Hello from ~world travelers~ Jesse and Ami. Here’s what we did when we weren’t making enemies on the beautiful Carnival Paradise.
Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands
When I found out my roommate Emily had been on this same cruise a couple of years back, the first thing she said to me was “GO PLAY WITH THE STINGRAYS” and the second thing she said was “don’t drink too much and make an ass of yourself.” If you read the last post you know how the latter piece of advice went over (Spoiler Alert: we drank a lot and did many stupid things). However, I did make good on the stingrays! We purchased the excursion to take a Kayak Tour of Georgetown Bay, and then a speedboat out to Stingray City to make friends with the animal that killed Steve Irwin and his accomplices.
Upon debarking the boat, we found our group and were ushered onto a small bus, which took us on a tour of the island, ending at the Grand Cayman Yacht Club.
Once we got to the pier, our water tour guides, Ryan and Andrew, took over. They were both super cute and had great accents so I immediately fell in love with both of them. They helped us get into our kayaks, and we were off! Except for one couple who immediately capsized their kayak, who stayed behind for a while while Andrew helped them get their shit together. While they floundered by the dock, Ry-Ry (I call him Ry-Ry now) took us on a tour of the mangroves. We saw a few iguanas and a lot of multi-billion dollar homes. Ryan mentioned that his parents live in one of them, and I started planning my cushy life as a housewife in Grand Cayman. Andrew and the kayak-challenged couple finally caught up to us while I was composing my wedding vows, and we played with a jellyfish called the “Cassiopeia” that can’t sting you and lives upside down. So it is essentially a drunk, couch potato jellyfish, which I thought was pretty rad.
We wrapped up the kayak tour with a race back to the speedboat, the closest thing that I had to exercise in several days and thus very welcome. Ami and I didn’t win, so we hatched a revenge plot involving stingrays.
Back on the boat, we were off to see the stingrays! I struck up a conversation with Ryan and found out that he’s 19 and has a girlfriend so I was like “Bye Felicia” and went to get cozy with Andrew. Ami smacked me and threatened to feed me to a shark if I didn’t cut it out, so I went back to my seat and sulked for all of 3 seconds before I remembered that I was on a boat in Grand Cayman.
Finally, we made it to Stingray City! We went through our safety briefing featuring an adorable beanie baby stingray, and then we raced into the water. That is, I raced, everyone else hesitantly inched into the deadly waters. Andy (I call him Andy now) caught a stingray and let me feed it a little piece of squid. We had a moment. Ami said she didn’t want to feed it so I grabbed her piece of squid and fed it again. Andy was like “wow you’re really brave.” We’re totally gonna have stingrays at our wedding.
We played with the stingrays a bit longer, and then finally it was time to leave. I bid farewell to my new friends (they’re really soft and docile!) and we cruised back to the island. Andy and I said our teary goodbyes and exchanged promise rings, and then I bought some really cheap rum and got back on the boat. Rum heals all wounds.
Not many people make this connection, but ‘Cozumel’ kind of sounds like ‘Open Bar’ if you’re one of those people who slurs their words a lot. Thus, Ami and I booked an excursion that would take us on a thrilling high-speed boat ride to ‘Isla Pasion’ where we would laze on a white sand beach while enjoying a fresh buffet and unlimited booze. Don’t mind if we do.
Our boat drivers, Ivan and Joel, were super cool Mexican hombres who played all the best line dances of the 20th century while we cruised through crystal clear waters. Have you ever cha cha slide’d on a boat? It’s an experience, let me tell you.
Once we got to the lagoon inside of Isla Pasion, we were led through a series of spins that left us soaking wet. It was like a roller coaster in the water and we were HYPE. However, we were warned by Aeda, our island guide, that those spins wouldn’t be too fun if we spent too much time at the bar. Noted, Aeda.
Our first order of business was dranks: margaritas all around (so just me and Ami). Second order of business? Food. We feasted on chips, guac, salsa, salad, fresh fruit, and chicken nuggets (that was just me). We grabbed a second drink, set up our towels on the beach, and dashed into the ocean. The water was even warmer than in Grand Cayman and just as clear, complete with two water trampolines, this giant hotdog inflatable, sea kayaks and tricycles, and water hammocks. That’s right, hammocks IN THE WATER. Oh my loves, where have you been all my life???
So the drinks kind of sucked and so did the bartenders so I quickly abandoned any notion of getting drunk, instead spending the next 5 hours practicing my underwater handstands. Safe to say I could win at least a bronze medal now. Ami joined me for some water trampolining which is freaking hard and we quit when some 10 year old kid did a double back tuck + arabian into the water. Really, anything more than a handstand is just showing off, kid.
When Aeda came out to the beach and called for us, we bade a sad farewell to the water, and headed back over to the Twister. We were all fine save for one woman who was just a little bit too drunk, but she didn’t puke so we were all good. Ami and I stopped on the pier for daiquiris at a very authentic, Mardi Gras-themed Mexican restaurant. They didn’t get us tipsy at all. They did give us food poisoning though!! #souvenirs
As we were walking back up to the boat, who would we run into but Dad! He was by himself, being pulled in a carriage by a bicyclist (walking is hard, man). He offered us a ride, which we politely declined, even though he insisted that we would all fit if Ami sat in my lap. After that it was back on the boat, where we spent a fun night throwing up our daiquiris. Classic Mexico!