Diary of a Cruiser – Forbidden Port of Grand Turk

There sat Pinterest perfect Grand Turk dressed in brilliant blues and greens and snuggled in by the warmth of the sun. It had captured my heart with delight and beauty yet it was just out of reach.

The excitement for this day started well before I embarked on my cruising adventure. I had been looking forward to this day in particular for a long time. I spent plenty of time looking at videos and photos of this special port destination. It’s simply dreamy.

Yet, this was one day that a wave of sadness and disappointment fell over me. That has never happened before. On past vacations, I have had bad moments and sick days, but nothing heart sinking like this has ever occurred.

“I realized I had to shake off this heavy, sad blanket that now is drenched from the tears of my heart”

What happened, how could I be sad on a cruise?

It was a glorious morning, we will be arriving at Grand Turk pretty soon. I decided to peek at the ocean before meeting friends for breakfast. I couldn’t quite make out the island, but the sun is warm and the sky is sparkly! I climbed up the stairs of the hot tub to look over the Plexiglas. We are not close yet, no sign of any island.

Carnival Magic Grand Turk Day

Despite of my lack of sleep the night before, I knew this was going to be an amazing day. We have a beach and pool day planned with many friends. In my mind I am going through what I thought the day might bring. There is a beautiful white sand beach, pool at Margaritaville where we would likely spend most of our day, and a small port shopping area.

Some of the beach hangouts even have dogs! I love this, it brings me such joy to see the owner’s dogs. It reminds me of some of those dogs I’ve come across on my port days.

Beach Dog

The island is small and everything is right off the pier, long walks are not necessary. I had seen this port in many pictures and videos, seemed like it would be practically everything I dreamed of in a beach day.

Breakfast in the dining room was nice, grits and avocado toast did the trick today, even though the real treat awaited me just a little bit away. I remember a moment where I silently sat and looked at the big smiles surrounding me at the table. Everyone was chatting and laughing. A little extra sparkle in their eyes, just how I felt too. I think they were all looking forward to this day as well. This was going to be a special day with some really great people. Memories of a lifetime just waiting to be made. Since there would likely be dogs at this beach, my friends offered to give some of their left over bacon and biscuits to me so I could save them in a plastic Ziploc and hand them out when we got to the beach. Seeing those cute puppy faces would be such a delight. To my right, a large window framed what I could almost make out to be an island. We are getting close! The water is brighter than the big ocean where we came.

Danish with a view – Carnival Magic

After breakfast, we had docked finally in Grand Turk. I couldn’t believe we were here! Bright blue and turquoise water, relaxing beach chairs and umbrellas line the beach and port shopping and restaurants await a bunch of excited visitors. I could not wait to experience the beauty firsthand.

I was dressed for the beach, swimsuit and cover and beach bag. We waited to be cleared, and a while later we still have not gotten clearance. I went out on deck again to see this place, it is so lovely, that water, those gentle waves, the beach are so lovely.

Grand Turk

Beauty to the right, beauty to the left. These views just take my breath away.

Grand Turk Pier

I suddenly have a very bad feeling something is wrong. It’s now been hours since we docked. Why won’t they let us off? This is breaking my heart! I was confused and sad. This beautiful place was almost within reach, yet so far. It was the top port I had been looking forward to this cruise. Not to say the other ports were not amazing, they were, they were even better than I had expected. It’s just that I had heard so many things, I had never been here, those pictures and videos were locked in my head. Guys, this place looks remarkable. Standing at the railing with other passengers and their backpacks and beach hats, I shake my head, this cannot be happening.

No Touchie

I am able to visit with friends in our common meeting place called Ocean Plaza. This is a venue where they host trivia and musical events, so there are many places to sit. One one side is the coffee shop and further down is the sushi place, and on the other is the Alchemy Bar where craft cocktails are being mixed.

On either side of the Ocean Plaza are doors to get outside to the outer deck, where loungers, chairs, and hot tubs can be found. This has been a good meeting place to sit and visit. Oh the laughs and shenanigans that have ensued in this place. Sadly, today feels very different as everyone’s spirits are sinking. My friend offered to buy me coffee which was so kind, what a golden heart, that really made my day.

As we sit, we all try to keep a positive attitude. Even though deep down in our hearts we are breaking, we know this port visit is not likely to happen. Hours creep by and the Cruise Director and the Captain make several announcements that we are waiting for clearance… sorry for the delay… we apologize… bear with us. Over and over we hear a modified version of the same message, and playing in my mind like a slow motion movie as the voice gets deeper and deeper and the dread starts to set in.

A few of us make an attempt to go find some beach chairs in the sun by either of the pools, we make our way up to the lido. It is packed, every chair has someone in it, both pools are packed shoulder to shoulder. I guess everyone had the same idea, just some of us were smarter and came up earlier.

Carnival Magic Pool

It is after noon and I decide to change out of my suit, I’ve partly given up yet there is still a sliver of hope. A few of us meet up in a cabin and enjoy their balcony and visit then go have lunch.

During lunch, the Captain makes the announcement that we unfortunately cannot get off the ship. What we knew was already true, is now official.

The Grand Turk Government would not allow the passengers on our ship to come to the island. Even though another ship docked next to us was allowed to.

Neighboring Ship at Grand Turk

I honestly felt a bit crushed, just like someone broke a promise and didn’t care how it made me feel. I realized I had to shake off this heavy, sad blanket that now is drenched from the tears of my heart. I have to let the things go that I cannot control, clearly this is one of them. I cannot control what happens in a day sometimes, I can only change how I react and what I decide to make of the rest of the day. Yes, it has taken enough of my day.

Be happy in the moment, that’s enough. Each moment is all we need, not more.

Mother Teresa

Come to find out we have flu sickness on our ship and positive Covid-19/Coronavirus cases both on the island of St. Maarten that we were at a couple days ago and on a neighboring ship in San Juan the day before. From the Captain’s announcement, I also learned we were only allowed to disembark two medical (non Coronavirus related guests) and sent on our way. It wasn’t until this day that I started to realize how virus serious this thing could be.

I was able to get a glimpse of us leaving. This ship was turning so fast when I noticed we were leaving. They did not waste any time to get out to sea. This means we have another sea day.

The crew was very helpful for us, they added a few events on the schedule and gave us all $100 on-board credit. This was not their fault and they treated us well. I am grateful we arrived home and non of us got sick. I am grateful for friends who helped me find happiness in that day so that the intense disappointment faded like the beaches of Grand Turk at sail-away.

Grand Turk

As I look back, I realize with all that is going on it was likely a good decision. It is also a good reminder to make the best of each day, learn to go with the flow, stay safe, be grateful, hug those loved ones. Check out my full day of adapting to new circumstances, in my new video.

Check out the Video

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Nachi Cocom All Inclusive Resort Cozumel Mexico

This peaceful seascape at Nachi Cocum is a welcomed change from the animated scramble that often is Cozumel. Cozumel has so much to offer, stunning beaches, steamy beach parties, exhilarating excursions, and some of the world’s best food in my opinion. Here, at Nachi Cocom Beach Resort, my busy mind is finally hushed and I slip into blissful relaxation. I have been to a few all inclusive resorts in Cozumel, Mexico, Nachi Cocom is now my favorite.

“The ocean stirs the heart, inspires the imagination, and brings eternal joy to the soul”

WYLAND

If you prefer to watch, check it out!

Nachi Cocom is a short 15 to 20 minute ride from either of the cruise ports in Cozumel, Puerta Maya or Punta Langosta. This intimate resort holds 130 guests and costs $55 for an all inclusive resort experience.

Though it is small, Nachi Cocom has a lot to offer and it may be a pleasant surprise to what you might expect at an all inclusive resort.

Nachi Cocom Resort Cozumel

Up the slight incline from the taxi drop-off is a large seating area that is open on all sides. The breeze moves the grass flowing from roof and there are plenty of comfortable chairs and tables. A small podium is set up with an employee taking payment for the guests. It was a slight wait for me, maybe 5 minutes as they worked down the line taking MasterCard or cash payments and providing a wristband for the day pass.

Between the eating area and the pool is a sunken bar, you can see the pool out the back.

Many options of seating are available near the pool or the ocean. Crowds are not an issue here, there would plenty of places to pick from even if we were at capacity. My group chose spot by the pool. There are loungers, wicker love-seats and chairs, and tables with umbrellas and chairs to choose.

The Pool was really nice and clean. The hot tub is connected to the pool and looks very inviting. I love how you can stand behind the pool and see both the pool and the ocean with the palm trees!

Nachi Cocom

The pool and hot tub have a swim up access to the bar which was really handy and the bartenders were very attentive and friendly. I got several margaritas and they were delicious!

Nachi Cocom Pool

Down the stairs from pool, I took a walk in the sand to get to the beach. Along the way there is a directional sign, massage salon, another smaller bar, and hammocks.

And then there was beach! This is a quiet and most relaxing beach! The water is really pretty and the sand is semi-coarse. On either side of this beach there is natural undeveloped land. Beyond that on one side only is Mr. Sancho’s Resort, you can tell because of the blow-up water slides and activities.

There is a pier here as well, it is painted white and if you are close you can tell there are some chips from that paint. It is a fun place to walk out on and get a picture of the resort from the ocean’s view. I found this place extremely clean too, with plenty of chairs.

The food building is very nice, it sits along the beach with a great view of the ocean. The food was fantastic. The service was great as well, we had several servers coming to help us or bring us drinks, food, etc. They were all very responsive to our needs.

With the all inclusive resort cost, you are allowed one appetizer, one soup or salad, one entree and one desert. They have really spicy pico de gallo, but it hurt so good!! Plus tons of guacamole. It was awesome!

In summary, if you are looking for a change of pace from the typical Cozumel party vibe, check out Nachi Cocom. It is a great place to relax for a day while you are in port!

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Diary of a Cruiser Chapter 4 Carnival Glory Costa Maya Mexico

I couldn’t resist rolling over with the fluffy blanket and catching a few more minutes of sleep this morning. The room is pitch black, except for the blue light coming from my usb charging block on the vanity counter, so I guess other than that it’s quite dark. I’ve often thought I should put some black tape over that one glowing button. I don’t normally get to or can sleep in, so this was nice there was no rush to get going today.

It is a casual schedule today of walking around and shopping in the port of Costa Maya, Mexico. I did not plan on any excursion; however there are plenty of things to pick from. We docked together with 3 mega cruise ships, Royal Caribbeans Harmony of the Seas, the Celebrity Edge, and Norwegian’s Escape. Our ship looks like a baby next to these giants of the sea. I love seeing all the ships while in port.

“…cruising is a great way to get out there and find something you like.”

If you would rather watch the video, check it out!

Carnival Glory Cruise EP4

I had some veggie tacos at Blue Iguana up on the Lido Deck and sat by the window to see the NCL Escape. This wonder of a ship has a special place in my heart as my first cruise ship ever. First cruise is the sweetest! It was such a surprise to see it and brought back some happy memories. Someday I would love to get back on that ship!

The wind is strong here, it always is here in Costa Maya. I noticed the Harmony of the Seas docking once breakfast was finished and went up the stairs by the pool to deck 10 to see the ship come in. They had closed the pier while the Harmony pulls in for safety, so if you were not off yet you were waiting at least 30 minutes.

I pushed in between a couple of lounge chairs to get to the railing. It looks like a people zoo on the other ship, or maybe we were the people zoo from their perspective. Many people sitting in their balcony lounge chairs, some people inside their cabins, some up on top having breakfast, or waving at all of us looking at them. I am really surprised how much we could see into the other ship. People are very comfortable inside their balcony cabins with their curtains open. It is such a grand ship, and looking at it from our top deck with several decks still towering over me is such a humbling moment. Seriously, it’s fun to see the neighbor ships at the ports.

I am meeting everyone down in the Atrium at 1030 am today because we are all just taking our time to get off the ship. Some of us have been here before and really we just want to walk around the port shopping area. But first, coffee, so nice to get free coffee with the drinks package, so it was a vanilla almond milk latte for me. Yum!!

The Atrium is quiet, but there is still a buzz of excitement. It’s fun watching people and groups come in, sit a while then leave, or get a drink from the Atrium Bar. Maybe an exciting chapter of Costa Maya will be written in their life story today. Could it be an ATV adventure, ziplining, tequila tasting, dolphin swimming, or maybe a relaxing beach day massage with a 2 for 1 beer special? Whatever it is, cruising is a great way to get out there and find something you like. I absolutely love that about cruising, something for everyone!

Time to go to the port, I gather all the important things and head to deck zero. The breeze might catch a hat or two today, hang on to your things! Costa Maya would not feel the same without it.

It’s a little walk down the pier, our ship is next to the Harmony of the Seas which is a mega ship. It feels like I am going through a tunnel between these two ships. This place is humming with activity with people sharing the same pier to get off. I have a feeling that this port is going to be super busy. I have never seen 4 ships here at one time. I don’t think this port really can handle all those people. It will be an interesting thing to see.

Costa Maya Pier – Harmony of the Seas and Carnival Glory

It’s always fun to take pictures of the water here, even though it’s not calm, it’s really pretty and the chaos of the crashing waves has a charm. Who doesn’t appreciate a little beautiful chaos.

I enter into an area with just a few vendors, a sign with large letters spelling Costa Maya, another multi directional sign for various things at this port, and an excursion sign up if you are looking for something to do today. To the right of the entrance are people dressed in native Mexican garb of elaborate feathers and leather, drumming and dancing. Of course, you can also can get your picture with them for a small fee or tip.

Costa Maya Port Entrance

Through an open building to the main port shopping area. Brightly colored hats, bags, clothing and collectibles seem to pop from the vendor shops. Above the shops there is a rope bridge throughout the whole port, you can pay a little extra to walk above everyone for a new perspective. People going in and out of shops and passionate sales people asking if you would like to come check out their things.

There is a show in the main courtyard with traditional Mexican Dancers atop a tall spinning pole, only to make their way down to the ground while they play flutes without safety harnesses. That scene is a little unnerving to me and probably a lot of people but we watch anyways.

Costa Maya Mexican Pole Dance

People seem to meander through the streets looking for that perfect gift or souvenir to bring home. I like to walk by the shops to catch some air conditioning. It’s the truth! I think the jewelry shops have the coldest air wafting from their stores. I think they know what they are doing, people want to be cool, so maybe they will want to stand a look and of course buy jewelry. So many people shoulder to shoulder here today. It is really warm and sticky and there is not much of a breeze coming through at all.

All the benches and stone wall ledges are packed with people. An actual people jam slows everyone down in a squeezy spot on the path near a large pool. It’s the one way through. That pool actually looks very inviting, its bright and sparkly since the sun is out. There are lounge chairs to claim and pool music if you just want to have a fun, relaxing pool day. Many palm trees are scattered through the seating area offering much needed shade from the hot sun.

Across the pool, people are enjoying their authentic Mexican food and margaritas at an open air restaurant with colorful wooden chairs. There are lots of additional restaurants throughout as well, although today it’s very packed. Down the path behind the pool there are flamingos, parrots, a chocolate company with samples, and many places to try some tequila. Visitors are also swimming with the dolphins. Just past the dolphin pool I caught a glimpse of the ships in port. The Carnival Glory is hiding, but it’s there.

The whole port layout looks more complicated than it is. The paths curve and turn, go around a pool and various things, but in the end it leads you back to the entrance and reveals that the port is actually not that huge. The back exit is the taxi and excursion area, this time I did not go back there, it was just fun just wandering these streets.

Time to head back to the ship, it’s a long walk and its so nice when the air conditioning hits you as you enter the ship!! It was really hot out. I got back to the ship and grabbed a rice bowl from Blue Iguana Cantina and met all our friends in the Buffet. The buffet has a sailing theme, sailboats and blue and tan colors. I think we all drank a bunch of water after being out in the hot air.

Time to head back to the ship, it’s a long walk and its so nice when the air conditioning hits you as you enter the ship!! It was really hot out. What a neat view to see our ship from this side of the port.

I got back to the ship and grabbed a rice bowl from Blue Iguana Cantina and met all our friends in the Buffet. The buffet has a sailing theme, sailboats and blue and tan colors. I think we all drank a bunch of water after being out in the hot air.

The rice bowl filled me up and I need to cool off so I head to my room. Once I had time to freshen up, I decided to stop at the coffee shop for vitamin water and hot water for tee. My throat felt a little scratchy and I wanted to try and prevent it from getting worse. I sat on the couches between the Alchemy Bar and the casino, the the grand Harmony of the Seas is outside the window. This is a really good day.

There is country music trivia in the Atrium and our group is going to do their best to get a ship on the stick. I am afraid I am not much help here, I can think of song titles but artist names are tough.

Before it starts, I cannot resist the temptation to go out on deck 3 and see the ocean. The Norwegian Escape has left port and sails into the evening. Adios, my fair ship! The Celebrity Edge is next and then us. Deck 3 has a few chairs but is mostly open for walking, and a railing to lean on and see the ocean, it is nice it is not full plexi-glass so I can feel that Costa Maya wind, its feels great!

It’s time for trivia. I will be the first to admit, for me anyways, some trivia games are quite dry and not very exciting. This one was so much fun. Our group teamed up and knew the answers! It was a jolly good time singing along with the songs. So it is trivia that brings us all together. Who knew? It came down to a tie breaker with another team and ours, and Josh from my team won! Yay for the ship on a stick. And yay for good times with good friends which happens to be one of my favorite things on a cruise!

Somehow the day has quickly escaped me and it is late into the evening. Up next is the Love and Marriage Show. This is absolutely a do not miss event. It really is a good time, at least for the audience. The theater is lit in colors of love. On stage, brave couples with varied lengths of marriage answer embarrassing questions to see which couple knows each other best and gets the best match. Do you know your Boo? I couldn’t go up on stage like that and reveal all those things in front of everyone! This time, the cruise director made it quite entertaining calling the room of one of the couples to speak to a sister and another time asking the older couple some questions to make the older lady blush, but it is all in good fun. Champagne prizes and hugs and kisses by each couple ends the show and we head out of the theater which cheeks hurting from laughing.

The night is not over even this show was, it is time for the adult scavenger hunt game called Quest. Lots of laughs found here! If you haven’t seen it once you should. The room is split into teams and they must find creative ways to bring things the leader asks for to get team points. There are things like a fruit, a bra on a man, lipstick; however, beware it can get crazy. It is not for the easily offended audience.

It is late after the Quest show but most of us hit the casino for just a bit before heading to bed. It is now past 1 am and I am exhausted!

Join me for Chapter 5 – Incredible Infinity Bay in Roatan

Chapter 123456

Infinity Bay Roatan

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Dancer Quest in Costa Maya Mexico

Norwegian Jade Cruise Vlogs

Booked this cruise last minute! I haven’t ever done that; however, this was the perfect cruise itinerary. Two private islands NCL Great Stirrup Cay, Harvest Caye, Costa Maya (Mahaual) and Key West! I couldnt pass up!

Check out our NCL Jade video series!

If you prefer, see my review, NCL Jade Photo Journal and Norwegian’s Private Island Harvest Caye Photo Review with lots and lots of pictures!

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NCL Jade 
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Mahaual
Norwegian Jade

Norwegian Getaway Cruise Vlogs

The NCL Getaway provided the perfect vacation! I was pleasantly surprised and impressed with this sailing. I had been waiting such a long time since our last cruise, we put together a pre cruise vlog also!!

Please join us on our journey, check out our Getaway Cruise Vlogs!

Includes island Tours on Costa Maya and Cozumel, Roatan Cruise Port, and lots of fun on this beautiful ship!

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Cozumel Mexico 
Roatan Honduras
Norwegian Getaway

Norwegian Escape Cruise Vlog Series #2

What cruise could possibly entice one to go on the same cruise just 3 months after first sailing? The Norwegian Escape did just that. This cruise was amazing, weather was perfect, the food was amazing, the experience was delightful.

This time around I sailed with my adult daughter and husband, so much fun to be had! Yes I did dress up for 80s night and Glow Party! A couple of the best parties I have ever attended on a ship!

Check out the NCL Escape Cruise Vlogs series #2 for more Eastern Caribbean cruising, St. Thomas, USVI, Tortola. BVI, and Nassau Bahamas!

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Norwegian Escape 
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Tortola BVI 
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Norwegian Escape