S: Caribbean Cruise - Christmas 2012
BC: Another ToeJaM Production - December 2012
FC: Caribbean Cruise - Christmas 2012
1: Tim & Terry arrived in New Orleans Friday, December 21, 2012. We enjoyed Saturday morning breakfast at Dots Diner where we ate previously with grandpa Chuck on an earlier visit. | We start collecting our children at the New Orleans airport. Just waiting for Trevore and Courtney. | Saturday, December 22, 2012
2: Lunch at Kenner Seafood. A great local hangout near the New Orleans airport. Lots of authentic New Orleans style fried seafood. | A drive down the road that borders the Mississippi. A nice view overlooking the river. Looking forward to a holiday week with our children.
3: Downtown New Orleans and the French Quarter. Our hotel is on Canal and Bourbon Street, so we were really close. Dinner at Dickie Brennan's in the French Quarter.
4: Opposite page: New Orleans cemetery number 1 just north of the French Quarter. Since New Orleans is mostly below sea level the remains are kept in above ground crypts. | Bourbon Street at night after dinner. You want it, you can find it. Bobby and Trevore are thinking up ways to get lots of beads...
6: Sunday, December 23, 2012 Downtown New Orleans A view from our hotel J.W. Marriott.
7: We meet at Shula's for breakfast and discuss what to see driving around New Orleans in the morning before boarding our cruise ship the Norwegian Star.
8: More sights of New Orleans before boarding. There was a college football bowl game in town and it took forever to get our rental car from the valet.
9: Finally at the port! Tim dropped off everyone at the port, then returned the rental car about a half-mile away and then hiked back to the waiting family. | Bobby and Tammy are excited and ready! Bobby's first cruise! | Trevore and Courtney are also looking forward to the cruise! Courtney's first cruise too!
10: Oh YEA! They're ready! Which way to the ship!?!?!? | Opposite page: Found the ship, explore a bit and time to enjoy a beverage.
12: A nice lobby. Decorated for Christmas. | Ah... The presidential suite.... Er, no.... It's an inside cabin. Mom and dad are sure cheap!!
13: Trevore digging out a cotton ball from his ear. Compliments of Bobby. | Who knew he didn't like the feel of cotton balls.
14: View from the Bier Garten. Still in New Orleans port on the Mississippi.
15: We enjoyed several beverages here. Along with cigars late at night.
16: Found the video games. The competition continues... | Lots of Gingerbread about the ship.
17: Views of the Norwegian Star decked out for Christmas.
18: Leaving the port of New Orleans and heading down the Mississippi river to Costa Maya. It takes us nearly eight hours to navigate the Mississippi before we're in the Gulf of Mexico. New Orleans is pretty at night.
20: Christmas Eve family photos. The kids humored Mom by wearing the hats and headbands. After photos, we had a nice dinner at Cagney's Steakhouse. (Mom still thinks this is a zebra print. Got to get her to Africa...)
22: Tuesday, Christmas Day, December 25, 2012 Costa Maya, Mexico | Costa Maya is a town built just for cruise ships on the Yucatan Peninsula.
23: After disembarking, we set out to find our private tour guide in the small town. We are headed to a Mayan ruin.
24: We found our tour guide. We have a private van to take us through the countryside to Kohunlich. | It takes us about 2.5 hours (110 miles) each way to reach the Mayan ruins of Kohunlich. | The Mayans were "in power" before the Aztecs. Mayans only used stone. Aztecs used metals.
26: We walk and "explore" amongst the excavated ruins. There are nearly 200 mounds here on 21 acres surrounded by sub-tropical rainforest.
28: Kohunlich is believed to be settled 200 BC. Most of the structures were built from 250 to 600 AD. It is amazing what can be done with slave labor.
29: Trevore has to stand on the wall. The dropoff is nearly 50 feet to his left, (see how tall the trees are in the background. | We got Terry to climb the Palace steps. She had to go back down. As you can see, there were not many other tourists around because of it's remoteness.
31: Some of the structures were "rebuilt" by archaeologists. They used small jagged stones in the mortar to denote the areas they rebuilt. Lower left, opposite page: That's an ant trail in the grass; remember we're smack dab in the middle of nowhere.
32: It is amazing what the Mayans built in the jungle. Their vision, creativity, understanding of the sun movement, and ability to quarry stone and transport all without the use of metals. And this was only one of the many settlements. Just think of the food it took to feed the thousands of people.
33: While learning about the Mayan settlement called Kohunlich we chuckle because this is just 4 days after the US press had broadcast the end-of-the-world according to the Mayan calendar. | The Mayans had a counting system that used the power of 20 as their base. They could represent any number with dots and a line.
34: The Mayans used several different calendars. Their "Long Count" calendar ended on December 21, 2012. | Below: Okay, so who has the biggest butt? The tour guide!
35: Since the structures were covered in dirt and growth. Some of the large trees and their roots were left to not cause further damage. Reminds us of Siem Reap, Cambodia.
36: Tim wants to know where he was on the Yucatan Peninsula, so a picture of his phone with the GPS turned on. | Kohunlich is best known for the Temple of Masks. The temple was built around 500 AD. It was covered over in 700 AD thus preserving the masks.
37: Maria was our tour guide. One of the masks. The lighter color is a "repair job" to fix damage. Pictures on the right show trading stalls at the Mayan bazaar.
38: Terry is not climbing those damn steps. She is our photographer instead. | After the five of us climbed those steep stairs, we had to rest at the top.
39: Sitting on the top of the central staircase to the Temple of Masks. Originally there were eight masks (four on each side). Only five masks remain, the other three masks were looted. The area was "re-discovered" during one of the times when one of the masks was being looted. At that time, the Temple was covered in dirt and growth with only the top exposed. | Today you can see the thatched roof protecting the remaining masks on each side.
40: Standing on their "playing field". It is believed they played Po-ka-tok, often times played to their death. They had to score in a 30ft high stone hoop. | The structure in the center contained a "sun hole" where the rays would track on the Temple of the Masks to denote specific times of the year.
41: Headed back to our home for the week. What a way to spend Christmas day, learning about another culture. Lower right, that's a load of sugar cane headed to market.
42: Photo-bomb | In the bar having a pre-dinner drink. Discussing what we saw today at the Mayan ruins of Kohunlich and the Yucatan Peninsula countryside.
43: Wednesday, December 26 Belize City, Belize
44: We tender in to Belize City because the waters are so shallow. Belize is the only english speaking country in Central America because it was a former UK colony. Trevore and Courtney go zip-lining and tubing. Tim, Terry, Bobby, and Tammy hire a taxi to see the sights, takes about an hour.
46: After our city tour, we sample local beverages. Belikin is the beer brand of choice in Belize. | Buy some beers, get free WiFi access for the Internet. Technology & beer - brilliant!
47: This is a holiday week in Belize, so all the fisherman's boats are docked in the harbor. The waters are so shallow the Spanish could not "invade" and take the country from the English. The English knew where the narrow, deep channel was located. While the four of us are enjoying the tourist dock area and beers, where are Trevore and Courtney?
48: Trevore and Courtney get an early tender in to Belize and start their day of adventure cave-tubing and zip-lining.
49: Interesting, neither of them look apprehensive about clipping on to a skinny wire installed by the locals to zoom through the trees 40 feet off the ground...
50: At night, our cabins would be turned down. Our towels would be folded in to some sort of animal for our entertainment. Cigars after dinner was one entertainment. Clearly our favorite was Second City Improv and their entertainment.
51: Second City Improv - | Another sketch.. | "Dare u go" | Get outta here! | The comments below only make sense if you were there...
52: Thursday, December 27, 2012 Roatan, Honduras | Roatan is a Honduran island. Tourism and fishing are the primary industries. We dock with a light rain falling. By the time we disembark, the rain stopped.
53: All six of us disembark and head off to find our tour-guide. Today we're seeing the "Wild Things" -- animals and beach people...
54: Our first stop is the Iguana Park. This place has hundreds of Iguana, various birds, turtles, fish and some monkeys. Iguana can live to be 25 years old. They don't know how many Iguana they have running around, 300 - 1,000 maybe...
59: The Iguana park runs down to the water where they have a fenced off water area for fish. The Tarpon have eyes looking up and can track scraps of fish tossed at them.
60: This home is owned by our tour guide... NOT! Actually owned by the owner of a shipping company.
61: We leave the Iguana park and get a scenic tour of Roatan Island. One stop is the highest point of the island where you can see the north and south waters. The locals are ready to sell their trinkets.
62: Our next stop is the Monkey and Bird Park | There are other different animals as well.
63: We get in an enclosure with two Capuchin monkeys. They're both about 3 years old and are very inquisitive. All of us were very entertained.
65: The Capuchin's are cheeky little guys, they're exploring everything. After we leave the Capuchin monkeys we get in another enclosure with Macaws. The red ones are Scarlet Macaws. The green ones are Military Macaws.
67: This little fawn had just been born the day before. It was still trying to find it's legs. Mama deer is resting and keeping a watchful eye.
68: The Toucan is a very colorful bird; their blue feet are an unusual feature. | Bobby found a friend.
69: More interesting views of the Monkey & Bird Park. | Time to go see the other "Wild Things" (beach people) on Roatan.
70: A relaxing place to enjoy lunch, beverages, and people watching. We had music and games. Trevore and Courtney played Jenga.
72: Time to head back to the ship after a full, fun-filled day of "Wild Things" on Roatan Island.
73: Back aboard the Norwegian Star.
74: Friday, December 28, 2012 Cozumel, Mexico | Docked in Cozumel. Found a taxi and headed to the marina for a half-day of fishing.
75: At the marina, we find our private charter with Tres Hermanoes and get ready to go deep sea fishing.
77: We have a captain and two mates doing all the real work of baiting the five lines and keeping a watchful eye. Bobby is first up and catches a Barracuda weighing about 20 pounds.
78: Trevore's up next. He's got something big on the line! It's another Barracuda weighing about 15 pounds. | Picture of the GPS where we are fishing off the north side of Cozumel.
79: Finally, Tammy gets her turn at reeling in a fish. She struggles with her catch for nearly 15 minutes. The mate brings it aboard and you can see Tammy staying away from those teeth on the Barracuda.
80: We thought something else was hooked and Tim got ready. That fish got away. I guess that's why they call it fishing and not "catching"...
81: Trevore is proud of his 15 pound Barracuda. | Bobby proudly holding his 20 pound Barracuda.
82: Tammy was the real fisherman. Her Barracuda was nearly 40 pounds! She has bragging rights over her hubby and brother!
83: What sharp teeth Barracuda have! | All three proudly display their catch!
84: Time to leave the marina and find a taxi to head back to the ship. Great memories of catching Barracuda in Cozumel. | Views along the way back to our dock.
85: Nativity scene on the pier. Ships of the Mexican Navy. | The dock between two cruise ships feels like a street in a downtown.
86: Our last night of entertainment aboard the Norwegian Star. | Saturday, December 29, A Relaxing Sea Day.
88: Previous page: We arrive back in the Port of New Orleans take a taxi to our rental car. Enjoy more sights of the French Quarter and the Cafe Du Monde. We then drive across Lake Pontchartrain (24 miles long) and take in sights of the swamps before lunch back at Kenner Seafood. Finally arrive back at the airport, playing Hollywood Rummy waiting for our flights back home. | Sunday, December 30, 2012 - New Orleans
89: Thanks to all of you for making Christmas 2012 very memorable and special. We had a wonderful time with all of you and we hope you did as well.