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Copyright © 1995-2003 
Linda Coffman


Cruise Diva's CRUISE DIARY
Carnival Glory

July 14-19, 2003 ~ Inaugural 5-Night Cruise

by Linda Coffman (Part 2)

Costa Maya, Mexico

Costa Maya, Mexico

Carnival Glory's scheduled arrival time in Costa Maya was about 1:00 pm, so Lori I spent a leisurely morning. Our plan was to order lunch from room service and I would wait for it while Lori went to the spa for her scheduled pedicure. Our only service glitch occurred when the sandwiches didn't arrive as expected. A call to room service revealed that they were somewhat overwhelmed and, because we had an afternoon shore excursion to meet, we cancelled the order and grabbed snacks ashore.

Like Carnival Glory, this was our first trip to Costa Maya and we were impressed with the facilities for cruise passengers. Nestled on the unspoiled shoreline of the Yucatan Peninsula, Costa Maya boasts a small beach area alongside an extensive array of shops, an amphitheater, and even a salt water swimming pool for the enjoyment of cruise guests. After browsing for a short time, we set out on our tour. While other shore excursions centered around beach and water activities, we chose the opportunity to explore the Mayan ruins at Chacchoben, located near the Belize border.

Mayan ruins at Chacchoben

Our guide spoke passionately about the Mayan civilization and his cultural heritage during the one-hour drive to Chacchoben. However, nothing prepared us for our first glimpse of the fully excavated pyramid-shaped temple. It is simply amazing that the Mayans built these magnificent structures in the 10th Century BC, only to mysteriously abandon them two centuries later.

From the first temple, we made our way into the rainforest where our guide pointed out unique vegetation and the foundations of the ancient Mayan city. Viewing two more temples required climbing rock steps carved into the hillside... straight up and seemingly into the clouds! It was worth it, though, not only to see the temple, but also for the tree-top view of the rainforest. After the guided portion of our tour, we had time to wander independently through the the vast archaeological site and manicured landscaping before making our way back to the main pavilion (which includes bathroom facilities, a snack bar, and vendors displaying craft items) and our bus.

Back On Board

The snacks we picked up throughout the afternoon weren't much of a substitute for lunch, so Lori and I immediately went to the Red Sail Restaurant, the casual dining alternative. Several members of our tour group were there as well and we all drifted out to the Turquoise Pool terrace after eating to claim cozy rocking deck chairs and watch the sun set.

With the sun down, it was time to dress for the evening and check out the entertainment. Starting in the Ivory Club (jazz), we moved on to Cinn-A-Bar (piano bar), the Ebony Cabaret (rocking dance tunes), and Bar Blue (karaoke). Carnival Glory really comes to life at night! We ended our evening at the Kaleidoscope Bar adjacent to the Camel Casino where a pianist performed soothing late-night melodies. No matter what their taste in music, passengers would be hard pressed not to find entertainment to their liking on this ship.

Cozumel, Mexico

Off the Cozumel coast  - Passion Island

Shopping! We saved our gift lists for Cozumel, knowing we would find quality silver items at fair prices. Ashore early, we made our purchases and found the meeting spot for our tour departure.

No more walking and climbing for us... we boarded a bus bound for the dock where, after a short boat ride, we would be on Passion Island. Part of a natural preserve, and named for the fact that it was a favorite spot for honeymooners, Passion Island was cut off from the mainland by a hurricane in 1988. That quirk of fate makes it an incredible 'private' island for a day of sun, surf, and serenity.

Welcome to Passion Island

Don't plan to spend the day here if you want action. While an excellent Mexican buffet lunch and an open bar are included, a maximum of 600 people enjoy the island and its tranquility—Passion Island isn't a spot to party hardy. There are no paddle boats, jet skis, or parasailing to upset the ecological balance. Passion Island is ideal for relaxation and some recreation. Plenty of great lounge chairs line the beach, thatched huts and palm trees offer shade, hammocks sway in the breeze, and, for more active beach-goers, there are volleyball nets. Noticeably missing are the annoying vendors found on many beaches, although there are nice souvenir stands with good buys on silver and crafts. Bring your own snorkel equipment if you wish as the water is incredibly clear. However, with no reef offshore, the underwater scenery isn't abundant. It's a day of sun, sand, sea, and pure pleasure!

Back On Board

Once again Lori and I opted to dine casually—this time selecting Caesar salads and pizza. Like her fleetmates, Carnival Glory serves some of the best pizza at sea and we enjoyed the opportunity to kick back after such a mellow day at Passion Island.

Before meeting a friend to go "out" for drinks and jazz in the Ivory Club, we changed from shorts into casual dresses. By and large, our fellow passengers adhered to the dress code announced in each day's Carnival Capers newsletter. One exception was the teenage set and their wardrobes seem to consist of 'costumes' as much as clothing. To their credit, most teens on our cruise were well-mannered.

Continued --> Carnival Glory Cruise Diary (Part 3)

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Back to --> Carnival Glory Cruise Diary (Part 1)

Carnival Glory Images © and courtesy of Andy Newman/CCL 

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