I spent New Years Eve on a boat! It did not suck!
And it’s a month later and I haven’t written about it, wheeee!
We decided that we wanted to do something different for NYE instead of the party we normally host, since we didn’t feel comfortable peopling in that large of a group. Last New Year’s camping was fun but felt really FOMO-y when the clock hit midnight and it was just us and super quiet. We wanted to do something a little more epic if we weren’t going to do normal.
We considered doing something like Bonaire, or another all-inclusive, but decided on a cruise because we wanted something where we didn’t have the opportunity to dive every day so we were forced to relax. So, December 31st, after frantically searching for and paying premium for a Covid test the day before, we made our way to Galveston to hop on the Carnival Vista.
Love that the ships are embracing technology – at 7am we woke to a text message saying that the port was closed due to fog and there would be delays – the last time this happened we just had to show up and wait. We took a much more leisurely approach to the morning and afternoon, leaving a little later (and actually turning around to grab something we forgot instead of just forging on), stopping for a sit-down lunch, and taking some time to explore Galveston Pier when we got there instead of rushing to the ship.
It took about 90 minutes to go from parking to ship, which is a little more than we expected, but we got settled quickly and went out to explore the ship, get some dinner, and take advantage of our drink package. Sadly, we found out Texas laws are annoying, and the drink package doesn’t kick in until Day 2. Normally we’d just play it casual the first night, but it was New Years Eve, so we just braced for an additional bar bill and enjoyed ourselves. It was fun to toast 2022 with a big group of (socially distanced) people, but I don’t think this is a new tradition or anything.
I broke my New Years Day tradition of running, but I did bike for 30 mins and lifted (I refuse to run on a moving ship, and it was rocky AF that day anyway) so we’ll call it a decent substitute.
We had hoped to dive in Cozumel, but there was no tour offered through the ship and our favorite dive shop was closed. Because of the delay to sail, we were in port later (130pm-9pm), so we couldn’t really just shop around for an afternoon dive (they usually leave around noon or 1). We packed our gear and wandered around the port and then just decided to take a last-minute beach break that advertised good snorkeling.
We actually quite enjoyed it! On a trip with a drink package, there wasn’t a need for us to go to Playa Mia with it’s open bar or anything like that – a cheap transport and private beach with fishies was all we needed. While I won’t say it was the BEST snorkeling we ever had, it was more than adequate. And we caught some gorgeous sunset action.
We didn’t bother getting off the ship in Costa Maya, since the main draw of the port is a swim up bar (which was kinda like Covid soup). For Belize, we had a fairly quick mission – take the ferry ride from the boat to the port, get a Belikin and some Belizian meat pies for lunch, and head back.
Success. And we also found our Leah + Joel was here on the wall at the Wet Lizard bar from 2018!
This was the only place we had something booked – a 2-tank dive. Since it was the only one on the whole trip offered through the ship, it was SUPER crowded. It was really too people-y for me so I spent much time either on the bow of the ship or the captain’s perch on top of the boat. The first dive was a little annoying with so many people in proximity there was a lot of unintentional kicking and such, but the second dive we were able to hang back a bit and one of the divemasters stayed with us and helped us spot some great things!
After we returned to the ship and changed and ate some lunch, we went on the little “nature hike” that was by the port. It was actually super pretty and I got some decent photos.
Most mornings, we had a pretty solid routine: wake up, snap pretty pictures on the balcony, read a bit, forage breakfast and coffee (I often grabbed a cold sandwich from the deli the night before and stuck it in the fridge), and then hit the gym. We stuck to the bikes for cardio, doing an hour most days (I had a new music playlist and the bikes had solitaire built in, I was entertained) and lifted 5 times. After, we leisurely stretched and rolled in the spin studio before perusing our lunch options. One might protest that spending so much time in the gym is not a relaxing vacation but for us, it was.
I did not spend much time in the pools or hot tubs, again, it was very people-y and I just didn’t want to be that close. We read a lot on deck, on our patio, and sometimes just laid in bed and read and napped with the windows open. It was glorious.
We did ride the sky bikes and did the waterslide once. And, I spent a lot of time, as per usual, hunting down photo ops of cool things. The sunset was a revered and sacred time in which I typically ran around all the top decks looking for the best shot I could find of the sun doing spectacular things before it went away for the day.
And… we ate. A lot. The ship had a lot of interesting food with that deli (this was one of the best meatball sandwiches I’ve ever had), a BBQ spot, the best burgers I’ve had on a cruise ship, a Mongolian grill, 24-hour pizza joint, a create-your-own pasta bar, and a great buffet. The dining room was okayyy. We went a few times when a slow-paced multi course meal sounded good, but kind found we’d rather grab some food quickly and move on with our days.
I can say that I escaped without experiencing the fun which is Covid (at least if the home test is to be believed), but I had very little appetite the last day or two of the trip, and some real fun stomach grossness hit me on the way home and stuck with me for the next week and a half.
The trip did what it was supposed to do – provide us with eight days to just do whatever – and kept us from being too active on vacation. We are also both excited for our next trip that’s just us to go somewhere to do a more adventure-y vacation, so don’t expect us to lose our craziness and just lounge on a deck but it was sure nice this time. 🙂