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My Cruise
Key West & Cozumel Mexico

It all started with a postcard that arrived in the mail informing me that I had won a FREE Cruise !  Of course I knew there is always a catch to things like this... but I am always willing to learn new sales tactics...  and so called the toll free number and claimed my trip partially just for the educational sales training benefits :)  And partially because I wanted to take a FREE 5 day cruise :)

The itineraries were plentiful and dates uncomplicated and the sales pitch that came along with the deal was not too much to pay for a FREE trip to
Key West... let alone Cozumel Mexico... and so the plans were set. 
And on November 15, 2008 I was driving up to Tampa with a friend to catch a big boat / ship:)   After an easy embarqment, we left the dock just before sunset and cruised in the dark all night.

In the morning, we were at our first stop... Key West Florida. 
We docked early and had the whole day to wonder around to shop 
and see the sights..

Interesting... did you know that Route 1 is the longest road in the nation?  Over 2000 miles long from Maine to where it dead ends in Key West.

A walk across town revealed many of the Key West Watering Holes




And a few more interesting places like Ripley's Believe it or Not ! 

But the place I wanted to spend some time was the 
Key West Butterfly & Nature Conservatory

The conservatory is really beautiful and had hundreds of colorful, 
exotic butterflies flying around this warm tropical enclosed oasis.
Below are just a few of the pictures we took in the hour that we visited








This is a very interesting butterfly.  I don't remember it's name... but the top and bottom picture here are of the same insect.  Brown on the bottom helps it to hide from predators and bright blue on top to attract a mate.




You could get as close as you wanted to most of them

There were also many exotic birds walking and fluttering around the place
This bird eats flowers... not butterflies :)

After the conservatory... 
we hitch a ride back to the pier in a typical Key West style vehicle.

A little Key West Shopping before we get back on the boat



Again the ship pulled out at night and we were on our way
Southwest towards the beautiful, tropical Isle of Cozumel Mexico

In the morning I had time to roam the ship and take some pictures.  The ship has 11 decks with something different on every one. 








No matter which way you looked... the scene was the same.  With this wide angle lens you can actually see the curvature of the earth.

Here we are pulling in to Cozumel Mexico with the other cruise ships

First thing you notice is the azure colored water

Here we are docked next to our sister ship


I'm really not much of a herd animal... so I wasn't really interested in any of their many exotic tour packages.  So I just rented a Jeep and went off to explore the countryside.

There aren't very many roads to explore... but it took all day to capture the following pictures.

A little 7-11 type place downtown offered me a little Deja Vu from the 
2 years I spent living in Southern Spain.  The shops you find "off the beaten trail" rarely ever see the tourists... but they always greet you 
with a big friendly "Ola" (hello) and a smile.



Once we were well out of town, we just followed the coast road and stopped at many of the little bar and restaurants we found along the way

It was a very breezy day, which kept the beaches pretty empty


But you couldn't beat the atmosphere for some great places
to stop and relax





By the time we returned from our self guided tour... it was dark 
and our ship looked beautiful as it sat waiting at the dock

Of course every time we'd leave your room, someone comes in and cleans up... and every night there were 2 quality chocolates and a different kind of "towel animal" waiting on the bed when we returned

At night there are just as many things to do as there is during the day.  This theater offers all kinds of musical shows, comedians and other entertainers. 

This ship has 11 decks... and this "plastic boat" as we called it is near the elevator on every deck and identifies each deck so that you don't get lost.

The casino was always open when the ship was at sea on deck 5


The Solarium offered an indoor pool and hot tub on deck 9
that was open all night long.

You could always go shopping in the shopping mall Deck 7

Or go dancing on deck 11

Or you could jog or take a leisurely stroll out on the open decks
and get some fresh air

Of course when you return you will be greeted by a
another great towel animal

The trip back from Cozumel to Tampa was an all day - all night at sea event and allowed everyone some quality time to really just stop and relax before getting back to the real world

I did take a turn at the rock climbing wall and found it to be quite easy to climb and ring the bell at the top

The heated Solarium pool and hot tub could be all yours at night :)

And its always fun to stop and try to win your fortune if you get bored

When I went out on deck the morning that we were departing... there 
was this very unique and interesting round hole in the cloud formation 
directly over the bow of our ship that I just had to photograph

Well it was a wonderful cruise... and I enjoyed it quite a bit... 
but to be honest... I realized again how much I really appreciate my 
own little paradise here in Southwest Florida.   Englewood is like 
taking a vacation from vacation.  Does it get any better than this? 
Guess I'll have to keep exploring the world to find out. 

Keep me in mind if you need a travel companion 
or a photographer on your next vacation :)

Oh yeah... if you would be interested in learning more about the company that paid for my vacation cruise... just drop me a note with your name, address and phone number and I'll get your name on their list.

Who knows... perhaps you'll 

 Looking to buy a cruise of your own ?

Try:  Denise’s Cruise Shop

Your hometown travel agency

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Cape Haze, FL  33946

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