CRUISING THE CARIBBEAN

JAMAICA & COZUMEL

Explore Jamaica & Cozumel

Thinking of taking a vacation but can’t decide on where to go? Then why not take a cruise? By taking a cruise, you can travel to different locations, all while getting to enjoy the luxury and amenities that the ship has to offer. We stowed away on a Caribbean cruise from MSC Cruises and were able to explore so many fun and interesting places. While we had fun on the ship, we wanted to enjoy the culture of the surrounding area, so we booked an excursion. These excursions allow guests to book special trips ashore as part of an extra package. If you really want to make the most of your trip, I highly recommend booking an excursion.

Departing from Miami, we set sail for Ochos Rios, Jamaica. Once an old fishing village, Ochos Rios has become a major tourist destination. With its beautiful beaches, mountains, and rainforest surrounding it, this might be the last place you would think to go bobsledding. However, Ochos Rios is home to Mystic Mountain Bobsledding. Inspired by the 1988 Jamaican Olympic four-man bobsled team, Mystic Mountain allows guests to ride 2,780 ft of twists and turns down the mountain. Talk about a rush!

While in Ochos Rios, be sure to make time to check out Dunn’s River Falls. One of the only ones of its kind in the Carribean, Dunn’s River Falls is unlike most waterfalls. As most waterfalls erode away, Dunn’s River is able to regenerate itself from deposits of travertine rock. For those who feel adventurous, you can climb up the falls in a human chain, lead by a guide. But don’t worry, the falls offer plenty of safe vantage points and decks for those who feel less adventurous.

After a fun adventure in Jamaica, we decided to book an excursion in Cozumel as well. This time we wanted to take in some rays. And while it is always nice to get some sun, what we really wanted to do was swim with stingrays. As part of our excursion, we got to enjoy swimming with and feeding these friendly and majestic creatures in three feet of crystal clear water. This experience is minimally invasive and very educational. Just be sure to watch your step whenever in the water, as stingrays likes to bury themselves under the sand.

These excursions are truly amazing and allow your family to experience these different places and activities all for a fraction of the cost. And while you can always book your excursion while on the cruise, my advice is to book them ahead of time so you aren’t scrambling for something to do last minute. Plus as an added bonus, you can always reschedule or cancel your excursions at any time. Take this advice and you’ll see that traveling by sea is the way to be.

Family on deck of Jamaica cruise on Family Travel with Colleen Kelly
Photo of Jamaica bobsledding ride
Family in ocean during MSC Cruise to Jamaica and Cozumel
Photo of zip lines and sport court on cruise ship
Photo of MSC Cruise's Seaside

AN AMAZING NUMBER OF FUN ACTIVITIES

One of the great things about traveling aboard an MSC Cruise ship is that if you are looking for fun activities to do, you don’t have to look any further than the ship itself. While there are plenty of excursions to be had at different ports, MSC offers their own on-board fun. With activities for kids of all ages, you will find something for everyone while cruising to your destination. Here are some of our favorite activities from our trip!

One activity that my family really enjoyed was the Forest Aquaventure Park. This multi-story outdoor waterpark is one of the biggest waterparks at sea and is located right on the ship. With activities for kids of all ages, the waterpark features a play area for the tiny tots, a rope course, and a pair of racing slides that feature transparent tunnels that overhang the edge of the ship. With 5 slides total, including a 367 ft slide that features music and lights, there is plenty of fun to go around for all members of the family.

After you have tackled the rope courses of the waterpark, zip over to the ship’s zipline course. Hanging high above the ship is the longest zipline currently at sea, spanning an impressive 394 ft. As you sail above the water and sports parks of the ship, you also pass through several rings that serve as distance markers. And for those who are competitive, the ship features two ziplines which means you can challenge your friends and family to a race across the ship. This is a great way to take in a full view of the ship and all it has to offer while also taking in the breathtaking views of the surrounding seascape.

MSC Cruises has exceptional dining

One of the most important things in planning a trip is planning your food! Food is essential, so why not make sure you are eating right even when you’re traveling? While I always encourage my kids to try different flavors and dishes of the local area, you can have the best of both while on a cruise!

MSC Cruises offers nine different eateries to choose from while you sail aboard their ships. With casual buffet-style dining to sophisticated restaurants, MSC Cruises has it all. The kids will love the Biscayne Bay Buffet and Pizzeria. Here they offer a variety of healthy and delicious dishes, where kids can fill their plates with an endless supply of food. So be sure to bring your appetite!

If you are looking for a more formal dinner, I recommend checking out the Asian Market Kitchen. This restaurant is designed by award winning chef Roy Yamaguchi, who is known for his Hawaiian fusion cuisine. This restaurant offers Japanese style with a twist and features chinaware and music to add the right touch. However if you are looking for more of a show, you should also checkout chef Yamaguchi’s other restaurant on the ship, the Teppanyaki Restaurant. The restaurant features four teppanyaki grills that each chef uses to cook authentic Asian cuisine and entertain each guest.

After filling up on some yummy cuisine, stop on over to Venchi Chocolate Bar for a perfect dessert. With freshly made free samples at the door and a chocolate waterfall running in the back, this place is a chocolate lover’s paradise! Even if you don’t have room right after dinner, you can always buy something to take back to your room for later.

And who’s to say that the kids should have all the fun? With twenty different bars and lounges, parents can stay up late with some friends or mingle with other guests as they enjoy a little nightcap. I recommend heading over to the Champagne Bar for some refreshing cocktails, and of course, champagne by the glass. Afterall, us parents deserve a little time for ourselves too!

MSC Cruises has so many good options to choose from. From their Asian influenced cuisine to their lounges, you are guaranteed to have a good meal. So be sure to pack a good appetite!

Family Travel with Colleen Kelly dining at the grill
Photo of chocolate eclair

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