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Our Amazing Jamaican Tour
Our Ship - The Royal Caribbean Rhapsody of the Seas
A topic about me could include many things. I like to read, write, spend time with my family, savor a great meal in a fine restaurant, relax on a lazy day with my loving husband, or even create something delicious in the kitchen. But I believe my love for traveling and seeing new things would make the best, most interesting reading for now.
My husband and I have been blessed to travel to many exciting destinations around the world, including visiting 43 of the United States. We have been to Calgary and Banff in Alberta, Canada, Puerto Vallarta Mexico, Okinawa and Toyko Japan. One of the favorite U.S. states we visited was Hawaii, which included the Big Island of Hawaii, Oahu, and Maui. (My husband lived in Honolulu, Hawaii as a teenager and he was an excellent tour guide for our family when we visited this beautiful state.)
And with all those beautiful destinations we have been privileged to see, we found that taking a cruise ship may be our preferred method of travel. It is wonderful to go to sleep one night and wake up at a totally different port the next morning (or few days later) depending on how far out in the ocean you may be. It's kind of like a continuous experience of "sit back and leave the driving to us," which makes it a most carefree way to travel!
Our Two Cruises on Royal Caribbean
For our 25th anniversary, my husband and I celebrated by going on a cruise with Royal Caribbean. Leaving from Galveston, Texas, our first cruise took us to Cozumel, Mexico, then to Belize (which I learned as British Honduras from my school days), and finally The Florida Keys, where we were close enough to see Cuba in the distance.
That cruise was so fabulous that we chose to cruise again on our 29th anniversary with Royal Caribbean. This cruise ported at Jamaica, then Grand Cayman, and finally another visit to Cozumel, Mexico. The port I want to share, which turned out to be our most fond memory, was Ocho Rios, Jamaica. We met a new friend and our first experience of exploring Jamaica was most memorable.
In this photo, our ship is docked in Cozumel, Mexico.
Memories to Take Home
I have this cookbook which I bought at the gift shop on board the ship. It includes many wonderful recipes we enjoyed on the cruise.
My husband & I play cards a lot--rummy, canasta, etc. We have our own set of Royal Caribbean playing cards like these.
Traveling to New Places is One of My Favorite Things To Do
Where do you find the most beauty?
"Let Me Show You My Jamaica"
My husband and I found a new friendship while exploring downtown Ocho Rios when an offer from Derroney came with these words, "These buildings and streets here are not what Jamaica is all about; come with me and 'Let me show you my Jamaica'."
We said yes to this terrific offer and was definitely grateful that we did.
Spending our time in Jamaica, guided by Derroney's expertise was a treasured and memorable experience.
Derroney and Mitchell
Our New Friends from Ocho Rios Jamaica
When our ship docked in Jamaica, my husband & I went downtown Ocho Rios. We enjoyed getting acquainted with the area and seeing all the activity going on. We walked by a small shop on the main street and was greeted by a real Jamaican voice, who was very proud of his beautiful island country. He wanted us to experience way more than just the shopping area on our first visit to "his Jamaica."
He introduced himself as Derroney and said, "This is not the real Jamaica; you need to make some memories and learn some things about our island." Our new friend said, "Let me show you my Jamaica!"
We hesitated but continued talking and after awhile, decided we could not refuse his kind offer. We had a wonderful time experiencing so many new things we never would have found otherwise.
Derroney's friend, Mitchell drove us all over the area. We met many Jamaicans, drove through a real rain forest, picked allspice from a tree, and learned how delicious coconut water tastes. On our tour we drove up the mountain to a lookout where we took my intro picture for this lens. It was beautiful up there. We met a coconut carver and purchased one of his creative handi-works.
We also stopped in a place among the villagers to swing on a giant swing hanging from a Banyon tree. There is a picture of the Banyon trees below.
More of Travels with Derroney and Mitchell
Around lunchtime, Derroney asked us what we wanted to eat during our visit to Jamaica. We had heard a lot about jerk chicken and how it was fabulous there. And while viewing the somewhat seemingly unsanitary conditions at times, we told Derroney we would really like to try the jerk chicken but only if he could guarantee that it was sanitary and safe to eat. He laughed and said, "I know just the place to go and you will not be disappointed." He was right, the food was fabulous, the atmosphere was so Jamaican, and we loved every thing about our lunch that day!
The restaurant was very near the famous Ocho Rios Dunn's Falls made popular in a 007 James Bond movie. So our next stop was that beautiful waterfall where we took pictures and waded in the water.
Dunn's Falls Ocho Rios Jamaica
My picture did not do this beautiful place justice so I added this video from YouTube.
Love the Jamaican accent!
Ever been cruising with Royal Caribbean or any other cruise line?
Have you ever been on a cruise?
Derroney Takes Us on a Special Shopping Trip
While driving around seeing the sites and magnificent beauty of Jamaica, we drove through a small village in the mountain area. There were many very kind women with many Jamaican souvenirs to sell. Derroney told the women to keep clear of the car and not to bother us. However, I spied a few things they had that I wanted to see closer. Derroney said, "we will stop if you want, but beware, they will "flog you"; we really can just continue on."
I had looked into the eyes of a few of the women and they seemed to really need to sell something to us. As soon as the car stopped, about 5-10 women came up to the car putting their t-shirts, necklaces, and all sorts of souvenirs inside the car for us to look over. This was the very first time I had ever been shopping without leaving my car seat! It was quite an experience and I really enjoyed the entire shopping spree. We bought jewelry, t-shirts, and several other Jamaican knick- knacks. The women seemed very happy about our purchases and we got many good deals too. Derroney laughed as he looked on, always making sure the ladies were respectful and not overbearing.
Before we parted, Derroney took us to a downtown market where we purchased some coconut water to take with us. Our day with Derroney was amazing and we hope to return to Jamaica for another tour with him. We are friends on Facebook and still stay in touch; he asks often when we will be back.