Cozumel, Mexico – Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA – Harmony of the Seas – 2017 – Day 6-8

12/28/17

The port of the day – Cozumel, Mexico. My family all booked the Chichen Itza Mayan ruins tour ($130CAD). The Chichen Itza is one of the 7 Wonders of the World. We were all to eat breakfast then meet at the Royal Theatre at 745AM. We were all quarreled in the theatre and put into our rightful tour groups and given stickers to label us. They went over some rules and we waited for everyone to come in. We left by tours and disembarked off the ship to line up to take the ferry. Chichen Itza is in the Yucatan by Playa Del Carmen which is a 45 minute ferry ride followed by a 2-2.5 hour bus ride to the site. I can tell you that being on a floating island for a week, you barely feel motion sickness but this ferry was absolutely brutal. Headphones in and trying to sleep to keep from thinking about the motion and puking. They do hand out plastic bags just in case.

We arrived at the ferry pier in Playa Del Carmen beside Parque Fundadores and the iconic Portal Maya Statue. We were led to our specific tours and taken to our tour bus. Our tour guide gave us all tablets for the 2-hour ride and told us information about the Mayans. There is a toilet on the bus but bring your own toilet paper. Before we got off the bus, our tour guide handed us these audio devices that he will use to keep contact with us during the tour at the site.

We parked at Hotel Mayaland’s Chichen Itza entrance. We stopped to use the washroom and then walked over to the entrance. Cameras are allowed but recording devices such as GoPro’s must pay a $5USD fee. No drones allowed.

Mayan / Chichen Itza / Yucatan Information

-Place of the red fish – exact location of the asteroid impact that killed the dinosaurs.

-Land of the wood turkeys.

-Yucatan is the named the Europeans gave 15 centuries after Jesus was born.

-The Spaniards colonized. Ohyatan – Mayan – listen how they talk. Miscommunication thus Yucatan means in Mayan – I don’t understand.

-All the Mayan books were destroyed by Spaniards to convert to them to Catholicism.

-Only 3 books left of Mayan culture as the Spaniards punished the Mayans and burned almost 100% of all their books saying it was the words of the devil.

-The first book is on Astronomy. That book is housed in Germany.

-The second book is on Mathematics and housed in Paris.

-The third book is on the afterlife housed in Spain.

-The books unfortunately don’t speak of anything of the collapse of the Mayans.

-The Mayans could be the survivors of the lost city of the sea or that they came from outer space. 5 days after birth, they put tablets and elongated the heads to make them “beautiful”.

-The Mayans were advanced and knew about 5 of the planets. They recorded and could predict the solar and lunar eclipse.

-December 21, 2012 was end of their calendar, not end of the world. It is also when 6 of the planets was to line up.

-The Mayans used 10 numbers including 0. They created the calendar with 0.

-The Mayans made 3 calendars – An Agriculture (18 months), a baby calendar and the 365 calendar.

-The origins of the Mayans are unknown but the working theory is that they are descendants of an Asian bloodline. They hold similar features such as facial structure, skin tone and many Mayans last names are Chinese.

-Mayans are born with a purple mark at the base of the spine. All natives are born with the purple marking of sort. This purple mark is also known as a Mongolian spot.

-The Mayans most likely crossed over from Asia via the bearing strait of Siberia.

-What happened to the Mayan people? They abandoned their cities possibly over politics or over population. The Spaniards came to discover empty cities and then went further inland to conquer the Aztecs.

-The name Chichen Itza:

Chi – mouth

Chen – sinkholes/well

itza – clan that built the city.

-Chichen Itza is divided into 2 sections.

-The new Chichen itza and old Chichen itza.

-They were built at different times and by different cultures.

-The Old Mayans never did human sacrifice but new Chichen Itza did as influence from other cultures.

 

When we arrived at Chichen Itza, it was overcrowded. The main pyramid we saw is called El Castillo and it is the temple of the Kukulkan (Snake in Mayan). The tour guide led us over to the the giant courtyard which was a sports field. They would play a life or death game where the winners would sacrifice their lives after they won thinking it was an honour.

The tour guide gave us about 10-20 minutes to take photos and buy souvenirs. The precious stone that the Mayans are known for is the obsidian stone that refracts different colours in the sunlight.

Back the route we came with one more toilet break before heading back on the bus. Our tour includes snacks and we got a package with packed sandwich, apple, banana, a snack bar, a bottle of coke and a bottle of water.

2 hours on the bus and what felt like the longest 45 minutes ferry ride back to our ship. We got back really late and missed volleyball at 5PM (got back at 6PM). All of us felt nauseated so we all went back to our rooms to rest up. We for the most part had attended all the entertainment on the ship so we took it very easy that night and relaxed. There was an all white party where the solarium got turned into a dancing area. The top floor was blocked off and you had to scan your card or pass to get in. The party started at 11PM but it was very lackluster so we left.

 

12/29/17

Our final full day of cruising passing Cuba to head back towards Fort Lauderdale. 830AM breakfast then 5 hours in the sun (without really noticing). Windjammer for lunch then we took the Mini putt. We figured we might as well try the giant slide – The abyss however, you need to have a top with sleeves to avoid sticking. To try the zipline or Flowrider, you need to sign a waiver and get blue wristband to do so.

Not many activities worth doing, we all split up. I ended up re-watching the Hideaway Heist aquatic show because I didn’t have my camera with me for the first show and I wanted to capture some cool diving shots. Went to worked out one last time then to the Jacuzzis. Out of the cruising days, that day in particular was super windy and all the Jacuzzis were jam packed but I was able to find a spot but then 2 older asian couples got into my space so I left.

We had reserved our final dinner on the ship in the Fine dining – Silk. Really cute to see the staff come out to sing us a song to thank us for being patrons with the patrons swinging our napkins in response of celebration. I ordered the crab cake, 2 entrées – tempura cod fish and shrimp ravioli with carrot cake to finish.

We watched Spiderman on the big screen at the Boardwalk and went back to the room to pack. Usually on this night, people would pack their luggages and leave it in the hallway for the staff to take away and sort for check-out the following day. We opted to carry our luggage out with us for faster check-out.

 

12/30/17

We grabbed breakfast at the Bistro and then met up with the rest before leaving the ship. You can stay on the ship until 10AM but must vacate the rooms by 830AM because they need to clean all the rooms and get it ready for the next cruise where the new patrons would arrive as early as 1030AM. Self carry checkout was really quick.

We took a taxi to airport and my parents decided to stay while the four of us headed over to Enterprise to rent a car to goto Sawgrass Outlets. Our flight was scheduled for 10PM that night (we departed the ship by 9-930AM) so we wanted to kill some time and not sit in an airport all day. We arrived at the outlets just before it opened at 10AM.

I finally bought new shoes from Nike (replaced my worn out shoes from 2014) and went to Super target for M&M’s. We ate lunch at the Cheesecake Factory – Mac & Cheese burger. Got back to the airport around 430-5PM and waited around as our flight was the last scheduled flight out.

So many delays due to snow in New York and Boston but unfortunately the plane for the flight to Halifax had some technical problems with the temperature gauge and needed 4 mechanics to come in to repair it, which delayed that flight by multiple hours. By the time our flight was to leave, we left on time but there were a few that were delayed further due to the weather. So happy our flight was on time but not happy to leave 17-30C degree to -19C degrees (felt like -30C) weather.

Falmouth, Jamaica – Harmony of the Seas – 2017 – Day 4-5

12/26/17

We cruised through the night to arrive at Falmouth, Jamaica port in the morning. The port itself is small and is all shopping. We decided to opt out of disembarking the boat. Andrew (his first time on a cruise ship of any nature, got off to explore on his own for a bit). We ate at the Bistro together, lounged in the sun for a few hours before eating lunch at Windjammer. This lounging life is a world I am not use to and not much my style. We had booked the Escape Room – Escape the Rubicon ($12USD/person). It was about 2 hours long and really well done. We had our group of 4 plus another family of 4 and a family of 3. We didn’t escape in time but came really close!

The cruise ship has a outdoor gym that has scheduled timeslots for certain sports and I thought I’d be productive and play some volleyball. The thing is when it is open volleyball, it isn’t all top notch players and literally anyone can jump in to play. I’ll just say it was a little rough to say the least but at least it got me moving.

After getting a little exercise in, showered and joined the full family for dinner at Windjammers. Our evening entertainment for the night started with iSkate show in Studio B. The skate cast, created another program that showcases songs that they like to listen to or inspires them and performed a more modern show which was excellent. The skate cast (pretty much all the staff) all originate from different places in the world. The skaters and aquatics show cast vary from ex-olympians to ex-competitive athletes who want to entertain others, meet new people and travel the world.

Following the ice show, we had reservations at the Aquatheatre with their show – Fine Line. The show showcases a collection of aerialists, acrobatics, slackliners, divers and synchronized swimmers who perform a multitude of skills and dancing. It starts off with one man literally spinning for 15 minutes non-stop – It made me so dizzy. The show itself was by far the most entertaining and sensory overload with multiple things happening at once that you would be looking at the main stage then an aerialist would be flying over you to a person emerging from the pool with the hydraulic pool platform lower for a diver diving from the 17th deck level to a tightrope walker. It had wonderful dance sequences and even included a bit of Maori haka dance. Later in the evening they transformed Studio B (the ice rink) into the coolest nightclub on the waters by turning it into “Red Nightclub” lowering the temperatures and covering the ice with a rubberize surface to dance on.

12/27/17

A full day of cruising so we all slept in. When you are in your statesroom (especially the rooms with no windows) you are basically in a dark room with no clocks so time can standstill. The TV in your room has the about 15 channels – about 9 of them are Harmony of the Seas information. There are a few channels you can watch cartoons, Dreamworks movies and reality TV.

Same routine as the day before – Bistro for breakfast, tan session in Solarium then lunch at Windjammers. Don’t forget about the frozen yogurt stations for a little cool treat.

The Aquatics cast also has a secondary show called The Hideaway Heist. I must say, some gorgeous, perfectly chiseled performers. Yes I know I had watched the main aquatics show the previous day but this show, there was no intense black make-up on or too elaborate costumes. This show showcased more diving and incorporated more individual elements such as slacklining, trampoline and more opportunity for intricate dives with a mix of kooky dancing.

What else is there better to do on a cruise ship than eat and tan? Gym session. Relatively empty so I could do my workout freely and end off walk the outdoor track. I spent a little time hanging out in Central park before meeting up with everyone to have dinner at Windjammer. We met up with the parents and watched the Columbus Broadway. The cast of Grease starred in this musical number which at first glance everyone thinks is about Christopher Columbus but it’s actually not. It’s a strange musical to say the least but the flying sharks were definitely the best. Still very confused at what I watched but good.