Vacation was lots of fun. We were on a 9-day cruise out of Baltimore to Freeport, on Grand Bahama Island, then CocoCay, Royal Caribbean's private island in the Bahamas (beach day), Key West, Cozumel (we went on to Cancun via bus) and Port Canaveral.
I've been to Key West once before and it was one of my favorite ports then. Still is. The shopping is unique...yeah, there are a lot of t-shirt shops (more, even, than Columbia, Mizzou folks...), but there are also lots of stores with unique stuff, not the same old touristy trinkety stuff you see on many of the other islands. My only regret was that we weren't there very long. That would be a good port for an 11 p.m. or midnight departure, to give you plenty of time to drink up at one of the open-air bars (we went to Sloppy Joe's for a beer at the end of our afternoon, but I think they'd all be more fun at night).
Here are some pics. I'll try to post more as I get them formatted.
CocoCay, in the Bahamas. You can see the ship in the background.
More CocoCay. We were worried about Franklin (I guess it was a tropical storm? It was when we left) being a problem, since it was headed for the Bahamas when we left. But the weather was great almost the entire trip. We did get a little downpour in CocoCay, but it was actually nice because it cooled things off.
One of the places we went shopping in Cancun. It was freaking HOT and most of the stores except the jewelry stores don't have air conditioning. We did a lot of aimless jewelry shopping, although my sister did eventually find a necklace.
More Cancun. It sort of reminded me of a mini Las Vegas, with resort after resort after resort down the main strip.
Main difference? A beach. This one was beside the restaurant we ate at. That was my favorite part of Cancun, mostly beacause although the restaurant was open-air, there was a nice breeze coming in off the water which made it easy to cool down and kick back.
More Cancun beach. I think we all agreed that if we could do it again we would shop less and bring things for the beach.
The beach at Playa del Carmen. We had to take a boat to Playa del Carmen, on the mainland, from the island of Cozumel. From there we boarded the bus to take us to Cancun. You can see some of the hurricane damage in the thatched roofs here. There was a lot of vegetation damage, and some more-rickety buildings had fallen over, but they largely escaped major damage. It was weird...you could see that the leaves on the palm trees had been permenantly blown inland.
Cozumel, near the cruise ship dock. We've been to Cozumel twice but never actually made the downtown area, which would be forward on the left-hand side of this picture.