|View of the balcony and ocean from our room|
I saw the guy hanging over his balcony smoking and reminded him of the no smoking policy. He acted like he was above the rules and kept on smoking. I told him we were downwind of him and it smelled terrible on our balcony. He still kept smoking. Blech! We went inside until he finished.
The Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) ships have what they call "Freetyle Cruising." One of the coolest features of freestyle cruising is you can choose in which restaurant to eat, and where to sit. You're not assigned to the same table or waiter each time.
The restaurants that are complimentary on the ship are the Garden Cafe buffet, Blue Lagoon, Grand Pacific, Alizar, Great Outdoors buffet, Topsiders Grill (by the pool), Bali Hai grill, and Jasmine Garden (Asian - dinner only). There are specialty restaurants (Cagney's Steakhouse, Le Bistro [French], Moderno [Brazilian], La Cucina [Italian], Sushi, Teppanyaki [Asian]) on board, but you pay extra for them ($19.95 to $29.95 per person per meal). We didn't go to any of the specialty restaurants.
|Great Outdoors seating area - aft of ship|
|Talk about view tables! We loved eating out here|
(when it wasn't rainy, windy or cold).
|Carnival Freedom going same way we are|
|At opening time, there was always a line to get in!|
|Grand Pacific dining room|
|A beautiful sunset from our table in Grand Pacific|
|Bob and I dressed for dinner|
|Started finding charming towel animals|
on our bed when the room was turned down.
Sunday night's entertainment in the Stardust Theater was "Illusions with Cripton and Renata," a thoroughly engaging magic show with lots of drama and "how did they do that?" At 10:30 pm we went to Norwegian's Night Out Party for dancing with a live band. We had a good time. Then it was light's out. Our shore excursion to Tulum will leave at 10:00 am Monday.
Monday: We got up in time to have breakfast before our seven-hour day trip to Tulum: Mayan ruins built on a bluff overlooking the ocean. After we debarked the ship, we walked over to a passenger ferry to take us from Cozumel to Playa del Carmen, 45 minutes away on the mainland of Mexico. That's where our tour bus would pick us up and drive us 50 minutes to Tulum. We had many choices for shore excursions, but we were most interested in Mayan ruins.
|We will be in the yellow and blue ferry on the right.|
|One of the ferries we saw from our stateroom|
|Disney's Fantasy and our ship, NCL Jade|
Trip Advisor has a good description of cenotes: "The Yucatan peninsula has the unusual feature of resting on a bed of limestone. Over the centuries, as rainfall was absorbed into the ground, it created subterranean caverns filled with fresh water pools. Sometimes the 'roof' of these caverns collapses in, leaving the pool open to the sky and creating a fresh water swimming hole in the jungle. Whether enclosed or open, these pools are known as cenotes (say- no-tays). These pools were an important—sometimes the only—source of fresh water for the Mayan people. As such they were regarded as religious sites. Today they remain an important part of the ecosystem of the Yucatan while offering a place of unique natural beauty to be enjoyed by visitors and locals alike"
Anyway, our bus took us to Tulum. When we exited the bus, there was a whole village of vendors selling everything from food and water, to Mayan calendars, liquor, and lots of souvenirs. Our guide walked us through and pointed out where we could eat lunch, have our picture taken with Mayans in native dress (for a fee), then led us to the site of Tulum. Lots of tour buses were there, so there were many people at the ruins. Tulum is a Mexican National Park.
|Iguanas everywhere - this one was on the roof of the restroom|
|Our tour guide - Saul|
|Spiny bark on this tree|
|Entrance into Tulum|
|Tulum Mayan ruins|
|Palace of the Great Lord|
|El Castillo - The Castle|
|The Temple of the Paintings|
The facade of the inner temple is decorated with murals, and the outside with stucco figures in relief: masks on the corners, sculptures in three niches of the facade. The upper level temple is very simple; it is decorated in red handprints. The painting pigments were obtained in different ways. The red and black were obtained from soil and minerals while others, such as blue and green, were obtained from certain plants.
|Iguanas all over Tulum|
|El Castillo, from the side, on a bluff overlooking the ocean|
|Popular beach spot...tide was in, so not much beach!|
|On the bluff at Tulum|
|Bob with Temple of the Wind God in the background|
|Temple of the Great Lord|
|Temple of the Descending God|
An important characteristic of Mayan villages on the Yucatan Peninsula was the construction of houses or temples near water sources such as wells and chultunes (cisterns) or altars inside caves. The House of the Cenote was built on the limestone, which then was extended with a room placed directly over the hole that forms the cenote. In addition, bones were found so maybe this was used as a crypt as well. The Maya of the Yucatan Peninsula faced a serious problem with drinking water, as there are almost no rivers or bodies of water on the surface.
|The House of the Cenote|
|Bob in front of House of the Cenote|
|Temple of the Wind God with |
three miniature temples
Another archaeological feature of this region, known as the East Coast, is the presence of very small structures that reproduce temples to scale. These constructions must have functioned as altars where offerings were left, because their size obviously would not have allowed people in.
|Lunch at Frosties - chicken quesadillas|
|Bob checkin' out the ladies|
|Christmas tree in Playa del Carmen|
|Our ferry back to Cozumel|
|The pretty part of Playa del Carmen|
|Aft cabins on NCL Jade|
|New outfit tunic and leggings|
|Leggings have lace inset.|
After the big production and then the game show, we headed to the Garden Cafe for dessert. Then we called it a night and went back to the room to read. We were greeted by our towel animal for the evening.
|Elephant or E.T. (Extra Terrestrial)?|