Traveling Mamas

Inspiring you to explore our world

  • Hi TravelingMamas – I’m taking a cruise to the Western Caribbean soon and I’d like to get in touch with places so that I can give back while on vacation. The cruise originates in New Orleans with port stops in Cozumel, Belize, Roatan, and Costa Maya. Any assistance is appreciated.

    Cruising for a Cause

    Hi Cruising for a Cause –

    cruise for a cause one backpack at a timeI’m so excited your are taking time from your vacation to give back to those in need. Cruises are a great way to see different destinations, help a variety of charities, and have a vacation as well. I’ve been to all these destinations and have even given back at most of them. I was introduced to giving back while on vacation through Nancy Schretter, founder of Together for Good. We cruised for a cause together a few years ago on the Norwegian Spirit and it was one of my most rewarding trips ever taken.

    Before cruising to each of these ports, keep in mind that you will be limited on the amount of donations you can bring into each country. Whatever you bring off the ship will have to be carried a long way by yourself. Here are some tips and suggestions, along with contact information for the port stops on your cruise:

    cruise travel Guatemala volunteer vacation

    Cozumel

    Ciudad de Angeles – This is an orphanage that provides a family-type environment for over 20 children. Their website provides a wishlist of items needed. Contact the orphanage at least 48 hours in advanced and they will give you the best time to drop off items. You will take a taxi to the address given to you when you make arrangements.

    Cozumel Chrysalis Group – This non-profit group provides school supplies to low-income families in the Cozumel area. Paradise Beach is a drop off point where backpacks of supplies are collected and then you can spend the rest of your day relaxing on the beach.

    Check out all places listed in Mexico on Together for Good.

    Belize

    Dorothy Menzies Child Care Centre – This a convenient place to drop items while on your cruise. This residential childcare facility is located in Belize City and takes donations of a variety of school and care items. You will not be allowed to take photos of the children or interact. I will warn you, this is is not a colorful facility like you might see in the US and you will see that your items are much needed. Contact Karl Menzies by email.

    The Liberty Foundation – Located near Ladyville, this residential facility houses 25 children ages 1 to 11. Contact Delfina Mitchell, the director, to make arrangements for dropping off items and visiting with the children. You can also ask here what items are most needed before arriving. She can be contacted via email.

    Check out all places listed in Belize on Together for Good.

    Roatan donations from Carnival Liberty cruise

    Roatan

    There are a number of places in need on the Island of Roatan. I have not visited any of the places in need listed, but recently a few cruise writers made a stop at a local orphanage while taking a shore excursion. The tour was arranged through Victor Bodden of Bodden Tours.

    Check out all places listed in Honduras on Together for Good.

    Costa Maya

    Uai Nat Ze – Costa Maya is a really good port for mixing voluntourism and fun. There are a variety of opportunities, depending on area needs and the time of year. During a port stop with Nancy, we delivered needed supplies, decorated the kindergarten in Mahahual, and spent the afternoon enjoying an authentic meal with some locals. Contact Kevin at Uai Nat Ze to arrange your visit. You can read all about our day in Costa Maya.

    Nancy Schretter volunteering in Costa Maya with little helpers

    I hope this information is helpful to anyone cruising for a cause. What Nancy Schretter has been able to accomplish with her site Together for Good has been unbelievable. If each cruise passenger brought just one backpack of needed supplies to at least one port on their cruise vacation, then so many children of the ports would benefit.

    TravelingMamas.com and friends will be planning a Cruise for a Cause this Spring. As soon as the details are available it will be posted here on TravelingMamas.com and other online outlets. We hope you’ll join us for fun and giving back while on vacation. But you don’t have to wait for a group cruise to do some good. Anyone can help these destinations at anytime they are on a cruise with these port stops.

    Have a question for TravelingMamas.com? Send us an email. We’ll do our best to get the answers you need. Please keep in mind, we are not trip planners or travel agents and cannot help you plan your individual travel needs, but we can give you ideas on what to do and where to go.

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  • I love LSU Tiger Football. My parents have had season tickets since I was little and each year my husband and I purchase the tickets from my parents. If I can’t attend the game in person, due to work or my travels, I make sure to find a way to watch on television.

    Enjoying a Thirstyfrog Red on the Carnival Liberty cruise shipMy biggest concern about having an afternoon flight and cruising on game day was the possibility of missing the SEC Championship Game between LSU and UGA. Fortunately, I was able to catch the game at the new EASports Bar on the Carnival Liberty, part of the Fun Ship 2.0 enhancements. Of course, I was sporting the blinged-out LSU shirt my brother and sister-in-law gave me for my birthday.

    I don’t know exactly what I was expecting at EASports Bar, but when I walked in I was wowed. It was like being at a sports bar in any city, but I had a better view out the window! As I was looking around for a place to sit, an older couple invited me to sit at their booth to catch the game. They were super nice and we even ended up splitting a bucket of Dos Equis during the game.

    During the game, there were complimentary snacks of chicken tenders and big soft pretzels. On the wall were signed framed jerseys from Tim Tebow, Brett Favre, and a few other notable athletes. Across the top of one wall was a ticker tape of game scores from all over the globe. Behind the bar were four gigantic screens playing two games – one of which was the SEC Championship.

    EASports on Carnival Liberty

    It was fun to sit there during the game, enjoying the ribbing from other cruise guests when the Tigers were lagging behind during the first half. Of course, I joked with them commenting that I was just glad none of the team members got arrested the night before the game.

    Big screens at EA Sports bar on Carnival Liberty

    Watching SEC Football at EASports on Carnival Liberty cruise shipFortunately, the LSU Tigers came back to win the SEC Championship and I didn’t miss out on this important sports event. The EASports Bar provided a fun venue on the Carnival Liberty. Throughout the cruise there will be live gaming tournaments for video gamers, and other special sports games will air on the many screens. So far, so good with the Fun Ship 2.0 enhancements on Carnival Cruise Lines.

     

    Special thanks to Carnival Cruise Lines who invited me to learn about the Fun Ship 2.0 enhancements being introduced to the fleet. My cruise is complimentary, which is standard in the travel industry for story research purposes. I have not been compensated and all opinions are 100% my own.

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  • If you aren’t staying at a beach resort in Cozumel, you can still get the beach time you might be looking for. Cozumel has a number of beach clubs available for day use, with facilities, bars and other amenities. One of the most popular beach clubs is Paradise Beach, which recently added a new pool, boasting one of the biggest pools in Cozumel.

    Located in the south end, about five miles from the port terminal, you can expect to spend about $20 each way for a taxi ride. I’ve been there twice, once while it was super busy, and another time when it was virtually deserted.

    When Paradise Beach was busy, our small group grabbed some beach chairs under a few palm trees, a bit aways from the water. This was okay with me, because there were lots of kids there that day and I appreciated the quiet corner where we were. I immediately ordered a bucket of beer for our party and an order of guacamole. The total was around $25US.

    Bucket of beer and guacamole at Paradise Beach club in Cozumel

    I stepped down to the water, and found the beach a bit rocky, but where I stood it was fine. Nearby was an inflatable water playground for kids. The price for unlimited play was $12US per person. There is also a $2 per person chair fee.

    I spent the afternoon relaxing in a beach chair before it was time to head back to the cruise terminal. I still had time to make a few purchases, and enjoy one of those cold little bottle Coca-Colas before stepping back onto the ship.

    Shannon Hurst Lane in Cozumel enjoying a Coca Cola at the cruise terminal

    How to Get There: Take a taxi and ask for rate to get to Paradise Beach.

    Website: Paradise Beach

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  • Once while I was in Cozumel on a port stop, my planned excursion was cancelled due to choppy seas. My husband and I were given the option to take another excursion, but we opted to explore on our own. We began our walk with cold little bottle Coca Colas purchased at the drugstore right at the pier. The drinks were only $1 and were oh so good! This gave me the pep I needed to explore by foot.

    We  took a left when we went through the port, and walked along the sea wall, looking for a place to sit and enjoy the view. I’m not always in the mood for the Hard Rock Cafes or the Senor Frogs, so we were glad to find a hidden restaurant that offered a great view — Toro’s Place.

    Toro's Place Cozumel restaurant and bar

    Toro’s Place is located on the second floor of businesses, just past McDonald’s. We walked up the stairs and were promptly seated with the best view. My husband and I weren’t too hungry, we just wanted to soak up the feel of the place. We ordered a few cervasas and fresh quacamole. It was so good!

    Guacamole and beer at Toro's Place restaurant in Cozumel

    We ordered another round of beer, and then we were surprised by a clown. He was funny, but kind of scary too. He did make me giggle and laugh with some of his balloon animals. Our total bill was less than $10US. Of course, they serve a variety of entrees at different prices.

    Shannon Hurst Lane and clown at Toro's Place restaurant in Cozumel

    If you are just strolling around Cozumel, looking for a place to enjoy a drink and a view, you can’t go wrong with Toro’s Place. The staff was extremely friendly and attentive. It was a great stop before ambling around Cozumel during our cruise port stop.

    How to Get There: Located upstairs at the corner of Av. Raphael E. Melgar and Calle 5

    Website: Toro’s Place Cozumel

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  • Princess Cays is the private beach in the Bahamas for Princess Cruises. There are areas where cruise guests seem to gather together in numbers, but if you are looking for a quiet beach area, it can be found. Here are some photos from Princess Cays, to give you an idea of what your day could be like during this cruise stop. Be sure to read my full recap of Princess Cays, along with tips.

    Princess Cays cruise stop welcome signBeach chairs at Princess Cays cruise stopPrincess Cays quiet beach area cruise stopPrincess Cays Bahamas quiet beach break cruise stop
    Princess Cays, Bahamas beach break from a cruise ship

    Special thanks to Princess Cruises who hosted this cruise experience.

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