Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A Food Vacation, Part Two

Welcome to Part Two of my food vacation, on board the cruise ship and ports of call! We left New Orleans in the evening, and had a full day at sea before landing in Costa Maya. Husband and I both had spa treatments during the day at sea (sea weed wrap for me!), and explored the ship. We had 12 different dining options and 8 bars. Of the 12 dining options, half were included in the cost of the cruise, and the other half were "specialty" and had a cover charge, from $10-25 per person. The dining options that were included were varied, from buffets to formal sit-downs with menus, and we tried them all, but the food was not as good as on some other cruise lines we've been on. We tried 2 specialty restaurants, an italian trattoria and a steakhouse. They were both worth the extra charge!

Costa Maya, Mexico, was beautiful! We didn't sign up for a shore excursion, instead we rented bikes on our own and rode a couple miles to a beach and got a nice shot of the ship!
On the way back we saw a little place advertising $1 beers, so of course we had to stop! We were pretty much the only customers, so we talked a while with the owner and his family, had lots of beers and fresh fish tacos, and met their pet- a Mexican parrot that snacks on tortillas rather than crackers!
Here we are having margaritas once back on the ship. The strange thing about this photo is there is no one else in it! We didn't realize it would be spring break...there were 500 spring breakers on the ship, all from Vanderbilt University! They definitely changed the vibe of the week.
Next stop was Guatemala...we did a Nature and Culture tour. We drove about a half hour to a textile museum that had a huge garden with all kinds of native plants. I don't think T was too excited about this tour, but it was my birthday so I got to pick! We also had lunch here, I had fresh tortillas with guacamole, and T had chicken with rice and fried plantains. Everything was delicious and we met some really nice people here.

The next day was Belize City, Belize. T did a zip line/cave tubing excursion, but that's not really my thing. I thought I would just walk around town and explore on my own. At this port, it is so shallow that the cruise ship has to anchor very far away and we took a little tender boat to shore, about a half hour ride. There was a little shopping area which was very crowded, as there were 5 ships in that day. Felt just like home! Outside of the shopping area, the locals were VERY aggressive trying to sell you tours and taxi rides and just about anything else. I explored about a block and headed back to the ship, which was blessedly empty, and spent the day by the pool.

Cozumel was the next day. We had signed up for a cooking class, so we headed to a resort with about 10 other people. The class was a lot of fun...more hands on than the one in New Orleans...and the chef was great! We made an appetizer, entree, and dessert, and drinks all day were also included. The appetizer was a grilled tortilla with chorizo and onions and peppers. It had a name but I can't remember...there were a lot of margaritas consumed that day!Our entree was a grilled chicken or fish wrapped in a banana leaf then topped with peppers, tomatoes, olives, and wine and then finished in the oven. (We also learned how to decorate or plates: a flour and food coloring mix for the entree, and a cream and strawberry mix for the dessert).For desset we made rice pudding and thin cookies. The pudding was layered between the cookies into sort of a tower...very good and very easy!

We had another day at sea, then arrived back in New Orleans. But I can't leave my cruise story without a cheesy sunset over the water photo, so here it is! Stay tuned for Part Three, back in New Orleans!

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