasted a traditional Mayan chocolate drink out of clay cups (yucky! but we added sugar, honey, and cinnamon!). The shop also offered tantalizing samples of almost every chocolate bar flavor!

On the way to the bee sanctuary, we stopped at a really pretty beach. There were several vendor shacks set up there, and we found our magnet with a local vendor. Josiah loved the wind and sunshine!

The honey bee sanctuary tour was hot, squishy, and interesting. They specialized in a stingless bee that makes a special medicinal kind of honey. We sampled different honey products, and the stingless bee honey definitely tasted unique!

After browsing the port shopping area, we headed back to the ship and said goodbye to our last Caribbean port.

Happy birthday, Josiah!

Josiah turned 1 year old on the day we sailed back into Orlando! I can’t believe our sweet baby is already one!

Since we were traveling on his birthday, we created some mini celebrations along the way. Josiah had lots of “happy birthday” songs from the ship’s staff and a special cake from the dining room! We also stopped by Nothing Bundt Cakes in Orlando and picked up a little cake for him while we headed to the airport to catch our flight.

Home again!

It’s always so great to be home again. There’s nothing like traveling with a baby to make you appreciate “normal”.

Until our next adventure!

*hugs*
Amber

Top Recommendations

Belize Spice Farm and Botanical Garden {mainland Belize}

Mayan Cacao Company tour {Cozumel}

Konoko Falls and Park {Ochos Rios, Jamaica}

MOHO Chocolate Company chocolate bars {Harvest Caye, Belize}

Want to explore a new part of the world? Come along with us to Cinque Terre, Italy or Glacier National Park, Montana!

  1. Patti Palmer

    February 6th, 2020 at 6:03 pm

    You captured everything SO well! What memories we made.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

JOIN THE LIST

weekly goodies in your inbox