Fat Tuesday in Costa Maya

Celebrating Seuss At Sea, Carnival Cruise Line's new partnership with the works of famous children's author, Dr. Seuss. Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders

Celebrating Seuss At Sea, Carnival Cruise Line’s new partnership with the works of famous children’s author, Dr. Seuss. Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders

Aaron Saunders, Live Voyage Reports

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

It was a morning of sailing the surprisingly moody waters of the Gulf of Mexico aboard Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Freedom as we made our way to Costa Maya, Mexico. In fact, moody storm clouds seemingly chased us all the way into port, buffeted by strong winds that whipped across the open decks.

Believe it or not, this is only my second Western Caribbean cruise; the first was way back in 2009 on a run from Tampa to Key West and Cozumel. Still, I don’t remember the winds being this strong; they seem uncommonly harsh to me. They’re certainly doing double-duty today: guests are by and large staying off the open decks.

This morning, the Seuss-at-Sea Parade took place along the Deck 5 Promenade aboard Carnival Freedom. Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders

This morning, the Seuss-at-Sea Parade took place along the Deck 5 Promenade aboard Carnival Freedom. Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders

Guests had an interesting way to stay entertained this morning, despite the high winds. In the sheltered warmth of the Deck 5 Promenade, guests could participate in the Seuss-At-Sea Parade, which wound its way along the length of the ship before finally concluding in the Victoriana Lounge for a Seuss-themed storytime. The book being read to the eager kids: none other than The Cat in the Hat.

I love the idea of having storytime for kids. Anything that encourages kids to read is a huge plus in my books. Not only that, but adults were encouraged to attend and participate, too.

The Seuss-at-Sea parade culminated in...Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders

The Seuss-at-Sea parade culminated in…Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders

...storytime with the Cat in the Hat in the Victoriana Lounge. Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders

…storytime with the Cat in the Hat in the Victoriana Lounge. Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders

By the time we came alongside in Costa Maya, seas as blue as the sky greeted us, replacing the moody and uncooperative weather that had plagued us for most of the morning. Also there to say hello was Costa Cruises’ sleek Costa Luminosa, looking resplendent with her gleaming white superstructure and bright canary-yellow funnel.

The best way I can describe Costa Maya is to call it the Grand Turk of the Western Caribbean. It’s not an island, but it is largely a manufactured port of call. Up to three megaships can dock here at a single time, and the massive pier apron conveniently funnels all guests right through the duty free shopping mecca that functions as the cruise terminal.

Meanwhile, Carnival Freedom was nearing Costa Maya...and Costa Luminosa, as it turns out! Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders

Meanwhile, Carnival Freedom was nearing Costa Maya…and Costa Luminosa, as it turns out! Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders

Coming alongside the pier in Costa Maya. Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders

Coming alongside the pier in Costa Maya. Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders

There is a small town nearby (Mahahual) that can be reached by taxi, but its amenities are few and far between. It has been repeatedly slammed by hurricanes in 2008 and 2012, and is a shell of its former self. And let’s be honest: most guests are going to disembark the ship and stay within the gated confines of the Costa Maya cruise center, where they can bathe in the nearby swimming pool or watch dolphins do their thing in the small dolphin tanks that are situated between the pool and the beach.

Looking to go ashore? Head to Deck 0 all the way forward! Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders

Looking to go ashore? Head to Deck 0 all the way forward! Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders

Places like Costa Maya mystify the heck out of me. I can’t fathom just lying on the beach, burning like a lobster; or slamming back Corona’s until I pass out face-first in the swim-up bar at Senior Frogs. Sometimes, I wish I could be “that guy” – just to see what it’d be like. I imagine the hangovers are pretty wicked.

Costa and Carnival, side-by-side in Costa Maya. Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders

Costa and Carnival, side-by-side in Costa Maya. Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders

Costa Maya is a decent walk in...but there's a tram if you're feeling particularly unadventurous. Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders

Costa Maya is a decent walk in…but there’s a tram if you’re feeling particularly unadventurous. Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders

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Our Live Voyage Report aboard Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Freedom will continue tomorrow as we explore Cozumel, Mexico! Be sure to follow along on twitter by following @deckchairblog or the hashtag #LiveVoyageReport.

 

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