We booked Early Saver through Carnival directly last May, and we had 4 different price drops including an upgraded room before final payment. If possible, we always book Early Saver. For this trip, the hubs and I went with my coworker who stayed with us in our room. She slept in a pullman bed, which was a bit of a climb up the ladder every night but tolerable. The room did feel a little tight with three people, but the fare was much cheaper this way.
On our 7 night cruise, there were two formal nights in the main dining room. We selected Any Time Dining but never really had to wait for a table. We were able to request the same waiter 6 out of 7 nights; one night it was a 45 minute wait so we decided to sit in another section. Our wait staff team was awesome, and they really worked hard. It was non-stop for them, but they were always pleasant. Two tips if you are anything like me: order the cheese plate to come as an appetizer and mix the cherries jubilee with some chocolate melting cake on the first formal night:)
The hubs and I took a taxi from port ($9 each way for up to 4 people) to The Money Bar. We got there early and were able to get two lounge chairs under a tree. We ordered a plate of nachos, a soda, and a margarita for about $20. Snorkeling is right down the steps in front of Money Bar. There were plenty of fish but not much in the way of truly healthy reef this year. The current was also very strong heading toward to the cruise ship docks - a little energy to snorkel to the right first, but a drift back. A set of people started to the left with the current and saw a huge ray they followed for a good bit, but the swim back was difficult for them. We've been there twice, so we will probably try something else in Cozumel next time.
Belize - Caye Caulker
We walked out of the port to get to the Belize Express water taxi terminal. The entrance on your left is marked well with a big sign with the logo, and the ticket desk is all the way down the plaza to your right. Belize City doesn't feel safe to me, although I know some people say it's just fine. Here's a tip: Go all the way to Terminal 4 (far left side of the tourist village) before you walk out onto the street and turn left to go to the water taxi terminal. Less time on the street means less time being harassed by locals. We know this now.
We bought round trip tickets for both of us for $45. The taxi was packed full on our way out to Caye Caulker, lots of locals on their way out to their various jobs. The ride to Caye Caulker is 45 minutes and fairly smooth. We turned right as soon as we walked off the dock on CC and walked down "front" street. It is lined on both sides by restaurants and excursion booths on the water. Very easy walk from the dock to the Lazy Lizard at the Split. This is a very popular spot for the younger crowd who are staying on the island. We couldn't stay long, but apparently it gets pretty busy in the evenings. We bought their drink, Lizard Juice, for $5 USD. So good! This spot is a place to just relax and enjoy the scenery, but there were a few people snorkeling. The current is really strong here at the Split.
Roatan - West Bay Beach
Last time we were in Roatan, we really regretted not snorkeling so on this visit snorkeling was priority one for us. We found 2 other couples from our ship and hired a private driver through Victor Bodden for the day. We lucked out with having Tex as our guide. He is by far the most popular and most-talked-about guide on Cruise Critic. He was great! For $25 pp, he took us wherever we wanted to go.
We drove through town to West Bay to snorkel in front of Infinity Bay Resort through the infamous "kidney bean." All I can say is "WOW!" Such an easy snorkel from the beach with a ton of healthy reef and fish. There are dive boats and snorkel boats available for hire along the beach, but the beach is public, and the snorkeling is free with your own gear.
After snorkeling, we headed right down the road to Celeste’s for lunch. Great food, worth a stop.
We still had time before we had to be back at the ship, so I asked Tex if we could see some monkeys. He drove us to Victor’s little zoo. For $5pp, we toured the well-kept facility with Jorge and had the chance to play visit with monkeys, parrots, toucans, and white-tailed deer. It was definitely worth the stop!
At Costa Maya, we decided that this would be a relaxing beach day. Several months in advance I emailed Steve at the Tropicante to reserve lounge chairs for the time we were there. Steve is originally from Texas and runs a great business with attentive, friendly staff. We had guacamole, $5 margaritas, and the fish ceviche. All of it was very good! It was a relaxing way to spend our last port day.
$2pp taxi ride there, and a $2pp taxi ride back. Easy peasy!