The Caribbean Cruise Series: A Snorkeling Disaster

My first ever and (so far) only cruise! This is the second part in a multi-part series detailing my adventure on the Caribbean Sea! My friend Janna and I went on a Caribbean Cruise (after our crazy 2.5 day stint in Walt Disney World) in January 2013. We traveled with Royal Caribbean on a 4 nights cruise departing from Fort Lauderdale, with stops in Falmouth, Jamaica and Labadee,Haiti.

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After an evening and a full day of cruising, we arrived in our first port, Labadee Haiti.  Labadee is a private “island” that Royal Caribbean has leased for their resort use.  (For more information, click here).  Since this was primarily a beach day anyway, we decided to book an excursion and go snorkeling! This would be my first not in the bath tub snorkeling experience, so I was excited. So after docking, breakfast and all that we slowly made our way to the boat that would take us to our excursion.

It was as we were quickly heading farther away from shore and as the instructor was giving us a speed lesson in how to snorkel and I was looking at the mask, that a bit of fear started to sink in. I am claustrophobic to certain degrees, and one of those is having anything cover my face. I hadn’t really considered this before because snorkeling in a tropical ocean just sounded like way to much fun. But once I saw the mask, I started to consider it. But within no time, we had our life jackets and flippers on, masks in our hands and we all jumped into the water.

Well jumping into water from a boat with flippers for the first time…disaster number one. Wearing a life jacket for the first time that was adjusted wrong…disaster number two. Inhaling water through your snorkel when taking a deep breath…disaster number three. By this point, I was in full blown panic attack mode and was screaming to get back on the boat with no intentions on seeing this through. Who EVER said snorkeling was fun?

But Janna was not having any of that, and she (as sweetly as possible) metaphorically slapped the hysteria out of me, calmed me down, adjusted my life jacket and showed me how to properly operate a snorkel (as our lighting quick instruction was pointless and I lack common sense to operate such apparatuses apparently :P). Then as the tour was about to start swimming out in the ocean, she let me hold her hand while we swam until I got used to the whole situation and my heart beat returned to normal.

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I am SO GLAD that I did not give into my fear and continued with the snorkeling tour. We swam about a mile out into the ocean and then back to the boat. Got to see a a lot of cool under water sights! And we were rewarded with delicious rum punch on the return trip home.

The rest of our day in Labadee was spent enjoying a delicious BBQ lunch, shopping for local artisan gifts to bring home and just relaxing on the beach, soaking up the sun and roasting in the heat. I had unfortunately come down with a cold the evening before, so by mid afternoon the sun was just to hot to handle and so I headed back early to take a long nap in the dark cool cabin, while Janna enjoyed the water and sun for the both of us!

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I enjoyed our day on Labadee, it was my first time in a tropical location and spending the afternoon on the beach. However, the resort feel was a bit overkill and at some times tacky. I would have loved to be in an environment that felt more natural instead of built and adapted  purely for tourist enjoyment.

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The best part of the day was overcoming my freak out, I am also glad that I pushed myself through the snorkeling mishap, and I hope that one day I get the chance to try it again with perhaps a bit more grace and less fear! Next stop, Falmouth Jamaica.

– xoxo Veronica

** Thanks to Janna for the pictures and lending me a hand(literally) when I needed it! 🙂

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